$21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

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ywhic
ywhic Solar Expert Posts: 621 ✭✭
Ok.. I found some PV mounts at HFreight.. there 1" angle metal.. they have a 13" and 14" leg length and are adjustable for 35, 45, & 60' tilt.. Cost $8.99 there made for the little 15 or 20w panel they sell.. comes with some hardware..

(don't mind the date.. I rarely set it..)

PICT0014.JPG

They look silly on my 26 1/2" wide panel.. and won't work as they would hit the back side.. :cry:

PICT0015.JPG

I then went to HDepot and bought 48" of 1" x 1/8" angle steel.. and 4 5/16" 3/4" length bolts.. and a pack of nuts/washer/lockwashers.. total was $11.08 for everything..

PICT0016.JPG

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  • ywhic
    ywhic Solar Expert Posts: 621 ✭✭
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

    I cut 2 - 16 1/2" lengths off the 48" length.. to make up and overlap and come up with 27"..

    PICT0017.JPG

    Then I got to welding.. 80 amp HF MIG welder set at 25 amps..

    PICT0018.JPG

    Fits much better

    PICT0020.JPG

    And it stands up by itself..

    PICT0021.JPG

    Note the bottom supports.. I added 7 1/2" (2" overlap) to the length on them.. (total 48" used)

    PICT0022.JPG

    Where I messed up was I overlapped the 35 deg. angle holes.. But I wanted a good 2 1/2" of overlap.. so thats acceptable.

    However for my location (lat is 30.69 deg.) macslab suggests 7.54 deg. summer & 46.05 deg. winter (the 60 deg hole is still available)

    So I can use the 45 deg hole.. and for summer just about lay the panels flat..

    Hopefully this inspires someone..

    For me to build this would be about $32 worth of angle ($7.97*4 HD SKU#475785) by itself.. and now I have one I can use as a guide and for testing my setup next week with the one panel I left here at the house (other 4 in storage)..
  • ywhic
    ywhic Solar Expert Posts: 621 ✭✭
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

    Additional Notes:

    The 'rivets' that are installed by the MFG are either good or bad.. no in between..

    The one 'side' of this set is pretty tight fitting (aka good).. the other 'side' has some slop in it..

    Before mounting these for a permanent setup I would recommend drilling out the pivot rivet and install a 5/16" bolt there as well.. (thats my plan before install in TX)..

    Also the kit has 2 wingnuts included for the adjustment part.. they stink.. they are metric and the one wingnut needs to have a wrench to hold the bolt.. while the other does not.. get some 5/16" wingnuts and bolts for that also.. 3/4" length seems to work great for this enitre setup..

    Other than that.. pretty happy for my temporary one panel setup for testing in NJ..

    Hopefully next week I can test my controller, meter, combiner, & 1 panel (other 4 in storage)..

    Be nice to see some real/actual numbers..
  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

    nice going with the mount. it is possible to do it all with angle iron and some stainless nuts and bolts eliminating the welding needs. my present wall mount i made is of aluminum angle and stainless hardware.
  • ywhic
    ywhic Solar Expert Posts: 621 ✭✭
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

    Thanks..

    Well after thinking.. I think I should just use the provided FRAME on the panel.. drill 4 5/16" holes into the FRAME and be done (2 on each end)..

    Heres the basic mounting brackets without anything done to them.. no fuss no muss.. they go about 14" up the 26" frame edge..

    PICT0023.JPG

    Heres a front shot..

    PICT0024.JPG

    Once mounted onto something solid I think the mount should hold just fine.. I'm thinking no more than 10" off the ground for my TX location (less than 2" snow per year avg).. maybe some cinderblocks filled with quickcrete and some J bolts sticking up to go thru the bottom of the brackets then just NUT them down..

    Even as its sitting here at 45 and 35 deg tilt.. they really don't move at all.. so for testing the system tommorrow I'll be at 35' deg.. (though I should be at 12-16' deg for here in NJ at 40.XX lat)..

