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Old 11-20-2014, 07:38 PM   #31
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I was conducting what I considered to be a realistic test, given that I can't always control my surroundings when camping. So although I parked the trailer in an east-west orientation to maximize sunlight on the panels, there is a small tree south of it that would occasionally cast a shadow, something I could expect at many campsites. Also, both Escape and AM Solar took pains to position their solar panels as well away from rooftop obstructions as practicable; the AM Solar panel is at the rear of the trailer. So I consider my results to be typical of what one would expect when dry camping this time of year.
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Old 11-21-2014, 11:11 AM   #32
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Here are some ideas that may get the wheels turning.

I would think many of the wooden ones could be adapted to aluminum for weight considerations.
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Old 11-21-2014, 11:35 AM   #33
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Here are some ideas that may get the wheels turning.

I would think many of the wooden ones could be adapted to aluminum for weight considerations.
This is exactly what I was looking for. Good work!
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Old 11-22-2014, 08:50 AM   #34
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The Go Power unit is attached on the rear of the 17b at four corners. What about a simple 2x4 brace notched at the panel end to accept the square edge of the panel with the other end held in place by the cowling of the AC unit set in the roof just a few inches forward of the solar panel? Wouldn't withstand much wind but it sure is simple, and unlike what I purchased, easy to use.
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Old 11-22-2014, 10:16 AM   #35
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It would be really cool to see someone commercialize a durable version of a tracking mount something like this one: Solar Tracker

Folding flat and securely on the roof would be another problem to solve, but something like that should be able to work well with portable units.
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Old 11-22-2014, 11:12 AM   #36
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How about a portable panel mounted on an arduino robot; set it on the ground, and it follows the sun around.
I think this may be my after-Christmas project.
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Old 11-22-2014, 11:22 AM   #37
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How about a portable panel mounted on an arduino robot; set it on the ground, and it follows the sun around.
I think this may be my after-Christmas project.
Great idea. I had been thinking about a robotics contest our local technical college used to run. One of the high school classes I used to teach, participated in it and it was a great experience for the kids. The college supplied us with some simple robotics building and programing kits and set up a new challenge each year.

A solar panel tracking mount project like this would be a great one for college engineering programs to work on solving. (I may get in trouble again for thread drift now)
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Old 11-22-2014, 11:33 AM   #38
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ON theme: Solar in winter

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A solar panel tracking mount project like this would be a great one for college engineering programs to work on solving. (I may get in trouble again for thread drift now)
Eric,
No thread drift here. It could be a tracked robot, for snow or wet ground conditions. With arduino, there is memory for time-of-day and location solar angles, so you just punch in latitude. Sensor input is just to keep you out of the shade and not run into trees, or the Escape.
( I gotta stop thinking now; I've got too many projects already)
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Old 11-22-2014, 12:01 PM   #39
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If someone is industrious enough they might be able to adapt a Winegard Sensar mount for the purpose. From inside you can raise it from horizontal on the roof to vertical or anywhere in between, also rotates the full 360. Don't know if it'd handle a 30 lb panel in the wind but it's an idea.
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Old 11-22-2014, 07:41 PM   #40
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If someone is industrious enough they might be able to adapt a Winegard Sensar mount for the purpose. From inside you can raise it from horizontal on the roof to vertical or anywhere in between, also rotates the full 360. Don't know if it'd handle a 30 lb panel in the wind but it's an idea.
I'm pretty sure that any significant wind would destroy that mechanism, but the same design (parallelogram linkage on a pivot) could be used for a folding panel mount. Interesting...
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