2803 Troy Road, Springfield Ohio

Off-Grid Solar and Wind

Posing mom in front of concrete-less Solar Panel Array

Solar Panel Array - First Prototype

January 27 2020 marks the day it was conjured to building a new and improved Solar-Panel Array.

I woke up and decided to dig a hole, in went the poles.

First Prototype of Array

Four Hours Later the Solar Array was complete.

Solar Prototype

I Knew it was too easy to be true.

First Prototype Solar Array

First Prototype Doodle

The doodle sketch that got the ball rolling.

The original plan was to utilize a bunch of orphan solar panels and would have resulted in an odd-shaped array due to the differing sizes between panels.

Second Prototype Doodle

Leading into Prototype Two

The project wasn't actually underway until June 2020 due to torrential rain (*for weeks!).

And as soon as the project was commenced, it was quickly found that the entire design was flawed.

Dismantling the first prototype was necessary to reinforce the lateral steel that spans two 2" upright poles.

While doing so, it was decided to also add some rear-reinforcing.

Adding reinforcing to the Design for First Prototype

However it's too bad that I hadn't any thought to balance the solar array on the lateral steel while the array was completely dismantled!

Raising the panels proved too difficult due to the imbalance.

Second Solar Array Prototype

The more I toiled under the 80+ degree heat, problems were presenting themselves for attention.

Failed Design for First Prototype

It was clear, balancing the solar panels on the lateral steel would solve issues on so many levels (such as the fact that when extended, the entire panel array could fall forward).

Rear reinforcing was a good idea to combat the general Southerly wind, but due to the imbalance of the solar panel arrays on the lateral steel could prove the reinforcing to be useless.

Other Problematic Issues

Bad Design Flaw

Muffler clamps were not going to suffice for a number of other reasons too.

The sheer weight of the eight solar panels were pulling the steel band in an ominous way.

This was just bad construction because although the muffler clamps were doubled-up on each pole, if they should ever give way, the entire array would go straight down to the ground.

This would be too embarrasing so close to a recent fail of a greenhouse build.

The solve for this was to drill through the vertical poles to add a bolt which would lock the lateral steel to the vertical poles in addition to the four clamps.

Flawed Design

There were also added large thick-guage washers between the steel band (seen bent) that came with the muffler clamps and the lateral steel.

2nd Solar Prototype

So after tearing the whole thing down to the ground....again, along came proto-2

Mom poses in front of the Second Prototype

Mom and Solar go together

Mom, glad that the project is done so I can pick up branches from all the partially murdered trees she "pruned" (like a similar haircut I remember getting).


Sorry Mom, not today. I'll pick up the murdered limbs tomorrow.

Poor Trees.

Hi Mom

While remedying the rear-reinforcing and lateral problems, another idea was hatched concerning the method to raise and lower the 8 solar panels between the seasonal sun's orientation.

3rd Solar Prototype

Yes, another total dismantle and rebuild.

Apparatus to raise solar array

It took three tear-downs to get the solar array proper right!

Seen in this photo was one idea to raise and lower the array.

Even as incomplete as the other end of the worm-screw may be, it still worked long enough to work out some other issues with the design of the Solar Array.

Screwjack Apparatus

This was a completely unacceptable design.

Once again, everything was dismantled.

The in-ground steel is 5 feet and is pounded in without concrete.

Reinforcing for Solar array

Photos of the final winning prototype coming soon! *It works much better to have a motor and a switch to raise and lower the solar arrays.

There are now three arrays up! Two are 8-panel arrays and the center darling is 12-solar panels. No more manual adjustments ever be made ":-)

Rooster Madness

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