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    Solar sail

    I had this dream where I'm flying down the freeway in central Mexico on my e-cargo bike and attached to my back is a sail or wings which are made of flexible solar panels. Now I wonder and ask can this be done? How much surface area do I need? I need to go about 100 miles without a charge.

    #2
    Oh yes, it can be done!
    ​You'll need a Genasun charge controller and about 150 -300 watts of panels. Mine shown with only 100 watts deployed. I run 150 most of the time. Gives me about 2 amps charge current. Use two batteries, run on one, charge the other. I have a total capacity of 31.5Ah, and can go 75 miles WITHOUT charging. With the solar array, I have virtually unlimited range. As long as the sun is shinning!

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    • gman1971
      gman1971 commented
      Editing a comment
      nice dude!

    #3
    YES!!!
    I knew it
    Thank you!!!
    Approximate weight?
    Cruising speed?

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      #4
      Here's a new twist on the "butterfly effect" leading to more lightweight, compact concentrated systems for solar energy harvesting -- instead of hurricanes.


      Just found this. Put a butterfly on a bike.
      Dreaming on...

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        #5
        The entire solar array with charge controller weighs 8.5 pounds. Mount it on the trailer of your choice! I made my single wheel trailer for bikepacking, fully loaded with solar array, trailer weighs 100lbs. Bike 60lbs. Me 210lbs. 370lbs total. Can cruise at 18-20 and rarely break a sweat. I grow weary of sitting on a saddle WAY before my batteries go dim.

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          #6
          And this!

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            #7
            Nice, thanks again.
            Just starting investigation, pardon me being so far behind the curve.

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              #8
              Nice! Yours? Looks like the same panels I use. HQST 18V 2.37A, 50 watt.

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                #9
                At certain sun angles, your two panels probably interact a bit due to refraction: the laid flat one producing a bit more by the sun bouncing off the tilted one, or vice versa. Not why you did it that way probably but I would bet you produce more with your layout then 2 panels laid out side by side, nicely done!

                I'm going out to the shop now and unplugging the charger and going for a mountain ride, courtesy of my grid tied solar/wind/ and hydro electric systems. All my rides are renewable powered in effect, as long as I get home once a day anyway, fun stuff.

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                  #10
                  You're right! I was just trying to make em fit on the trailer! And you're right again, it is fun stuff! I never go anywhere without people stopping me to ask about it! I love to tell them about it and encourage them. The more people explore new technologies, the better and less expensive those technologies become for us all! Keep soakin up the sun!

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                    #11
                    Originally posted by Rix Ryds View Post
                    Oh yes, it can be done!
                    ​You'll need a Genasun charge controller and about 150 -300 watts of panels. Mine shown with only 100 watts deployed. I run 150 most of the time. Gives me about 2 amps charge current. Use two batteries, run on one, charge the other. I have a total capacity of 31.5Ah, and can go 75 miles WITHOUT charging. With the solar array, I have virtually unlimited range. As long as the sun is shinning!
                    Rix, Could you do a full build report on your trailer? Most especially 1. Panels: what panels you used, why you chose them, where you bought them, price. 2. Charge controller: why this one compared to others, how you wired it. 3. A little overview of solar electronics: how you choose what wattage of panels, wired in what way, with what controller, to charge X battery. THANKS!

                    Comment


                    • gman1971
                      gman1971 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      +1 that would be nice!

                    #12
                    ↵
                    Originally posted by Stu Summer View Post

                    Rix, Could you do a full build report on your trailer? Most especially 1. Panels: what panels you used, why you chose them, where you bought them, price. 2. Charge controller: why this one compared to others, how you wired it. 3. A little overview of solar electronics: how you choose what wattage of panels, wired in what way, with what controller, to charge X battery. THANKS!

                    ​Sure! Always glad to share!


                    1) The Charge controller-Genasun GV-Boost Waterproof 105-350w with MPPT (Max Power Point Tracking) for Lithium Batteries. Chosen because it's super efficient, and charges lithium's DIRECTLY. Also it's waterproof and incredibly light approx.1lbs. Typically in a solar system the panels put out a voltage higher than that of the battery bank, which is usually AGM lead-acid, 12 or 24volt. The charge controller knocks it down to the battery voltage, turning the extra voltage into current to charge the batteries. Then an inverter is used to turn this DC voltage into AC120v. Then you can use your charger or what ever. This charge controller BOOSTs the panel voltage to charge lithium 48v directly, eliminating the storage battery bank, inverter and charger. Now I did say 48v, which means it charges to a max of 56.8v. If you charge a 52v battery on this setup, be aware you only get a 90% charge. The charge rate (current) is set by the panels, and their configuration. This controller is rated at 63v open circuit, and 8A panel input.



                    2)The panels were chosen based on three criteria; Size, weight, electrical properties.

                    Obviously, if your mounting solar panels to any vehicle, size and weight take precedent over electrical properties. Mounting them on a bike compounds this. Most solar panels are framed in aluminum, and have a protective safety glass covering to protect them from hail. This makes them very heavy, a 350 watt panel, the max this controller can handle, weighs about 50 pounds. The HQST panels I got on Amazon, are rated at 18V 2.5A, and weigh 2.5 lbs. Three in series gives me 54V @ 2.5A, the controller boosts this (slightly), and even with hysteresis losses in the controller, I get a full 2 amps of charge current in direct sun and about .75 amps in the shade! I'm prepping for a truly epic mtb ride, my riding partner will be carrying 3 more panels, with a 3s2p configuration I expect I will get 6 amps of charge current! Of course that can only be deployed at a stop.

                    ​So, in a nutshell, I got the charge controller from Genasun, model 105-350 waterproof, for $239, because it's the only thing out there that will do the job!
                    I got the solar panels from HQST on Amazon for $99 each. they are 50watt 18V 2.5A, because they are light, semi-flexible, the right size and fit my electrical requirements well.


                    The panels (3 of em) are wired in series to provide 54v at 2.5 amps to the controller, which charges to 56.8v, 91%, a 52v lithium battery.

                    I know this may be a little incomplete, and I apologize. I'm a tech, but not much of a tech writer! If you have questions I will of course try to help! Keep soakin up the sun! :cool:
                    Last edited by Rix Ryds; 07-14-2016, 12:06 PM.

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                      #13
                      Rix,

                      Thank you so much for your work and report!! It is very helpful.

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