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Old 06-30-2014, 11:27 AM   #1
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Solar Brackets adjustable & Portable

Hi folks. Has anyone made a DIY bracket for a 100 watt (20lb) solar panel that is portable, adjustable, light, but wind resistant (ground stakes, maybe?) and can be secured, in some fashion, to prevent it from being easily stolen.

I do not want to roof mount on my '62 19' GT. Because, we prefer to park in the shade and I prefer to keep the vintage look.

I have found some ideas on Youtube. But, this forum is always my "go-to" for brilliant & creative ideas on the cheap. & I've searched here with no luck. Appears most of you all do roof mounts.
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Old 06-30-2014, 01:35 PM   #2
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solar portable...

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Originally Posted by adobehome View Post
Hi folks. Has anyone made a DIY bracket for a 100 watt (20lb) solar panel that is portable, adjustable, light, but wind resistant (ground stakes, maybe?) and can be secured, in some fashion, to prevent it from being easily stolen.

I do not want to roof mount on my '62 19' GT. Because, we prefer to park in the shade and I prefer to keep the vintage look.

I have found some ideas on Youtube. But, this forum is always my "go-to" for brilliant & creative ideas on the cheap. & I've searched here with no luck. Appears most of you all do roof mounts.
I also have been researching this...we had a "fixed" 160W panel and expensive pure sign wave inverter, and controller from Go-Power, plus 2 large expensive marine batteries installed on our last 25' and it was overkill for what we need. We simply want to keep our battries charged when no shore power and we may use the inverter from time to time for TV or charging computer or cell phones. Also, as several recommended, you may want to use your existing batteries (2-3 yrs. life?) unttill they need replacing before spending big bucks on new marine deep cycle battries.

..I have been looking at the Go-Power unit from local AS dealer which is on sale currently...Go Power! GP-PSK-80 80W Portable Folding Solar Kit with 10 Amp Solar Controller; same unit in this Amazon site:
Amazon.com: Go Power! GP-PSK-80 80W Portable Folding Solar Kit with 10 Amp Solar Controller: Automotive

Concerned about not having to set up/tear down, and theft also...but the video they have shows easy set up (2-3 min??) and for theft, I was told by the dealer to secure with bike cable locking if concerned. Advantage of this unit besides cost to me is it allows orientation to sun for max charge, and if/when we sell this AS, I can keep with me. Also can be used for vehicle if needed. Read the reviews....it says it is protected and waterproof, plus there is now a longer cable available so you can move around farther distance to capture best location. Something you can't do if parking under a tree with a fixed unit. These also come in larger sizes and price seems pretty reasonable vs $1200+ for a fixed unit, jockeying around the protrusions already on the roof, and the rounded top of the AS to deal with...not to mention sealing any new holes required for installation. Just my 2 cents....let me know what you decide...be interested to see anyone else experience of portable vs fixed?
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Old 06-30-2014, 08:39 PM   #3
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Thanks for the tip, Gypsydad. However, I had already made the decision to buy the Costco GrapeSolar 100W panel for $139. mentioned elsewhere on this Forum. Should have it in a day or 2. Today I picked up the SunForce 30A charge controller from Fry's. Probably more than I need for a 100w panel. But, if I want to add on later, I can. I will be using the set-up, primarily to recharge my Optima battery during the day after having hubby's C-Pap drawing on it overnight. No TV, AC, Microwave, or any other heavy 110 usage. Just the C-pap. There was an interesting & simple PVC Solar bracket set-up on Youtube I may try. I'll post pics here if I decide on something & when done. Any others out there?
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Old 07-13-2014, 04:59 PM   #4
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My husband made a stand for our solar panel from 1"x 1" aluminum tubing. It's like a picture frame with two legs that pivot out to prop it up. I looked for pictures but didn't find any. Will ask him where they are hidden. Anyway, it works great. We can adjust the angle as needed, it's sturdy, low to the ground and easy to move and pack. We have an interstate van and carry it behind the ladder. We are thinking of mounting a smaller panel on the roof because we drive in the day and we could be charging the batteries. When we camp at night, we can't use the collectors so they are great when we are parked, boondocking for a few days but not so practical when spending a lot of time on the road. If you camp where it can be stolen, there's no way we've figured to prevent that other than cover it so it isn't obvious. We tend to camp where there aren't other people and I trust the animals not to covet our equipment.
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Old 07-16-2014, 10:24 PM   #5
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Thumbs up Success! C-pap, off grid recharge with 100w solar panel