    With this normal it has 35 deg, 45 deg and 60 deg tilt.. for my location I need 7 deg (summer) and 45 winter.. so all should be GTG..
  • Dill
    Dill Solar Expert Posts: 170 ✭✭
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

    yea, for your 7 degree angle, you could remove the vertical piece and fashion your own, much shorter version. I might pick up some of these brackets for my off grid cabin, except I'll probably have to fashion both shorter and longer pieces ( 17 degrees summer, and I want 90 in winter to avoid snow accumulation)
  • ywhic
    ywhic Solar Expert Posts: 621 ✭✭
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

    If I add 1 hole to each bracket I could get to 25' deg.. which is my year round number for TX and would give me 71% eff avg.. hmmm..
  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

    although you don't have the problem of heavy snows, there are other reasons for elevating pvs higher off of the ground. kids and animals not to mention flying debris when mowing the grass are a few good reasons to mount higher.
  • ywhic
    ywhic Solar Expert Posts: 621 ✭✭
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY
    niel wrote: »
    although you don't have the problem of heavy snows, there are other reasons for elevating pvs higher off of the ground. kids and animals not to mention flying debris when mowing the grass are a few good reasons to mount higher.

    True.. however I am 120 feet from a road.. and there is NO GRASS or animals.. I also plan on putting a small 4' fence around the back of my cabin just for the solar panel protection from view..

    Panels in rear of cabin facing directly South..

    IM000023.JPG

    But true higher would be better if I had grass, kids, & animals..

    Heres an updated pic.. I got a 4x4 cut in half for free at HDepot and mounted the brackets on that for the testing tommorrow..

    I did make the bracket 25 degree compatible.. so if I want I could just leave it that way vs. the up & down adjustment..

    Heres at 25 degrees.. again this is for testing and not going to be my TX setup..

    25DegAngle.jpg

    27 is also my spring and fall numbers.. so 25 would work for that as well.. 8)
  • ywhic
    ywhic Solar Expert Posts: 621 ✭✭
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

    I went to HF today and bought another 2 mounting bracket kits on sale for $8 and $8.55 with 20 and 25% coupons..

    I drilled the 25' degree hole in each set.. and used 5/16" nut, bolt, washer, & lock washer..

    3 more sets to get (when back in stock) and drill and I'll be all set for my 6 panels..

    Attachment not found.
  • solarix
    solarix Solar Expert Posts: 713 ✭✭
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

    Most panel manufacturers will regard drilled holes in the PV module frame as voiding the warranty. Don't ask me why - really limits the mounting possibilities. They are looking for any way out of the warranty I suppose. They don't allow painting them either.
  • ywhic
    ywhic Solar Expert Posts: 621 ✭✭
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

    Didn't see that on the list (but again there wasn't one on these panels).. 3 year workmanship and 90% power after 15 years..
  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY
    solarix wrote: »
    Most panel manufacturers will regard drilled holes in the PV module frame as voiding the warranty. Don't ask me why - really limits the mounting possibilities. They are looking for any way out of the warranty I suppose. They don't allow painting them either.

    i can tell you why. it's because of the certification testing on the panels. the frames get grounded and holes made into the frame could affect its ability to act as a ground. it is nit picking by the certifiers and yes, taking a pv out of certification can break a warranty. also more holes could weaken the framework.
  • ywhic
    ywhic Solar Expert Posts: 621 ✭✭
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

    Well if you do the extended LEG modification (like I did welding or by overlapping and bolting).. you can span the entire width where the exisiting mounting holes are from the mfg.. thus not voiding the warranty..

    I just figured paying $25-30 for AL angle from HD or Lowes and the making a set is about 3x the amount for buying these brackets outright..

    These panels aren't certified as far as I can see on them..,
  • ywhic
    ywhic Solar Expert Posts: 621 ✭✭
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

    Small update. I decided to buy some 1" x 1/8" x 36" AL angle metal.

    Cut in half to 18" lengths and extended the HF bracket. I did a 3" overlap onto that and used 5/16" x 3/4" SS bolt and SS nut with SS lockwasher.

    Found the metal online for less than $5 for a 3' length. so $10 for HF mount and $5 for the AL and abotu $2 for the bolts.. $20/panel for a mount isn't too bad and I can adjust from 25-45 angle as needed. These will only be 12" off the ground so wind and such shouldn't be an issue like I stated before..

