How We Mounted Solar Panels Onto Our 1988 Toyota Sunrader

Last weekend we mounted the second set of our six solar panels to the roof of our RV. So, now our home reminds me of that car in the movie Honey, I Blew Up the Kid:

honeyishrunk

Dude was ahead of his time.

Not that that’s a bad thing. It feels good to get our electricity from the sun. Like we are really reducing our carbon footprint.

We decided to make a video out of the process in case anyone out there might find it useful. A video like this certainly would have been useful for us and would have saved us a lot of time! After a failed attempt at mounting the solar panels using long pieces of wood (not sure what we were thinking), my husband, John, did some reading online and found a much better way to do it. In the video we demonstrate this method.

Keep in mind, our solar panels do not tilt… yet. When we figure that out, we will definitely update. We needed to have solar panels STAT though, because we were running out of time before move in day into the RV. So, for now, they are just up there laying flat.

We are pretty frugal people, my husband more than I am, and cost was definitely something that my husband took into consideration when he purchased all the materials and especially in choosing solar panels. Our solar panels, like many of the things that we own, are second hand and we bought them on Craigslist for  $100 total. We have 6 used Acro 55w panels (~7v~8a). Total power when bought new would have been about 330 watts, but these are about a decade old, so we expect it to be less than that. Maybe 260 watts or so. The fact that they aren’t tilted, and we don’t live at the equator also limits power. But they work, and we can charge and use all of our devices in here (not including things like blender, flat irons, and such), so it’s good for now.

Here is a list of the materials we used:

All images taken from the Home Depot website or amazon.

  1. Two 1-1/2 in. x 14 gauge x 48 in. Zinc-Plated Slotted Angles

slotted-angle

2. 1/4 inch hex bolts 

hexbolts.jpg

 

3- 1/4 inch lock nuts

locknut

4- 1/4 inch zinc plated washers

washer.jpg

5- 1/4 inch neoprene washers

neoprene

6- VHB tape

7-T hinges

thinge

 

And the video describing the process is below:

If you are new to solar panels, it’s a good idea to do some reading about them. I am linking a pretty good post below that talks about voltage, watts, and amperes. You can find a bunch of videos on Youtube that talk more about connecting solar panels in series and in parallel and what that means. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask! Any pointers are welcome too. Thanks for reading!

About watts, amps, and volts.

 

 

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