Free 7 Day Trial RV GPS App RV Trip Planner Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Free 7 Day Trial ×


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 03-17-2021, 11:22 AM   #1
Bus Nut
 
Rwnielsen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 304
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC1000, 40' MPV
Engine: 5.9 Cummins/B300 trans
Rated Cap: U/K
Swivel solar panel mounts

Good morning all
I'm getting ready to put up 3 good sized solar panels on my roof and I'd like to use a mount that rotates to some degree. I have a few ideas for tracking the sun and a swivel base is a key component. Forum search got me nowhere.
Thanks for your help
Richard
Rwnielsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-17-2021, 12:56 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 1,949
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: Minotour
Engine: Chevy Express 3500 6.6l
I spent a lot of time and brain cycles on this. In the end I decided that over-paneling was cheaper and easier
Danjo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2021, 12:08 AM   #3
Bus Nut
 
Rwnielsen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 304
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC1000, 40' MPV
Engine: 5.9 Cummins/B300 trans
Rated Cap: U/K
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danjo View Post
I spent a lot of time and brain cycles on this. In the end I decided that over-paneling was cheaper and easier
I tend to agree with you. However, I love to fabricate and tinker

https://www.amazon.com/Garelick-7512...QRHEJ29SHKD080

Even if I have to rotate each one individually it would make parking much less direction oriented. I plan on boondocking maybe 2 weeks at a time
Rwnielsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2021, 07:55 AM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
somewhereinusa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Andrews,Indiana
Posts: 2,260
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: AARE
Engine: 3116 Cat 250hp
Rated Cap: Just the two of us.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rwnielsen View Post
I tend to agree with you. However, I love to fabricate and tinker

https://www.amazon.com/Garelick-7512...QRHEJ29SHKD080

Even if I have to rotate each one individually it would make parking much less direction oriented. I plan on boondocking maybe 2 weeks at a time
Not trying to rain on your parade but, here are some random thoughts.

The swivel you linked to are pretty sloppy and the bearings are open to the weather. I would think that dirt getting into them would be a problem.

While driving, mounting a large panel in only the middle would put tremendous stress on both the panel and what it is mounted to unless you have some pretty stout bracing.

Along the same thought that swivel only has one bolt holding it together.

If you still want a swivel, take a look at the front hub from a front wheel drive car. They have two flanges to mount to, are water/dust proof, are precision and quite strong. But aren't cheap. I think even a noisy used one, I think, would be suitable.


I see you are in San Diego so, maybe you've never had a parade rained out.
somewhereinusa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2021, 09:51 AM   #5
Bus Nut
 
Rwnielsen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 304
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC1000, 40' MPV
Engine: 5.9 Cummins/B300 trans
Rated Cap: U/K
I agree with your points on stresses. An 8" base extended out to the size of a solar panel would be be extreme. The bearing surface needs to be larger as does the center pin. It's just an idea I'm mulling over.
Rwnielsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2021, 10:58 AM   #6
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Northern California (Sacramento)
Posts: 238
Year: 1999
Chassis: Ford E450
Another member of the forum had essentially the same question/plan with tiltable panels. Turns out, unless you live north of Chicago the gain is not worth the effort.

As I recall, max gain in North America from tilt is about 25%, so buy five instead of four panels? An extra couple hundred bucks max, and no mechanical risk or maintenance.

Unless like the other guy you're a glutton for engineering punishment. And if so, welcome to the club...
Rucker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2021, 02:32 PM   #7
Bus Crazy
 
kazetsukai's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Windham NH
Posts: 1,228
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International RE
Engine: International T444e
Rated Cap: 76
Thinking about the problem posed, it seems to me like you need to both tilt upward and then rotate along the tilted axis. This would be very difficult to secure, particularly in high wind situations. Also, panels would need to be spaced apart enough not to shade each other at the most extreme rotations anticipated, creating dead space on the roof, if not more geometrical restraints on your design.

If I absolutely needed to do something like this, I'd mount each panel to a piece of strut that articulates up 90 degrees from laid flat. The panel would be attached to the strut down the center of the panel using two or more of those double-acting door hinges. To secure the positions of both directions of articulation I'd be partial to the use of a pair of linear actuators- one to raise/lower the panel and the other to rotate the panel along the tilt axis... but there are problems like being able to lower the panel without rotating it to be flat, etc.


