What panel to use? - Solar advice





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  1. #1
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    Default What panel to use? - Solar advice

    I have a 120w portable floppy panel that I use for the caravan, it works a charm, but I would like to use that as an add on to a more permanent fixed unit on my vehicle.

    This will then be connected to my DCtoDC fitted to my vehicle.

    What type of panel, is best suited to being fixed on your vehicles roofrack as a permanent fixture?

    I would not require a panel that is rated at more than 120W.

    Some advice on who to contact or where to get one would be great.

    I have seen the one's by ODWH but they seem flimsy and the price/quality ratio seems off..
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: What panel to use? - Solar advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Hedgehog View Post
    I have a 120w portable floppy panel that I use for the caravan, it works a charm, but I would like to use that as an add on to a more permanent fixed unit on my vehicle.This will then be connected to my DCtoDC fitted to my vehicle.What type of panel, is best suited to being fixed on your vehicles roofrack as a permanent fixture?I would not require a panel that is rated at more than 120W.Some advice on who to contact or where to get one would be great.I have seen the one's by ODWH but they seem flimsy and the price/quality ratio seems off..
    I never could understand why people would want to install a permanent solar panel on a vehicle roof rack?? You won't need it while driving, that's what the alternator is for... And when stopping/camping, you want to park your vehicle in shade, not in the sun day in and day out... So I would put it on slides with a 15m extension cable....
    .

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: What panel to use? - Solar advice

    Oh... You can chat to Jacques... www.bushpower.co.za
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: What panel to use? - Solar advice

    Quote Originally Posted by SinWolf View Post
    I never could understand why people would want to install a permanent solar panel on a vehicle roof rack?? You won't need it while driving, that's what the alternator is for... And when stopping/camping, you want to park your vehicle in shade, not in the sun day in and day out... So I would put it on slides with a 15m extension cable....
    My caravan will be in the shade... thanks.
    And sometimes when stopping for more than 24hours a little sun goes a long way in keeping things cool
    It also keeps things charging when stopping for what ever reason
    Last edited by Hedgehog; 2019/12/09 at 08:55 AM.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: What panel to use? - Solar advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Hedgehog View Post
    My caravan will be in the shade... thanks.And sometimes when stopping for more than 24hours a little sun goes a long way in keeping things coolIt also keeps things charging when stopping for what ever reason
    If you have a caravan, what needs to be charged in the vehicle? Do you also run a 2nd battery in the vehicle with a fridge in the vehicle?
    .

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: What panel to use? - Solar advice

    Quote Originally Posted by SinWolf View Post
    If you have a caravan, what needs to be charged in the vehicle? Do you also run a 2nd battery in the vehicle with a fridge in the vehicle?
    Yes

    Second battery in vehicle, third set in caravan, with fridge in both
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: What panel to use? - Solar advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Hedgehog View Post
    YesSecond battery in vehicle, third set in caravan, with fridge in both
    So if you have a fridge in the vehicle, the more reason to try and keep the vehicle in the shade to assist with power consumption... You are deliberately parking in the sun to power the solar panel, but by doing this, you create an oven around your fridge inside the vehicle?I would put it on slides, and have the option to plug it in while on the roof rack, or move it away from the vehicle with an extension... The best of both...Good luck with the install!
    .

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: What panel to use? - Solar advice

    I think the question is how and what, not why.

    If you have the money and the inclination, go for it.

    And besides, a third charged battery (and charging system) while camping is never a bad idea.

    Install it in such a way that it “lives” on the roof but can be easily deployed if necessary.

    Beware of the panel flexing and delaminating from wind turbulence.

    Good luck, search the forum, many have done this and posted designs.
    Cheers

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: What panel to use? - Solar advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffy View Post
    I think the question is how and what, not why.

    If you have the money and the inclination, go for it.

    And besides, a third charged battery (and charging system) while camping is never a bad idea.

    Install it in such a way that it “lives” on the roof but can be easily deployed if necessary.

    Beware of the panel flexing and delaminating from wind turbulence.

    Good luck, search the forum, many have done this and posted designs.

    Thanks Fluffy

    Yes my question was actually directed to what type of panel would be best suited for this application.

    SinWolfe's comments and yours about it being deploy-able make sense, and I will definately make it happen like this, but still does not answer my question.

