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Solar Power For Your Jobsite Tools

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  • Solar Power For Your Jobsite Tools

    Came across this today and thought it was interesting. I have a tonneau cover on both my pickups and one is in need of replacement so that's how this popped up in my searching today.

    It's a tonneau cover with solar panels built in. In the truck bed is a charge controller/inverter that has a battery plus the ability to connect three additional batteries to it. If you have a ICE powered truck then it works as a portable power source. You can plug your tools or what have you into the inverter while its mounted in the truck or you can remove it and take the power to where it's needed. That save you dragging around hundreds of feet of extension cords that just create a voltage drop and rob you of power anyway.

    If you have a PHEV or full EV truck (none of those out yet but they'll be here real soon) then you can connect this system into your trucks battery to charge the truck battery. Depending on the size of your truck bed will determine how much power the panels will generate, with up to 800 watts for a full size (8 foot) pickup bed.

    I read through the FAQ (link below) and it sounds like you don't have to have a pickup to use this. Some of the questions asked were could this be used for a remote cabin or on a boat and the answer was yes.

    "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" ? Bob D. 2006
    "?ǝɹɐ sɹǝƃuıɟ ɹnoʎ ǝɹǝɥʍ ʍouʞ noʎ op `ʍɐs ǝlqɐʇ ɐ s,ʇı"

  • #2
    I prefer a number of Ridgid 18v batteries and 18v tools.
    Easy to swap dead batteries and charging them at home.

    You then save $$$2,000.00 plus and you don't
    have to worry about the solar cells getting damaged by vandals or stolen!

    Interesting they do not even mention interference with the vehicle electronics or
    noise generated by the inverters.

    More RFI/EMI on ham radio spectrum!!!

    Cactus Man


    • #3
      Well, get ready because it's coming. With the huge increase in EV sales you can
      bet that almost every one of those EV owners will have a Level 2 charger in their
      home. It is the most economical way to charge your vehicle right now and vehicles
      like the Ford F150 Lightning are being offered with the Level 2 charger included with
      the truck.

      Most cars only come with a Level 1 charger which is 120V 12A max and take forever
      to charge even a small 15KW battery like in the Chevy Volt. If people don't have
      Level 2 charging the whole thing won't work. They will never be able to get a full
      charge at home.

      There is no DC fast charge system out there right now that could support all the
      BEVs coming down the road in the next couple years. Tesla has its SuperChargers
      but they are only for Teslas so no help for the thousands of vehicles due to hit the
      streets in the next 2 years. Ford, GM, and others claim they are going to build
      charging networks but they have barely started yet if they have at all. And even
      if such a charging network existed it will cost as much as a tankful of gas.

      How can that be you ask? Well to charge any less is leaving money on the table.
      My prediction is the oil companies will jump in big time and I can't believe they
      have not moved to corner the market already. Or else they have and are holding
      off as long as possible to continue to support the petrol market where they are
      heavily invested and have a higher profit margin than they would with EV charging.

      I'm surprised the electric utilities have not gotten out in front of this already. From
      what I see they alone have the easiest path to building out a charging network. And
      half the system is already in place for them. All they need are the chargers, the rest
      of the system already exists for them but for anyone else wanting to build a state or
      regional size charging network they need to create a whole billing system. It may not
      be any easier or much cheaper (if at all) but it will appear to be to the general public.
      So if you do 95% of your driving in your utilities service territory then whenever you
      needed to charge away from home you could do so and have the cost appear on your
      monthly electric bill.

      The utilities have that already. They have a system for billing everyone for the electric
      used in their homes. So all they have to do is give you a card that you can use to have
      the cost of charging added to your monthly electric bill no matter which of their chargers
      you use. You pay the same rate as if you were charging at home so it wouldn't cost you
      more than charging at home. Anyone else offering charging would have to use the CC
      system and pay a service fee back to the CC company so to be competitive they would
      realize a little less profit. Plus they would have to acquire property to setup the charging
      stations or enter into lease agreements with the owners of shopping malls or businesses.
      They'd need permits and inspections and put the work out for bid and deal with contractors
      and a whole pile of other issues.

      The utilities could build out their system with their own people or with contractors they
      already have working for them. They have their own engineering staffs to do all the planning
      and draw up the specs so the design phase is cheaper for them. It may also be that they
      would not have to get permits or inspections for work on their own equipment which would
      be another money saver for them. They have access to the materials needed to setup multi-port
      DC fast charging stations which would draw a LOT of power, more than a home for each charger.
      They have the switchgear and cable and can get more at lower cost than any contractor could
      because they buy it by the ton every day.

