Solar panel mounting

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Solar panel mounting

Post  evan2010 on Fri Mar 25, 2011 1:39 pm

Gday, I have finally got my 100w solar panel and I now want to mount it to the roof of my Troopy.
Has anyone had any experience doing this? and if so Whats the best way to go about it? it's got an aluminium frame around the panel so my plan is to have the wiring go thru the roof down to where the 20A charge reg and 120Ah Deep cycle battery will be kept. Any help on this would be great
Cheers evan
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Re: Solar panel mounting

Post  secret squirrel on Sat Mar 26, 2011 10:10 pm

Hi Evan....I have the same panel, fitted to my roof rack on the pajero with some aluminium brackets, as I have it as a removable unit. The panel sits on the roof rack and I just bend some alu strap to the shape of the rack so the panel can be bolted with the brackets from underneath , I use split washers and wing nuts...split washers are a must so the wing nuts will not vibrate off in rough terrain.for permanent fitting it would pay to use nylock nuts...I run my cable through the rear door ...regulator and deepcycle are mounted in rear of car , also have a pure sine wave regulator which can deliver 600watt 240volt...great little setup....everything is connected with anderson plugs, that way I can also charge the deep cycle battery from the car when no panel is being used...hope this will help you out mate..cheers SS Smile
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solar mounting

Post  evan2010 on Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:13 am

Gday secret squirrel Thanks for the info! That sounds like a Great setup you have mate cheers evan
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Re: Solar panel mounting

Post  Guest on Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:11 pm

Gday Evan

I have an 80 watt panel mounted on the roof of my troopy, the roof rack I have fitted comes from the back and finishes just where the roof starts to slope down to the windscreen, then I have a single rhino rack positioned to the front of the roof, the panel is attached to the front section of the roof rack by brackets made from aluminium and the front of the panel is attached the same way to the roof rack.

Having it mounted this way means it slopes forward and creates little drag and no wind noise, all you have to remember to do is to make sure you point it into the sun.

I just re read what you said earlier--hope your not planning to fit the battery inside the car are you?

cheers

stayyerAU

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Re: Solar panel mounting

Post  xenon on Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:51 pm

StayyerAU said - I just re read what you said earlier--hope your not planning to fit the battery inside the car are you?

Is this not a good idea StayyerAU? Only I was thinkinh, where else would you put the battery as unless you have a trailer then you would have to put the battery inside (as not all 4x4 have the room under the bonnet for a second battery.

StayyerAU, Any chance of you putting up a photo of your solar panel setup.
Cheers
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Re: Solar panel mounting

Post  Guest on Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:19 am

Gday xenon


Well no its not a good idea to put a battery inside a vehicle, and you should only do so if you have it in a box that is vented to the outside of the vehicle, there are a couple of reasons for this, the main one being that a battery produces Hydrogen gas while charging and as you know its highly combustable so if you have it charging inside a vehicle without adequate ventilation you may have an explosion on your hands.

The other reason is that there are also other fumes generated from the battery acid, which you would be breathing as well, and if the battery was not correctly secured then in the event of an accident then it would become a missile or at the very least spray acid about the place, either causing injury or damage to the interior of the vehicle.

The troop carriers have ample room for a deep cycle battery, but not for a very large one, up to about 120ah, but I have found this sufficent to run the engel I now have, backed up by the 80 watt solar panel, but it struggled a bit with the older waeco, particularly on overcast days.

There are mounting kits for dual battery systems to suit almost all vehicles, some may require some modifications or relocation of things under the bonnet to get them in, sometimes also you may only be able to use a very small battery which may end up inadequate for your needs, the other place you can put a second battery is in a battery box on the roof rack, I though about doing this to fit a third battery for running external night lighting but then I started to look more into low power consumption lights, smd lights etc, and have a couple that I use now that are so efficient that I dont need another battery.

Also I have seen boxes that can be cut into the sides of the vehicle to put in things like batteries and gas bottles, used on campervans/caravans mostly, the access door is on the outside and vented to the outside so fumes and that are not an issue, and its always much safer to keep these things outside of the vehicle, even more so when you are sleeping in them.

