Seeing JakeM’s elegant solar panel integration reminded me to post photos of the recent installation on our demo model.
I tracked down a 50-watt panel, and Dillon fabricated a simple wooden mount for it, complete with aerodynamic fairings at the front and back. It’s bolted to the roof racks.
The power cable is led through the galley hatch using a waterproof gasket widget, commonly used in boats. (Of course.) There’s a small 5-amp charge controller mounted in the galley module to protect the battery from overcharging, and finally the cable is hooked to the 12-volt battery. It’s on and charging all the time, and it charges FAST. I suspect that to maintain sufficient voltage for lights, fans, and stereo, we’ll never have to plug in the DC charger!
The vent hatch can be opened normally and is clear of the solar panel.
We used stainless hinges as brackets to fasten the panel to the crossbars, as it’s not 90 degrees.
John, We’ve just ordered our kit and I’m starting to think about the electrical system. Could you provide more details about the solar panel, charge controller, etc. I presume this is all DC. Any need for AC? This is my first foray into electrical systems.
I purchased a 120 watt rigid solar panel system from GO POWER (available through Defender Industries). The panels fold into a carry case and can be set up at any angle up to 15 ft from the teardrop which will allow the teardrop to be under a shady tree while the solar panels are in the hot sun. If I am needing to charge while under way I can either strap them to the teardrop roofracks (though I’dnrather have a kayak or two up there) or in the bed of my pickup. These panels have an integral charge regulator to protect the battery. I am still cogitatingnon the best way to get the cord into the teardrop to the battery. Am debating between a pass throung as on the prototype or some sort of hard wired plugin jack in the transom.
The connection is the same as both my charge controller and panels (I have one mobile to find sun while parked, and another permanently mounted to the toolbox for underway charging). At 40″ it is long enough to connect to the battery and to the exterior shell.