Q: Does each SolaRVector unit need its own switch or remote control?
A: No. One remote control can control up to eight SolaRVector devices simultaneously. If you need to tilt your solar panels individually, you'll need a switch or a remote control module for each system. NOTE: When using the remote control to control multiple devices, it is important that the installation instructions and wiring requirements described in the installation manual be complied with
Q: Where can I buy SolaRVector?
A: SolaRVector is available through us - the manufacturer
Q: Does SolaRVector track the sun?
A: No. SolaRVector is not a solar tracker. The patent under which SolaRVector is covered, also covers a solar tracking version, but as of now, is not cost-effective. Solar trackers are more complex and require specialized circuitry and multiple actuators to keep the panels facing toward the sun. Fortunately, RVers who camp off-grid often have the option of facing their RV in a direction that enables solaRVector to be most effective
Even though SolaRVector is a single-axis device, it can still be effective when facing in other directions. If SolaRVector is installed so that it tilts to the right side of your RV, your solar panels will have maximum sun exposure throughout the day if the RV is facing east. They'll have the least exposure when your RV is facing west. If the RV is facing south, leave the panels flat until early afternoon, then raise them after the sun passes overhead as it sets to the west. If your RV is facing north, raise the panels in the morning to catch the rising sun, then lower them as the sun passes overhead. You actually get a lot more than you might think out of a single-axis device
Q: How far does SolaRVector tilt?
SolaRVector can tilt to any fixed position between zero and 59 degrees (from flat).
Q: Can SolaRVector be installed so that it tilts in any direction?
A: No. SolaRVector must be installed so that it tilts to either the left or right side of the RV. It must not be installed so that it tilts toward the front or rear of the RV. When driving, the aerodynamic forces on the unit would be different than how it was tested. SolaRVector must be installed so the locking pin indicators, on either side of the device, are visible from the ground. That is the only way to verify that SolaRVector is down and locked, and it's safe to travel
Q: Can I install SolaRVector myself?
A: If you can install solar panels on your RV's roof, and install the wiring and other components, you should be able to install SolaRVector. Installation is pretty straightforward, but if you're not comfortable working on your RV's roof, drilling holes in the roof, or working with your RV's electrical system, you should hire a professional. A fall from a ladder, or your RV's roof could end your camping trip
Q: What else do I need to install SolaRVector?
A: You'll need wire, and since each installation is different, you'll have to measure how much wire you'll need. We recommend stranded 12 AWG wire or thicker. If you're installing multiple devices on a large RV, thicker wire may be needed to reduce voltage loss. You'll also need a drill, some basic tools and some electrical connectors to connect SolaRVector to your RV's electrical system. You'll need a good sealant to seal around the mounting hardware. (We recommend Dicor.) We also strongly recommend that you read the installation instructions before installing the system. it will give you a good idea of what's involved
Q: How does SolaRVector attach to my RV's roof?
A: SolaRVector attaches to an RV's roof similarly to how solar panels attach - with four anchoring devices. The base of SolaRVector attaches to the RV's roof, then the solar panel bolts to the top of SolaRVector. No matter which method is used, installers must ensure that the anchoring devices are strong enough to secure SolaRVector AND the solar panel to the RV's roof
Q: How much does SolaRVector weigh?
A: The unit itself weighs about 14.5 lbs (not including solar panel)
Q: How much current does SolaRVector draw?
A: The actuator is rated at a max draw of 4 amps, but the limitations designed into the system rerduce the actual draw considerably. The max current drawn will depend on how many units are installed, and in what mode they're operating. The first three seconds of the initial lift draws more current than at any other time, but is less than 2.5 amps
In these images, the solar panel is down and locked, and the only devices consuming power are the RV's parasitic loads and the SolaRVector remote control module. In standby-mode the RC module draws only .7mA. The battery monitor, which displays an instant readout of amps-consumed, is indicating a total draw of .4 amps for the entire RV
As SolaRVector starts to lift a single 26.5 lb 160 watt solar panel (the period of peak load) the load increases to .9 amps. After a few seconds, the load is reduced by .2 amps, and then again to almost nothing when the panel stops tilting
Q: How is SolaRVector constructed?
A: SolaRVector is constructed of 6061 and 6063 1/8th inch thick aluminum, and all parts are machined in a CNC. Main components, like the base and top sections, are double MIG welded for maximum strength and rigidity. The anchoring devices go through the base section to back up the welds. Machine screws are used to mount the hinge section to the top and base sections, and all screws are secured with Nylocks. The linear actuator that raises, lowers, locks and unlocks the device has an IP65 rating, making it suitable for outdoor use. The actuator has a lifting capacity of 225 lbs and a static holding force of 600 lbs
Q: How much wind can SolaRVector withstand?
A: SolaRVector was tested in the down-and-locked position (with a solar panel installed) at wind-speeds of more than 90 MPH. We attempted to determine an absolute wind-speed at which SolaRVector should be lowered, but that proved to be impossible, due to all the variables. Factors like: wind-speed; wind-angle; gust-strength; solar panel size and the tilt-angle, made it, essentially, impossible to come up with an absolute number. Good judgment must prevail
If you're chasing your lawn chairs across the campground, or if your solar panels are being banged around in the wind, they should be locked in the down-position. (The same goes for manual tilt-kits). Afterall, with SolaRVector, all it takes is the push of a button. SolaRVector is far more rigid and stable than an RV's awning, but it's a good idea to think of them in the same way; if there is any chance that strong winds or adverse weather could damage them, or if you're going to be away from the RV, they should be secured in the locked position
Q: How long does it take to completely raise or lower a solar panel?
A: Less than 20 seconds in either direction
Q: One of my solar panels goes up and down slower than the others. Is there something wrong with the actuator?
A: No. It is not unusual for one actuator to extend and retract at a slightly different rate (speed) than another. This is due to the internal build of the actuator. It is not an indication of a problem
Q: How many solar panels can be installed on each SolaRVector device?
Q: What is the range of the remote control?
A: It depends on where the remote control receiver is mounted, the condition of the key fob's battery and the number and type of obstructions between the key fob and receiver. We buy the RC module from a third party, and they list the range at 60 feet, however, we have repeatedly raised and lowered our solar panels at a distance of nearly 300 feet
Q: Why do I have to hold the buttons down on the key fob to raise and lower my solar panels?
A: The remote control module is programmable. When they're shipped to us, we specify that they operate in the "Momentary" mode, but some get shipped in the "Push Only" mode. If yours is programmed to operatie in the "Push Only" mode, we recommend reprogramming it to operate in the "Momentary" mode. It's a simple procedure and the reprogramming instructions are in the package that came with the remote. If you can't find it, you can download the instructions from the "Installation & Support" page