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#1 2020-04-15 14:55:13

vaz2121
Member
From: Glasgow Living:~ SW. Scotland
Registered: 2015-08-31
Posts: 970

Contemplating solar panel

Bear with me as title suggests I'm contemplating some solar input ........

Does any one know what curvature from above windscreen is to the flat of the roof..........
Has any one fitted a flexi solar panel here?

I'm looking at a basic Flex panel kit from eB**........
But Led to believe 30 degrees is maximum curve I can put in a monocrystalline panel

DSCF0391-2.jpeg

Above windscreen to roof vent is about only space left available to utilize

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#2 2020-04-15 16:38:34

dRoyd
Member
Registered: 2019-11-19
Posts: 16

Re: Contemplating solar panel

I wonder if you could mount a flexible one on your roof box?

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#3 2020-04-15 17:21:39

Casper
Member
From: East Lothian
Registered: 2015-12-20
Posts: 1,645

Re: Contemplating solar panel

I wrote the idea of flexi off due to the possibility of overheating then when i bought Corona Bus it came with a huge 290w on the roof anyway. Previous idiot sikaflexed it to the roof so probably this weekend ill mount it on proper brackets.

Bimble solar are good for all things solar and worth a squint before hitting buy now on ebay

https://www.bimblesolar.com/

I just got mine topping up the starter battery just now but it will be getting connected to a bank of three battery's when i can go collect them 330ah should keep me ticking along.

Folk also say dont buy these controllers. I did and it does exactly what it says on the tin. I bought the 20A one

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Solar-Panel- … 4dUeTwe10Q

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#4 2020-04-15 20:05:34

vaz2121
Member
From: Glasgow Living:~ SW. Scotland
Registered: 2015-08-31
Posts: 970

Re: Contemplating solar panel

vaz2121 wrote:
dRoyd wrote:

I wonder if you could mount a flexible one on your roof box?

I did think the length is ok for 100W panel but is it wide enough? and then I thought "we're into compound curves" ............
Maybe I should measure properly ...........

I do have a Fiamma Big square proper motor home roof box....... But needs new locks and other bits N bobs from kicking about shed  and previous general use/abuse.........

But I chose the smaller car derived one for ease of fitting  and it needed no repair work after kicking about shed and it's generally fulfilled our needs............


Casper wrote:

I wrote the idea of flexi off due to the possibility of overheating then when i bought Corona Bus it came with a huge 290w on the roof anyway. Previous idiot sikaflexed it to the roof so probably this weekend ill mount it on proper brackets.

Bimble solar are good for all things solar and worth a squint before hitting buy now on ebay

https://www.bimblesolar.com/

I just got mine topping up the starter battery just now but it will be getting connected to a bank of three battery's when i can go collect them 330ah should keep me ticking along.

Folk also say dont buy these controllers. I did and it does exactly what it says on the tin. I bought the 20A one

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Solar-Panel- … 4dUeTwe10Q


Thanks for that link to Bimble solar I've saved it............
That 20 A Controler is the same one as in the kit I was looking at ............
Time to price all the kit bit and see what a more suited to me size costs rather than what they think I want..........

330A should be plenty when your Euro tripping

I've seen a few people mention a worry about overheating panels especially when in direct contact with roof .........
Sickaflexing to the roof might seam a good idea at time from wind lift when traveling but not such a good idea with overheating or at removal for whatever reason or upgrade time if you want it in one piece probably........

My thoughts were :~ place a sheet of that corrugated plastic under it  and glue (industrial) or Sickaflex like furnuture feet pads to roof and pass the bolt threads through the flexi panel holes and screw down..........
and use a bit of gaffer tape along leading edge to stop wind getting under when traveling and I think I can get it in red if needed to go round edge as well.......

Try my best not to Dril holes in van


At moment figuring how far you can bend a flexi panel and it not break...........

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#5 2020-04-15 20:39:20

OAT
Member
From: Borders/Dales
Registered: 2017-01-03
Posts: 556

Re: Contemplating solar panel

Been thinking along similar lines myself although my considerations are different due to grp pop top with corrugations.   If I go ahead, I will mount it back off the curve.

I have heard that 30 degree limit too vaz.  But I don't know what it means.  30 degrees describes the size and proportion of a sector.  It does not, as far as I understand it indicate the radius or tightness of a bend in any way.   Perhaps I have misunderstood?

