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Old 10-13-2018, 12:27 PM   #1
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Do you use your Solar Panel Tilt Bars?

If you have tilt bars for your solar panels, do you use them?

If you do use them, do you use them daily, or only if camped at one spot for an extended time?

And how do you access them? Carry a ladder? And if so, how tall a ladder? And where do you stow it?

I'm not a snowbird, so I seldom stay more than three nights at any one spot.
While the tilt bars seem handy for cleaning the roof now and again, at $35.00 per set (AM Solar's price) I could get a fourth panel (Renogy, $129.99 on Amazon) for less than the price of four sets of tilt bars.

So talk me into these bad boys!! What am I missing??

TIA
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Old 10-13-2018, 01:21 PM   #2
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I don't have tilt bars, but I just can't see this being something that is practically useful.

Adjusting them multiple times a day, to track east to west, would be a pain.

Only real directional advantage would be to tilt them south, to maximize solar alignment in that specific parking orientation, if one was parked long term.

I kept my solar panels as flat as possible, to minimize really bad alignments (i.e. a north facing tilt)
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Old 10-13-2018, 01:41 PM   #3
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Do you use your Solar Panel Tilt Bars?

We have tilt bars, but they are adjusted to tilt the panel up toward the rear of the AS roof. The reason is to drain water off the panel and put the leading (short dimension) edge down a bit to streamline it a bit while on the road. Since it is mounted between the front vent and the air conditioner shroud it just seemed to make sense.

It also helps some where we park for storage, nose toward the south. The bars came with the kit from AMSolar years ago. We installed it ourselves and it still works really well.
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Old 10-13-2018, 02:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burnside Bob View Post
If you have tilt bars for your solar panels, do you use them?



If you do use them, do you use them daily, or only if camped at one spot for an extended time?



And how do you access them? Carry a ladder? And if so, how tall a ladder? And where do you stow it?



I'm not a snowbird, so I seldom stay more than three nights at any one spot.

While the tilt bars seem handy for cleaning the roof now and again, at $35.00 per set (AM Solar's price) I could get a fourth panel (Renogy, $129.99 on Amazon) for less than the price of four sets of tilt bars.



So talk me into these bad boys!! What am I missing??



TIA


I have 7 AM Solar panels on my roof and seven sets of tilt bars. There are better uses for your money. I have used them when on the beach for a week but practically I only need a maximum of four sets at a time - whichever side is facing north. They do improve the watt-hours somewhat in the summer but it’s marginal @ 33 degrees latitude May-August. I winter camp a fair amount but usually have power so never used. I also have a telescoping ladder which is needed to use them. If I had to do it over I would not buy them
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Old 10-13-2018, 05:44 PM   #5
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I made two tilt bars out of some 2” flat bar aluminum I had in my garage. I used these when installing the panels to make wiring easier. I have not needed them to improve charging. I do carry a 14’ multi-position ladder to clean my solar panels a couple of times each week. The ladder is stored flat against the front of my truckbed, so it shortens my 6.5’ bed by a few inches. I then use my generator to hold it upright. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Gorilla-...X-13/304111172
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Old 10-13-2018, 05:51 PM   #6
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Solar Powered Milk Crates

Solar Powered Milk Crates...

Work at all Elevations in the Rocky Mountains.
Easily adjusted for maximum and minimum sun exposure.
Best of all... it works.
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Old 10-14-2018, 09:12 AM   #7
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Thanks, all, for the feed back!!

I have previously spoken with two Air Forums members that had elaborate solar systems and neither of them used their tilt bars--mostly because their systems produced enough that optimizing the sun angle didn't matter--but they carried ladders anyway.

So my consensus take away is that the tilt bars are seldom used.

Ray, the most elaborate 'milk crate' set up I've seen is an aluminum frame holding two 100w panels mounted on a hand truck. But the owner still had to manually move his set up. But if you could get a big telescope clock drive, you could rig it up to follow the sun!!

And speaking of travelling and following the sun:



Happy roads!
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Old 10-14-2018, 10:47 AM   #8
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Although I installed my single 100 w solar panel on the roof to be able to tilt. I've never done so while camping. It is a pain to do so and the flat panel alkng with a 100 watt portable I take as well and use during inclement weather or heavy tree canopy and which is angled and can moved around, provides plenty of power.
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Old 10-14-2018, 12:59 PM   #9
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We have six solar panels on our 30’ Airstream. We also have six sets of the titling bars (AM Solar). During the winter, if we stay somewhere for a week, I’ll usually tilt one side of the trailers solar panels. Due to the low angle of the sun, during the winter, tilting can make a difference. We usually only tilt one side of the trailers solar panels.

We carry a telescoping ladder. Takes me all of 10-15 minutes to tilt.
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Old 10-14-2018, 05:37 PM   #10
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Tilt Bars for Install and Maintenance

I have two 170W panels on the roof. I have one set of tilt bars. I found them handy during installation to access beneath panels for wiring. I have not yet used them while travelling; I havent needed to. The 340W panel capacity has my batteries charged to 100%/12.8v, by 10 or 11 am each morning. Even on overcast days or parked in partial shade.
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Old 10-14-2018, 09:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Eklund View Post
Solar Powered Milk Crates...

Work at all Elevations in the Rocky Mountains.
Easily adjusted for maximum and minimum sun exposure.
Best of all... it works.
Or camper chairs at 7am in the morning. I set them up before going to bed guessing the direction for sunrise. In the summer I can be charging at 7 amps by 7am.
Can't find the pic in which I was using sticks to support the panels. That is one nice thing about having potable solar panels. Click image for larger version

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Old 10-16-2018, 02:41 PM   #12
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I can see them being useful in the winter when the sun is low... or if you plan to boondocks for weeks at a time...
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