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2018 ProMaster 3500 159" extended Fulltime 4 season van build
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Discussion Starter #1
I haven't tallied how much wattage I'll use but expect it will be at least 400w. I will be mounting the panels on the driver's side of the roof and will keep the center section open for 2 vents and possibly a hatch. The passenger side will have surfboards mounted on the roof rack. If my space is limited or if I wanted more panels I was thinking about building a sliding tray where one panel slides over another and locks in place while driving but expands while parked. I got the idea after seeing the Smartflower panel design and thought this could be done with our panels.

While driving and lets say two of the 4 panels are exposed, how could I wire these so that I could still harness some power? Would a series-parallel wiring setup solve this?

If this as they say an idea but a bad one?
 

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If you wire the lower panels in parallel with the uppers, then your charging current will drop when closed, but voltage will remain the same, which I expect is what you'd want. You can wire the upper and lower pairs in either parallel or series, depending on your panel voltage and charge controller. (So either all four in parallel, or parallel+series - lots of discussion on other solar threads about whether parallel or series is appropriate and how to determine that)

Here are a few designs for the sliding panels:

- a thread with some ideas and implementations on sprinter-source

 

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2014-159 HR in CT
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I think it's a cool idea, but there's lots of details to consider...

The slides he used are common kitchen cabinet slides. I would guess there will be rust issues, and dirt and dust might cause problems.

Not sure about the auto-in/out setup... for manual deployment on a PM, you'll need to take out a ladder.

Wire rattling when retracted and driving down the road?

Except for height issues, a Smartflower would work! >:D
 

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2018 ProMaster 3500 159" extended Fulltime 4 season van build
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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies and sharing this video. Just what I was thinking. I'm still in the early stages but just trying to keep ideas open. We'll be full time living out of our van and want to plan well.
 

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The slides he used are common kitchen cabinet slides. I would guess there will be rust issues, and dirt and dust might cause problems. Wire rattling when retracted and driving down the road?
No, they are not kitchen slides... They are 100 lb rated industrial stainless steel, ball bearing slides, I linked to the sources in the description of my video. Dirt and dust will need to be cleaned periodically, removing the grease will reduce the amount of dust that gets stuck to the lubricant. I will be using graphite lubricant for mine.

The wire is easily solved with a long hinge mechanism.
 
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