Adjustable legs for solar panel

Submitted: Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 13:19
ThreadID: 30518 Views:3954 Replies:5 FollowUps:3
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Hi All,

We have a 80W solar panel with a aluminium frame just over an inch wide. We plan to add some foldaway, adjustable legs to it so we can move it and set the angle with ease. Plan for legs was to cut down a couple of adjustable galv. tent poles that we no longer use and wield an offcut between the two to form an H. Each leg would be attached to the inside of the frame using a bolt/washer combo. Easy and cheap option. The problem is how to we keep the legs in the foldup position during transit. Though of a C-clip but won't work in the side on position. Basically, it needs to be a solution that can be attached to the inside of the frame and not too fiddly.

An added complication is that we intent to store the panel on the top of our hard-top camper when not in use. The hardtop folds over when set-up so effectively the panel would then be upside down. For this reason our plan is to attach some C chanel along both sides of the panel and at one end and a latch to hold it firm at the other end. This way it can be easily slid in and out regardless of whether the hard top camper roof is closed or open. This is where the complication comes in because we can't have a clip, bolt head etc protruding from the outside edge of the frame except those at the top corners which will attach the legs.

Any bright ideas?

:o) Melissa
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Reply By: Member - Jeff H (QLD) - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 14:33

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 14:33
Hi Melissa.
We have a 123watt panel mounted over the cab of a Rodeo. There is a 35mm depth on the panel, in which is rivetted a bit of 50x25 aluminium box. To this is bolted a 25mm Al tube, which can swivel out as a (single) prop. To hold it for storage, I put a roofing screw through the box section, and this fits into a hole drilled in the lower end of the tube. There is enough flex to pull the tube away from the screw when setting up. Hardly hi-tech,but works. (we prop our panel sideways, rather than longways.)
Hope this helps.
Jeff H.
AnswerID: 153624

Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 14:36

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 14:36
Hi Melissa,

I've seen them use a gate type latch on the leg that locks into the frame.

Kind regards
AnswerID: 153626

Follow Up By: Member - Melissa - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 15:03

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 15:03
Great idea. I think that could work. Would just need to make sure the adjustable legs are always returned to the same length when folded and latched. Thanks.

:o) Melissa
FollowupID: 407503

Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 15:14

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 15:14
Another thought is to use the conduit saddles (like those used by electricians) to house the leg. I use this in my kitchen by shortening the legs to take them out of the saddles when I want to use them (I use old extendable tent poles for this as well). You could attach the saddles on the bottom of the panel and slide the leg into these by extending the leg once folded back towards the panel. The rubber boot on the poles fit snugly inside one of these saddles and once the leg is locked into place it cannot swing.

Hope this make sense.

Kind regards
FollowupID: 407506

Reply By: Bros 1 - Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 19:10

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2006 at 19:10
I just place my 80 w panel over the windscreen with the bottom edge resting on the w'screen wiper sprayers and move the truck around to track the sun.
(no good if you are on the move - LOL)
Work is the curse of the down and out bludger.

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AnswerID: 153680

Reply By: Member - Jeff H (QLD) - Wednesday, Feb 08, 2006 at 01:55

Wednesday, Feb 08, 2006 at 01:55
Just love your panel orienting technique.Unfortunately when we tried a similar procedure, the resultant Taj Mahal failure was not well accepted.
"We" have been directed to stick with roofing screws and Al tube.
Like the look of your rig. Where are you off to next?
AnswerID: 153769

Follow Up By: Member - Melissa - Wednesday, Feb 08, 2006 at 10:37

Wednesday, Feb 08, 2006 at 10:37
Hi Jeff,

You've got me worried now that our system won't work...if all fails we'll resort to ali tube and roofing screw as well LOL. Not sure where we're off to next but will probably only have 3 weeks this time around so not too far from home. Maybe back up to the east Pilbara region and Rudall River NP. Ningaloo maybe...Hoping for a longer trip 6-8 weeks next year probably across the Gunbarrel to central Aust. But you know how it is - where ever and when ever it can't come soon enough and won't be for long enough. Just had a look at your rig/profile - your sure went overboard LOL!

:o) Melissa
FollowupID: 407709

Reply By: Pajman Pete (SA) - Wednesday, Feb 08, 2006 at 11:57

Wednesday, Feb 08, 2006 at 11:57
We just use an appropriate sized stick sourced on site. Too long ... just snap it off shorter :-)


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