DIY portable flexible solar setup

Submitted: Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 09:25
ThreadID: 108311 Views:2377 Replies:7 FollowUps:0
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Hoping for the sharing of some ideas.

I have 2 x 150w (Voltech brand) very flexible solar panels, measuring 1510mm x 655mm x 1mm. Each panel weighs 1.7kg.

Although I could stick them on the roof of my camper, I prefer to camp in the shade when it's available. So, I was thinking of mounting them on canvas (maybe an awning) or some other portable system that would allow me to be a bit more flexible about where I place them to get the most sun. Anyone done anything with these types of panels?
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Reply By: olcoolone - Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 10:02

Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 10:02
Portable solar panels are the hardest solar panels to set up and get maximum sun light to.

Even with fixed panels; movement of a few inches and a couple of degrees can be the difference of poor and good performance.

Flexible solar panels are more of a convenience then performance.

Sorry can't offer much help as I prefer and use non flexible panels.
AnswerID: 534617

Reply By: Green Rv - Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 11:34

Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 11:34
could be done. but not a fan of the idea,
as you said you want to be in the shade so even if you mount on the annex or awning(risking damage) you will probably still be shaded at some time.

2 x 150w panels should put out approx 20amps with a good reg.
the best time to get solar is around 10am to 2pm in that 4 hr period you could collect 80 amps.
i rate myself in a hi energy user but i am only using 45amp/24hrs. so i think you may see where i'm going with this.

my suggestion work out how much power you need and park to get the amount of sun you need. if its sunny who wants to be inside anyway.

also note that when the van is at home you still want the batteries to be charging all the time this will keep the batteries at their peek with the solar mounted on the roof you can be charging for free

option 2) mount one and use the other as a portable just make sure that you mount the reg close to the battery. dont want to lose all your power to voltage drop

yes i have a love hate relationship with solar.

AnswerID: 534623

Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 12:54

Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 12:54
Maybe attach your existing flexible panels to a piece of plywood, possibly a hinged pair. A hinged leg at the back.
Then position them wherever they will get maximum sun.
Cheers
Allan

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AnswerID: 534625

Reply By: Glenn C5 - Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 12:54

Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 12:54
Can you make a light aluminium frame and slide them in when you stop. Then slide out and roll up when you go.
AnswerID: 534626

Reply By: Member - Rosss - Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 17:00

Thursday, Jun 19, 2014 at 17:00
Hi, I have 2 x 100watt flexibles, cheap and chinese, they are the best panels I have ever had, beat all the expensive ones I have had over the years, I just made up 2 canvas bags to carry them in, they live in the front boot while travelling and I just put them out and lean them against the drawbar or rear bar, depending which way we are facing, being so light they don't have to be hard up against what they are leaning on, they can be on an angle and not fall or slide, as far as portable panels go I would not have anything else now.
AnswerID: 534640

Reply By: Jos - Friday, Jun 20, 2014 at 10:21

Friday, Jun 20, 2014 at 10:21
Thanks everyone for the replies. After some careful thought, I think I'll just mount them on the roof (as I pretty much live in the desert and there's scarcely a tree in sight for local camping). I think I'll just try to set it up so I have to manually plug them in (I have an anderson plug on the trailer for solar) rather than a permanent connection. That way I can always carry another panel to use as a portable if I find there is a need.
AnswerID: 534672

Reply By: Tony H15 - Friday, Jun 20, 2014 at 11:10

Friday, Jun 20, 2014 at 11:10
I bought a semi flexible panel some time ago; unfortunately when it arrived two of the corners were badly damaged making it unsuitable for mounting on the camper. Using Sikaflex I mounted it to a piece of 7mm marine ply, attached a lead and merit plug and then mounted a regulator inside the camper. It works great: it's about 10mm thick (not including the junction box) and much lighter than the fold up panel I have. I usually place it on the bed when travelling and when camped place it on top of the camper or lean against a tree, plug in and forget. It weighs next to nothing and is so small and easy to use I don't use the fold up panel anymore.
AnswerID: 534673

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