    I looked at your link @Sinwolf but I still am not sure that these panels are suited for this. As the website does not give details on the usage and type of panel or its construction...
    Last edited by Hedgehog; 2019/12/09 at 10:03 AM.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: What panel to use? - Solar advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Hedgehog View Post
    Thanks Fluffy

    Yes my question was actually directed to what type of panel would be best suited for this application.

    SinWolfe's comments and yours about it being deploy-able make sense, and I will definately make it happen like this, but still does not answer my question.

    I looked at your link @Sinwolf but I still am not sure that these panels are suited for this. As the website does not give details on the usage and type of panel or its construction...
    Any of the rigid panels with a suitable size, capacity and voltage will do. I don't think there is any panel specifically designed for this application. The trick is to have some kind of wind deflector or seal on the front of the panel to stop wind getting under the panel and flexing it.
    Cheers

    ZS5KAD
    3 V8's
    NA TwinTurbo SuperCharger
    A V6 and an inline 4

    The frogs are starting to notice that the water is getting warm but it is already too hot to do anything about it.....

  11. #11
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    Default Re: What panel to use? - Solar advice

    I use these panels

    https://4x4direct.co.za/788-fixed-solar-panels

    They have a very sturdy alu frame around them with multiple attaching options.

    Check the site for the size that will fit your available space.

    PS. I agree with the advise to make it removable, a slide-in or clip-in setup would not be difficult to design and worth the effort.
    Last edited by DC Polokwane; 2019/12/09 at 11:31 AM.
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: What panel to use? - Solar advice

    Mount it on front of roof rack at slight angle. Works as wide deflector

  13. #13
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    Default Re: What panel to use? - Solar advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Hedgehog View Post

    What type of panel, is best suited to being fixed on your vehicles roofrack as a permanent fixture?

    I would not require a panel that is rated at more than 120W.

    Some advice on who to contact or where to get one would be great.

    I have seen the one's by ODWH but they seem flimsy and the price/quality ratio seems off..
    I have a 100 w panel fitted "permanently" fitted on my Frontrunner roofrack for exactly the reason when the vehicle standing in the sun when traveling and stop for a few hours in the harsh sun during summer months when the fridge is in the vehicle , I normally prefer the vehicle in the shade, but sometimes it does happen and a fridge that is running in hot sun permanently deplete unnecessary battery power .

    Unfortunately I could not get a glass panel less than 25 mm frame thickness in height to be lower than the the roof rack side libs. Unfortunately I have to remove it by ten bolts ( 4 will be more than sufficient ) or raising the tent adapter mounting brackets with spacers when installing the Expedition Alu cab tent .

    Mine is a 100w Setsolar glass panel bought from Outdoor warehouse think around +-R1600, 6-7 kg but sure it will be cheaper direct from them ( I was looking for specific compact dimensions )
    Sprayed the frame with Rust Oleum black aluminium , Mounted each side with alu angle which been power coated and with some rubber between them and the roof rack.
    I haven't experience to much flex with the roof rack yet for the glass panel to break.

    I also have a extra solar power point on the roof rack , using a Flexopower 120 watt foldable panel when needed or extra 100 watt semi flex when vehicle is in shade during camping .

    On the Alu cab tent I'm going to mount a permanent flexi panel with sikaflex, probably with a fluted carbonate sheet (door awnings) underneath for airflow .

    The other option is to glue a semi flex panel with fluted polycarbonate sheet in the middle and with a 2 mm Aluminium sheet underneath tot minimize flex to have a thinner panel .
    It should be mounted very securely to prevent fluttering as Fluffy mentioned which is a very important comment.

    The cheapest option on roof rack is cheap glass panel which is not too heavy , aluminium angle both sides , four tie down ring nuts for easy removal.
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    Last edited by MonkeyPeeler; 2019/12/09 at 03:41 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: What panel to use? - Solar advice

    Quote Originally Posted by DC Polokwane View Post
    I use these panels

    https://4x4direct.co.za/788-fixed-solar-panels

    They have a very sturdy alu frame around them with multiple attaching options.

    Check the site for the size that will fit your available space.

    PS. I agree with the advise to make it removable, a slide-in or clip-in setup would not be difficult to design and worth the effort.
    And there is a branch at Montana - relatively close to you



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