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How did you secure solar panel to roof rack?
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madspaniard
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:58 pm    Post subject: How did you secure solar panel to roof rack? Reply with quote

Hi,

Looking for feedback on how to secure solar panel to roof rack with security and easy on-off in mind. I just finished installation of JackBombay poptop shocks and Yakima Wide Body artificial rain gutters. I used one of the holes for the Yakima Wide Body to mount the poptop shock.

I have a Kyocera135w solar panel and I'd like to know how people secure them to the roof rack bars in a way that it won't get easily stolen and also will be easy to take off if needed.

Also, I think people like PDXWesty have been matching Yakima artificial rain gutters with Thule towers and square cross bars maybe to give the roof rack a bit of a lower profile? I noticed that the Yakima towers and crossbars will ride a bit higger than I want on the Wide Body artif. gutters. Comments appreciated.

Thanks

E
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singler3360
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw someone on the forum had used the Yakima canoe L brackets to mount their solar panel. They had drilled a hole through the upright and into the panel frame. It looked simple and clean and no fabrication was necessary. Is this feasible for your install?
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've used these little brackets to attach different items to my crossbars. Wing nuts and carrage bolts work great with these.

http://yakima.com/shop/racksystems/accessories/universal-snar

I also have the Yakima high towers and round bars. Westynova seems to have done a few attachments. Maybe he'll chime in.
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Hallvalla
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm ready to mount my panel too. Getting a little tired of moving it in and out of the van, not a big deal but would like something less laborious.

One (crazy?) thought I had for a rack system: fabricate an extension from the front and back of the solar panel, like a flat piece of metal. And then slide those extensions into a ski/snowboard rack. You'd have a locking mechanism + easy on/off. *edit* of course you'd have to set up your towers far enough apart to fit the panel in between.

As for security, how about running a short length of bike cable chain through one of the solar panels frame holes and around the crossbar? Not perfect, but it could be a first line of defense.

Have you used your panel yet? I'm amazed at home much power that panel sucks into the battery. About a half day of sun and my aux battery is topped off for the night.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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j_dirge
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:47 am    Post subject: Re: How did you secure solar panel to roof rack? Reply with quote

madspaniard wrote:
Hi,
I have a Kyocera135w solar panel and I'd like to know how people secure them to the roof rack bars in a way that it won't get easily stolen and also will be easy to take off if needed.

Thats the challenge, isn't it?

In my experience with solar on boats,.. you either install such that
1. It can not be removed without damage.. i.e. a permanent installation
or
2. You make it a fully removeable item and lock it somehow when you have to leave it unattended.


Because these vehicles do not need charging 24/7, I'd opt for no. 2 and leave the big panel in the garage between camping trips.
Maybe install a "permanent" 15-45 watt panel in the luggage bay for keeping the batteries topped off for regualr use. (or carry a jumpstart battery)

For the big panel:
Visit your local West Marine, they have all manners of rail mounts that will fit the crossbars of the Yakima and Thule..


One thing I've done, is to carry a small Makita drill with me in my tool box and use it for easy fastener removal/install.
You can get various "security-style" bits that fit various security hardware heads.. (you know.. the kinds of fasteners used in public restrooms and on buses, trains, etc to thwart vandalism)
...and like a lock-lugnut on fancy wheels, you can slow down a would-be theif.

But reality is, any "removeable" installation will be relatively easy to steal.
Locks cut, cables cut... hardware drilled out.
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danfromsyr wrote:
those are straight line runs with light weight race cars for only 1/4mile at a time..
not pushing a loaded brick up a mountain pass with a family of 4+ inside expecting to have an event free vacation..
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madspaniard
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for all the replies so far.

singler3360, canoe L brackets, something like this?

http://www.orsracksdirect.com/yakima-8005007.html

I'll look at them at REI to see if they will work

PDXWesty, sorry I thought you were the one using Yakima and Thule, thanks for the tip on those brackets, just wondering if I can do some anti-theft system with them.

Jason, thanks for the tip, good idea although I think I want to keep it simple and use whatever is available already, I tend to go the hard route and this time around I want to avoid fabrication. The panel is awesome, fits our needs and more, great to know we don't have to worry about juice for the fridge and other stuff anymore.

Jim, yes, challenge is to keep it safe and functional, parking the van in the Bay Area you are always exposed to those who want to get a nice solar panel for free. I did design my solar system to hold a smaller primary panel in the front luggage area (the solar charge controller I installed can handle two panels at a time) but for now I just need to figure out the 135w Kyocera beast.
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madspaniard
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I found the thread about the canoe brackets and Westynova's install, looks very nice, might go this route

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=355490&highlight=solar


more food for the brain

http://store.solar-electric.com/rvsopamo.html

last pages of this brochure

http://www.unirac.com/pdf/product-price-list
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's still just connected to the crossbar with wingnuts. With any of the stock attachments that's what you get. I don't know how you would make the stock clamps theft resistant if you end up using any of them.

