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  • solar panel as top of dashboard

    solar panels have been discussed before, but seems always to come down to "strapping it down on the roof of your little corolla would be silly."

    has anyone thought about having one as the top of their dashboard... I'll be moving to sunny san diego in a couple months and making a whole dash from scratch so this seems like a workable solution. my suv's dash layout was very straight anyway and there's plenty of space for something like the ICP Tech 30 Watt Panel, which is on sale.

    I have an extremely low power underclocked pentium M setup. sure I won't be playing multiplayer half life 2 all day on those 30 watts, but thats really a good amount of power if you think about it... especially when the car is just sitting in the sun.

    but I'd like to know what the drawbacks of doing this are other than $250 cost. a couple older posts some people say glare is horrible, others say its a solar panel it shouldnt have any glare... whats the scoop? does anyone actually have experience with these can say if they glare or not in the sun?

    would love to hear tips, thoughts, or anything else I should consider before going this route as I know nothing about solar panels.

  • #2
    Its gonna look ugly as your dash, and its probably gonna shine in your eyes or onto the oncoming cars or the car in front of you.
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    • #3
      Also, will be still be able to generate the entire 30 watts from what's left after going through any UV filtering/polarizing effects of the windshield?

      We're all there, we want to have our carputers running whenever possible... but the EPA would have conniptions if I installed an RTG in my trunk, so I'm outta luck.

      I say go for the full 100-200 watt solar setup and mount it inside one of those ski carrier pods that go on the roof. Put a servo actuator on it, and have it open up like a flower whenever you shut off the engine. THAT would be sweet.
      Chrysler 300 - Fabricating
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      • #4
        Originally posted by stapan
        solar panels have been discussed before, but seems always to come down to "strapping it down on the roof of your little corolla would be silly."

        has anyone thought about having one as the top of their dashboard... I'll be moving to sunny san diego in a couple months and making a whole dash from scratch so this seems like a workable solution. my suv's dash layout was very straight anyway and there's plenty of space for something like the ICP Tech 30 Watt Panel, which is on sale.

        I have an extremely low power underclocked pentium M setup. sure I won't be playing multiplayer half life 2 all day on those 30 watts, but thats really a good amount of power if you think about it... especially when the car is just sitting in the sun.

        but I'd like to know what the drawbacks of doing this are other than $250 cost. a couple older posts some people say glare is horrible, others say its a solar panel it shouldnt have any glare... whats the scoop? does anyone actually have experience with these can say if they glare or not in the sun?

        would love to hear tips, thoughts, or anything else I should consider before going this route as I know nothing about solar panels.

        First of all, the panels will have glare. I have seen MANY systems on roofs. I lived in the middle east for a year, and almost all of the houses and building use solar power to heat thier water. They all had glare.

        I have seen many panels on house here in SoCal, and they have glare when the sun hits them just right.

        Next, 30watts is nothing. There is no way your computer will run on 30 watts. It is just 3 amps of 12 volt power, and that is in optimal conditions. What about when it is a little shady, overcast, or just not getting full sunlight. Can you imagine having to make sure you are pointed towards the sun. The sun moves, remember (Well, the earth moves, but whatever).

        You can use the solar panels to charge a battery, and perhaps will a deep discharge battery, you can power your computer off of that. But keeping the battery charged will be tough with just 30 watts of power. Also, deep discharge batterys are very heavy.

        Why not just install a second battery in your car, and charge if from the cars Alternator. ALl you would need to do to charge it is run the engine when it gets low. Besides, you can run the engine at night, when there is no sun. You runthe engine when you drive, and you do drive at night I assume. You can even install a deep discharge battery if you like, just like you would need with a solar panel, and charge that thru the car alternator.

        Solar panels just aren't a great idea. You should keep in mind that solar energy is always used as a suplement. It is NEVER the only energy source.

        Michael
        ...I love the French language...especially to curse with...Nom de Dieu de putain de bordel de merde de saloperies de connards d'enculés de ta mère. You see, it's like wiping your *** with silk, I love it.

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        • #5
          This is part of why I've at times considered building a 'docking port' in my driveway that provides power to my car when parked. That way, if the power management circuit detects a live connection, it keeps the carputer on so I can remote admin it, sync media, etc.

          Just an idle thought at this point...
          Chrysler 300 - Fabricating
          http://hallert.net/

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Chairboy
            This is part of why I've at times considered building a 'docking port' in my driveway that provides power to my car when parked. That way, if the power management circuit detects a live connection, it keeps the carputer on so I can remote admin it, sync media, etc.

