Installing solar on your tow vehicle... - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 03-24-2015, 02:54 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Trailer: 2005 16 ft Scamp
Posts: 294
Installing solar on your tow vehicle...

I am a single woman of limited means full timing. I studied solar for a year before I made up my mind. I have always had a major aversion to drilling holes in my fiberglass. And I am very afraid of heights.

What I decided on was to mount the solar atop the luggage rack on my tow vehicle so that the only holes drilled were through the rack itself. Also, no need to attempt climbing a latter to clean the panels. Many people told me I was wrong/crazy/not feasible, etc.

I got it done as a Christmas gift and I absolutely LOVE it! The solar panel came with an easy connect/disconnect cord of about 25' long, a charge controller and battery clamps. The connect/disconnect hangs over the side of my vehicle by about two inches, easy to reach.

With this set up, I can park my Scamp in the shade and my tow vehicle in the sun and connect and disconnect easily. Of course, your battery will not be charging while you are away, but my trips to town are minimal and the solar tends to charge my battery (for power used over night) in about an hour anyway.

Just another idea to share!
__________________

__________________
Monica M is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2015, 03:18 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Name: Darnelle
Trailer: 13 ft Scamp
Minnesota
Posts: 310
Awesome!
__________________

__________________
Darnelle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2015, 04:51 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
FRED SMAILES's Avatar
 
Name: Fred
Trailer: 13 ft Boler
Kootenay's of BC
Posts: 624
Registry
I know of several beautiful camp sites that are very shaded, this would be great option there
__________________
FRED SMAILES is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2015, 05:46 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
kirkman's Avatar
 
Name: Jason
Trailer: 2007 Eggcamper & Homemade Tear Drop
New York
Posts: 656
Registry
RV sue did the same thing. She also has two batteries in her tow vehicle that (plus the one on the camper) charge all the time. She is never with out enough power!


Sent from my iPhone using Fiberglass RV
__________________
Jason
If you think you are to small to make a difference just try sleeping with a mosquito - The Dally Lama
kirkman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2015, 06:27 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Byron Kinnaman's Avatar
 
Name: Byron
Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
Oregon
Posts: 6,307
Registry
Anne H has done the same thing. If it works for you and you're happy with it, that's all that matters.
__________________
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
Byron Kinnaman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2015, 11:19 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Timber Wolf's Avatar
 
Name: Tim
Trailer: '88 Scamp 16, layout 4
North Florida
Posts: 1,440
I have considered this also. My F-150 tow has an old camper shell on the back I do not care much about. It would be very easy to mount a couple or even three 100W panels on top of the camper shell and any holes would be easy to seal and no deal big if they did leak (a little). I also thought about adding batteries to the back of the truck so that even when gone from camp I would be charging. But this is all for "down the road" when I retire and am a-lot-of-the-time camping.
__________________
Timber Wolf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2015, 01:52 PM   #7
Member
 
Name: Linda
Trailer: Boler 17 ft
Ontario
Posts: 76
What a great idea! I am just exploring the idea of solar energy for my 1980 17 ft Boiler.
__________________
Linda Stewart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2015, 02:39 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Larry C Hanson's Avatar
 
Name: Larry H
Trailer: Trillium
Arizona
Posts: 303
Portable Solar

Hi,

Tow vehicle mounting would work well for most.
However, I like to be able to keep both tug and
trailer in the shade. There are some nice folding
panels that would make for easy setup.
In my setup I use an old 100W panel that doubles
(with a pad) as the back of my front gaucho in
the Trillium. Lately the panel has developed an
intermittent problem so will be replacing it with
a new Grape or Ecoworthy 160W panel. The
new panel is the same size but lighter for easier
handling and it will have 60W more output. I will
paint it like a flag or? to make it less attractive
to thieves. Legs are made from old crutches from
the local thrift store.

Good Luck with your installation.

Larry H
Attached Thumbnails
Panel Front.jpg   Panel Side.jpg  

Panel Back.jpg  
__________________
Larry C Hanson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2015, 05:45 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Name: Huck
Trailer: ParkLiner
Virginia
Posts: 571
I have a 100 watt flexible panel on the trailer roof and an additional "portable" 100 watt panel I set in the sun. I think I might move it to the roof of the tow. Without too much trouble, I could hook it up while traveling.

I wired with 2 y-connectors, so my rooftop panel stays connected and I can plug the portable panel in whenever I need it. I have 2 cable connectors that protrude just a few inches on the bottom of the front of the trailer where I could connect to the tow panel.

