How do the ridgid panels fare on caravans and canapys





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  1. #1
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    Default How do the ridgid panels fare on caravans and canapys

    I am new to the solar game but not to electronics and electrix.

    Like most, I guess my biggest descision is the PV panels. I am going for 3 by 100W panels which will be mounted on my full length roof top tent only in game parks driving slowly, and on the ground when camping for a few days or so. They will be stashed in the tent while traveling at speed to "get there".
    From a price point of view, it looks like I will be going for the rigid pannels now going at anything between R680 and R1200 each.
    How do these pannels hold up with constant putting up and pulling down and on automotive roof tops.
    What is the latest and greatest in these PV's

    The semiflexables would be so much better and I would probably mount them permanently, but Yikes, they cost long bucks. Unless I have missed something??

    My system will be a Victron 75/15MPPT with blue tooth,and a BT temp and voltage monitor with 3 by 100 pannels in series all feeding the vechiles second 100AH battery. The system could then be safely removed for camps where it will probally feed a 150AH battery .

    Anything fundamentaly wrong with this.

    G

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: How do the ridgid panels fare on caravans and canapys

    I have two 85W rigid panels permantly fixed to my canopy and I have traveled for close to 8 years with them on some of the worst corrugations to be thrown at you in Moz, Botswana, Namibia and good old SA. They stay mounted permanently.

    They are extremely robust and you need not worry about that.

    Apart from possibly a weight and stowing perspective, I see no advantage in paying that much for the flexible units.
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    Default Re: How do the ridgid panels fare on caravans and canapys

    The Flexi Panels were tested by us and they have a very bad efficiency rate.
    Why 300 watts? I run two fridges and load 2 x 100Ah batteries of two x 100watt panels.
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  6. #4
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    Default Re: How do the ridgid panels fare on caravans and canapys

    Ek het 2 x 135 watt pannels op my kamper se dak en 2 x 120ah batterye en Luna 90lt met ligte en water pomp en dit week baie goed

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    Default Re: How do the ridgid panels fare on caravans and canapys

    Gengis,

    Firstly, have a look at the 75/15 specs, I might be wrong but 300W is wasting for that controller, as the controller limits the power. You might need a 100/20 or 100/30 from Victron. I have a 75/15 with a 220W panel (max for the 75/15 according to the Victron spec sheet without limiting) flat mounted on my caravan. Works 100% and no issues charging 2 x 105ah batteries.

    Also have a small 80W permanently on my roofrack, no issues.

    Get 1 x 190W or 200W panel and install permanently on RTT, plenty power in most weather conditions, even for 2 batteries. Cost around R1900.

    Anyway, that is my setup and works well for me.

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    Last edited by Grumbles; 2019/09/02 at 09:22 PM.
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  9. #6
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    Default Re: How do the ridgid panels fare on caravans and canapys

    Probally because I like the MPPT concept and they like a higher voltage and a little future proofing too, I guess. Ja, overkill, but is it safe overkill? Or should I spend more wisely??
    MPPT's make sense to this old electronics hack, and i am aware of the limitations, but they win at the end of the day, if you don't chicken out in supplying them with volts. But perhaps I don't need as much power.

    Thinking?

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  11. #7
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    Default Re: How do the ridgid panels fare on caravans and canapys

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd View Post
    The Flexi Panels were tested by us and they have a very bad efficiency rate.
    Why 300 watts? I run two fridges and load 2 x 100Ah batteries of two x 100watt panels.
    Yip, the flexi panels take a lot of space. Also, there have been many failures where they have been glued down.

    I found 2 x 80W panels too small in hot weather for 2 fridges, even when following the sun. Some manage. You obviously manage with 2 x 100W, and I guess you also take them off and reposition them to face the sun.

    I went for a complete overkill and fitted 4 x 150W panels, flat on the roof, because I had the space. Because of a wiring problem, only 2 worked at one time, giving a similar capacity of Leon's setup, and that worked well. What the 4 panels do is provide enough power to park in semi-shade for extended periods.

    3 x 100W panels will be fine to fix flat on the roof permanently, if you do not park in semi shade for extended periods of time. BTW, I would prefer 2 x 150W in series than 3 x 100W in parallel, not only because of the smaller cable requirement due to the higher voltage, but also due to batteries being charged sooner in the morning, and also under partial shade. This is because the controllers only start charging when a certain voltage level is reached. It might be pf no real gain if you park in full sun, but certainly comes into play in partial shade. You can't have too much input power - panels are cheap enough now. Numbers are limited by space and weight on top.


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  13. #8
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    Default Re: How do the ridgid panels fare on caravans and canapys

    My setup is similar to yours with 3 x 100w removable panels.... that said I donít think the 15A controller is the best choice. The 20A will be the better choice. 300w charging at 14v is 21amps. Yes I know this is in ideal conditions and you will never get those figures, but my 300w setup charge at about 16 - 18 amp is the mornings whem battery is low.
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    Default Re: How do the ridgid panels fare on caravans and canapys

    Quote Originally Posted by Toks View Post
    My setup is similar to yours with 3 x 100w removable panels.... that said I donít think the 15A controller is the best choice. The 20A will be the better choice. 300w charging at 14v is 21amps. Yes I know this is in ideal conditions and you will never get those figures, but my 300w setup charge at about 16 - 18 amp is the mornings whem battery is low.
    Jip, if you going 300W, then get a controller that gets most out of it.