The Costco 100w Solar Panel worked perfectly for 4 day, off grid, dry camp in NM. Bill was able to use C-pap, even with humidifier, all night. Solar panel recharged Optima deep cycle battery every day by early afternoon, despite cloudy monsoon day. It is Light weight (<20lbs) and well made. I made an adjustable bracket from 2, 48x1 1/2" zinc plated, slotted steel angle irons and a 48x3/4" aluminum angle and connected w/ hex bolts & wing nuts. I added a carry handle & ran a twisted steel wire cable through a hole in the corner of the frame. I used steel knead-able epoxy to fuse the bolts to the ends of this cable so that it would be very hard to just unscrew & remove. Using a bike cable with built in combination lock I was able to secure it on our site to wheel or hitch or bumper or wherever. I made some sewing adjustments to an old sleeping bag to create a safe way to transport the panel, 15' of wiring, battery charge controller, and locking cable. I sewed in a pocket to hold stakes, in case of high winds, and the bike lock. Whole thing cost less than $250. Not including battery or pure-sine inverter, of course. Cheaper than a Honda genny & much less annoying. Pictures attached.
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Old 07-17-2014, 08:31 AM   #6
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Solar brackets

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Originally Posted by adobehome View Post
The Costco 100w Solar Panel worked perfectly for 4 day, off grid, dry camp in NM. Bill was able to use C-pap, even with humidifier, all night. Solar panel recharged Optima deep cycle battery every day by early afternoon, despite cloudy monsoon day. It is Light weight (<20lbs) and well made. I made an adjustable bracket from 2, 48x1 1/2" zinc plated, slotted steel angle irons and a 48x3/4" aluminum angle and connected w/ hex bolts & wing nuts. I added a carry handle & ran a twisted steel wire cable through a hole in the corner of the frame. I used steel knead-able epoxy to fuse the bolts to the ends of this cable so that it would be very hard to just unscrew & remove. Using a bike cable with built in combination lock I was able to secure it on our site to wheel or hitch or bumper or wherever. I made some sewing adjustments to an old sleeping bag to create a safe way to transport the panel, 15' of wiring, battery charge controller, and locking cable. I sewed in a pocket to hold stakes, in case of high winds, and the bike lock. Whole thing cost less than $250. Not including battery or pure-sine inverter, of course. Cheaper than a Honda genny & much less annoying. Pictures attached.
I think your idea was fantastic! What did you do for the inverter? Did you purchase a new/extra Optima battery or just connect to existing AS batteries? (dealer recommended we use existing AS batteries which are new, till they die; 2-3 years) Do you have any more pictures from use model with wiring?
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Old 07-17-2014, 08:39 AM   #7
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Can you please tell me what is a C-pap? I have solar but am not fimiliar with the term. I can run most every thing but the A/C and microwave with 300W and 2 group 27 batteries.

Thanks.
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:59 AM   #8
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Great idea! I have mine roof mounted with wing nuts and I just ordered another cable so I can make it portable in case we park in the shade. Good call with the bike lock too...
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Old 07-17-2014, 11:30 AM   #9
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The inverter is the Nature Power 400 W Pure Sine from Camping World. My Airstream is a 1962 Globetrotter, so I installed the Optima Battery after I restored the trailer. I have just the one 12v and it has a 3 year warranty.

A C-pap is an electrical medical devise used by sleep apnea sufferers that blows air through a hose & then a mask over the persons nose & mouth. This machine prevents the blockage of air during sleep, which could contribute to strokes and other maladies. It draws quite a bit of AC (household) current, especially when used with the attached humidifier.