The one big drawback I see is forgetting to unplug it before driving off with just the tow!
__________________
Huck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2015, 07:21 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Borrego Dave's Avatar
 
Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
California
Posts: 2,918
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huck View Post
I have a 100 watt flexible panel on the trailer roof and an additional "portable" 100 watt panel I set in the sun. I think I might move it to the roof of the tow. Without too much trouble, I could hook it up while traveling.

I wired with 2 y-connectors, so my rooftop panel stays connected and I can plug the portable panel in whenever I need it. I have 2 cable connectors that protrude just a few inches on the bottom of the front of the trailer where I could connect to the tow panel.

The one big drawback I see is forgetting to unplug it before driving off with just the tow!
Huck, I can see that happening too. Make up a sign like a disabled parking placard and hang it on the steering wheel. I had something like that to remind myself the TV antenna was still up.
__________________
Borrego Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-25-2015, 09:25 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Name: Rick
Trailer: TBA
Wisconsin
Posts: 143
Monica, "got it done as a Christmas gift" makes me think that you had it done at a professional shop. I have envisioned this same setup for myself but can't seem to find anyone locally who have any experience with this. Can I ask where it was done and how much they charged? Also how much was parts and how much was labor?
__________________
Badger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2015, 12:03 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
Trailer: 2005 16 ft Scamp
Posts: 294
Quote:
Originally Posted by Badger View Post
Monica, "got it done as a Christmas gift" makes me think that you had it done at a professional shop. I have envisioned this same setup for myself but can't seem to find anyone locally who have any experience with this. Can I ask where it was done and how much they charged? Also how much was parts and how much was labor?
Actually, the panels and installation were done as a Christmas gift by my loving man back home. He is very handy! I wish I could post pics, but no way to do it at this time.

He used four square shaped pipes (they are hollow, stainless steel, 1" sq.). He welded them together in a # shape, painted them black. He capped the ends with rubber "plugs". He then bolted the panels (I think he got them at Harbor Freight) to the #, then the # to the luggage rack on my truck. He used special nuts for the bolts. I think they have silicone or something inside that keeps them tight. All nuts/bolts are stainless steel. The nuts/bolts that came with the panels are NOT stainless steel.

Once the # was made and he had bought all the supplies, it took us about two hours to attach the panels and then attach it to the truck. Good luck!
__________________
Monica M is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2015, 12:07 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Trailer: 2005 16 ft Scamp
Posts: 294
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huck View Post
I have a 100 watt flexible panel on the trailer roof and an additional "portable" 100 watt panel I set in the sun. I think I might move it to the roof of the tow. Without too much trouble, I could hook it up while traveling.

I wired with 2 y-connectors, so my rooftop panel stays connected and I can plug the portable panel in whenever I need it. I have 2 cable connectors that protrude just a few inches on the bottom of the front of the trailer where I could connect to the tow panel.

The one big drawback I see is forgetting to unplug it before driving off with just the tow!
I was a bit worried about that myself. I made a rule never to go to the truck, even to load something before leaving, without detaching the cord. So far so good, seems to have become a habit quite quickly. Only once did I forget to plug it in when I returned home.
__________________
Monica M is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2015, 12:25 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Trailer: 2005 16 ft Scamp
Posts: 294
This is the solar he got me.

Solar Panel Kit - Save on this 45 Watt Solar Panel Kit

I did NOT want to try and haul all that around. In the trailer, out of the trailer. We gave away the stand. Comes with controller and two LED lights that I attached to my awning brackets to use for outdoor light.

The panels are a bit heavy, but look very sleek on my SUV. I have only the one battery, which is plenty for my way of life. (No TV or anything, don't use much power. I use a headlamp instead of my lights inside at night).

This is the tubing, they make the rubber plugs for the ends.
VALUE BRAND Sq Tube, 304SS, 1/2 OD Sq x 3/8 ID Sq, 6 ft 4YUJ3 - G3035462 at Zoro

It looks so sleek that none of my friends noticed anything was different about my SUV!
__________________

__________________
Monica M is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
solar


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
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


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Anyone Put Solar Panel on Tow Vehicle? Huck Electrical | Charging, Systems, Solar and Generators 3 06-09-2014 03:57 PM
Solar Panels on Roof of Tow Vehicle rvsue Modifications, Alterations and Updates 17 02-11-2013 03:02 PM
Tow Vehicle power to solar controller? dylanear Modifications, Alterations and Updates 1 07-28-2012 06:23 PM
Your next tow vehicle? Byron Kinnaman General Chat 1 10-02-2007 09:08 PM
Is YOUR tow vehicle too small? Roger H General Chat 4 09-19-2007 07:25 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:39 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.