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I've been kicking around the idea of mounting a set of these on a roof rack and running the wire down through the moonroof to power some accessories while camping or tailgaiting.

Anybody try something similar? How'd it go?
 

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Not a bad idea. You may want to look into an extra battery to connect the larger panels to. This way you have a working battery and a starting battery. You would probably do best with a deep cycle marine battery for the solar system.

The solar panels work best facing the sun so sitting flat on the roof may not provide the best angle. If you would need to adjust the angles of the panels during the day to get max power.

I have looked into some smaller ones for my boat that would just keep a slight trickle charge on the battery during the day to give me a little more stereo run time while we float in a cove.

That set you have linked to is a good price.
 

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That's not a bad price, really. $5/watt is more or less considered the baseline cost for bare panels without all the support gear. A quick Google found the same kit elsewhere for up to $100 more.

I do, however, need to caution folks about energy saver items at Costco. Sometimes their deals aren't so hot, so don't succumb to the "sounds good!" for rarely-purchased items you don't have a reference for from somewhere else. The local Costco has been featuring a no-name solar-powered attic vent fan for $300, while the Home Depot down the street has a higher-capacity solar unit from a known brand name (GAF) for $195.
 

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Good advice on that Mike. The solar market is quite flooded right now with everything from junk to high end performance and knowing what you are buying before hand is important.
 

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Also the DC to AC inverter that kit comes with is most likely a modified
sine wave inverter. There cheaper that true sine wave inverters but,
the drawback is the output of a modified sine wave inverter is noisier.
They will work, but you'll most likely see and hear noise in audio video
equipment.

See link for more info.
http://blog.outsidesupply.com/inverters/customer-inverter-questions/power-inverters-true-sine-wave-versus-modified-sine-wave.html

If every thing that plan to operate off of the solar panels is DC operated,
then there is nothing to worry about.
 

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did you ever get this done. I am thinking about doing the same thing to my element to run an 15 monitor and and xbox 360. im planning on putting two batteries in back of the rear seats to give me an battery bank.
 

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Ever seen this solar panel kit? I think adding something like this to an unused roof rack might be just the thing,(minus the angled metal frame). The most effective batteries to charge are deep cycle AGM batteries like these They will hold charges longer, are sealed and overall store energy more efficiently than lead-acid systems. I might be developing power systems for remote locations in Africa based on the acquisition of a grant should it be approved. Really could be a wild project!
 

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I was thinking of buying a used sunroof from Ursa Minor and removing the tented glass
from it and install clear glass. Then mount or build from scratch a solar panel in it. I
can tap into the power line that feeds the rear dome light. If I use quick disconnect
plugs I can always switch back to my old tented sunroof when I don’t need the solar panel.
I tride testing a solar panel under the tented glass and it didn't work verry well.
 

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I was thinking of buying a used sunroof from Ursa Minor and removing the tented glass
from it and install clear glass. Then mount or build from scratch a solar panel in it. I
can tap into the power line that feeds the rear dome light. If I use quick disconnect
plugs I can always switch back to my old tented sunroof when I don’t need the solar panel.
I tride testing a solar panel under the tented glass and it didn't work verry well.
Not sure how you might find a perfect fit of the solar panel, and the tinted glass in the rear sunroof is not flat either. I would seriously look at adding them externally maybe suspended under the roof rack, not touching the surface of the roof, and allowing the rack to still have something on top of it....

Thanks for the pdf link desinia!
 

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I got the folding 65watt panel from Ursa Minor with my Ecamper and I have been plugging it into the dash 12v instead of the one I had installed at the front bumper to charge my car battery. If it is receiving enough power it will turn the stereo on automatically. I found this out by accident by mounting it in my front window inside as to not have it stolen to charge the car battery while I rode my bike and the stereo started playing immediately. So now when I am at camp I just plug it into my dash 12v blast the stereo and run a converter off the back 12v to charge my other gear. If the sun goes it all just turns off no dead battery to worry about. This may all change once I finally get a deep cycle battery in the car. Anyway just thought I would pass the info on.
 

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Hey!!! That is awesome info on the aux power port and a solar panel to run the stereo!!!

