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Old 10-09-2019, 06:08 PM   #1
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Articulated PV Panel Racks

Has anyone seen articulated PV mounts? Iíve been burning a lot of cycles thinking about electrically controlled tilting panel racks.
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Old 10-09-2019, 07:21 PM   #2
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I use a pair of 12v linear actuators to open the pop top on my bus.
Jack

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1500N-Linea...s=ispr%3D1&has
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Old 10-09-2019, 07:23 PM   #3
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I use a pair of 12v linear actuators to open the pop top on my bus.
Jack

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1500N-Linea...s=ispr%3D1&has
Do you have any videos of this in action? I'd love to see it.
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Old 10-09-2019, 07:38 PM   #4
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Sorry, no videos but I'll attach a pic of the completed top. The top frame is made of 1/8" steel with a translucent polyvinylcarbonate cover (and canvas sides). The whole affair is about 8' long by 4' wide and weighs in at 125#. I hinged one side with a stainless steel piano hinge. I've been using it now for about 5 years and it is still going strong.
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Old 10-09-2019, 07:45 PM   #5
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This really looks fantastic. I've seen the other picture of this that you post all the time, but somehow I didn't really get a good sense of how it worked; this picture makes it very clear. If I didn't have my own hare-brained scheme for increasing headroom, I'd think about doing something like this.
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:13 PM   #6
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Do you have any videos of this in action? I'd love to see it.

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Old 10-09-2019, 08:19 PM   #7
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:25 PM   #8
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That was fun. I'd sure recommend a speed controller. None of the affordable actuators I've had my hands on have matched rates for opening and closing. Also, it is difficult to accurately load multiple actuators and the speed controller helps solve the problem.
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:29 PM   #9
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:52 PM   #10
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articulating Solar Panel Racks

I couldn't find the thread but recall seeing a rack a few years back that had a hinge on one side and pneumatic cylinders on the other side with a latch. The owner would unlatch to raise and push pack down and latch when travelling.
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:30 PM   #11
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I couldn't find the thread but recall seeing a rack a few years back that had a hinge on one side and pneumatic cylinders on the other side with a latch. The owner would unlatch to raise and push pack down and latch when travelling.
https://www.amazon.com/Maxpow-Tailga...omotive&sr=1-1
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:02 PM   #12
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This is great stuff. I’m going to look into this actuators some.

I also got to thinking about repurposing those cheap screw jacks that come with most small cars.
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Old 10-09-2019, 11:48 PM   #13
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This is great stuff. I’m going to look into this actuators some.

I also got to thinking about repurposing those cheap screw jacks that come with most small cars.
To further the madness, you can drive one with a standard cordless drill.
A few from Harbor Freight, some wiring, and a 12-volt power source, and you've got powered screw jacks. (Not as fancy or as delicately controlled as a servo/linear actuator, but they work.)

You can also power a hand-crank harbor freight winch with a cordless drill too....(I wasn't going to spend $100 for the 2x a year I need to drag my garden tractor into my truck.)
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Old 10-10-2019, 12:03 AM   #14
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So google "how to mount and tilt solar panels". there are several great articles and options on layouts and using pneumatic lift cyls.
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Old 10-10-2019, 03:20 AM   #15
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Seems like a great thread to follow! Thanks!
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Old 10-10-2019, 08:05 AM   #16
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Maybe my Google-fu is failing me. I still canít find off the shelf racks with anything more than the most rudimentary tilting capabilities, requiring climbing on the roof. To do adjustments.

Iím envisioning a single axis tilt. My initial thinking was motor-driven, but then I thought about those old school awnings that have a hand crank rod similar to a screw jack handle.

It seems pretty easy to have a hinged side so the panel can tilt one direction. The Thomas has a domed roof so For the purpose of illustration Iíve borrowed some photos from the Internet

I think they got a pretty good arrangement even if the angle of incidence is off on one panel, Iíd call that acceptable.

What I donít like is the attachment method seems flimsy. I sure donít want wind shear ripping panels loose. The gas cartridge is also likely to fail over time and the setup requires a trip to the roof, which I donít want to do in the course of daily operation.

Credit BusLifeAdventure.com
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Old 10-10-2019, 12:45 PM   #17
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On the Beginning by Morning bus build, they use actuators to slide an additional set of panels out over the edge of the bus. Pretty sweet!
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Old 10-10-2019, 02:29 PM   #18
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On the Beginning by Morning bus build, they use actuators to slide an additional set of panels out over the edge of the bus. Pretty sweet!
Like a partial awning of solar panels? That would be very cool.
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Old 10-10-2019, 03:46 PM   #19
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https://youtu.be/wQRnECDIQ8E
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