    Gengis if you already bought a Victron 75/15.... and want to sell it to buy a bigger one... let me know... I need one for another project.

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    Default Re: How do the ridgid panels fare on caravans and canapys

    I may need some schooling on the MPPT then, I believe that thy run on voltage ( series linked panels) rather than current, (parallel pannels). the 75 /15 controller can handel up to 75 volts ?? And supplying more current cant hurt too much as a controller will draw what it needs. Or have I been off the work bench for too long?? It's dangerious when an tekkie becomes a salesman.

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    Default Re: How do the ridgid panels fare on caravans and canapys

    The problem that is alerted to is that your panels will be able to supply more current on the battery side than 15A. You will be limiting your charge rate to 15A.
    100/20A will be a better option to use ALL the solar. It would also allow the panels in series to go up to 100V instead of only 75V.

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  19. #12
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    Default Re: How do the ridgid panels fare on caravans and canapys

    Sorry for the Hijack

    Can this work?
    Fibreglass canopy. Will be attaching these with bolt through roof and some sikaflex with large washers on the inside.
    the simple bolt slide in track attached to a bracket mounted to the solar panel.

    100 watt panels

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    Default Re: How do the ridgid panels fare on caravans and canapys

    Quote Originally Posted by Dwayne P View Post
    Sorry for the Hijack

    Can this work?
    Fibreglass canopy. Will be attaching these with bolt through roof and some sikaflex with large washers on the insid
    the simple bolt slide in track attached to a bracket mounted to the solar panel.

    100 watt panels
    They will work fine.

    But from an aesthetic point of view, I would want the panels to be at almost as wide as the canopy itself. So that you're able to use those slots for a roof rack as well if need be. And if they're not mounted almost at the very sides of the canopy, it wont look good. But that's just me.

    I suppose this is easily enough doable if you make an additional mounting bracket on the panel frame that will allow you to space those tracks as wide as possible.
    Last edited by Die SwartKat; 2019/09/05 at 04:22 PM.
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    Default Re: How do the ridgid panels fare on caravans and canapys

    Quote Originally Posted by Die SwartKat View Post
    They will work fine.

    But from an esthetic point of view, I would want the panels to be at almost as wide as the canopy itself. So that you're able to use those slots for a roof rack as well if need be. And if they're not mounted almost at the very sides of the canopy, it wont look good. But that's just me.

    I suppose this is easily enough doable if you make an additional mounting bracket on the panel frame that will allow you to space those tracks as wide as possible.
    Dit is my idee om dit so te spasieer. In lyn met die navara se standaard roof bars

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    Default Re: How do the ridgid panels fare on caravans and canapys

    Solar panel done and dusted. Fitted to roof of canopy as per t-rack above post. from solar panel is runs to my wrnd pwm controller (Cheapy) and then to my battery. I have an lcd battery voltage goody on the battery as per reference. Now is it normal for the solar to charge at up-and-down rate. Late 13's mid 14's and 14.8 etc. Not constant or is it the cheap voltage meter?

    EDIT:
    spoke to the manufacturer, this is normal behavior when the battery is fully loaded/charged
    Last edited by Dwayne P; 2019/09/11 at 07:34 AM.

  23. #16
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    Default Re: How do the ridgid panels fare on caravans and canapys

    Quote Originally Posted by Die SwartKat View Post
    I have two 85W rigid panels permantly fixed to my canopy and I have traveled for close to 8 years with them on some of the worst corrugations to be thrown at you in Moz, Botswana, Namibia and good old SA. They stay mounted permanently.

    They are extremely robust and you need not worry about that.

    Apart from possibly a weight and stowing perspective, I see no advantage in paying that much for the flexible units.
    how did you mount them on canopy? If you get the installation right, no hassles in future.
    Getting 2 x 290w with 100/20 victron mppt, thinking of doing one panel on canopy and putting 2nd panel in trailer until needed for more juice or long off grid stops.
    290w is big, 1.6m x 1m, length is ok for canopy but width is wider than roof rails on canopy. Thinking of doing 3 cross pieces onto canopy with panel on top of that.
    MPPT wil be connected to trailer batteries, 2 x 105Ah.

    Any input welcome
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  24. #17
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    Default Re: How do the ridgid panels fare on caravans and canapys

    They are hinged together like a suitcase and not meant to both be open permanently.

    I used two pieces of alu angle iron along the length of the canopy on each side to which I riveted drawer slides.

    These 2 angle irons is bolted to the bottom of Front Runner load bars that spreads across the width of the canopy.

    So when locked away, one is always open.

    When stationary, I pull the hinged unit out, open it so that the other panel now also faces upwards and slide them back under the load bars.

    I will take pics this weekend.
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  25. #18
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    Default Re: How do the ridgid panels fare on caravans and canapys

    How can solar panes be fitted on the roof of a Jurgens Explorer with out the possibility of vibration damage on the roof? What is the possibility of damage due to vibration on the panels? Did someone fit them on the caravan? Any pictures of such setups?

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