I have also considered the impact of having a panel mounted on such a curvature.   It would in effect mean that a significant proportion of the panel must always be at less than optimal angle to the sun however the sun, or the van were positioned.  As I understand it, the efficiency of the whole panel is significantly reduced by the performance of it's least efficient area.  As in a reletively thin branch casting a shadow on one corner and disproportionately reducing the overall efficiency.

This might not be too significant if your power needs are low or in the summer, but in the winter, when you need every amp, could be crucial.

My own concern in mounting a semi flex panel on my roof is with the corrugation of the roof allowing wind underneath and peeling it back.  I  think I would need to fill the gaps at the front edge.

To get me by for now I have bought a 100w folding panel.  £117 all in with controler and cables.  Impressed with it's performance due to being able to maintain it's angle to the sun all through the day in comparison to a fixed position on the roof.  Uses the controler Casper mentioned.  Also fits nicely inside the screen providing shade and privacy if required while still working efficiently.  Stores out of the way against the back door when traveling.

A good step by step on your method here vaz.  Just happened to have watched it yesterday  :-

Last edited by OAT (2020-04-15 20:49:36)

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#6 2020-04-15 20:40:47

UZO55
Member
Registered: 2020-03-12
Posts: 6

Re: Contemplating solar panel

Hi VAZ2121
sorry I cant help you with your solar panels but, I have a couple of questions -
What type of alloys do you have on your van, what size are the tyres are on them?
Do you have an LED light-bar above your front number plate ?
Thanks for your help

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#7 2020-04-15 20:56:48

Casper
Member
From: East Lothian
Registered: 2015-12-20
Posts: 1,645

Re: Contemplating solar panel

Another option is the folding ones. Drop down menu for higher/lower wattage ......

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dokio-100w-2 … 93b27fc9bd


Reason im thinking this is you will be charging your battery's when travelling via split charge so would you need a panel??? Get to destination and plug it in. If going away for lunch or whatever put it in the dash as you will still get a charge through glass. I never bothered before as i mostly use camp sites with hook up and even then never stay more than three nights so never had an issue with battery power. Always carry a battery charger but TBH never used it. I am only bothering with this build as the panel came with the van so may as well look at wild camp options as Slovenia camp sites are expensive.  Lake Bled €50 a night  yikes  Dont they know i am a typical Jock

EDIT:

Just noticed OAT mentioned the folding ones. Never thought about leaving t open over the back glass. That is quite a good idea with the flexi mount to get air flowing. The brackets for my panel lift it about 1cm for air flow. As its big i am using 8 brackets and making a same size wooden frame on the inside to screw it through and into. If any lift the frame will spread the load/pull but if bad i will just add a front scoop to direct some flow up and over.

Last edited by Casper (2020-04-16 07:15:30)

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#8 2020-04-16 02:39:11

kenbw2
Member
From: Anywhere the van takes me
Registered: 2017-11-26
Posts: 614

Re: Contemplating solar panel

I've got a 100W semi flexibe one towards the back of the roof, pretty much where your roof box is.

I wouldn't want to curve it over the front of the cab, seems a bit much.


2000 Citroen Dispatch 1.9TD XUD9 Camper Conversion + full time home
1999 Citroen Dispatch 1.9D DW8 Disassembled Camper Conversion
1996 Peugeot 806 1.9TD XUD9 Spare vehicle
1998 Citroen Synergie 1.9TD XUD9 Snapped timing belt

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#9 2020-04-16 11:49:56

vaz2121
Member
From: Glasgow Living:~ SW. Scotland
Registered: 2015-08-31
Posts: 970

Re: Contemplating solar panel

Would I be better to try for two or maybe Three smaller panels and maybe as dRoyd says put one on roof box and join them up to hopefully get my 100/150W's or do I then fall into OAT's dilemma that I'm restricted by the least efficient panel at that time Which would suggest two smaller panels on flatest part of available roof/box space  and accept I might not achieve 100W Target per say............

I'm with OAT & kenbw2  :~ I'm awfully dubious about a tightish radius over cab rather than same radius over whole length of panel.......