Generally I agree with the other poster that more flat panels will yield better results than pan/tilt articulation. I'm not against tinkering- I filled my roof with 3000W of PV and I'm in the process of building a mechanism to support another 3000W, articulating the panels out on drawer slides with linear actuators. I want to be able to push a button and be road ready.
kazetsukai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2021, 02:54 PM   #8
Bus Nut
 
Rwnielsen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 304
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC1000, 40' MPV
Engine: 5.9 Cummins/B300 trans
Rated Cap: U/K
I fully intend to make mine tiltable [sic]. This idea came up because I have 3 roof top A/C units and, therefore, limited space. I have experience with robotics and pneumatic actuators, both rotary and linear. At this point its just mental gymnastics but I thought I'd see what others were thinking. This site is chock full of ingenuity and I really like some of the solutions people have come up with.
Rwnielsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2021, 03:01 PM   #9
Bus Crazy
 
kazetsukai's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Windham NH
Posts: 1,228
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International RE
Engine: International T444e
Rated Cap: 76
I'll throw another idea out there- what about mounting panels to the side of the bus that articulate up like an awning? If you follow my build page link in my signature, the first post in the thread shows me doing this a long time ago. I've since removed them, but I've considered revisiting the approach to get up to 8000W total after my latest work is done.


Definitely let us know what you come up with...
kazetsukai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2021, 03:33 PM   #10
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Location: Earth
Posts: 199
Year: 2013
Chassis: IC RE
Engine: HT570 / 3500SP
Rated Cap: 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by kazetsukai View Post
I'll throw another idea out there- what about mounting panels to the side of the bus that articulate up like an awning? If you follow my build page link in my signature, the first post in the thread shows me doing this a long time ago. I've since removed them, but I've considered revisiting the approach to get up to 8000W total after my latest work is done.


Definitely let us know what you come up with...
Why did you remove them?
ABBus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2021, 03:37 PM   #11
Bus Crazy
 
kazetsukai's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Windham NH
Posts: 1,228
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International RE
Engine: International T444e
Rated Cap: 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by ABBus View Post
Why did you remove them?
Those were 100W panels I had already on hand at the start of the build, when I went hunting for my solar array two years later the panels I picked wouldn't play nice with them on the same string. Virtually all of them were repurposed.
kazetsukai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2021, 04:13 PM   #12
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Northern California (Sacramento)
Posts: 238
Year: 1999
Chassis: Ford E450
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rwnielsen View Post
I fully intend to make mine tiltable [sic]. This idea came up because I have 3 roof top A/C units and, therefore, limited space. I have experience with robotics and pneumatic actuators, both rotary and linear. At this point its just mental gymnastics but I thought I'd see what others were thinking. This site is chock full of ingenuity and I really like some of the solutions people have come up with.
Link to the last time this was discussed here:
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f13/l...tml#post409266

I forgot that one big drawback noted for this design is the need for a more rigid frame on the panel if they are going to be lifted off the roof, really adds to the work.

Here's a thought on a simpler design: just hinge them for angle of the sun, then orient your vehicle for max exposure. Make a simple springed solution that you can activate from a window.

But if you truly want to geek out why not incorporate a solar tracker? The internet thinks maybe up to 40% more efficient with tilt, rotate and tracking.

I would love to see the actual data on one of these more engineered solutions to understand what the real performance differences turn out to be. You could start a revolution! A slow revolution; and it would only be a partial revolution, but hey....
Rucker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2021, 10:39 PM   #13
Bus Nut
 
Rwnielsen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 304
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC1000, 40' MPV
Engine: 5.9 Cummins/B300 trans
Rated Cap: U/K
Quote:
Originally Posted by kazetsukai View Post
I'll throw another idea out there- what about mounting panels to the side of the bus that articulate up like an awning? If you follow my build page link in my signature, the first post in the thread shows me doing this a long time ago. I've since removed them, but I've considered revisiting the approach to get up to 8000W total after my latest work is done.


Definitely let us know what you come up with...
To be perfectly honest, I was thinking of stealing that idea, from your thread, to add maybe 4 more panels. I would probably mount them on loose pin hinges and take the down for travel.
Rwnielsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2021, 11:09 PM   #14
Bus Nut
 
Rwnielsen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 304
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC1000, 40' MPV
Engine: 5.9 Cummins/B300 trans
Rated Cap: U/K
Quote:
Quote:
But if you truly want to geek out why not incorporate a solar tracker? The internet thinks maybe up to 40% more efficient with tilt, rotate and tracking.

