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Old 06-16-2018, 05:47 AM   #1
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Linear Actuator to tilt solar panels

Has anyone used linear actuators to lift/tilt their solar panels?

I'm contemplating using 2 per panel as a lift and as mounting points. I worry that there would be too much flex for use as mounting points. But it would be nice just to much a button to tilt the panels when parked. Thoughts or ideas?
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Old 06-16-2018, 05:58 AM   #2
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Kevin Means has a really nice setup on his coach. See this:


or this:
Tilting Solar Panels
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Old 06-16-2018, 06:20 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by JDOnTheGo View Post
Kevin Means has a really nice setup on his coach. See this:


or this:
Tilting Solar Panels
Thanks JD. I think after reading that formum I'm going to have to use gas struts and a ladder to unbolt the mounts. I'm mostly through fabricating the mounts and I don't think the actuator will fit my plan. I appreciate the information!
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Old 06-16-2018, 09:06 AM   #4
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Check out my build. I made linear actuators out of trailer tongue jacks. If you have the inclination to modify things, something like this might work for you. I'm going to motorize it as well so it's going to be a push button operation to raise and lower it.



http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/so...tml#post133025
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Old 06-24-2018, 08:35 PM   #5
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That looks great. However, it a bit beyond my ability at this point. Thank for sharing though
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Old 06-25-2018, 12:43 AM   #6
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I thought (very briefly) about doing something similar, but the sheer complexity and cost involved killed that idea dead in its tracks. Sure, it would be nice to press a button and have all the panels on one side raise to whatever angle I select, but what a job it would be to make that happen, with limit switches, angle sensors, locking solenoids, etc etc. Each of my panels sits inside a support frame that's hinged to the roof's central walkway, and to raise them I use a stepladder to reach each panel's two stainless-steel support struts. Each strut telescopes up to the three panel angle settings, slides in T-track at the bottom, pivots top and bottom, and has hinged pivots to prevent any loads except pure compression and tension, i.e. no torsional or bending loads at all. It would be fearsomely complicated to replicate that with linear motors!

Here I am saying that it's too much to make power-operated panels, but I'm now putting the finishing touches to a radiator mister system that's turned out to be much more complex than I would have ever thought possible! I guess it just depends what one's priorities are.

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Old 06-25-2018, 07:22 AM   #7
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I'm not anywhere near this stage myself but what about a wiper motor? The wiper motor only turns one direction yet the blade goes both directions using a cam. They have a fair about of torque so lifting a hinged panel shouldn't be a problem.


The RV video link was fancy looking but if I'm doing that much work, it better auto track the sun.
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Old 06-25-2018, 07:29 AM   #8
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P.S. Green houses have some hefy duty motors for opening windows and such. Sourcing a motor and even the struts shouldn't be hard.
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Old 06-26-2018, 04:00 PM   #9
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What about the stop sign arm on the side of the bus?
Could that be rigged to operate as such?
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Old 06-27-2018, 07:09 AM   #10
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What about the stop sign arm on the side of the bus?
Could that be rigged to operate as such?
Maybe, the problem I see with that is the arm is a fixed distance and either "opened or closed" so your panels are flat or full tilt. You couldn't stop at half tilt.


And I dunno about your bus but mine had all of the guts for the arm removed by the bus yard before sold.
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