Never stayed anywhere long enough to be "Off grid"...............
{Not true:~ Other than staying in her fathers house in (Middle of Spanish Nowhere) Galicia ....On our 3rd day in Costa  Brava I renegade and booked a room for 4 nights or a week.... But in Fairness those first three nights were at different "resorts" we hadn't been before)

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#10 2020-04-16 14:17:56

vaz2121
Member
From: Glasgow Living:~ SW. Scotland
Registered: 2015-08-31
Posts: 970

Re: Contemplating solar panel

UZO55 wrote:

Hi VAZ2121
sorry I cant help you with your solar panels but, I have a couple of questions -
What type of alloys do you have on your van, what size are the tyres are on them?
Do you have an LED light-bar above your front number plate ?
Thanks for your help

I've had van 5 or 6 years now and was already converted and it Came with those Alloy wheels ... I assume fitted at time of conversion when new or Nearly New
{Had they waited 4 or 5 more days to register van it would have been a 55 plate so even if conversion was done when new it still looked older reg wise when commissioned}

Anyway wheels are AEZ branded on 15 inch 5X98 PCD I'm assuming 6.5 or 7 inch width never checked........

(Van Originally On a 195/70 14C)
Tyres Currently fitted are 4 quite agressive 195/65 15" (mpv/just rated ) Mud & Snow tyres and howl a bit ......... But I made the mistake for Euro travel coverage with No three peaks symbol (that's if you don't want to chance your arm/summer tyres in winter there)
I've have had 205/60 15's on back and contemplated 4... 205/65/15... or a set 215/60 15" van (Commercial)/AT tyre but put M+S on as I was planning a winter trip at time (+Price)..........
I've Used tyre height/compatibility calculator on those sizes to see if Or what % out

Yes that's a LED light bar above Front number plate............
It's mounted on a sort of mini bull bar thing Bolted through bumper and bar..... You can get from eB** or Amaz**(Two versions)...........

The first light bar was 20 inch wide and was a flood beam (worked very well)..........
The current one is 26 inch and is a combo flood and Spot (Works well also and I slightly prefer it for spot light part)
I'd say my 20" bar is of better quality but both light spread would benifit from a higher mounting (Bonnet height below windscreen? ...Or at this Virus Lockdown rate I'll have a 32" mounted at top of grill)............



I know Roof mounting is a thing to do just now but I don't really want holes in roof..........
(I first had spot lights mouted up on lorry roof/Sun Visor brackets in Mid Late 80's and what a perception of extra vision you get ......... Until reflected glare when its misty, rains heavy ish or...But Snowing for me was the worst as I felt mesmerized (Hypnotized)


A long way for a short Cut But hope that answers a bit ...........

[Some Alfa Romeo rims fit and obviously Alloys from a 806, Synerge And Ulyse probably 807 ,C8 ETC if that what you fancy].........

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#11 2020-04-16 18:50:20

Casper
Member
From: East Lothian
Registered: 2015-12-20
Posts: 1,645

Re: Contemplating solar panel

50W seems a no bad size and may fit in front of your skylight. Get a measuring tape out to see if one fits your roofbox 67x66 cm

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/50W-100W-Fle … 4q3-yLwB0w

Last edited by Casper (2020-04-16 18:51:17)

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#12 2020-04-29 19:39:33

unter
Member
Registered: 2016-03-06
Posts: 40

Re: Contemplating solar panel

ahh i would'nt bother getting solar, electric is so cheap, why not charge a spare car battery for powering your precious phone.
when do you ever need solar power? never.
your panel will die in the summer heat, then it will decopose in the winter damp, the ice will break it into dust.
wake up, you could crash your van an that would be the end of everything, just simplify your mess of a red van.
get rid of all that junk on it.


Choo Choo, got a good train on today.

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#13 2020-04-29 21:29:21

Casper
Member
From: East Lothian
Registered: 2015-12-20
Posts: 1,645

Re: Contemplating solar panel

unter wrote:

ahh i would'nt bother getting solar, electric is so cheap, why not charge a spare car battery for powering your precious phone.
when do you ever need solar power? never.
your panel will die in the summer heat, then it will decopose in the winter damp, the ice will break it into dust.
wake up, you could crash your van an that would be the end of everything, just simplify your mess of a red van.
get rid of all that junk on it.

