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Solarcabin

Well-Known Member
Region
USA

I ride my Ariel X 52 volt ebike practically every day and average 30 miles of range at 30 mph. I use the ebike for supply runs to the store, adventure videos and I also take my 2 dogs along on my adventures and we like to camp out. I use a Doggyhut XL trailer behind the ebike and it can handle 100 pounds and is well built so I decided to combine my pleasures and attach a 100 watt solar panel to the trailer and put in a LIFEPo4 100Ah battery inside the trailer with a 300 watt inverter to recharge the ebike while I ride and for camping and also used as a recharging station at my cabin for the ebike or any rechargeable tools and gadgets.

The battery weighs about 30 pounds and the panel is under 5 pounds so I am not adding a lot of weight and the ebike tows it great even up steep hills. I can detach the ebike from the trailer and ride normally and I didn't need any special power controllers or mess with the ebike wiring as this is just using the power charger the ebike comes with and charges and shuts off just like charging at home.

This is still a work in progress and I have not tested this on a long distance camping trip yet but plan to soon and the extra battery and inverter will allow me to recharge gadgets, take along some camping appliances and my laptop for night time use and the trailer has lots of room for my camping gear.

OK, I hope this inspires a few people and if you have suggestions for improvements put them in the comments!
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
No suggestions for improvement other than increase your panel capacity. Clouds and sun and whatnot. I'm sure you know the drill. My setup is not as portable but uses 600w worth of folding panels in series. Maybe flexible panels might make sense for weight reasons? My setup was fully charged by about 1 pm if I left it out to catch the very first morning rays. Is a 2000wh LiFePo4 pack so at 60 lbs is about double the weight of yours, but I get a lot more out of it on a camping trip. It was good for two charges a day on my 13.5ah bike battery. Used it for a full week.

pxl_20220420_154304304-1[1].jpg
 

Solarcabin

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
No suggestions for improvement other than increase your panel capacity. Clouds and sun and whatnot. I'm sure you know the drill. My setup is not as portable but uses 600w worth of folding panels in series. Maybe flexible panels might make sense for weight reasons? My setup was fully charged by about 1 pm if I left it out to catch the very first morning rays. Is a 2000wh LiFePo4 pack so at 60 lbs is about double the weight of yours, but I get a lot more out of it on a camping trip. It was good for two charges a day on my 13.5ah bike battery. Used it for a full week.

View attachment 130434
Nice set up! I also have a Generark Home Power One power station with 200 watts of folding panels that will work for this system. I used the LIFPO4 because I wanted to show people how they can make their own recharging stations but the power stations with built in inverter and DC and USB plugs are great and would work well for an Ebke camper.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Nice set up! I also have a Generark Home Power One power station with 200 watts of folding panels that will work for this system. I used the LIFPO4 because I wanted to show people how they can make their own recharging stations but the power stations with built in inverter and DC and USB plugs are great and would work well for an Ebke camper.
Can you do a link to your setup's components so people can replicate it if desired? The battery has a built in mppt controller?
 

Nvreloader

Active Member
Region
USA
SC
Just an Idea that popped up, while watching the video, I like the Idea, very nice.
What about building an overhead porch over both the bike and trailer, so you could attach another 100w panel, besides the original one, that would double your output etc.
I would think that 1/2 or 3/4" PVC piping would be more than strong enough and would provide shade for your buddies and you.
Make the porch just high enough for you to walk under and can be formed into lots of shapes/angles as needed etc. One porch for the bike and one for the trailer, leaving enough space between the trailer/bike to allow for turning radius etc, food for thought.
HTH's,
Don
 

Solarcabin

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
SC
Just an Idea that popped up, while watching the video, I like the Idea, very nice.
What about building an overhead porch over both the bike and trailer, so you could attach another 100w panel, besides the original one, that would double your output etc.
I would think that 1/2 or 3/4" PVC piping would be more than strong enough and would provide shade for your buddies and you.
Make the porch just high enough for you to walk under and can be formed into lots of shapes/angles as needed etc. One porch for the bike and one for the trailer, leaving enough space between the trailer/bike to allow for turning radius etc, food for thought.
HTH's,
Don
Good idea! I was thinking of building a raised platform maybe a foot above the trailer and put the solar panel on top of that and I have another 200 watts of foldable panels and that way I can get more camping gear on top of the trailer.
 

Solarcabin

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Can you do a link to your setup's components so people can replicate it if desired? The battery has a built in mppt controller?
You bet and these are the components used:

100 Watt Flexible Solar Panel Kit: https://amzn.to/3vjPPf8
100Ah Bateria Lifepo4 Battery: https://amzn.to/3BuVrXI
Bestek 300 Watt Inverter: https://amzn.to/3S4S0go
Doggyhut XL Bike Trailer: https://amzn.to/3vlGh3d

It comes with a PWM controller but you can get a 10amp MPPT controller pretty cheap.