      You say $2000 for the tonneau cover charger. The national average for gas right now is $3.37
      So if you had a pickup that gets 20MPG here's how that might work out.

      $2000/3.37 would buy 593.5 gallons of gas
      20MPG x 593.5 would be 11,869 miles of driving.

      After that the solar charger/tonneau cover will have paid for itself and be saving the
      owner money. So in the first year it has paid for itself and started saving you money.
      The more miles you drive the faster you get paid back. And that doesn't count the
      rumored future tax breaks for purchasing and installing a home charger.

      And if you as the owner of an EV could do that for free wouldn't you? If I gave you
      a free tank of gasoline every week would you take it or turn your back on it and dig
      in your wallet for some cash to buy more gas at ever increasing prices.

      Not many people are going to turn away the EV equivalent of free gas and unfortunately
      very few of them can even spell Amateur Radio let alone have a license so no help here.

      Plus you can use it to power your house during an outage. Or take the 1.5KW inverter
      and battery out of the vehicle to where ever it's needed. You can charge it back up in
      about 2.5 hours in full sunlight.

      How many 18V batteries will you need to keep your fridge cold for 8 hours? I'm taking
      my shoes off now so I can start counting. ​​​​​​​

      "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" ? Bob D. 2006
      "?ǝɹɐ sɹǝƃuıɟ ɹnoʎ ǝɹǝɥʍ ʍouʞ noʎ op `ʍɐs ǝlqɐʇ ɐ s,ʇı"


      • #4
        With our aging power grid, CA roaming brown outs, closing electricity generating plants that use coal, or
        tearing down dams [not damns], many against nuclear power..etc How many wind farms will they need
        for the electric vehicles in CA alone? And what about the nuts and twigs concerned about killing beetles or
        the birds getting killed by wind farms or solar cells turning off at night etc.......

        So on the highway an 18 wheeler battery/electric truck runs out of battery power....who do you call?
        Will AAA come with a boat load of batteries, or will the trucker fire up his gas fired generator and sit on the side of the
        road as his batteries charge? That defeats the entire electric concept.

        I am for a clean environment but it will never happen.
        We simply exported all our polluting industry to China and India and they are not in any way giving
        a hoot about the environment.

        Now let's review the concept of hydrogen powered vehicles....Oh wait with hydrogen, didn't a blimp blow up a long time ago?
        Just think of the rear end accidents to follow?

        The powers to be are back to the Jetsons and are discussing the flying drone vehicle for citizens

        So at least for now I find gasoline powered engines are still the best bang for the buck [pun intended]
        as long as you control the greed of the politicians, oil companies, and the rest of the chain.

        This topic will indeed introduce some interesting replies ...please keep it civil as many are very emotional
        about this stuff.

        Cactus Man


        • #5
          Yeah, they would make the Pinto rear enders look pretty tame.

          18 wheelers I don't see that happening for a long time. But I bet they move to a diesel-electric drive like trains have had for over 60 years. I don't know why they haven't gone that route already, seems an easy conversion. Take out that 1000 pound diesel and replace it with a M-G set. 300 or 400 HP motor connected to the tranny and driven by a 75KW diesel generator or whatever it takes. I would burn much less fuel and burn cleaner since it would run at optimum RPM all the time and not subject to the lead foot of the driver. No batteries, no regen braking, no fancy charge controller and no stopping to recharge. One 150 gallon saddle tank might take them over 800 miles or more.
          "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" ? Bob D. 2006
          "?ǝɹɐ sɹǝƃuıɟ ɹnoʎ ǝɹǝɥʍ ʍouʞ noʎ op `ʍɐs ǝlqɐʇ ɐ s,ʇı"



          • #6
            I wonder how soon Tesla will start using solar panels on its cars, and is it even possible? I think it would be an even bolder step towards clean energy, and it would be great. I recently moved to Australia, and many people use solar panels as the main energy source. Companies such as are very popular because installing solar panels helps save hundreds of thousands of dollars on electrical energy. It's great that such technologies exist now and need to be developed.
            Last edited by Eserissen; 07-19-2022, 02:47 AM.


            • #7
              Possibly just to run a cooling solar style fan for the interior.

              I have a solar booster controller for my ryobi 48 volt mower I'm getting ready to install. Takes the solar panel and boost up the output to charge the 4-12 volt/ 48 volt battery . Thos way when I'm done using the mower, it will be automatically charged the next time I need it.

              phoebe it is