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Old 04-08-2015, 09:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Flexible Solar Panels

Worthwhile?

Amazon.com : Renogy® 100W Monocrystalline Bendable Solar Panel : Patio, Lawn & Garden

I've always wanted to do an alternator delete or at least a manual cutoff. I was wondering how well this panel would help compensate in the case of the alternator being turned off.


Last edited by mikeyjd; 04-08-2015 at 10:00 AM..
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Old 04-08-2015, 09:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'd say it is IF you're strapping it to an electric car. Otherwise, no.
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Old 04-08-2015, 09:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Whether it's worthwhile depends on what you want it to do. If you're looking for a means to make your alternator delete project a nearly transparent transformation, this could do it.

It delivers over 5 amps at full sun, if you don't cover a lot of distance in your daily commute this could replace what you take out of the battery. Keep a weather eye on your battery's SOC and you're golden.

Add a fillet of caulk or something at the leading and trailing edges to minimize what it does to your aero performance.

The "30 degrees maximum bend" isn't as useful a specification, in my opinion, as a radius. Still, it's more than flexible enough to conform to something like the roof or hood of your car.
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Old 04-08-2015, 09:57 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elhigh View Post
Whether it's worthwhile depends on what you want it to do. If you're looking for a means to make your alternator delete project a nearly transparent transformation, this could do it.

It delivers over 5 amps at full sun, if you don't cover a lot of distance in your daily commute this could replace what you take out of the battery. Keep a weather eye on your battery's SOC and you're golden.

Add a fillet of caulk or something at the leading and trailing edges to minimize what it does to your aero performance.

The "30 degrees maximum bend" isn't as useful a specification, in my opinion, as a radius. Still, it's more than flexible enough to conform to something like the roof or hood of your car.
Thanks. I guess I should have given more specific criteria in my original question. That is what I was wondering about. I'm curious how well it would keep up on a sunny day if I installed a manual alternator toggle switch to control charging. If I was able to save 5% on fuel it would take roughly 3-4 years to break even on the modification. But it would also free up horse power for towing and acceleration making the driving experience more enjoyable, while allowing me to squeeze more mpg for the fun of it.
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Old 04-08-2015, 07:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Supposedly these new flexi panels were supposed to become half the price of regular panels because they are more efficient and require less materials.

Hmm, too bad I would like a pair on the ZX40 but they do not have enough voltage.

Ah well.
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Old 04-08-2015, 09:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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These are older tech panels with aluminium backing, they only bend in one direction. They also transfer a LOT of heat to the paint, steel and onto the car interior (depending on insulation). This may ruin nice shiney paint in time.

At best, you're likely to see 2A from one of these panels in full summer midday sun (depending on your latitude). The effect is about the same as switching the radio off.

Mounted on a car roof these panels get very hot and their efficiency drops, they really need and airgap to keep them cool. I currently have a 100mm (4") airgap under my panel and a heatsink setup underneath to keep the panel cooler. With the original 10-12mm air gap I found the underside of the roof got unacceptably hot, and running that A/C to compensate won't exactly help economy.

Can I see any gains from the panel? Not remotely. It does let me EOC knowing that as soon as I park it, the battery will be recharged to full within 15mins on a sunny day or half an hour or so when it's cloudy. I have one of the newer plastic backed panels that claims 22% efficiency, and an MPPT controller.
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldtamiyaphile View Post
These are older tech panels with aluminium backing, they only bend in one direction. They also transfer a LOT of heat to the paint, steel and onto the car interior (depending on insulation). This may ruin nice shiney paint in time.

At best, you're likely to see 2A from one of these panels in full summer midday sun (depending on your latitude). The effect is about the same as switching the radio off.

Mounted on a car roof these panels get very hot and their efficiency drops, they really need and airgap to keep them cool. I currently have a 100mm (4") airgap under my panel and a heatsink setup underneath to keep the panel cooler. With the original 10-12mm air gap I found the underside of the roof got unacceptably hot, and running that A/C to compensate won't exactly help economy.

Can I see any gains from the panel? Not remotely. It does let me EOC knowing that as soon as I park it, the battery will be recharged to full within 15mins on a sunny day or half an hour or so when it's cloudy. I have one of the newer plastic backed panels that claims 22% efficiency, and an MPPT controller.
Good info. It sounds like there are issues that make it less than worthwhile for my puroses at this point. Thanks for the input guys.

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