New 2020 Solar bike is finally completed!

I finally received my new solar panels mid of May after having ordered them in January from https://www.flexible-solar-panel.com/ .

Luckily during all this “waiting” time (during the lock down…) I have been able to build and install all 3 vertical supports.

I preferred to create the structure to support the solar panels after having received them in order to have 100% precise dimensions to work with.

So I decided to divide the activities into 2 groups:

1) –  3 support structures

Build and install on the bike frame for the solar panels: one in the front, one in the center and one in the back. 

2) – Solar panels frame

Build and install the frame to keep both solar panels (160W each, size 1200x650mm) together, including solar controllers and all relative cable connections.

1) –  3 support structures

I did already build the central one (of the 3 vertical structures) during the implementation of the fairing support structure: in fact this is important for the overall sizing of the different parts.

Then I was able to start to install the vertical tube on the back.

After this I could position the carbon fiber tube (30mm diameter) to understand exactly the best height for the (3rd) front support.

I decided to give to the solar panels a -3° position on the horizontal level (slightly lower on the front).

This is to compensate for the fact that when the rider and the baggage are on the bike, the rear suspension is already pre-compressed: I verified that in this case the rear is lowered by (roughly) 30mm.

Here is a detail of the front support already installed on the bike frame.

Very precise work: the chain line is 10mm from the aluminium flat bars!

Here is the view of the carbon fiber 2,40m long tube correctly positioned and fixed onto the vertical supports.

At this point I could start the next step to attach the solar panels to the carbon tube.

carbon tube front right
carbon tube back

 

2) – Solar panels frame

Here on the left are my 2 new “5×9 cells” solar panels.

Each one has a nominal power of 160W peak.

The other smaller ones (3x8cells ) are those for my friend Paul to remplace his old ones. 

solar panels to be installed

We start with the aluminium bars (9) for attaching the solar panels to the carbon fiber tube.

On the right it is the rectangular bar (68cm) before working on its shape:

  • initial weight = 143g.

Then we have worked on:

  • cutting both edges
  • making 32 holes (16 on each side)

Final weight  = 120g.

So overall weight reduction is roughly 16% and in total = 207g.

Here it is the view from the top.

Both solar panels have been attached to the carbon tube by using the rectangular bars that I have prepared before.

Solar panels structure top

Here it is the view from the bottom.

The total number of cells is 18.

So I have used one aluminium rectangular bar every 2 cells with two exceptions:

– every 3 on the front ones

– every 3 on the ones in the back

During tests it will be important to evaluate if additional support would be required to reduce vibrations in those two areas.

 

Solar panels structure is ready

Also both Genasun Solar controllers have been attached below the solar panels

For this I have used a flat carbon plate, so it is pretty compact and pretty light! 

This is a detail of the electrical cables and connections.

We can see that we have been able to use the holes previously drilled as an easy way to bring the cables from the panels to the solar controllers.

 

The new Solar Low Racer Tilting Trike is finally ready!

  • SLRTT front right
    SLRTT front right
  • SLRTT right
    SLRTT right
  • SLRTT back right
    SLRTT back right
  • Flat panels front
    Flat panels front
  • Tilt panels front right
    Tilt panels front right
  • SLRTT tilt right
    SLRTT tilt right
  • Tilt panels back
    Tilt panels back
  • Flat panels back
    Flat panels back

Initial tests of power output from new solar panels is really promising.

Here it was at 4pm, so not exactly the best time to test the peak power….but still I could read 305Watts!

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Bonjour, j’aurais aimé savoir lequel de vos “tilt” à la meilleur tenue de route ? Est-ce que la petite roue du “low” est plus délicate à piloter ? Moins rapide ? Et dernière question, pourquoi ne pas mettre des roues de même taille pour faciliter l’emport d’une seule chambre à air ou roue de secours ?
    Cordialement

    1. Bonjour,
      très bonnes questions, merci!
      En ayant essayé la roue avant de 26″ sur le STT 2018, la roue de 28″ sur le STT2 en 2019 et celle de 20″ sur le Low Racer TT de cette année j’ai maintenant un bonne perception des différents avantages et inconvénients.
      La roue de 20″ est génial en therme de facilité de conduite, agilité et plaisir: le vélo est plus bas et donc plus maniable (surtout avec 9kg de panneaux solaires sur la tête…)
      Au niveau confort, avec un gros pneu de 55mm de largeur, c’est vraiment bien.
      A’ noter aussi que sur de longues montées elle a moins le tendance à surchauffer (ça tourne plus vite…)
      La roue de 26 est probablement un bon compromis mais le vélo est moins maniable, moins réactif et on est assis plus haut.
      Pour un moteur ‘direct drive’ il a un peu la tendance à surchauffer.
      La roue de 28″ est pour moi la moins bonne alternative: assise assez haute, moins maniable, centre de gravité très haut, difficile de négocier de virage serrés comme on trouve souvent en montagne.
      Théoriquement est censé être meilleur au niveau du confort mais ave le choix de pneus qu’on a aujourd’hui on peu avoir une très bonne souplesse aussi ave une roue de 20″.
      A’ l’arrière j’avais toujours utilisé des roues de 28″ surtout pour pouvoir installer des très bons pneus tubeless (rapides et confortables) mais sur mon dernier prototype j’ai installé 2 roues de 26″ (plus bas et un peu plus aérodynamiques …)
      Le dernier point (roues de même taille) c’est sans doutes raisonnable: en fait le STT2 2019 est équipé avec 3 roues de 28″.
      Peut être l’idéal serait 3 roues de 26″ ? On verra pour la suite…

  2. Bonjour Daniele, très beau travail. Je vous envie votre création. Combien pèse t’il en configuration suntrip ? Salutations

    1. Bonjour, merci pour ces appréciations ! Le poids du vélo est de environ 40kg.

  3. Thanks very much for sharing it has been helpful.
    Could you please explain the parts for the solar tilting?
    Thanks.

  4. Merci Alain, surtout n’hésites pas à poser des questions spécifiques sur le montage des panneaux !

  5. excellentes toutes tes infos,
    je vais m en inspirer pour mes prochains travaux de solarisation de mon lowracer …

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