Solar panel knockoffability

Submitted: Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 10:34
ThreadID: 67963 Views:2936 Replies:10 FollowUps:2
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I've bee thinking about a solar panel to help keep things charged when in one place for a few days. (traytop slideon camper)

Normally not an issue as we usually move after 2 nights and my battery setup is fine for that lenght of time. However sometimes an extra night of two when at a really good spot is desirable.

I thought one of the fold up portables would fit the bill.
Then I got to thinking is that bait when it's sitting there and no one around, say we've gone for a walk for a few hours.

In all the years of going bush, thieving from our camp has never occoured, but here you have a high value, desirable, easily moved item just sitting there.

I'm talking a situatiuon where the camp is in shade and panel set up to catch sun.

Does anyone have any thoughts or a way around this, I don't want to mount on camper or car as this is too restrictive about where I set up my camp. (shade, view etc)

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Reply By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 11:06

Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 11:06
Can you bolt on an attachment for a chain and a lock?.

AnswerID: 360124

Reply By: wild dog - Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 11:34

Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 11:34
Gone Troppo Member :- Don't know where you live up here, Cairns is where I live but did you hear about the house at Cow Bay ??

People were away, I don't know for how long, anyway all the solar panels were taken off their roof. A week or so later the batteries were taken. They weigh a ton and wouldn't have been easy to shift.
Saw one bloke in NT had a panel mounted to his roof rack but bit hard with a slide on camper.
AnswerID: 360130

Follow Up By: GoneTroppo Member (FNQ) - Monday, Apr 20, 2009 at 07:30

Monday, Apr 20, 2009 at 07:30
I'm at Mission Beach and yes I had heard that story.

It's that sort of thing that got me asking the question.
FollowupID: 628249

Reply By: Rossc0 - Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 11:52

Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 11:52
3mm braided stainless cable, like used on railings around verandahs etc. You can get a plastic coated variety.

Make it up as part of your cable from the solar panel to the battery, a good way to do this is inside garden hose depending on the size of the electric cable or pvc tube.

Stainless cable bolted via a thimble and tamper proof bolt to the back of the solar panel. Other end padlocked to vehicle/camper near where your battery connection is.

Also make the stainless cable shorter than the power cable as this way it will take the strain rather than the power cable if someone tries to move the panels (intentionally or not).

The stainless cable is fairly light but really hard to cut other than with bolt cutters or the like. We use it for aircraft tie downs as breaking strain is in excess of 2000kgs.

AnswerID: 360136

Reply By: Member - John and Val W (ACT) - Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 12:55

Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 12:55
When off the vehicle our panels are secured to it by a wire rope and padlock. It won't stop everyone, but boltcutters are probably a bit of a hassle to the casual opportunistic thief.

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AnswerID: 360147

Reply By: KiwiAngler - Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 14:04

Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 14:04
I have a number of these units (varying cable lengths) which I use for my solar and other uses

With the solar I thread the cable between the 2 panels and then through either my wheel or bullbar and lock

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AnswerID: 360153

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 14:50

Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 14:50
I also secure the more expensive bits around the campsite with a stainless steel braided cable.

The bi-fold panels are contained in an aluminium frame and I drilled a hole in one edge where I could pass a padlock through. The cable is secured to this, then passes through the carry handles of the thumper and Engel, finally being secured to the camper chassis with another padlock.

It's about a bullet proof as one can get for the opportunist thief.

I have seen a bi-fold panel mounted on a pole and secured to the a-frame of a camper, allowing it to be swivelled around to catch more direct sunlight, but I have found if the cable is long enough, the panel can be placed out in the open.

I had the cable made up by Noble & Sons in Adelaide and got them to include eyelets on each end for the padlocks to pass through.



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AnswerID: 360158

Reply By: GoneTroppo Member (FNQ) - Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 15:00

Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 15:00
Thanks for those ideas.
SS cable looks like the way, espcially like Ross' idea inside a hose and a bit shorter than the power cable, brilliantly simple concept!
Fortunately I've got miles of the stuff left over from a verandah conversion job.

Has anyone had any theft attempted?
AnswerID: 360161

Reply By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 15:53

Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 15:53
in the 12 or so years we have been using solar panels I have never secured them and trusted to decent people.

Always have 2 banks of 2 BP solar each bank facing back to back if we are away from the camp for the day and then that way always two panels picking up the sun

now you have been thinking..have I been lucky or are times a changing?????
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AnswerID: 360168

Reply By: ABR - SIDEWINDER - Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 15:59

Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 15:59
When you get around to buying the panels take them down to the local locksmith and ask him to engrave you name and phone number on the top edge.

Make the lettering as big and deep as he can and back-fill with bright paint.

That should deter some people but not all from snatching them.

I would still use s.steel cable as suggested too.


AnswerID: 360169

Follow Up By: Member - Pedro the One (QLD) - Monday, Apr 20, 2009 at 12:46

Monday, Apr 20, 2009 at 12:46
Great idea, Derek ....

It's the opportunisic SOB that is the problem, the determined one's usually plan their 'hits' ....

Both mine are going to get engraved ASAP ...
FollowupID: 628307

Reply By: Kim and Damn Dog - Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 18:35

Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 18:35
Gidday Troppo

The fold out panels are very quick to unplug then placed in a secure area, such as the car when the camp is left unattended.

My 80w panel is connected via an Anderson plug to the CT (and the car when needed) and takes very little time to ensure some degree of security.

I’m not in favour of leaving valuables in sight, even if their protected by cables etc. This may encourage the ratbags to look even further for other items, such as generators etc.

There are a few fellas out there with bolt cutters thrown in the back of the ute, and wouldn’t give a moment’s thought to a transfer of ownership if the conditions were right.


AnswerID: 360206

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