When I get the chance I will see what pics I can put up for you.

cheers

stayyerAU




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Re: Solar panel mounting

Post  xenon on Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:32 pm

Thanks StayyerAU for the feedback. Didn 't even occur to me about the battery ptoducing fumes etc.
Loom forward to seeing the pics.
Cheers
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re mounting solar panel

Post  evan2010 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 2:40 pm

Gday, thanks stayerAu for the info regarding safe battery mounting etc. The Deep cycle battery I have wont fit under my bonnet unfortunately so i will have to look into getting a battery box that is well vented to the outside of my troopy.
Cheers evan Very Happy
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Re: Solar panel mounting

Post  Guest on Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:44 am


Gday evan2000

The troopies will take a second battery under the bonnet but not a very large one, I was going to photograph the way I have the solar panel mounted but after looking at it a bit more closely I doubted if you would be able to make sense of the bracket system I have used.

I have it mounted between a single square rhino bar at the front and the leading top edge of the roofrack, so that it is angled down towards the front, less drag and no noticeable wind noise.

What I did was use a length of aluminium angle that was a bit longer than the side width of the solar panel, as this length of angle goes from the rhino bar to the roof rack, I cut and bent the ends of the angle to get the correct angles for it to sit on top of each bar, then I made an infill piece for each end for strength, the length of angle is pop rivetted to the aluminium edge of the solar panel, then the ends are pop rivetted to the tops of the front rhino bar and the top of the roof rack bar, the infill pieces are then pop rivetted to the sides to give it strength, I mounted it this way for security reasons, if you use screws it can be taken off or they can sometimes rattle out in the bush, its been mounted this way for 3-4 years now and although I do check it from time to time and give it a clean, it has not moved or worked loose at all.

There are some disadvantages to having it set permanently this way, one is you have to remember to move the vehicle every now and then to make sure you are getting full sun, and you have to be careful not to whack low hanging branches, which I have done but there has been no damage to the panel at all, some mountings I have seen are set up on a bracket system so that you can tilt the panel up and down to get more sun, but I felt this would be something that could work loose and the panel could be damaged or be torn off if it flips up while you are driving.

What I do with my vehicle if I can is find a bit of a shady spot, I back the main body of the car into the shade and keep the front end out in the sun, putting those spring out sunshades on the inside of the windscreen and the side windows, I get the benefit of the full sun and also keep the vehicle reasonably cool, if I have to leave it in the full sun I have solar air vents in two of the side windows that are set on a heat sensor and they come on and vent the hot air from the inside of the vehicle, this helps the fridge out as well.

cheers

stayyerAU


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Re: Solar Panel Mounting.....

Post  sandy2010 on Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:14 pm

Evan,
I made up a timber frame which is held by "u-bolts onto 2 roof bars.....the solar panel has 2 door hinges fitted at one end which are anchored to the timber frame (facing the rear of the car).....the idea being that I can set the panel angle for summer or winter.... also this design then means that when I park the vehicle with the panel facing the sun, the front of the vehicle is facing away from the sun.......it only takes a couple of minutes to remove the holding bolts (which secure the front of the panel) and set the angle........(with a couple of stays)

Please note: YOU DO NEED A GOOD MEMORY SO THAT WHEN YOU RETURN TO YOUR VEHICLE YOU DON"T DRIVE OFF BEFORE LEVELLING THE PANEL !

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Panel mounts

Post  Guest on Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:37 pm

Good day Guys
All the solar books I have read say unless you have a mechanical sun tracker it pays to mount your panels flat as over the course of the day you will get more output from the panels with only a small angle on the panel you will not get the best sun on the panel Real Colin Rivers books on the subject they are very informative.
Cheers Dave cheers cheers study

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Re: Solar panel mounting

Post  Guest on Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:40 am


Gday

Yes I agree with having the panels laying on a flat surface will be better than having them angled, but in the suituation of mounting them on a roofrack the problem is they take up far to much space, so I opted for the angled position at the front, as I have tool boxes and water tank on there as well, apart from that with a dual battery system the battery gets a top up every time the engine is started so I am not relying totally on the sun as you would be if you have them mounted on say a caravan or camper trailer etc.

The other way I have seen is to have it mounted on the bonnet, I was in fact going to do this at one time with a smaller set of panels that I have, just to give the system a bit more juice on overcast days, but with the new fridge using less power I have not bothered with that, if you dont want to drill holes in your bonnet then you can mount it with lots of silicone adhesive, or make some type of bracket that runs from the panel and under the edge of the bonnet and clamp it down, you just have to check to see if the windows washer squirters will be clear, or have the panel raised abit at the back to allow them to still work.

cheers

stayyerAU

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Bigger & Bigger.

Post  Guest on Sat Apr 23, 2011 1:34 pm

Just remember that your using a big panel, Lots of flex. A mate over WA went from 3 40 watt panels "small and rigid" to a 120 watt panel large & flex'y! Second trip out the panel was worthless? That was $1200 in the bin! The flexing was within the center of the panel???.
I've seen big panel filled with expand foam filling the cavity in the back, which makes good sense to me.

