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Old 12-10-2019, 08:58 PM   #61
OrioN
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Default Re: Sliding Solar Panel Rack Systems by Orion Designs

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Originally Posted by Boxster1971 View Post

Both of these DIY projects, like many others, used ball bearing drawer slides. Everlanders washed out all the lube from the slides so they would not collect dirt. But they still needed to clean them with a pressure washer regularly. Using Unibearings as Orion is doing should work much better.
Steel ball-bearing sliders were never a consideration for my systems.

Lube them, even with dry lube, and they 'grit up' quickly.
Without lube, even chrome plate will wear off and corrode.
If snow or ice gets in a bearing slider.... get out your blow-dryer.

Mine do not require lube, nor is it recommended that you do. To clean them, just use a garden hose or pressure wash just like you do when you wash the van.

Last edited by OrioN; 12-10-2019 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 12-11-2019, 06:30 PM   #62
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Default Re: Sliding Solar Panel Rack Systems by Orion Designs

My prediction is that reliability will be the achilles heel of these systems. Thermal expansion, weathering, dirt/debris, twisting/racking, g-forces, lack of lubrication and component wear will be continual problems. I would do some accelerated product testing (500-1000 cycles in an environmental/dust chamber on a shaker table) before releasing this to unsuspecting customers. They are pretty renderings but I see some blatant design mistakes.

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Old 12-12-2019, 02:27 PM   #63
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Default Re: Sliding Solar Panel Rack Systems by Orion Designs

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They are pretty renderings but I see some blatant design mistakes.
Love to hear your opinions here..
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Old 12-12-2019, 03:54 PM   #64
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Default Re: Sliding Solar Panel Rack Systems by Orion Designs

Agreed, statements like "things look wrong" are way more helpful when they are specific. Without understanding the inner mechanism (just looking at the renders on page 1), a couple of things stand out to me. Anytime there is a single screw going through a bracket that could potentially see a moment (especially in plane normal to the screw), it would be better to use two screws instead of 1, to support that moment. The further apart the screws are, the better. Otherwise the bracket is likely to rotate. Surfaces moving relative to each other (even small displacements such as from thermal expansion or vibration) can wear out, bolt loses preload, falls out, etc.
I'd also be interested in the wind force calculations (what the assumptions were), as it just doesn't look very strong in the extended position. I would try to include the fasteners and the roof in a stress analysis to make sure I hadn't accidentally overlooked the weakest link- want to know what fails first if a 300 pound person tried to do a pull up off the end, or if that same force pushes up.

Environmental, dust, shaker testing seems cost prohibitive for a niche product like this, but I agree that the odds of the first untested prototype being acceptable for final use are zero for something like this. The odds improve with group design review, but still better to do some kind of cheap testing. I have solar panels that tilt towards the sun (much simpler than this and for personal use only) and had to ask myself similar questions

Edit: "There are 6 prototype setups roaming around the continent, until recently under an NDA program."
Appears this is already happening..
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Last edited by markxengineering; 12-12-2019 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 12-12-2019, 04:11 PM   #65
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Default Re: Sliding Solar Panel Rack Systems by Orion Designs

I would be very curious to see a teardown of a few in-service prototypes. Even the best design will have tweaks or weak areas. Hopefully the OP has done their due diligence. It can be very difficult to predict how the roof will flex when loading the rack, or the as the van drives, hence the testing. I do share some moderate concerns about fasteners loosening, or chafing at the joints due to localized micro movements. I will give the designer the benefit of the doubt based on the limited information at my disposal.

With regards to Hein's lack of detail. His primary income appears to be engineering and selling products relating to conversion vehicles. Providing this type of advice for free on a forum, while other customers are paying good money for it, is generally not good form. Especially when its to another for-profit service provider.
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Old 12-12-2019, 04:17 PM   #66
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Default Re: Sliding Solar Panel Rack Systems by Orion Designs

I hear ya but this ain't rocket surgery, it takes all of 2 minutes to jot down what looks questionable, not looking for a full report ; ). It's for the good of everyone.
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Old 12-12-2019, 04:30 PM   #67
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Default Re: Sliding Solar Panel Rack Systems by Orion Designs

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I hear ya but this ain't rocket surgery, it takes all of 2 minutes to jot down what looks questionable, not looking for a full report ; ). It's for the good of everyone.
I agree, its easy for the expert to do. But that knowledge and experience is quite expensive to buy or earn. I have been paid significant sums to identify simple problems (sometimes in mere minutes) that eluded those without the requisite years of experience. I have been in the reverse position of paying good money for experts to solve a problem in minutes. I would be a bit miffed If I could have gotten said expert to do it for free on a forum!
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Old 12-12-2019, 04:59 PM   #68
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Default Re: Sliding Solar Panel Rack Systems by Orion Designs

i'm sure many of you guys have seen

wonder how his design has worked out over the long run.. after his little wiring snafu..
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Old 12-12-2019, 08:13 PM   #69
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Default Re: Sliding Solar Panel Rack Systems by Orion Designs

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Originally Posted by Midwestdrifter View Post
I agree, its easy for the expert to do. But that knowledge and experience is quite expensive to buy or earn. I have been paid significant sums to identify simple problems (sometimes in mere minutes) that eluded those without the requisite years of experience. I have been in the reverse position of paying good money for experts to solve a problem in minutes. I would be a bit miffed If I could have gotten said expert to do it for free on a forum!
I give away my knowledge and expertise (in areas where I am skilled) for free when asked to casually comment on something (whether on a forum or not) that I would normally bill $$ for; but I limit my statements to just casual comments and suggestions. It comes without any warranty for fitness of purpose, of course. That warranty, along with a lot more intensive review and analysis of requirements, is what one gets for their $$, and what makes the experience worthwhile for the person who pays the big bucks.

The folks who can afford to pay the big bucks aren't hanging out in forums trolling for design expertise, and the onus is still on the person who receives casual advice in a forum to investigate, determine suitability, and act (if the advice is sound).
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Old 12-12-2019, 09:46 PM   #70
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Default Re: Sliding Solar Panel Rack Systems by Orion Designs

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Originally Posted by OrioN View Post
I subscribe to engineering codes and practices of making everything sex-proof. If it survives any imaginable interaction with humans engaging in said act, it's certified.

Furthermore, any warranty or liability is expressed and limited to this sole act of nature.






.
In my circle of contractors and carpenters we refer to this particular engineering principle as:

SETFO

Y'all can derive meaning from that acronym with just a little of your creative thinking...

;)
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