Temporary mount for solar panel

Submitted: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 19:24
ThreadID: 23267 Views:2862 Replies:5 FollowUps:5
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I'm an avid reader of the forum and impressed by the knowledge of all those here. We will be travelling to Big Red and Birdsville in July, and I was looking at mounting a 10W solar panel to the roof of the Hilux (dual cab) Brahma canopy to provide some additional power to a 3rd battery for lighting purposes etc. The idea is that this battery can charge from the panel whilst on the road. I don't really want to wire up a third battery to the alternator for this trip. I have the battery, box and panel sitting in the garage, so thought I may as well use them.

The second battery is wired and runs the 50l Waco. Video camera charging is via an inverter whilst the vehicle is running, all other power eg phone, gps are from the primary battery.

Does any one have any ideas on how to best mount this panel on the canopy roof (on a temporary basis) ? The roof is the corrugated variety.

Thanks in advance,

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Reply By: DEANO WA - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 19:54

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 19:54
hi Michael42, it all depends if you want to penetrate the roof with fixings or not. the solar panel sounds small,is there any way of strapping it down.
AnswerID: 112646

Follow Up By: michael42 - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:00

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:00
Ideally, I would prefer not to have fixings through the roof and then have to seal them up later. I'm a bit concerned about using some simple strapping (occy straps and cable ties are about my limit - lol) on some of the roads in that area. Would hate to have the vehicle behind me advise that they just dodged the panel!!


FollowupID: 368835

Reply By: Rod - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 21:42

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 21:42
At 10W, is the panel worth taking given the hassles involved in mounting it ? Don't mean to be a killjoy.
AnswerID: 112676

Follow Up By: michael42 - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 23:32

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 23:32
Very good point...running a versalight or 2 and a bed pump for the matresses each night, I'm just looking to replace what's being taken out and make sure there is no exta drain on the fridge batt.

What's your take on this? I managed to run the third battery for lighting for 2 weeks in the Vic Highlands with the panel attached when stopped for more than one night stands. I could always wire up the third battery as the dual battery mgt system will take it, but I was after something less permanent. Is a 10W panel not worth taking?


FollowupID: 368893

Follow Up By: V8troopie - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 23:53

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 23:53
Michael, for what its worth, IMO a 10 W panel is good for replacing the charge that a battery looses due to natural inefficiencies, leakage, etc. It will not replace anything you drained by using the battery as a power source on a daily basis, unless the load is very light.
I had a 10W panel mounted on the roof rack to keep the extra battery, which I use for winching a heavy boat back onto the trailer, fully charged while I was out there for 3 weeks sailing & fishing. It did this job admirably, the battery was fully charged when called upon.
If I was running a daily load like you suggest then I would make provision for the third battery being able to connect to the car's battery system as well. The small solar panel will charge nothing at all if its cloudy.
FollowupID: 368894

Follow Up By: Rod - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 08:24

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 08:24
I'd have to agree with toopie
FollowupID: 368905

Reply By: age - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 09:39

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 09:39
I agree with the others - the 10w panel will hardly replace anything, have one to maintain boat battery when not being used and it just maintains the losses over a period of 5-6 weeks. If you want to mount it try silicon or Sikaflex - cut it off with a Stanley knife after the trip, make sure you wipe surface with alcohol wipe before sticking down. I do this to attach sounder transducer to back of boat as I didn't want to drill holes - works a treat and the Sikaflex is still pliable enough to be cut - original surface can be restored after cutting off Sikaflex by using a bit of Turps.

Easier solution - why dont you just hook a set of jumperleads or build a cable that plugs into your battery box from your main battery and run the vehicle for 10-15 minutes every now and then - should top it up.

Why can't your lights run off the second battery ? They draw such low current if fluro's - Second battery should have no worries with fridge and lights if you are driving every day
AnswerID: 112741

Reply By: Longreach - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 10:00

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 10:00
Like age suggests, I'd have thought you could just run your lights off the second battery with the fridge. I do that with the fridge running on freeze, camera & phone chargers, and have only noticed the second battery start to run down after stays of more than 3 nights without driving during the day. If you stay that long, then you could just sit your solar panel on the roof during your stay.
AnswerID: 112747

Reply By: AdrianLR - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 21:10

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 21:10
We use a 13W suitcase style panel to keep the camper battery topped up. We use less than 5A a day so with good sun and moving the panel to point at the sun it's ok. The 10w is probably peak and efficiency will fall away due to clouds/direction/heat pretty quickly. You'ld probably expect less than 0.5A available current.

If you don't want to hook up to the dual battery setup because you want to have the battery portable (ignore this thought if that's not part of the plan!) then put it into a $20 box, mount a 25A anderson plug on it and run a fused lead back to the battery. Probably not a lot more than buying good silicone and mucking around with the panel.

The panel on the roof (of the car or a caravan) also has a big disadvantage in that you often look for shade in which to park.

AnswerID: 112891

Follow Up By: Longreach - Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 10:33

Thursday, May 26, 2005 at 10:33
Good points. But the other issue is that the panel on the roof is hopefully somewhat securely bolted down, whereas the suitcase style or even just a loose panel is a bit risky if you leave your camp for the day.
FollowupID: 369133

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