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My Flexible Thin Solar Panel Setup
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DubNuts
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 1:01 pm    Post subject: My Flexible Thin Solar Panel Setup Reply with quote

OK Here's my very Flexible Thin Solar Setup.

I originally wanted something for the Luggage Compartment, but didn't want to limit my usage of the Cargo compartment or restrict the solar panel to limited sun availability..

1st off like so many of you I wanted to have some Solar Recharge capabilities for extended staying power..

2nd... I did not want a fixed fasten Solar Panel on my roof. But Rather one to have once at Camp or when so wished..
I also did not want to drill Holes through my Roof, or have to deal with how or where to penetrate through the Van for wiring access.

3rd I wanted something that could provide Solar recharge while also being portable and with out the size or weight.. And one that could be stowed and stored easily..

So here's what I came up with..

It is a 100watt Flexible Renogy Solar Panel..

Actually I should word that extremely portable and flexible.. Like 360 degree's portable easily mobile enough to catch some rays regardless how you park or where the suns at without having to reposition your Van.

This Baby only weighs about 3lbs and feels much lighter, size of 43L x 21 x less then a 1\4" thick.

These Panels are the type you'd find on sail boats etc so they also hold up well to the elements, plus they will conform to curved shapes. They also claim that they can be stepped on gently with soft sole shoes.

fleabay example, but I bought mine directly from Renogy, think price was about the same from both listings.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/301163158004?_trksid=p2060778.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Before I purchased the Flex Panel, I purchased the standard 100watt glass solar panel from Renogy.. But soon as I unpacked it I realized it wasn't going to meet my long term expectations. See attached side by Side pics.

Wiring from Panel to Charge controller is 12gauge. I wired two input locations. One near the drivers door maybe 4' long. and A 15' tail at the rear hatch for more remote panel locations. I also made up an approx 20' extension lead with what was left from the 50' roll I purchased so if need be I can place the panel in more sunlight providing me about 35'+ distance away from the Van.. All connectors are the 2prong 12g battery tender type. The 12 gauge wire used is 12/2 soft stranded copper landscaping wire, it is intended for outdoor use, and is UV tolerant. It's very flexible.

wiring items from Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00378K8Z4/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

connectors
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006ZOGYUU/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Fuse Holders X2
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003EEV1YS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


From the testing I have done it seems to be operating great. Although a side by side comparison between the two 100W Renogy Panels the flex, and the fixed glass, the fixed glass panel seems to provide slightly more amps quicker. But's that's a very hard test to perform as changing cloud cover affects results rather quickly. But both Panels are rated the same..

I've got a feeling this might catch on..

Best 2 You..
Jay



OK here's some pixs..

two different Renogy 100watt Panels.. This topic covers the Flex one.

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The Cloud Conditions
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The Panel doing it's job wherever you want to capture the Sun..
Can you say truly mobile?

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The Charge Results.. Green is DC Volts coming from the Panel

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Whoops the wildlife getting a charge out of it too
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Nothing to be stolen off your roof, or roof obstruction garage safe, etc, etc

Safely Stowed away never know it's there and not in the way of a thing..
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Very Happy


Last edited by DubNuts on Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:48 am; edited 5 times in total
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ThankYouJerry
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was just looking at that exact panel the other day thinking, hmmmm… this could be really good. Thanks for your write up!
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gears
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes .. sounds pretty ideal for my needs, too.
Thanks x2
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singler3360
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great post. I really like all the different locations you show it in. Have you thought of a way to secure it on the outside in power generation mode while your away from the your van? Maybe a thin aluminum frame it can slide into to lock it down?
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Rodknock
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now that's the kind of solar panel I have been looking for. Too bad it is Chinese. I wonder if one of the US companies makes one like that?
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Jon_slider
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:43 am    Post subject: Re: My Flexable Luggage Rack Solar Setup Reply with quote

DubNuts wrote:
OK Here's my very Flexable Luggage Rack Solar Setup....

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


Fantastic writeup. Thanks!

Rodknock wrote:
Too bad it is Chinese.

Renogy is not Chinese, its Californian. Our Vanagons are not made in USA.
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WestyDreamer
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WoW.. Shocked

Now that's something like I've been looking for.

Why couldn't I have though of something so Versatile and Simple as this Setup..

Please keep us updated on how well it performs for you..

CooL Thanks for Posting
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TequilaSunSet
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

$5 cheaper on their website Very Happy
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Windig89
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great to see my vision in action Smile you beat me to it Razz This is exactly the setup I have planned, same panel, controller, storage location, its like you read my mind!

For the storage on the top bunk, It would be annoying to have to move it during quick overnighters (walmart campouts) another shuffle shuffle item the Westy is so notoriously known for.. I'm thinking it could be secured to the inside of the poptop with your little hooks, so when the lid goes up, the panel goes with it out of the way of the bed?

I think this is the most versatile setup, most future solar folks will likely follow suit...

Good work.
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dobryan
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like it but would want a way to keep it in place while driving and while parked without having to set it up each time.
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Windig89
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

singler3360 wrote:
Great post. I really like all the different locations you show it in. Have you thought of a way to secure it on the outside in power generation mode while your away from the your van? Maybe a thin aluminum frame it can slide into to lock it down?


I was thinking about this too, maybe worried too much. at 200bux for a panel im thinking to myself that maybe its cheap enough now to just replace it. You can go nuts locking this and that up, it has become an obsession for me lately adds stress to life Sad at some point I think we need to trade off cutting losses once in awhile v.s. all the anxiety and time spent locking everything down.

On the other hand, Dakine makes neat little snowboard cable locks that are super compact and easy to use Smile probably the best bet up in the luggage rack strapped to the cargo eyelets while away from camp.
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Windig89
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dobryan wrote:
I like it but would want a way to keep it in place while driving and while parked without having to set it up each time.


This is the setup for you then :

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=7155904&highlight=#7155904

Its a close 2nd for me over Dubnuts.
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Hodakaguy
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dobryan wrote:
I like it but would want a way to keep it in place while driving and while parked without having to set it up each time.


Same panels, permanently attached: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5...;start=480

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Hodakaguy
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ThankYouJerry
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hodakaguy wrote:

Same panels, permanently attached: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5...;start=480

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Hodakaguy


Why so many panels? How many batteries and appliances do you have? More efficient in cloudy weather for sure.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I must have this... and I am still jobless... but I could be saying...

I live in a SOLAR POWERED VAN down by the river... Very Happy
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VwDubber
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been thinking of going Solar but don't want to hard mount a panel to my poptop.

Also concerned about garage clearance I'm currently just about squeezing under the overhead door so can't mount anything on my roof..

I have searched this Forum for months now for an acceptable Solar Setup.

This guys setup looks to be about the Best One I've seen that will suit my needs while also providing portable versatile Solar Power.

Anyone else try this setup yet?
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benandmj
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got almost the identical set up. Takes just a second to deploy. The versatility is great.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was looking at these for my new build. If you mounted them perimently to the Westy top, do you think 3 of them would fit up there?
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did you see the photos above with 3 panels mounted?
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 2:14 pm    Post subject: SOLAR FLEXIBLE PANELS Reply with quote

This is the setup that I have been recommending to folks who have bought hightops and want to add solar.
'My favourite is to park the van facing east, then drape the panel from racking down to hang over my awning.
If you can get it draped at an angle so that it is at right angles to the sun (at noon) you'll be getting maximum output from the panel at noon.

JC
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