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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey everyone,
I'm back with a version 2.0 of hood solar. Lensun has been paying attention to the application of it's flexible solar panels on the hood of our off-road rigs and is in the process of releasing vehicle specific flexible solar hood panels in 2020. I don't have any affiliation with them other than being a consumer and one of the early adopters of this application (see my 80W Lensun thread here). I have been in contact with Lensun via IG over the past few months helping them with dimensions and fitment questions, thus allowing me to get the first unit produced. Early bird pricing is USD $349.

I still need to remove my old version as well as perform a few electrical management system upgrades from Redarc and PowerTrays this summer before installing this new FJ specific panel. Getting excited though!

Here is a recap of the new custom Lensun solar panel improvements...
1) New 120w panel takes up the roughly the same hood space as the current 80w
2) Custom contoured to the shape of the FJ hood
3) Trim guard comes pre-installed around panel edges
4) No metal eyelets at the corners of the panel

1121683


1121682
 

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Let us know how it fits and works. I'm in for a group buy.
 

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Certainly the custom-fit looks great.

However, help me understand the benefits of a hood-mounted PV array.

When the engine is running, you have no need for PV power.

When the engine is not running, PV power would be useful for keeping a fridge running, or maintaining starting or house batteries.

However, when I'm parked with fridge running, I always try to park in the shade, which would seriously degrade output from a hood-mounted PV array. On the other hand, a "portable" PV array on some kind of a stand, with a 30' cable, would provide some benefits (always in the sun, easily adjusted for azimuth and elevation to keep it pointed directly at the sun while the vehicle is shaded, etc.). Drawbacks would be some place to store the panel, stand, and cable when not in use, theft, etc.

Drawbacks of the hood mounted PV array would be its "fixed" orientation, with peak efficiency only when the sun was directly overhead. At lower solar angles, efficiency would drop off substantially. Benefits would be that once it's permanently mounted, no need to ever touch it, just harvest solar power continuously.

Do you have the capability to make some power (or current measurements) that would compare power output of the Lensun panel with the sun directly overhead, vs at other angles during the day?

Have you been able to confirm 120W output under "best case" conditions?
 

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That’s my hood mounted 80w lensun panel, ran my 50qt ARB in the truck all summer.
That's useful info ... where are you geographically located?
For those four days, what were the conditions?
FJ parked in direct sun all day, no shadowing from trees or buildings?
Weather was dead clear, occasional clouds, heavy overcast, or ??
I can't find any info on the "SmartSolar HQ1746MFDHI". Is this a charge controller, an app, or ??
 

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That's useful info ... where are you geographically located?
For those four days, what were the conditions?
FJ parked in direct sun all day, no shadowing from trees or buildings?
Weather was dead clear, occasional clouds, heavy overcast, or ??
I can't find any info on the "SmartSolar HQ1746MFDHI". Is this a charge controller, an app, or ??
It’s a VictronConnect Bluetooth connected MPPT charge controller. Was a sunny/partly cloudy week in middle TN parked in an open parking lot from sun up to sun down at the golf coarse I was working for.
 

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It’s a VictronConnect Bluetooth connected MPPT charge controller. Was a sunny/partly cloudy week in middle TN parked in an open parking lot from sun up to sun down at the golf coarse I was working for.
Thanks, that helps put everything into perspective.

Sunup until sundown with no shadowing is just about the best possible case as far as sky exposure.

Are you running an AGM battery, and does the Victron controller allow selection of maximum battery charging voltage?

And were those data collected with the fridge running continuously, or just charging the battery?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
@FJtest it appears that @2.ooohhh answered your questions very thoroughly :) Thanks!

Yes, this panel keeps my AGM dual batteries topped off as well as allowing me to keep my ARB 50QT fridge running year round. We live in CO and do plenty of trips to Moab so camping in the shade is not usually an option (enter AluCab Shadow Awning). I also can no longer fit in my garage so in the summer when the FJ sits on the driveway it keeps everything juiced up. If we find ourselves camping in the shade, I also have a solar pigtail in the grill to allow me to plug in a portable panel and move it / angle it in the sun.

Honestly the hood solar is nice to have (especially since it's cheaper that a dual battery system) because the area is empty space anyway. If you don't mind the looks then put the hood to good use :)

John
 

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Discussion Starter #16
And were those data collected with the fridge running continuously, or just charging the battery?
The ARB fridge doesn't run continuously, it cycles on and off at about a +/- 3 degree swing. The question is what the fridge temp was set at during these days? If you don't own an ARB fridge, it's good to call out that 27-29 degrees is what most people set the fridge at to mimic a household fridge temp.
 

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Thanks, that helps put everything into perspective.

Sunup until sundown with no shadowing is just about the best possible case as far as sky exposure.

Are you running an AGM battery, and does the Victron controller allow selection of maximum battery charging voltage?

And were those data collected with the fridge running continuously, or just charging the battery?

The fridge was hooked up and running from day 3 post solar install until I pulled the equipment before listing the FJ for sale. It was just shy of 3 years of continuous use.

The victron 75/10 allowed full manual control of the charging profile of my single X2 Power AGM battery. This is what I set the profile up to:”NorthStar recommends 14.8v for the bulk rate, 14.2v for the absorption rate and 13.6v at the float stage.” And that came from a technical discussion with the battery’s manufacturer.

On the load side, I could cut power output at any particular voltage on the 75/10 to protect my battery and starting ability. From my logging of the the fridge temp and power output at the time it never cut the output in my system and my fridge never got above 38 degrees.



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The setup on the FJ worked so well I revised it slightly and moved it to my next vehicle. The Land Rover has 120w(2x60) of solar on the hood. This go round I direct surface mounted the panels, with all wiring hidden under the hood. Same controller and fridge but I have a tough more free overhead on overcast days.





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I was wondering what is the best method for attaching the panel to the hood?
 

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I was wondering what is the best method for attaching the panel to the hood?
On the FJ I applied matte black vinyl and used 3m adhesive tape to adhere the panel to it.

For a more flush mount on the LR I utilized RTV silicone sealant around the edges to adhere the panels directly to the hood. The LR is a cheap project vehicle with bad paint, so far less to loose than experimenting with that on the FJ. It turned out REALLY well, but I doubt most FJ owners want to drill through their hoods, with the aluminum hood of the LR and replacement hoods being readily available in the junkyards I just took a hole saw to it. :)




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