I am an official Amazon Associate and I do make a little money if you purchase anything through my links and that supports my work to help people with off grid projects and DIY projects- thank you!
 

Jason Knight

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Keene, NH
I'm planning on building a custom camper for mine, already have the 20x2.125 tires/hubs and dropouts I plan to use, but money ran out this month, be continuing on in the coming month. Also need to clean out and re-arrange the garage enough to have the room to start building it. I might try to crowdfund it since I'm increasingly unable to work, am on doctors orders not to work, and so forth. Can only do so much on disability and VA bennies. Getting out there to "recharge my batteries" and get away from the stress I'm currently under is what's important for me this coming year.

Not helping my stress is that I'm so pissed off at my new landlord -- after 12 years of living here -- that I'm tempted to just make the camper and move into it, putting anything I want to keep into a storage area. Fourth landlord at the same property... I think this one is trying to harrass me into leaving so they can charge the $500 to $800 more they could probably get in todays market. Either that or they're just inept at managing properties since this is their first.

My current plan is for a 3' x 6' base platform, more than large enough for a 5'4" shorty like myself... Going to use a quartet of four foot long 2x4's as the base rails running offset on each side of the tires, then use 1x4 to flesh out the rest of the frame. Structurally at that size that's overkill. Will likely skin it with 1" thick insulating foam sheet and my own formulation of "poor man's fiberglass" -- where I use fiberglass screen material held on with BIN, a shellac based primer, and a top coat of house paint since shellac is water permeable.

...and like you I'm going LiFePo4 and will hopefully by the time it's road-worthy have 200 or 300ah or battery available for it. The difference is I'm arguing with myself about adding solar or not.
Why? I've got a level 2 charging port to 220v adapter. Toss on a 3000 watt to 12v charger, and at any non-tesla charging station I can top off a 12v 300ah battery array in what, and hour and 12 minutes? Whilst off the grid charging is appealing, I'm not sure it's worth the weight or expense. Especially when charging stations are cheap, and in some places are even free! Seriously, the number of places with L2 stations that are free of charge is... shocking.. That's something I'd suggest adding to yours. J1772 to 220v adapters seem to run $150 to $180 US, which is a bit steep, but well worth it.

I was a bit surprised as I ordered a single socket one from Alien Rides:

Which I thought looked a bit jank on their website with the long cord as if they just took a normal extension cord and cut it down and slapped it on the J1772 plug. Even so it seemed nicer than some of the other ones I've seen listed. However...

What they sent me a very professional looking 3 plug unit instead. I'm kind of used to these types of adapters feeling like they were made in some guy's basement who barely knows how to solder. What they sent me is nothing of the sort and seems really well made.

to the point I might end up ordering some of their brand stickers just to slap them on my trailer. When a company treats me nice sending me the next product up in their stack, I like to return the favor.

I'll have to use the crappy 3 amp chargers Aventon has since they don't even offer a 220v option or fast-charge, and have the goofy proprietary charge connector. Thankfully I'd want 110 anyways so I'd need an inverter for the trailer anyhow for things like my 1cu foot travel fridge and a microwave.

Kind of wish I could find a combination charger / inverter that accepted 12 amp 220-240 in, and had around 20 amps of 110v output available. Just to keep the wiring neater and weight down. Looks like I'll need to have both a charger and inverter though. I thought RV parts might do the trick, but they're all either "all 220" or "all 110" with no mix-and-match options. The ideal would be one I could switch between 220 and 110 input and have a 110 output.

Solar has its appeal for when one wants to go completely off the grid, but I can't help feel like the 100 to 200 watts it would provide under ideal conditions isn't worth the weight and cost compared to just plugging in at campgrounds and parking lots. Especially when an entire day of ideal conditions stationary wouldn't even top off 12v 200ah worth of cells...

More so since with my non-24 sleep-wake disorder half my riding ends up at night. Every six days I'm flipped around time-wise 180 degrees from the rest of the world.

Trying to do as much research as I can before I start building. Want to at least build the base frame before I do something like goFundMe to beg for financial aid -- that way I have something to show I'm serious about this. I'll likely be documenting the build on video too -- which will be a first for me as well.

And research like this:

Has told me that a lot of the so-called "experts" building trailers are full of it. I see so many trailers where the wheels are all the way back. when they should be center. Also why I plan on putting my batteries, inverter, and so forth between the wheels below the axle line. Apart from the bed, that's the "heavy stuff".

And why I'm glad I've got a 70+ pound e-bike for this, combined with my own weight that makes the tow vehicle heavier than the trailer is going to be, and that's important for stability. Especially when this is probably going to end up taller than it is wide, since I want at least a 40" internal cabin height... though again I plan on going at least 6" below the axle line for storage and the electricals.

Anyhow it's been fun reading your post and watching your videos, giving me a lot of inspiration and ideas.
 