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hiram6
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could replace the standard hardware with one of the choices from here> http://www.oemhardware.ca/tamperproof.htm
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j_dirge
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hiram6 wrote:
You could replace the standard hardware with one of the choices from here> http://www.oemhardware.ca/tamperproof.htm

Good link!

Thats what I was getting at.. make 3 mounts easy to remove.. make the fourth a "tamperproof" mount.

It won't stop all theft, but it may slow it down enough that it foils the random walk-by-and-grab.


Problem with E's van is it is getting so nice, I'd be worrying about someone taking the whole van!
I'd be considering a comprehensive insurance policy with extra coverage for panels, racks, wheels, etc.
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-89 GL Westy, SVX.. finally.

-57 pan f/g buggy with a 67 pancake Type 3 "S"
"Jimi Hendrix owned one. Richard Nixon did not"
-Grand Tour, Season 1, episodes 4 and 5

danfromsyr wrote:
those are straight line runs with light weight race cars for only 1/4mile at a time..
not pushing a loaded brick up a mountain pass with a family of 4+ inside expecting to have an event free vacation..
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madspaniard
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

j_dirge wrote:
Problem with E's van is it is getting so nice, I'd be worrying about someone taking the whole van!


I worry about that every night! Laughing

That is a great link, a combination of some of the ideas posted here will work for my install, will post pics when done.
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Hallvalla
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will be most interested on the result!
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hallvalla wrote:
I will be most interested on the result!

me too!
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Honuak
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:03 am    Post subject: Flexable lamiante? Reply with quote

Hello all, minor thread jack...
Im looking at solar systems too, and leaning towards a laminate product that would stick to the poptop. It wouldnt be removeable but besides that I like the idea of low profile, durable (you can walk on it) and it would preserve space on the rack.
So Im looking at a Unisolar 68W, available on amazon for less than 300 bucks. BUT this one is 112.1" long by 15.5" wide. Im away from home at work right now so I dont know if this is too long to fit on the westy roof, even if I go diagonally...thoughts? Anyone feel like measuring the roof to see if this will fit?
Cheers
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Hooptie Love
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:08 am    Post subject: length of roof Reply with quote

I am not at home either but 10 feet is 120 inches. I once put a 10 foot long couch inside my van with the door closed and me and a passenger could still sit up front. The passenger seat was all the way forward but we managed to get the door closed so I think you would be good. Seems like I read somewhere that the van is 14 feet long.
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j_dirge
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:12 am    Post subject: Re: Flexable lamiante? Reply with quote

Honuak wrote:
thoughts? Anyone feel like measuring the roof to see if this will fit?
Cheers

I saw that laminate a while back.. The pop-top of the Westy is 96" +/- inches long.
But the panel would fit on a tin-top OK.

I am wondering if that laminate can be trimmed. Maybe contact the manufacturer and ask?
You might also consider the real output relative to a more conventional panel.
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-89 GL Westy, SVX.. finally.

-57 pan f/g buggy with a 67 pancake Type 3 "S"
"Jimi Hendrix owned one. Richard Nixon did not"
-Grand Tour, Season 1, episodes 4 and 5

danfromsyr wrote:
those are straight line runs with light weight race cars for only 1/4mile at a time..
not pushing a loaded brick up a mountain pass with a family of 4+ inside expecting to have an event free vacation..
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ZimZam
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just went and measured. Fr front of pop top to rear is 99''. 23" for cargo carrier. Total 122
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Honuak
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:22 am    Post subject: Damm! Reply with quote

Thanks for the quick replys. As for output; the unisolar site claims that the output is actually higher. I'm going to see if it is trimmable or if there is another product available someplace.
Maybe if I go diagonal...
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jerrydog411
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As this is extremely flexible .. maybe have it come down over the back end to ~ the seal & it should get you closer .. within 5 inches or so.

Anyway, you might want to check here also as the same panel is $204 ..http://www.pvpower.com/uni-solar-68w-pv-module.aspx
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j_dirge
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:30 am    Post subject: Re: Damm! Reply with quote

Honuak wrote:
Thanks for the quick replys. As for output; the unisolar site claims that the output is actually higher.

Higher than "what"?
I had a conventional 80watt panel by Sharp.. its dimensions were 49x21 (IIRC)
Unisolar panels have lower ratings for size than several other offerings.. why I mention it.

I'm just not sure on the idea that there is any cost savings over conventional, is all.

Worth looking into, though. Install possibilites if for no other reason.

report back!
_________________
-89 GL Westy, SVX.. finally.

-57 pan f/g buggy with a 67 pancake Type 3 "S"
"Jimi Hendrix owned one. Richard Nixon did not"
-Grand Tour, Season 1, episodes 4 and 5

danfromsyr wrote:
those are straight line runs with light weight race cars for only 1/4mile at a time..
not pushing a loaded brick up a mountain pass with a family of 4+ inside expecting to have an event free vacation..
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