Here is the photo for wiring to the Battery controller which then gets connected to battery via the battery clips. Is this what you wanted to see, Gypsydad?
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Old 07-18-2014, 09:15 AM   #10
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Pure sine inverter..

Quote:
Originally Posted by adobehome View Post
The inverter is the Nature Power 400 W Pure Sine from Camping World. My Airstream is a 1962 Globetrotter, so I installed the Optima Battery after I restored the trailer. I have just the one 12v and it has a 3 year warranty.

A C-pap is an electrical medical devise used by sleep apnea sufferers that blows air through a hose & then a mask over the persons nose & mouth. This machine prevents the blockage of air during sleep, which could contribute to strokes and other maladies. It draws quite a bit of AC (household) current, especially when used with the attached humidifier.

Here is the photo for wiring to the Battery controller which then gets connected to battery via the battery clips. Is this what you wanted to see, Gypsydad?
Thanks for the reply...I guess I missed which one you had when I first read...Is your inverter water proof or what do you do to keep it from weather? (I see some of the portable units have these built into the back side, under the panel for protection, but they are also touted as being water resistant as a back up... Other question's: We have a new AS with 1000W inverter...from factory...not sure if that can work with existing wiring of if I need to beef it up? Also curious If a 100W is enough? for convenience, I saw one of these pre-packed GoPower units also had a "quick disconnect" adapter avalible to attach to the battery compartment for easy connection without opening the lid...looked like a nice feature...of course, not sure where your battery is on your unit, so may not work. Thanks again for your info.....happy trails...we are heading to Lake Placed MT, today for a few days of kayaking and hiking...wish I had the solar to try out!
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Old 07-19-2014, 10:18 PM   #11
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The Inverter is inside the trailer & there is a small opening between the bed & the battery compartment which allows the cables with the battery clamps to connect to the battery. My inverter is 400 W and more than enough for my needs. The C-pap and any other 110v appliances, cell chargers, etc. plug right into it. As stated above, no TV, AC, DVR, etc. etc. The + - cables go from solar panel to battery charge controller (located in battery compartment) & then attach to battery terminals with alligator clamps. However, please remember, everyone, my '62 is 19' and I gutted it and re-did the entire interior as well as all the plumbing & electrical to suit our needs. The interior floor plan looks nothing like AS originally designed it. The entire Solar set up was inexpensive and works like a charm. It could work for anyone of you. But, some slight tweeking may need to happen. Be glad to assist any way I can. So glad not to have to rely on a genny!
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Old 08-03-2014, 10:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adobehome View Post
The Inverter is inside the trailer & there is a small opening between the bed & the battery compartment which allows the cables with the battery clamps to connect to the battery. My inverter is 400 W and more than enough for my needs. The C-pap and any other 110v appliances, cell chargers, etc. plug right into it. As stated above, no TV, AC, DVR, etc. etc. The + - cables go from solar panel to battery charge controller (located in battery compartment) & then attach to battery terminals with alligator clamps. However, please remember, everyone, my '62 is 19' and I gutted it and re-did the entire interior as well as all the plumbing & electrical to suit our needs. The interior floor plan looks nothing like AS originally designed it. The entire Solar set up was inexpensive and works like a charm. It could work for anyone of you. But, some slight tweeking may need to happen. Be glad to assist any way I can. So glad not to have to rely on a genny!




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Old 08-10-2014, 10:57 PM   #13
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Hi all-Just ordered a panel and regulator (one 100 watt an a 30 amp regulator) on e-bay-have one deep cycle in the battery box, and plan to carry the other in the Suburban to keep the weight off the trailer. Really like your angle bracket idea, and setting the panel in the sun outside.Trying to finish this so can use it in NM next month. Am modifying one closet to take one or more panels standing up. Have converted all lights to led's so draw might be minimal. Will my modified sine 500w inverter be enough to run the basics? Plan on using almost everything straight 12v DC if possible, fridge, stove, and hot water are straight gas. Heater is gas with a 12v fan, and the fantastic fan is probably the biggest 12v draw. Also have a isolated charge line from the Suburban (tow vehicle, Diesel w/125amp alternator) Any thoughts? Thanks, Rolland 5953


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