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Re: Solar panel mounting

Post  Rwork on Sat Apr 23, 2011 3:52 pm

On a previous caravan i had a 60 w unit on top.I made a small frame and put a couple of wheels around 50 mm on some angle for tracks.I then used the thread out of an old concertina jack . A bit hard to explain and i have no picture, but basically when i turned the thread with a battery drill it stood the panell nearly upright from its previously flat position. Flat is ok for summer but in short cloudy winter days you need all the help (and watts)
available. Rwork

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Re: Solar panel mounting

Post  Detrackozi on Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:57 am

Evan2010

I have a Troopy and have mounted my off the roof rack sloped down by 20 degrees over the drives cab.





Extra Mounts onto the gutter

1"tubing around and angle iron inside were the pannel sits onto and is bolted down .

The Troopy are high and he in Vic Bush you alway end up hitting tree branches but had no damage to the pannel so far and it been up there for the last 8years.

Hope it helps to were you want yours.

David
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Re: Solar panel mounting

Post  Topcat on Wed May 11, 2011 5:42 pm

Hi,

I have a troopy that has a solar panel set-up I put on the roof over 20 years ago coupled to 2 x 6volt 190 amp deepcycle batteries wired
in series which are situated in the rear by one of the side vents.
This setup has served me well over the years without any problems powering my 60 liter Trailblazer fridge/freezer, 800watt power inverter
& all my other ancillary equipment.
You can see the full setup plus pics on my website at: www.havewheelswilltravel.iinet.net.au

Cheers

Ted
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Battery/s inside 4x4s

Post  AUoptimist on Wed May 11, 2011 7:53 pm

Hi All,
For those wanting to house aux batteries in the cabs of their trucks, heed well the advice of previous posters on the perils of charging flooded lead acid batteries in enclosed spaces without proper venting.
There is however a safe alternative battery type that can safely be charged in confined areas such as vehicle cabins.
AGM (absorbed glass mat) batteries are great in this application, they are a sealed unit, charge faster, have low self discharge figures compared to flooded lead acid batteries, can be mounted on their sides if required.
I have been running a Fullriver 100AH deep cycle AGM in my Landcruiser cabin, it's in a dedicated battery box on the floor behind the drivers seat.
A 64 watt Unisolar pannel on the roof racks charges the battery through a 15 amp MorningStar smart three stage solar regulator.
This regulator has a display that indicates PV volts in, charging amps and load amps, load in my case is a 68 litre Evercool fridge freezer, lights Minelab battery charger etc.
There is a story in the current edition of Australian Hunter at newsagents on how I set-up the Cruiser as a one man camper that has a series of images showing the lay-out, solar system water tank awning etc.
Hope the above is of some help to those planning a similar set-up.
Cheers, AUoptimist.


Last edited by AUoptimist on Wed May 11, 2011 8:45 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling error & addition)

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Re solar panel mounting

Post  evan2010 on Fri May 20, 2011 1:15 pm

Thankyou all for your help and great ideas! Much appreciated! Cheers evan2010
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re. solar panel mounting

Post  Guest on Sat May 21, 2011 6:41 pm

Hi, We have a single cab ute 4WD and mounted a 80w panel on roof with 2 rino racks. We used a gel battery in camper on back of ute and that ran a 40 lt engel fridge and lighting and two way radio. Gel batery was far better than lead acid (cost more) but always delivers your 13.7 volts. Lead acid slowly drops of. We charged our two 4500 batteries every day when we were detecting (4 mths of year) and ran a small 12volt fan avernight when was hot and never once had an issue with battery. We also had panel set into racks with brackets made to bolt on. The front of panel was slightly lower to stop wind noise and we always parked facing north. Found best charging when camped in one spot for weeks on end until we needed supplys and more water. Just letting you know our experiences Cheers travelergold

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Re: Solar panel mounting

Post  majindi on Fri Jul 08, 2011 7:59 pm

Goodaye

I can understand that, on those corrugations, ugh!
My prospecting trailer is rigid, we call it the tank.




Works well and has had a hammering, the panels are mounted on stuff thongs are made from, has been through horrendous rain storms at Mt Gibson and somehow the controller doesn't get wet inside, I have a compartment in the trailer with two deep cycle batteries that then link through the lead you see going to my tailgate.

I run detecter charger, 60w fridge freezer, sat tv, laptop, 12 volt fan, and 20 w fan, and sat phone charger. It is a great setup.

Regards Majindi
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