Away with you. Even at electricity being cheap it can now be free. Solar could pay for itself in the first year. At present i can get two days possibly three out a 110ah battery. When in Euroland i tend to get campsites anyway but as i am putting a shower in my new bus and looking at 330ah batterys the solar will save me hookup cost and the camp site fee. As for teh panel die in the summer heat i think you have been drinking and the ice do nothing to them. If anything to much snow might break a panel but it has to be some snow shower what i doubt we have seen since the 70's. The rest of your comment is just drivel.

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#14 2020-04-30 16:05:51

OAT
Member
From: Borders/Dales
Registered: 2017-01-03
Posts: 556

Re: Contemplating solar panel

unter wrote:

ahh i would'nt bother getting solar, electric is so cheap, why not charge a spare car battery for powering your precious phone.
when do you ever need solar power? never.

But electricity isn't always available.  In fact I seek out places without electric as they are quieter. 

Even so, you are correct that I don't "need" it.  I have managed quite well without  for many years.  But it is obviously very useful if you want to remain in one place for any longer than a few days.

I would also like to replace my uneconomic old 3 way with a compressor fridge.  Unless always camping with hook up, solar will be essential.  But then again, I suppose you could say I don't "need" a fridge.

Last edited by OAT (2020-04-30 16:07:12)

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#15 2020-04-30 19:24:36

vaz2121
Member
From: Glasgow Living:~ SW. Scotland
Registered: 2015-08-31
Posts: 970

Re: Contemplating solar panel

I'm unlikely to achieve my target of 100/150w on the roof.............

However I'm not for giving up, Now thinking along Casper's & OAT's line of  folding panels..............
It may turn out to be a bit of a Faf but being able to point towards best angle ..............
Or as said: even put them across windscreen as a blind............

But no great rush as so far I've only fallen short of power on a few occasions (Parked up for a bit at the beach)............
But it was a PITA on those occasions
But like OAT say's I'd like a compressor fridge Also ..............

To think I had a tiny 12L one built into the lorry about 15 to 20 yrs ago and I kept a couple 500ml bottles of juice and choclate covered sweeties in it.............. FFS

I've ran short of power on numerous occasions with lorry and flattened battery..........
Unlike the Van i never had a leisure (separate) battery .................

As batteries don't like the cold it was inevitable with heavier winter use of the Eberspacher diesel heater .............
So some what paranoid on  installing extra electric draw................

(I spent 6 hours Awaiting the return of the Cavalry on a memorable occasion with no power {Flat batteries} and as it turned out waxing Diesel at -28  in Germany Near what was East German border at that time)

Not that solar would probably have saved the day that time

Last edited by vaz2121 (2020-04-30 19:29:17)

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#16 2020-05-01 22:31:48

OAT
Member
From: Borders/Dales
Registered: 2017-01-03
Posts: 556

Re: Contemplating solar panel

Just bear in mind vaz, flexible panels are unlikely to last as long as rigid and I suspect folding ones even less.  The wires across the actual fold will be an inevitable failure point I suspect.
It does make an excellent blind in the screen and safely lays flat on the top of the dash and picks up a decent change while driving.   Sun direction permitting.

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#17 2020-05-02 11:20:19

vaz2121
Member
From: Glasgow Living:~ SW. Scotland
Registered: 2015-08-31
Posts: 970

Re: Contemplating solar panel

As either yourself or Casper mentioned it's likely to save on hook up costs/Needs ............
Like you  and with previous "Camping/Motorcycle Touring" (Casper included) You can with a bit of thought get buy without much if any extra electricity.........
And with the advent of phones ETC {As pointed out} certain needs and other factors have prevailed...............

I'm not expecting miracles but the ability of staying out that extra day without available hook up and  Not needing to run van just to charge battery to have even running water..............
{We'll have an electric Motorhome next with a roof full of panels and still no internal power lol }

"Maybe" we should go back like when I was a boy and have the whale foot pump fitted................

(It'll be like money the more you have the more you spend and the less you have the more you wish)............

I'm not getting any younger and will take that labour saving device when "Camping" ..... if I can........
God knows it's meant to be relaxation/Pleasure .....
For the most of us a change from the norm/get away from it ?...............
{Why do/did we Spend so much on that two weeks abroad Fancy Holiday...........

What was all those hours and graft for.............. "Some one else entirely"..........?

Sorry..................

Thank you for input.................

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