solar panel on CT roof

I am contemplating putting an 80 watt solar panel on the roof of my Jayco Finch.

The idea is to put the panel on when I arrive at a site then wind up the roof.

Athough the panel would be flat and not as efficient, it would end up being used far more often as I could use it whilst away from the CT as theft from this position would be difficult, as compared to sitting it on the ground.

Has anyone done this with a Jayco CT and is the extra 8-9 kgs of weight on the roof going to place too much stress on the struts and winding mechanism?

Michael
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Reply By: DIO - Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 11:52

Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 11:52
I would be inclined to install roof racks (either end/side) of the van. These would allow for better installation and distribution of weight.
AnswerID: 362027

Follow Up By: Mandrake - Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 12:34

Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 12:34
It may pay you to have it angled so it is higher at the rear - to stop the wind from lifting it ?

Mandrake
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FollowupID: 629809

Follow Up By: mintrax - Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 12:47

Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 12:47
The panel would not be on the roof whilst travelling.
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FollowupID: 629810

Follow Up By: Mandrake - Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 13:46

Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 13:46
Might be a problem stowing it away - they are not small units .
Mine are 1200 X 600 mm and thats about standard - Dont think you want to rest it on the bed whilst travelling - Be much easier to screw it to the roof and plug it in when you stop or have it permanently wired to controller / battery so you are charging all the sunlit hours. Easy enough to have it hinged so you can sortof point it at the sun and then bolt it flat when travelling .

Just my thoughts

Cheers

Mandrake
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FollowupID: 629820

Follow Up By: mintrax - Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 14:13

Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 14:13
I was intending to buy a 2x40w fold up version and carry it in the car behind the back seat. (only 2 of us travelling)

Unfortunately wouldn't work well storing on the bed as I would have to wind up to get to bed, get panel out, wind down to put it on roof, then up again.

Michael


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FollowupID: 629823

Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 15:03

Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 15:03
Why would not you mount it permanently on the top? It will charge your batteries as you travel, whilst you are stopped along the way and maintain your batteries when you are home. Run your cables inside where your roof lights come down, that way you do not have to worry about installing them when you set up.

PeterD
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Follow Up By: mintrax - Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 18:03

Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 18:03
I'm thinking this might be the way to go.
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FollowupID: 629858

Reply By: yakodi - Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 13:21

Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 13:21
I can't see 8kg of solar panel putting any extra stress on your struts, people put bikes, canoes, roof toppers, camping gear etc on top of their jayco campers. What is the load limit of a jayco roof rack? Would you consider mounting the panel permanently to the roof and wiring to the battery in the camper?
AnswerID: 362038

Follow Up By: mintrax - Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 14:09

Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 14:09
Hi yakodi,

I know people put a lot of gear on the roofs, but they don't wind up the roof with the gear on them. I don't think the extra weight would be an issue but I really was looking for others opinions on this.

One of the reasons I don't want to permanently fit and wire is that if I'm in a shady spot I can actually use it on the ground if needs be. Sort of best of both worlds.

Also it needs a 50mm gap from the roof which would then involve wind deflectors etc if it was permanently fixed.

Michael
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FollowupID: 629822

Reply By: Grinner - Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 15:18

Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 15:18
G'day mintrax

I have a 40 watt panel mounted on my jayco eagle. It stays on all of the time, but it is removeable if I'm in the shade etc.

It made no difference to the wind up mechanism. My eagle came with dealer fitted roof racks, which would weigh more than the solar panel, and they make no difference to the winding up either.

Jason
AnswerID: 362053

Follow Up By: mintrax - Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 19:39

Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 19:39
Is the wiring temporary or wired in?
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FollowupID: 629870

Follow Up By: Grinner - Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 19:52

Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 19:52
I have a "merit" socket mounted on the front RHS of the camper (above the winder hatch) and enough cable with a "merit" plug attached to the panel for it to be plugged in when the roof is wound up. When the roof is wound down, I just wrap the excess cable around the front grab handle.
When I use the panel off the camper, I have made up an extension lead (Merit plug and socket each end), that goes between the socket on the camper and the lead on the panel.

Grinner
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FollowupID: 629874

Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 16:03

Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 16:03
When we had a wind up camper (like a Jayco Dove), we put the panel on a frame with stand. Just putting it out when we stopped in the afternoon, and facing it east for the sunrise kept the battery charged enough for the caravan fridge and lights. If we were static during the day, we'd rest it on the camper roof. When travelling, it was safe inside the camper.

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AnswerID: 362056

Reply By: Axel [ the real one ] - Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 16:22

Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 16:22
Have a bit of a rethink , you want to mount it on the roof to stop the light finger brigade yet when parked in shade your ok with the panels on the ground ,,,, do a bit of a search on here and some of the other camping orientated forums under 'solar panel theft' ,,, think you will find that it is a very rare occurance , not saying it does not happen but would be more worried about other bits and pieces ,,, panels are bulky ,need the fixed controller ect , mr opportunity theif more likely to go for a gen set or fridge.
AnswerID: 362062

Follow Up By: mintrax - Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 18:00

Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 18:00
Just had my tv antenna and pole stolen over Easter in Tassie, so I'm a bit more aware now.

I would only put the panels on the ground if we were at the site.

Michael
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FollowupID: 629857

Follow Up By: Axel [ the real one ] - Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 at 09:34

Wednesday, Apr 29, 2009 at 09:34
My point exactly , whether you mount the panels or have them free standing IF some lowlife wants them they will knock them of regardless ,, remember the old adage " a lock only keeps honest people honest ".
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FollowupID: 629965

Reply By: CLC50 (QLD ) - Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 19:23

Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009 at 19:23
Have a look at my gallery I have 3Solar power units on roof two under my roof rakes on a slide out over bonnet.
AnswerID: 362098

Reply By: koshari - Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 10:39

Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 10:39
i have 2 x 130 watt sharp panels mounted on the roof of our jayco dove, they are permanently attached on a custom made aluminium frame attached to the roof and the wiring is marshalled into a 4" upvc junction box where it is glanded from the solar cell cabling to flexable 6mm2 flex which is in turn glanded through the roof and goes to the solar controller mounted on the back wall of the cupboard underneath the sink.

my design is pretty basic and material wise a single length of 25 * 50 3mm ally RHS and a couple of offcuts of plate are all you need to build the rack.

heres my plan if anyone is interested.



as far as the added weight goes it didnt effect the roof cranking although i thought it did initially until i found i broke the 2 rear cables dues to pulley failure (another story).

i have since replaced the cables and the 2 faulty pullys and the roof is better than ever ( i got the van second hand and i suspect the pulleys had been sad for a while).

my panels are mounted flat as i chose to over compensate with regard to panels to make up for less efficiency.

i have found that a small shadow over a tiny part of the panel makes a LOT bigger difference in loss of charging current as opposed to the angle of the panel to the sun being a little out.

the panels are attached to the frame by 8 stainless steel 6mm bolts with nylock nuts.


AnswerID: 363658

Reply By: Brian B - Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 18:08

Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 18:08
Hi

Have a look at this web-site www.aussiervproducts.com.au there are 85 watt panels which are intended to be glued on (Theft proof) and are very slim and aero-dynamic.

I will declare a vested interest in this business.
AnswerID: 363717

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