Life on the Open Road (April 2006 - May 2008)

The continuing saga of a single fulltime RVer who travels the western US. This is part one of my journey, from April 2006, when the blog started, to May 2008, when the blog continues at

My Photo

I have been a full-time RVer for 18 years, primarily "boondocking," camping free without hookups, in the Western US. I am connected electronically with the world via satellite TV, phone and internet. My batteries are charged solely by solar panels. I welcome your comments and emails.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Brilliant Invention

Boondockers know that it pays to tilt your solar panels during the winter months. For most, this means a burdensome and dangerous trip up to the roof.

Our friend, Ron, decided to invent a way to raise and lower panels from the ground. To see the video, click on the black triangle.

He purchased gas struts from The Gambler in Quartzsite, but they can also be found at auto supply stores.

The springed latch is made for a screen door, and was purchased at Ace Hardware.

Ron is a very clever guy who regularly "tweaks" his rig for greater efficiency.


Blogger Lew & Jan Johns said...

Man, is that COOL!! Simple too.


4:27 AM  
Blogger Lew & Jan Johns said...

Your post reminded me of something. As I figured it, Solar Insolation follows a "3-5-7" rule. That is, a Panel which produces 7A flat in Summertime at 45DegLat will produce 3A flat in Winter at 33DegLat and will produce 5A if tilted. I notice you two sometimes Tilt a little (Heh, heh). Seem right in your experience??


12:02 PM  
Anonymous roamingbarbara said...

What a smart guy! Cute too.

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Corrie Clay said...

Way to go Ron! You should patent that.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Randy & Diana said...

Interesting stats, Lew. Don't know whether they're true, but seems about right. We think the amps double in the winter when the panel is raised.

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Green Energy said...

Good job on the engineering of that solar panel being able to go up and down. We have four 130's on the roof of the RV. I hate climbing up to the roof to angle the panels.

I have a question...I have looked and looked but I cannot find a simple construction that will allow the panel to tract the sun during the day. Have you?

I am surprised that no one sells a unit that can tilt and rotate the panel at an affordable price.

5:59 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home