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Thread: Anyone do a successful solar panel install (5W+)? Thin strip across windsheild?

  1. #21
    Who am I? HiJackZX1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldSpark View Post
    And low voltage cutouts cost a mere $20 (eg the MW-728)....
    Or maybe I am mis understanding. I am guessing though it wouldnt be very cost effective. I was thinking maybe the panels can be applied then maybe have a clear coat painted over them for protection. I am not sure if it is doable.

    As for the battery thing, I agree with Tripzero. I think in the end its better to just add a bigger alternator. If you have a alternator is pumping out more power then the PC uses in that short time, then it should hold a charge. In my example, my setup couldnt run on the 135 amp alt I have. I am now going to upgrade to a 260 amp alternator that puts out 200 amps at idle. I shouldnt have to worry about killing any battery with that.

    As pointed out by nobb, yes that will not be reversiable. Some people, including myself, actually love our cars. I plan to keep this one till it dies and cant be brought back to life. In the beggining I was the same way with keeping the car reversible, but in the end it screwed up my dreams of a car pc. I literally wanted to make my car my own, with its own personal touches.
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  2. #22
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    what about a solar panel roof rack? while it is a little more obtrusive, it might fit most of the requirements a little better, assuming that they make them for your car.

    i tend to agree though-- i like to keep the option of being able to return to a stock appearance-- because modified cars don't sell very well...

  3. #23
    Who am I? HiJackZX1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundman98 View Post
    what about a solar panel roof rack? while it is a little more obtrusive, it might fit most of the requirements a little better, assuming that they make them for your car.

    i tend to agree though-- i like to keep the option of being able to return to a stock appearance-- because modified cars don't sell very well...
    I roof rack would work. If people with SUVs can put those god awful Direct TV systems on the top, then they could easily have something like that.
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  4. #24
    Raw Wave
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZX1Cruizer
    Or maybe I am mis understanding. I am guessing though it wouldnt be very cost effective
    You are saying that after quoting my "And low voltage cutouts cost a mere $20 (eg the MW-728)"...??
    To clarify - The MW-728 is very cost effective. It is a low voltage cutout to protect the battery being loaded - aka a battery protector.
    It is not a device that removes panels when they output a low voltage....


    But the other info i that reply is confusing too (sorry ZX1 - maybe it's me..., but eg "If you have a alternator is pumping out more power then the PC uses in that short time, then it should hold a charge." - if your 135A alternator isn't running your stuff, find out why rather than upgrading... are you really running over 1000W or 1500W of load, or just a lot of idling?)

    If an standard alternator can't handle a car PC, then I'd start replacing its valve circuitry with a modern intel chips etc.
    A modern alternator should even handle 300W PC unless it is on a lot whilst the engine is doing only low ROM (idling etc).

    But alternator size is very different to battery reserve.
    A bigger alternator will NOT increase how long a battery lasts.
    It may alter how fast the battery recharges, but that doesn't take long - at least in normal use where only the cranking power is replaced.
    For discharged batteries, you need to look at the battery's recommended charging... too fast and it'll damage the battery. AGMs can take much higher recharge current than wet cells.

    But don't confuse a big alternator with overcharging....
    Except where current limiting needs to apply, a 250A alternator will do no more damage than a 25A alternator - they should both be regulating to somewhere between 13.8-14.4V and that voltage determines the charge rate (and extent).


    BTW - Solar panels have tough clear protection that is supposed to be hail proof and scratch resistant.

  5. #25
    FLAC
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    My panel came in. So just to re-iterate, it is a 6W panel designed for 12V systems made from polycrystalline cells (14.8% efficient). Unfortunately it arrived damaged and the tempered glass is shattered. The cells appear to be laminated with the glass, so I cant separate the cells from the glass. Luckily, it still appears to work but I probably wont be installing it.

    I did do some tests though. Typical, 10:30am Calgary morning. Average amount of sun, clear skies. Inside my car, behind normal un-tinted glass I am getting 18.5V @ 0.40 amps (short circuited). Behind my 5% limo tint, Im getting 17.5V @ 0.2 amps. So we can assume that efficiency has been cut in half (voltage hasnt dropped much). However, this is somewhat good news since I was expecting my limo tint to completely render any solar panels behind it useless. Ill have to do more tests in varying sunlight conditions to be sure though.

    Im thinking maybe Ill just pick up a 15W panel such as this:
    http://www.sunflexsolar.com/product/...-free-shipping

    It will be less efficient and more $$ installing it behind tint, but atleast Ill have more area to work with and this seems more practical. Besides, I only really need 3W from it to power the surveillance system. The rest can go to trickle charging my battery.

    Id be curious to see other tests of solar panel efficiency behind tint just to confirm my results.

  6. #26
    Raw Wave
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    Your results are probably typical depending on tint & UV/IR transmission (you can have the same tint but with different UV or IR coefficients).

    Keep in mind what I said before efficiency with the sun 3-degrees off normal can be down by 5%; 5-degrees by 20%... - there are lots of ways of reducing panel output - angle, dirt, glass, temperature.

  7. #27
    FLAC
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    I dont suppose anyone knows of a good source to find info on the different types of solar panels and what light frequencies they work best at? That would be something good to consider for my future vehicle and the type of tint I want to choose.

  8. #28
    The Last Good Gremlin GizmoQ's Avatar
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    Just outta curiosity why hasn't anybody mentioned two strips from the front to the back windshields along the driver and passenger's sides, laminated to the metal for ground and sealed with clearcoat. My car has a perfect indentation right there begging for solar panels. The curvature of the roof would facilitate optimal exposure at almost every angle. Outside eliminates the tint issue.

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