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Can you put a solar panel on a Thule roof rack? #2 question below.

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#1 TahoeT



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Posted 13 February 2020 - 05:09 AM

Thule model 460 (2017) with two cross bars about 1 1/2 thick.  The bars run horizontal and are adjustable.  The panel will run from front to back...and probably end up near the middle of the roof. 


I plan on using a 160 watt panel on top with two home built lithium ion batteries in the bank.  Do I need two BMS's...one for each battery.   Thanks for your help.  T

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#2 ckent323


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Posted 15 February 2020 - 07:07 PM

I have solar panels attached to my Yakima racks.  Thule is very similar.


I used the threaded track nuts (the nuts that hold the towers to the track) to hold aluminum square tubes cut to the appropriate length and then bolted the solar panel frames to the aluminum tubes. Quite strong and low profile.  Aluminum "L" channel would probably work as well.  I can still use the towers with cross bars to carry items such as kayaks.  The tower height puts the crossbars comfortably above the solar panels.  See the photos in my gallery.



I assume that the batteries will be connected together into a single battery bank, in which case you only need one battery monitor.  I use the Victron BMV-712

I am not as familiar with Lithium Ion batteries as I am with lead acid but it is my understanding that Lithium Ion batteries typically have built in battery management systems.

I hope this is somewhat helpful,


Hopefully someone more knowledgeable, such as Rando, will comment.

Edited by ckent323, 15 February 2020 - 07:08 PM.

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#3 rando


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Posted 15 February 2020 - 09:36 PM

I am wondering why you are planning on two LiFePO4 batteries?   If you are home building them, why not just build one to the capacity you need?  There are CALB cells available up to 400Ah per cell, so I am sure you can make one big enough.   Even if you use smaller cells you can put them in parallel/series so that you only have one 'battery' and therefore one BMS.

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