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Old 08-11-2016, 11:14 PM   #1
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Solar panels on A-frame roof with actuator?

I would love to put permanently mounted solar panels on my T21TBHW which has an actuator that lifts the roof. My questions are:

1) How much weight can I put on the roof and still expect the actuator to function properly?

2) Should I put it on the back panel where the actuator is (not much room there so it would have to be very narrow) or on the front panel (much closer to battery) and would there be a difference in what weight each panel could take?

Thanks for your help
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Old 08-13-2016, 07:42 AM   #2
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I just had to replace my factory linear actuator due to the unusual wear on the planetary gears due to the engineering underestimating the weight of the initial lift to rise the roof, this is why they added the gas struts on each side to help with the lift. If you look at the linear actuator decal on the motor the load is 500 newtons which equals 112 pounds of thrust, the load should be at least 350 to 500 pounds of thrust to llift the roof efficiently without wear on the actuator.
So my advice is not to add any weight to the roof, If you upgrade your linear actuator to at least minimum 500 pounds or more. Here is some companies that make linear actuators. Windy Nation,Warner Linear, Atlanta Drivers,Progressive Automations,Duff Norton, just to mention a few. So on the motor you'll see on the decal the Stroke is 710 mm which is about 28 1/4 inches which is a custom actuator, you probably could take a 30" actuator and retrofit it as long as the limited switch is adjustable.
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Old 08-14-2016, 11:14 PM   #3
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Wow! Very thorough scientific response!

Thanks!
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Old 08-15-2016, 12:47 AM   #4
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This guy put 200watts on his A-frame. I don't know if it has a motor to lift it as I don't know much about A-frames.

200 Watts Solar Project on A Frame
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Old 08-15-2016, 04:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockfordroo View Post
This guy put 200watts on his A-frame. I don't know if it has a motor to lift it as I don't know much about A-frames.

200 Watts Solar Project on A Frame
I am that guy. I used the flex panels which weight about 4 pounds a piece. It is harder to lift. No way my wife can lift it. I do not have an actuator. I contacted FR to see if I could put a stronger gas strut on. They said they tested the unit with up to 60 lbs struts so I put two 60 lb struts on. It did help with the initial lift, however I soon noticed that the screws that hold the strut to the wall were loose and the mount was deforming the wall. I put the 30 lb struts back on an give a good "heave" when lifting. If you put stronger gas struts on, I would reinforce the mounting bracket on the wall to spread the load out. Also, I think these Aframes would benefit from being stored with the roof up. That would reduce the fatigue on the lift springs and take the load of the gas struts...IMO. That being said, my is stored closed.
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Old 08-17-2016, 01:31 PM   #6
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I opted to not install mine on the trailer, but instead set them up when I arrive at my destination to absorb the most sunlight I can. Otherwise you have to always position your trailer with the sun in mind. Just my two cents.


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Old 08-17-2016, 08:45 PM   #7
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Another frontier option would to add 2 actuators to the unit, one on each side.
Those would balance the work load and the dynamics of the raising and lowering process.

The positioning would need to be exactly the same to maintain a balance.
They could run from the same switch for control.

My single actuator is working fine, but I think about these things, all the same.
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