That gives me some ideas.:grin:
 

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solar panels?

anyone use solar panels when they're out and about? i'm curious how much wattage could recharge a car battery during the day... or maybe run a few fans, charge a few phones
 

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A really nice, brand name panel, like the ones that your state DOT uses for their signs are pretty expensive and make about 80watts at 14.4 volts, peak. Key here is peak. In order to get all that you have to have "peak" conditions, like clear day, perfect alignment to the sun, etc. Also, those panels are rather large at like 2'x4'. As you get smaller the output gets smaller, etc.

I have some experience in solar panel for remote locations as I used to have a shed and I thought it would be awesome to make it solar powered. I sold it all and just bought a generator, converted it to propane, and just used that as my one fuel source. I say this as going solar for any real use is kinda pricey, even now.

My suggestion would be to get a secondary battery and a dual battery charger/controller. The controller will charge each battery to full and keep one on for the car and maintain the other. Then, you use the other one to power your toys for a camping trip. If you plan on going for relatively short excursions, like weekends, or long weekends, you could get away with a high-power, car battery, as the secondary to power your goodies. You could go with a marine/deep-cycle battery, but, those are expensive, heavy, and bulky. I would not use those unless you are going for like weeks at a time and you need a lot of power as well.

Just my 2 cents from someone who has traveled down the expensive, solar-road, before. ;)
 

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A really nice, brand name panel, like the ones that your state DOT uses for their signs are pretty expensive and make about 80watts at 14.4 volts, peak. Key here is peak. In order to get all that you have to have "peak" conditions, like clear day, perfect alignment to the sun, etc. Also, those panels are rather large at like 2'x4'. As you get smaller the output gets smaller, etc.

I have some experience in solar panel for remote locations as I used to have a shed and I thought it would be awesome to make it solar powered. I sold it all and just bought a generator, converted it to propane, and just used that as my one fuel source. I say this as going solar for any real use is kinda pricey, even now.

My suggestion would be to get a secondary battery and a dual battery charger/controller. The controller will charge each battery to full and keep one on for the car and maintain the other. Then, you use the other one to power your toys for a camping trip. If you plan on going for relatively short excursions, like weekends, or long weekends, you could get away with a high-power, car battery, as the secondary to power your goodies. You could go with a marine/deep-cycle battery, but, those are expensive, heavy, and bulky. I would not use those unless you are going for like weeks at a time and you need a lot of power as well.

Just my 2 cents from someone who has traveled down the expensive, solar-road, before. ;)
thanks.... its more for a week long once a year deal, where for 4 days there's almost no where to plug in at all... a group of 10 needs to charge phones, plug in a radio and a couple of fans at night, maybe even run a misting tent... i'm not sure if where i'm going will let me bring in a generator, although i've seen them there... woudl not want to be turned away for having one
 

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thanks.... its more for a week long once a year deal, where for 4 days there's almost no where to plug in at all... a group of 10 needs to charge phones, plug in a radio and a couple of fans at night, maybe even run a misting tent... i'm not sure if where i'm going will let me bring in a generator, although i've seen them there... woudl not want to be turned away for having one
sounds like you're going to burning man :D
 

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Not a bad idea. You may want to look into an extra battery to connect the larger panels to. This way you have a working battery and a starting battery. You would probably do best with a deep cycle marine battery for the solar system.

The solar panels work best facing the sun so sitting flat on the roof may not provide the best angle. If you would need to adjust the angles of the panels during the day to get max power.

I have looked into some smaller ones for my boat that would just keep a slight trickle charge on the battery during the day to give me a little more stereo run time while we float in a cove.

That set you have linked to is a good price.
hello I know thread is old but it seems like very effective idea.. I have got large battery for my home and will now to install some large panels
 

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Not a bad idea. You may want to look into an extra battery to connect the larger solar panel to. This way you have a working battery and a starting battery. You would probably do best with a deep cycle marine battery for the solar system.

The solar panels work best facing the sun so sitting flat on the roof may not provide the best angle. If you would need to adjust the angles of the panels during the day to get max power.

I have looked into some smaller ones for my boat that would just keep a slight trickle charge on the battery during the day to give me a little more stereo run time while we float in a cove.

That set you have linked to is a good price.
hello I know thread is old but it seems like very effective idea.. I have got large battery for my home and will now to install some large panels
Got the panels will install them tomorrow.
 

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How did this turn out? What parts did you end up using? I want to do this and mount to our Thule racks.
 
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