A Bit More Peace of Mind
Originally posted 11/11/2012
As you might have been able to tell, those big solar panels hanging on the side of the trailer have been a concern to me in high winds. The concern is that trapped air under the panels might cause them to flip on their hinges over the top of the trailer, ruining them, their mounts, and any equipment mounted on the rooftop. Further, winds in this area have been claimed to approach fifty miles per hour on rare occasion. The panels have stayed firmly planted up to at least twenty-five, and have plenty of air escape space all around them, but who can say? Who wants to take the gamble? I don’t. They effectively can’t be replaced, because they can only be purchased in sets of four, and certainly can’t be truck-shipped to a post office.
The wind in the late afternoon yesterday was gusty and changing direction. So, in the spirit of frugality and reasoned concern, I visited a local vendor tent yesterday and bought four 15″ rebar stakes with eyelets. I pounded them into the ground with a ball peen hammer, having found that I had neglected to abscond with my trusty 32oz hammer from my former home. I shall miss ye, old friend.
The time being sunset, I then introduced the weak link, good-sized cable ties, through the stake eyelet and the hole in each pole handle. It’s far from bulletproof, but it’s certainly better than gravity alone. It stands to reason that aircraft cable would outdo cable ties, but I’m letting the problem soak for awhile to come up with a better cost/performance solution. At some point, the holes in the plastic handles might tear out, so some thought is needed. I’d ultimately like to run a strap directly from each panel outer edge down to the frame of the trailer, but that approach is not as straightforward or problem-free as I’d like. In the meantime, the panels are modestly protected, and I don’t feel compelled to look out at the panels every time the trailer wiggles in the wind.