    Cell picture of 1st mount done this way.. no voidance of warranty this way. Much cleaner than welding and no drilling of the panel itself. :cool:

    MountsMod.jpg
  • DSinOR
    DSinOR Registered Users Posts: 18
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

    Link to the AL angle metal?

    Thx!
  • Photowhit
    Photowhit Solar Expert Posts: 6,003 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

    Well seems like more of a hassle and less sturdy and less weather resistant, than just using the thin steel? HF as a pattern and building your mounts out of aluminum with stainless steel bolts.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • ywhic
    ywhic Solar Expert Posts: 621 ✭✭
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

    Photowhit.. very true but seeing how I started down the road and have 4 of the HF sets I may as well use them.

    I am using SS bolts and parts.

    OnlineMetals.Com for the AL angle.

    I would be spending $20-30 buying the AL angle from the above vendor..

    People can do as they want.. this is a suggestion.. people can expand it as needed.
  • DSinOR
    DSinOR Registered Users Posts: 18
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

    Thanks ywhic!

    As you point out, when people post their steps and experiences, it's a valuable learning tool for others. Please continue!

    As I'm building my own small system, I've learned a lot from reading your threads.

    DS
  • fix_it_guy
    fix_it_guy Solar Expert Posts: 26
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

    I'm inspired as well. Im always building something. Today it's a solar powered cell phone charger. I will start a thread about it. (If it works):roll:
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,476 admin
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

    Remember to use anti-seize compound with stainless steel bolts and nut. Lots of SS alloys will jam when tightening bolts.


    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • ywhic
    ywhic Solar Expert Posts: 621 ✭✭
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY
    BB. wrote: »
    Remember to use anti-seize compound with stainless steel bolts and nut. Lots of SS alloys will Khan when tightening bolts.


    -Bill

    Any suggestions on this Bill ??
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,476 admin
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

    try an auto parts store.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • ywhic
    ywhic Solar Expert Posts: 621 ✭✭
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

    Thanks Bill.

    I ordered up AL metal to finish the other 2 HF mounts.. and then enough sections to do the other 5 panels with all AL.

    Will put up pictures of them when done.. should be started by Wed/Thurs..
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,476 admin
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

    Hi Al,

    Here is a link for one product line with lots of different types of compounds and their description:

    http://www.armitelabs.com/antiseize_products.html

    Personally, I would us anything with some soft of material that won't evaporate or wash out (rain/sun/etc.). I pretty much use spark plug anti seize compound for most stuff and it seems to work well (a bit messy--so don't wear good clothes when using it).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • westbranch
    westbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

    ask for Never-Sieze at a local auto store.
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • ywhic
    ywhic Solar Expert Posts: 621 ✭✭
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

    I got in the metals for oonline metals.. for my DM 145 panels (26 5/8" wide)..

    I ordered a 5 foot and 4 foot per panel..

    Cut 5' (60") in half (I cut mine to 28 3/8" * 2 for exactness and a little less overhang) .. and then

    Cut 4' (48") as follows.

    15" and 9"
    15" and 9"

    This will give you both end supports for the panels.. the 30 is on the panel, the 15 is on the bottom and the 9" is the adjustment arm.

    Pics..

    Mock up.

    IM000012.JPG

    Mod (curve ends slightly) to 9" so it can pivot without rubbing/binding..

    IM000014.JPG

    Modified piece in place..

    IM000013.JPG

    Get out the drill and use 5/16" SS hardware.. use a fancy ($1) protractor to get the angle and alignment before drilling..

    Total cost to do 5 panels using 6063-T52 1" AL was $60 and then shipping which was $22.XX.. $83/5 = $16.60 per panel.. and then bolts/nuts/washers..
  • ywhic
    ywhic Solar Expert Posts: 621 ✭✭
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    Re: $21 adjustable angled mounts.. DIY

    1 side down.. matches the angle of 25-26 degree pretty good.. :cool:

    I made the support/adjustment arm more of 72' deg vs the original 53' degree..

    IM000015.JPG