            Just an idle thought at this point...

            You should be able to run your car off of battery power for at least sometime. Maybe not hours and hours, but for at least 1/2hour or so. Is that not enough? This can be accomplished with a switch. And, if you have a PS that senses battery run down (Or you can add one) it will shut down the computer automatically when there isn't enough juice in the battery, and you don't even have to go outside to turn it off once you are in your house. You can also add some sort of indicator so that you know when the computer is left on when you are not in the car. DO this with a second battery, and you are totally hooked up.

            Michael

            Michael
            ...I love the French language...especially to curse with...Nom de Dieu de putain de bordel de merde de saloperies de connards d'enculés de ta mère. You see, it's like wiping your *** with silk, I love it.

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            • #7
              Sure, but then I don't get to do the following as part of my startup sequence:

              Reach up to the headliner of my car, flip a series of switches, and announce "switching to internal power. Detach umbilicals and cast off all moorings. One quarter reverse thrusters" (back out of the driveway) ", helm is answering manual control. Retracting umbillicals, shifting to forward thrusters" (shift to 'D')"ahead one half until clear of the outer markers"(the end of the culdesack)".... jumping to FTL in 3..2..1... JUMP!"(full throttle)

              Call me a geek. Call me a nerd. But don't claim you haven't done some small part of that in your mind. The difference is, I spelled it all out.
              Chrysler 300 - Fabricating
              http://hallert.net/

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Chairboy
                Sure, but then I don't get to do the following as part of my startup sequence:

                Reach up to the headliner of my car, flip a series of switches, and announce "switching to internal power. Detach umbilicals and cast off all moorings. One quarter reverse thrusters" (back out of the driveway) ", helm is answering manual control. Retracting umbillicals, shifting to forward thrusters" (shift to 'D')"ahead one half until clear of the outer markers"(the end of the culdesack)".... jumping to FTL in 3..2..1... JUMP!"(full throttle)

                Call me a geek. Call me a nerd. But don't claim you haven't done some small part of that in your mind. The difference is, I spelled it all out.

                That's Star Trek, right. Around STNG or DS9. Certainly not the originals.

                Michael
                ...I love the French language...especially to curse with...Nom de Dieu de putain de bordel de merde de saloperies de connards d'enculés de ta mère. You see, it's like wiping your *** with silk, I love it.

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                • #9
                  No, just my imagination. There are spaceships outside of trek, ya know.
                  Chrysler 300 - Fabricating
                  http://hallert.net/

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                  • #10
                    With the 2nd batt with just the alt is not a good idea unless u do long drives. If u are just doing short lil trips around town, u never get ur batt to its full charge, with the 30watts solor u will keep ur batt(s) to their greatest charge. Which is why im going to add a 5watt solarpanel to my 2 batt setup.
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                    • #11
                      For that price you can rebuild your alternator to generate more power and put a second battery in.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Yuriy
                        For that price you can rebuild your alternator to generate more power and put a second battery in.

                        Actually, probably for allot less then the solar panels, and it will be allot easier.

                        Michael
                        ...I love the French language...especially to curse with...Nom de Dieu de putain de bordel de merde de saloperies de connards d'enculés de ta mère. You see, it's like wiping your *** with silk, I love it.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 84RegalRider
                          With the 2nd batt with just the alt is not a good idea unless u do long drives. If u are just doing short lil trips around town, u never get ur batt to its full charge, with the 30watts solor u will keep ur batt(s) to their greatest charge. Which is why im going to add a 5watt solarpanel to my 2 batt setup.

                          That is incorrect. If that were true, then your car battery would never be at full charge if you had only small trips. I can't remember ever hearing of someone not being to start there car because they didn't take a long trip, and only drove around town. And in Florida, the old people would never be able to start there cars . The alternator is quite capable of charging a battery in a short period. Alternators put out significant current, capable of charging a battery quite nicely. Adding a second battery will not significantly increase the charging time, and the seconbd battery, being charged from the alternator, will be fine.

                          Now, unless you are driving a REGAL GNX, no talking for you

                          Michael
                          ...I love the French language...especially to curse with...Nom de Dieu de putain de bordel de merde de saloperies de connards d'enculés de ta mère. You see, it's like wiping your *** with silk, I love it.

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