Solarcabin

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Hi Jason, I have designed a few bike campers that have been built by other people so here are those for ideas: Some use caster wheels instead of bike wheels for more weight.

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Turtle Interior.PNG
Turtle Scooter Camper and Interior.png
Urban Turtle on Casters.PNG
 

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Nvreloader

Active Member
Region
USA
Here is some information that may prove useful,


HTH's,
Don
 

Solarcabin

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Here is some information that may prove useful,


HTH's,
Don
No charging stations in my area but I do know public libraries, rec centers and most parks have ac plugs you can use.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
@Solarcabin that flexible panel style you use is best for cycling, I'm sure. My folding panels are very convenient if and only if you are tossing them into the back of a motor vehicle as they are heavy and still take up quite a bit of space when folded. The cost of the flexi ones has always put me off though. The ones you linked have a 19.5% conversion rate and MC4's though... thats pretty darn good coupled to their price. How are they on off-angle performance? And if you obscure one corner of them? I've learned the hard way it matters as mine are wired serially, internally and a small bit of shade just one of its cells on the panel has a huge effect on performance. The company I bought mine from came up with a follow-on wired internally in parallel and it is only proportionally affected by partial shade.

No charging stations in my area but I do know public libraries, rec centers and most parks have ac plugs you can use.
I keep onboard, weatherproof chargers mounted on every bike I can. Here in the local city parks, I can plug in at one of the plugs they have built into the cabanas.

My remote beach bike has a big charger built onto it as it rides in the middle of nowhere and the only recharge point is at a state park (Marina State Beach) where there is a power plug on the bathroom wall. But it recently stopped working.

I've seen that article you linked to above. It got me to casting about and I found a J1772 adapter thats about half the cost ($85) of the one they link to that is sold by AlienRides. It works fine. It and the weatherproof charger build info is here:


Works great as a direct plugin to a public for/pay or free charging station.

Worth noting on this topic in general: If you are looking for fixed solar panels, commercial take-offs (systems removed from buildings that get torn down) offer an enormous cost savings and, if bought carefully, are an awesome value. I picked up 12 200w USA-made Sunpower panels for about $1000 for the home system I am piecing together.
 
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Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
Just following this thread for now, but will start another focused on whole house systems RSN (Real Soon Now). Other than my woodstove, my house is totally electric and I suspect most of my transportation will be as well.
ArtDeco
 

Solarcabin

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Just following this thread for now, but will start another focused on whole house systems RSN (Real Soon Now). Other than my woodstove, my house is totally electric and I suspect most of my transportation will be as well.
ArtDeco
Hi Art, I am happy to help with small off grid systems designs and recommended equipment I use. Give me a heads up when you start your thread please.

These are my current off grid systems I use for my cabin and recharging stations for anyone interested:

 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
New thread in offtopic forum begun . Cabins houses boondocking in an RV etc.
 

Djson

Member
Region
United Kingdom

I ride my Ariel X 52 volt ebike practically every day and average 30 miles of range at 30 mph. I use the ebike for supply runs to the store, adventure videos and I also take my 2 dogs along on my adventures and we like to camp out. I use a Doggyhut XL trailer behind the ebike and it can handle 100 pounds and is well built so I decided to combine my pleasures and attach a 100 watt solar panel to the trailer and put in a LIFEPo4 100Ah battery inside the trailer with a 300 watt inverter to recharge the ebike while I ride and for camping and also used as a recharging station at my cabin for the ebike or any rechargeable tools and gadgets.

The battery weighs about 30 pounds and the panel is under 5 pounds so I am not adding a lot of weight and the ebike tows it great even up steep hills. I can detach the ebike from the trailer and ride normally and I didn't need any special power controllers or mess with the ebike wiring as this is just using the power charger the ebike comes with and charges and shuts off just like charging at home.

This is still a work in progress and I have not tested this on a long distance camping trip yet but plan to soon and the extra battery and inverter will allow me to recharge gadgets, take along some camping appliances and my laptop for night time use and the trailer has lots of room for my camping gear.

OK, I hope this inspires a few people and if you have suggestions for improvements put them in the comments!
I have a question, can I charge my battery at the same time as using it?

This now has become an old question.

Why is my 36v battery showing 42v?

 
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Nvreloader

Active Member
Region
USA
Just a SWAG, What about a small wind turbine?,
they come in several sizes, and since we are moving thru the air under leg power, there would be a constant source of air movement while moving and could also have the natural wind flow, as here in NV, we very seldom have a day without the wind blowing, usually a minimum of 5-6 mph every day, (info coming from my home weather station.)
I have never looked into these small wind turbines, but will,
I see several around, at the Kitty Litter plant, between Lovelock and Fernley, there is a huge one, blade span is around 8-12' and it is always turning when I go by it to Reno,
I think it is connected to the NDOT billboard sign. YMMV,
Don