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Old 04-14-2016, 08:16 AM   #1
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Portable solar from 2 regular size panels

Just curious if anyone has done it. Adding legs would be simple enough. I have plenty of storage for them when not in use. 200 Watts for less than 2 suitcase units, no holes in the roof and they can be aimed and set in sun while trailer is parked in shade.

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Old 04-14-2016, 08:42 AM   #2
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I use my panels remotely for several things. My solution is to use 3/4" PVC and made an angled stand for the. If you strategically glue only some joints, it will come apart and fold flat. it is light weight, no rust and waterproof. Parts list 6 Tees, 6 90 angles, 2 end caps , PVC ( length depends on panel size)
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Old 04-14-2016, 09:09 AM   #3
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Nice.

Regular size panels? What are they 42 x 22 something or other.

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Old 04-14-2016, 11:41 AM   #4
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I am struggling with this same thing. Trying to decide if I should mount on roof or not.

Pros of roof mount:
  1. No need to find storage.
  2. Already set up.
  3. Can have multiple panels
  4. Totally hard wire.
Cons

  1. We camp in mostly forested area so finding sun maybe an issue if they are permanently mounted to the roof. No ability to move to the sunny spot.
  2. Tilting at the sun. They make mounts but they are expensive and multiple mounts could get really expensive
  3. If not mounted on roof would have to find storage and risk damage.
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Old 04-14-2016, 12:56 PM   #5
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Crazy idea, do both. Setup for roof mounting that would allow you to unhook and bring down so you can move the panels to a sunny area. Can use the same charge controller with a little design creativity. Just a crazy thought. 2 100 watt panels aren't difficult to move around. This way you have the panels stored and providing power, then if needed you can bring them down to place in a sunny area with an extended cable
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Old 04-14-2016, 01:08 PM   #6
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I have both. When the camper is in the shade, I pull out my 200W portable that I put hinges, latches, and a handle on. I just normally prop it on a blue water jug to get the best angle to the sun.
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Old 04-14-2016, 05:47 PM   #7
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That's an interesting idea but that means I would have to climb on the roof to get them down. Ugh.

How long can the power cable be? Assuming that you don't want to use 2 guage wire what can you use and how long. I would think the current isn't a big problem but the voltage drop is a killer.

I've seen some of the new campers have a solar plug on the side!
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Old 04-14-2016, 06:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fr1rd831 View Post
Crazy idea, do both. Setup for roof mounting that would allow you to unhook and bring down so you can move the panels to a sunny area. Can use the same charge controller with a little design creativity. Just a crazy thought. 2 100 watt panels aren't difficult to move around. This way you have the panels stored and providing power, then if needed you can bring them down to place in a sunny area with an extended cable
I want to avoid drilling holes in the roof. I know it can be done. I know they can be sealed up so they don't leak. I just have a phobia about holes in a roof. I am also very aware there are currently roof penetrations.... I realize my state of mind is not rational...
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Old 04-14-2016, 07:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flybob View Post
I use my panels remotely for several things. My solution is to use 3/4" PVC and made an angled stand for the. If you strategically glue only some joints, it will come apart and fold flat. it is light weight, no rust and waterproof. Parts list 6 Tees, 6 90 angles, 2 end caps , PVC ( length depends on panel size)
What controller are you using?
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Old 04-15-2016, 11:37 AM   #10
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I have (2) 100 watt panels that are placed on the ground. I made adjustable brackets with aluminum flat stock to get the best angle to the sun. There is 30 feet of 10 gauge wire between the cables and the Bogart SC-2030 charge controller. It should really be 8 gauge but it works. My wife made a storage bag for the panels, out of denim, and it fits behind the couch when traveling.

I will be adding another 100 watt panel to the roof in the next week or two. It will keep the batteries charged when the trailer is not being used as well as give us a little more electricity when camping.
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Old 04-15-2016, 11:50 AM   #11
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panel stand

I use a milk crate as a support for my solar panel. I attach the panel to the crate with a bungee cord which attaches to the frame of the panel. Infinitely adjustable. During travel the milk crate is used to store leveling blocks.
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Old 04-15-2016, 01:43 PM   #12
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Here is my project.