I would love to see the actual data on one of these more engineered solutions to understand what the real performance differences turn out to be. You could start a revolution! A slow revolution; and it would only be a partial revolution, but hey....
A slow partial Revolution!
Solar tracking, either actual or timed would be the next logical step. All in all, I don't expect to even have a huge DC load. Intermittent water pump, diesel heater, some lights, music, TV, gaming rig and an apartment size refer. I have generators. I just like the idea of tilt/swivel solar mounts.
Rwnielsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2021, 07:33 AM   #15
Bus Crazy
 
kazetsukai's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Windham NH
Posts: 1,228
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International RE
Engine: International T444e
Rated Cap: 76
My top yield was 14kWh+ per day mounted flat with good sun- however the batteries were full early in the day so there was nowhere to store the additional energy, the rest were Considering average battery capacities its not worth it... yet.

Once rigs with 0.1MWh+ of battery become common, this will become very important for sure. Or if you really need to use a low number of small panels.

A game I play where you build mechs has small solar generators you can add that extend a mast of panels vertically. I thought this design was really cool, but no idea how one would actually do it. In transit the panels sit flat, stacked.
tt_solar.png
kazetsukai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2021, 03:15 PM   #16
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Northern California (Sacramento)
Posts: 238
Year: 1999
Chassis: Ford E450
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rwnielsen View Post
A slow partial Revolution!
Solar tracking, either actual or timed would be the next logical step. All in all, I don't expect to even have a huge DC load. Intermittent water pump, diesel heater, some lights, music, TV, gaming rig and an apartment size refer. I have generators. I just like the idea of tilt/swivel solar mounts.
Just ran across this youtube experiment-thought you might enjoy the design ideas.



Nothing practical for skoolies, but good details on the electronics of solar tracking design.

His experiment was brief, but demonstrated a 15% increase in solar capture during the peak of the day.
Rucker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2021, 03:32 PM   #17
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Northern California (Sacramento)
Posts: 238
Year: 1999
Chassis: Ford E450
Continuing to geek out on this.

A hinged panel, adjusted for lattitude, and a little servo that rotates it at the rate the sun moves across the sky.

Set it up in the morning and let it run.
Rucker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2021, 09:54 PM   #18
Bus Nut
 
Rwnielsen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 304
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC1000, 40' MPV
Engine: 5.9 Cummins/B300 trans
Rated Cap: U/K
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rucker View Post
Just ran across this youtube experiment-thought you might enjoy the design ideas.



Nothing practical for skoolies, but good details on the electronics of solar tracking design.

His experiment was brief, but demonstrated a 15% increase in solar capture during the peak of the day.
That was fascinating, he determined 20-30% gain. His solar tracking was eerily similar to one my stepfather worked on 50+ years ago. Same principle
Rwnielsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2021, 10:01 PM   #19
Bus Nut
 
Rwnielsen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 304
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC1000, 40' MPV
Engine: 5.9 Cummins/B300 trans
Rated Cap: U/K
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rucker View Post
Continuing to geek out on this.

A hinged panel, adjusted for lattitude, and a little servo that rotates it at the rate the sun moves across the sky.

Set it up in the morning and let it run.
I can't seem to let it go either. I could live with a fixed tilt, timed rotation, I just need a sturdy base that will rotate 90 degrees or so
Rwnielsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2021, 07:35 AM   #20
Bus Crazy
 
joeblack5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: pa
Posts: 2,065
Year: 98
Coachwork: 1. Corbeil & 2. Thomas
Chassis: 1 ford e350 2 mercedes
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke & MBE906
I would mount lazy susan on each side of the bus . Hinge do provide tilt. A little vertical offset so that panel can lay flat on top of each other.

First the top panel tilts up to vertical. Then the second panel tilts up and out of the way. Next the can rotate towards the sun.

Because they are separated by the width of the bus you have less shadowing. Anyhow there is the arduino optimizing the shadow versus perfect orientation.

In storage( transport) the top panel would by physically locked to the lower panel.

The lazy susans would need to be stainless , sturdy and preferable able to pretension to have less rattle whale driving.

In this way you have best of both worlds.
You have twice the panels as for on you roof. You can rotate panels so that they provide shade on the roof or shade as in awning.

Good luck

Johan.
joeblack5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:38 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×