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Old 11-22-2014, 08:00 PM   #41
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While a powered tracking panel mount would be handy, I suspect that building one that would support (and track) a reasonably sized panel would be heavy, expensive, and might use as much power as it saved. I had my 30 lb, 160 Watt panel sitting at ground level blow over (and end up 30' away) with 2 10 lb rocks holding down the legs. I'm going to live with getting up and moving the panel a couple of times a day.

I do plan to make my current rooftop panel tiltable. As long as I can park with the rear of the trailer facing south when dry camping, tilting the panel should improve the output.
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Old 11-22-2014, 08:43 PM   #42
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Tiltable solar panels, tiltable solar panels... that's clanging around in my brain! For those that are member of FiberglassRV and have roof mounted solar panels... you MAY be interested in this thread: Bigfoot Solar System - Fiberglass RV

COOL!
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Old 11-22-2014, 08:56 PM   #43
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Can't for the life of me locate it, but I had seen a truck camper that had 2 panels mounted on the side of the camper. All the owner had to do was raise the bottom enough to get the right angle. Of course you'd have to move the truck if you wanted to rotate the panel. They also had roof top panels.
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Old 11-22-2014, 09:13 PM   #44
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Can't for the life of me locate it, but I had seen a truck camper that had 2 panels mounted on the side of the camper. All the owner had to do was raise the bottom enough to get the right angle. Of course you'd have to move the truck if you wanted to rotate the panel. They also had roof top panels.
I think that makes a lot of sense... although the panels on the side would be relatively useless in the summer while actually on the road (when they could of course be folded to vertical). Most of the tilting mounts for rooftop panels only tilt in one axis, so they require "aiming" the RV to be effective, too.

One could even put mounting hardware on both sides, so the panel could be hung on whichever side worked best to face south in the current campsite.
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Old 11-23-2014, 12:27 AM   #45
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FYI I posted this a while ago somewhere else in the Forum. In spite of, or because of, working with solar power systems for 35 years I haven't found a system I want to spend the money on yet. The time is right, I'm planning on using your solution when I'm done with my refrig obsession.
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Living in the northwest with days of no sun, and often camping at areas where generators are seen as very annoying, I came up with a different solution.

I add a second battery to the tow vehicle and power it through a relay hooked to the ignition. Any time we take a drive it's topped off. When camping I have a 30' extension cord (10ga) that uses the 7 pin trailer plugs.

I place a red rag on the steering wheel when I hook it up so I remember unplug the 'extension cord' before driving away.

IF you see the batteries need a charge, or want to run a high current draw load, idle the engine for a 5-10 minutes and fellow campers just think you are warming up the car....

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If you simply make an 'extension cord' you can give your batteries a quick boost and/or power to run that inverter.

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Old 11-23-2014, 09:37 AM   #46
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Addendum-- I ended my solar power experiment last Thursday morning with my batteries at 58% capacity. This morning (Sunday) they are at 99%. So it took three days to charge the batteries via the solar panels with no significant load on the electrical system.
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Old 11-23-2014, 10:11 AM   #47
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I've got a rigid bedtopper on my Tacoma pickup and am considering placing a solar power on top of that because it would be easy to adjust for the vertical angle down at ground level, maybe add a pivot to rotate......run 10 gauge out to the trailer......should be simpler to store, too.
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Old 11-23-2014, 11:06 AM   #48
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But what if you want to leave camp for the day? There goes your solar gain.
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Old 11-23-2014, 11:17 AM   #49
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But what if you want to leave camp for the day? There goes your solar gain.
I have a fixed 160W on the 21, I was thinking mostly about boondocking where would be less likely to drive away.
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Old 11-23-2014, 02:06 PM   #50
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But what if you want to leave camp for the day? There goes your solar gain.
I just aim mine ahead of the sun a bit, and when I get back, it might be behind a bit. All in all, one still can get better gain then laying flat on the roof. Mine only comes out in colder weather when I will be out for 4 nights or more, otherwise I don't even need the solar.
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