Quote:
Originally Posted by opie View Post
Just curious if anyone has done it. Adding legs would be simple enough. I have plenty of storage for them when not in use. 200 Watts for less than 2 suitcase units, no holes in the roof and they can be aimed and set in sun while trailer is parked in shade.

Sent from a field


I recently finished this project of my portable 200 Watt Solar kit.

For the 2 panels ( 48" x 22" each ) I joined them together with 2 hinges and added 2 handles for easy carrying. Also took a youth sleeping bag and turned it into a carrying case for protection while traveling.

On the backside of the panels I attached 3 Velcro straps (with self tapper screws ) to anchor the leg brackets to. This allows for swiveling, as needed, when the sun is moving.

As for the legs, they are 1 1/2" PVC. I measured the height to assure the best angle for needed for sun reflection. Up and down is 40 degrees and angled back abit is 35 degrees. But the angle is still more adjustable, if needed.

The legs also have eye hooks on the bottom of each leg for pegging into the ground for extra support.

As for storing the the panels and legs together. They are the practically the same dimensions and will store perfectly together.

Here are pics of my finished project.
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Old 04-15-2016, 02:31 PM   #13
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Portable Solar vs roof mount

I bought 2 full size Renogy 100W panels with 20' 10AWG cables and it worked great. I stored then in between the 2 queen size elevator beds on my Stealth SS 2216 Limited 27' toy hauler. I have 3 deep cycle 12VDC batteries and I never ran out of power. I put door hinges between then to hold them together and just propped them up with 2x4's to face the sun. This is a dilemma in that when you look for a campsite, you want shade, which reduces roof mounted panels output, but you still get 25% output in shade.
But eventually I got tired of hauling the panels out and packing up repeatedly (they are cumbersome to move and easily damaged), so I finally mounted them on the roof in less than an hour. Holes in the roof are no issue of you get good roof sealer. Now I am charging 7x24 (daytime) when driving or parked and I am getting more charging now than before because they are working all the time vs just when I take them out. I may buy another 100W panel and put it on 40' cable as a portable to supplement for when I camp in the shade for extended time if needed. 20' was not long enough range to find shade all the time. And the sun/shade moves all day so you are constantly moving the panels if there are lots of trees in the campground.
So the real variable here is how much time to spend out in sun parked/on the road vs in shaded campsite. I found that having the panels out working all day and while driving more than makes up for the time panels are temporarily in the sun when I put them out. If you are staying in the same campsite for extended time and trailer is in the shade, then portable makes more sense.
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Old 04-15-2016, 04:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bianchina3 View Post
Cons

  1. We camp in mostly forested area so finding sun maybe an issue if they are permanently mounted to the roof. No ability to move to the sunny spot.
  2. Tilting at the sun. They make mounts but they are expensive and multiple mounts could get really expensive
  3. If not mounted on roof would have to find storage and risk damage.
Ed
Another Con would be that they walk away while you are enjoying your day and not there to supervise them. I don't know, maybe I am being to paranoid.
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Old 04-15-2016, 05:04 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by opie View Post
Nice.

Regular size panels? What are they 42 x 22 something or other.

Sent from a field
The pictured one is for an 80W panel. I use the same design on my 140W panels
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Old 04-15-2016, 05:07 PM   #16
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What controller are you using?
I have several controllers. The one used here is a Morningstar Prostar 30
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Old 04-15-2016, 08:27 PM   #17
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Thanks for the ideas. I think Im gonna go for it.

Can always mount them on the roof if it becomes a chore...
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Old 04-16-2016, 09:02 AM   #18
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I just added 2 100w panel to roof to supplement my 2 100w portable. Works great. Allready had sc2030 & tm2030 permanently mounted so cost was under $250 to add. WhenI plug in the portables I have 400w.
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Old 04-16-2016, 09:07 AM   #19
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I just added 200w to roof to supplement my 200w pportable.when I plug inportable have 400w. Works great.
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Old 04-17-2016, 11:47 AM   #20
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Thanks for all the comments. I ordered 2 100 watt Renogy panels and the trimetric controller.

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