Figured out a way to mount the solar panel on my Yakima Roof RackI cobbled together some extra Yakima Bar Clamps and miscellaneous hardware to make a secure attachment to my roof rack. This will provide an easy out-of-the-way place for the panel to travel and, if the car is parked in a sunny spot at the campsite, I can charge the batteries without even taking it off the roof. I found some steel bars with lots of holes - these will bolt onto the outside of the panel frame and provide a tilting mechanism if I want to angle the panel more directly towards the sun.
The Yakima quick releases give me the flexibility of taking the panel off to place it in the sunniest spot though - always an advantage when camping in the heavily treed Pac NW.
The process of getting quick connects on all the wire is not finished but progressing . . .As I read more about various solar installs that folks have done, I'm not sure my current wiring and connect solution is the best way to go - but I understand it and it works, so it will do for now.
I have short little 'pigtails' attached to the battery so that I don't have to always be fiddling with getting into the battery box and attaching wires. I have also installed similar little pigtails to the charge controller so that I can hook up either long or short runs of wire, depending on how far I have to go from the trailer to find a sunny spot for the panel.
|Battery pigtails at the top - attach to the pigtails on the charge controller|
My first attempt at a weatherproof box to contain the charge controller was a failure!The box is a little too small; the wood block that I mounted the charge controller on wouldn't glue to the bottom of the plastic box; the inner tubing that I glued to the front where the wiring would poke out wouldn't stay glued. So, I'm still thinking through what might work. Ideally, I'll have a box that will protect the charge controller and allow the wiring to easily come out of the box for use or curl back into the box for storage. I'm also thinking that out of the 'load' side of the controller, I'll install a DC plug so that I can charge some accessories directly during the day. I currently only have one DC plug inside the trailer so I'm a little limited for charging all my toys.
So, I concentrated on a couple of simpler tasks while I cogitate . . .A 15 foot security cable so that I can lock the panel to the trailer frame.
And, a mount and collapsible pole (dowels hooked together with pvc pipe connectors) for my TV antenna - for those rare occassions when there is reception from my campsite!