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Any hints on best way to mount solar panel?

Discussion in '3rd Gen. Tacomas (2016+)' started by NorrinRadd, Jan 3, 2021.

  1. Jan 3, 2021 at 10:44 AM
    #1
    NorrinRadd

    NorrinRadd [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Santa gave me a Newpowa 100W mono solar panel and now I need to figure out several things, I'm thinking of carrying it in the back of my (access) cab and pulling it out for camping to keep an as yet not-installed house battery charged. I also have a 500W Jackery and would like to be able to easily plug that in as well. Thanks for any useful comments!

    * Is there a big rubber frame similar to the Otter case for mobile phones? Or maybe something better?
    * Without drilling holes in the cab is there something I can use, maybe a magnetic frame, to keep it in place on the top of the cab or hood (silly Sport scoop)?
    * Am I overthinking this? ;-)
     
  2. Jan 24, 2021 at 10:59 AM
    #2
    hiPSI

    hiPSI Laminar Flow

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    You over thought it.
     
  3. Jan 24, 2021 at 11:16 AM
    #3
    RyanDCLB

    RyanDCLB Well-Known Member

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  4. Jan 24, 2021 at 11:22 AM
    #4
    sabasarge

    sabasarge Well-Known Member

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    Working on that
    I have both a 100w and 200w suitcase type solar panel that I use when camping, and imo you’ll have much more flexibility in following the sun and parking options by NOT attaching the panel, but giving yourself 20-30 ft. of wire to move around (optimally 8awg).
    Hopefully I understood the OP question, if not, disregard.
     
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  5. Jan 24, 2021 at 11:33 AM
    #5
    EatSleepTacos

    EatSleepTacos Well-Known Member

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    If it’s a rigid solar panel meant to be hard mounted and you want it portable, I would return/sell it and buy a suitcase panel instead. They’re meant to be portable and designed as such.
     
  6. Jan 25, 2021 at 11:14 AM
    #6
    NorrinRadd

    NorrinRadd [OP] Well-Known Member

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  7. Jan 25, 2021 at 11:16 AM
    #7
    NorrinRadd

    NorrinRadd [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Mostly I'm wondering if there are any rubber edge moldings like a mobile phone already made for these. I can always prop it up near the truck but I don't want to damage the edges on rocks and stuff if I accidently hit it on something.
     
  8. Jan 25, 2021 at 11:20 AM
    #8
    EatSleepTacos

    EatSleepTacos Well-Known Member

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    I’d be less worried about the edges and more so the actual face of the solar panel. It would be pretty easy to crack or break it.
     
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  9. Feb 1, 2021 at 6:06 AM
    #9
    spencedt

    spencedt Well-Known Member

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    I'm looking at mounting one of these to my roof rack, aren't the rigid ones designed for mounting on vehicles? Or is there still a concern of damage?
     
  10. Feb 1, 2021 at 8:49 AM
    #10
    calebc

    calebc Well-Known Member

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    Solar panels are actually pretty tough. I wouldn't worry one bit about it and the best way to do it would be to not hard mount it. That way you can place it in the best spot and at the best angle for maximum sun.
     
  11. Feb 1, 2021 at 9:59 AM
    #11
    spencedt

    spencedt Well-Known Member

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    Do you know if anyone does a mount like you'd see for recovery boards so that it can be hard mounted but easily detachable for charging at camp if you want ideal positioning?
     
  12. Feb 1, 2021 at 10:07 AM
    #12
    calebc

    calebc Well-Known Member

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    Never seen anything but it would be extremely easy for you to make something. The panels just mount with clamps generally, so get some 8020, clamp to that, then build a mount off the 8020 to mount to a rack.
     
  13. Feb 1, 2021 at 1:05 PM
    #13
    spencedt

    spencedt Well-Known Member

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    I'm actually on 8020 on my rack already, so now i'm thinking about something with some bolts and wing nuts.
     
  14. Feb 1, 2021 at 1:27 PM
    #14
    calebc

    calebc Well-Known Member

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    Depending on how thick the panels are, the way you mount full-size solar panels is using these bolts and some stopper sleeves so you don’t crush the panel.

    You can see it in their brochure a bit better.
    http://files.ironridge.com/pitched-roof-mounting/resources/brochures/UFO_Family_Tech_Brief.pdf

    I would play off that idea, use those bolts to mount the panel to two pieces of 8020 (top and bottom) and then since you’re already using 8020, then you’re just mounting 8020 to 8020 and make that part your quick disconnect.
     
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  15. Feb 4, 2021 at 4:34 AM
    #15
    spencedt

    spencedt Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, I'm going to look at this. I'm going with what appears to be a standard thickness panel so I didn't think about all the mountings that are available for commercial use.
     
  16. Feb 4, 2021 at 5:51 AM
    #16
    TailHook

    TailHook Die with memories, not dreams...

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    This is how I mounted mine while in transit: all-thread on the 80/20, knobs to secure. I have a 30 foot cable that I can connect to the panel while on the roof, or take the panel off in about 30 seconds and follow the sun. I have an Anderson connector on the front bumper to plug the cable into my Off Grid Engineering Redarc system...

    IMG_3968 2.jpg
     
  17. Feb 4, 2021 at 6:20 AM
    #17
    spencedt

    spencedt Well-Known Member

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    This is what I was thinking about doing, plus when I'm home I can store the panel off the truck. Can you explain how the all-thread attached to the 80/20? Nearly identical setup to mine but reversed, hard case on drivers side and panel will be on passenger's side, I'm hoping the leads on the panel are long enough to connect to the cutting edge mc4 connector port I plan to install on my cap if I can convince myself to drill a hole... I was going to just run a self contained jackery type product so that it is portable as well. Then I can just take the whole thing wherever the sun is and not worry about carrying an extension.
     
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  18. Feb 4, 2021 at 6:27 AM
    #18
    TailHook

    TailHook Die with memories, not dreams...

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    I use the @upTOPoverland tracnuts on my Bravo rack for the all-thread, but t-nuts would work as well...the tracnuts just drop in to the slots. The knobs are M6 star knobs from Amazon.

    ETA: My dual battery setup is mostly for my SnoMaster fridge, but I have all my aux stuff connected to it as well. I have a Jackery for misc. electronics...
     
  19. Feb 4, 2021 at 7:23 AM
    #19
    spencedt

    spencedt Well-Known Member

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    That's all i'm planning to do, I'm still in the ice ages with a rotomolded cooler for now, so it's just running my laptop while I work on the road and keeping camera etc. topped off. I like the idea of the jackery because if I end up at a park with some outlets I can top off from them. Thanks for the input, I'll try to get some pictures when I get it finished.
     
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  20. Feb 4, 2021 at 7:37 AM
    #20
    TailHook

    TailHook Die with memories, not dreams...

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    :thumbsup:

    My setup is usually for longer trips...a week or more. It can be a pain in the ass for a quick overnight/weekend trip, so for that I keep it simple...toss the cooler and camp box in the bed and roll out.
     
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