If there’s one mod that makes your rig look legit, it’s solar panels. On this episode of Overland at Home, we’ll show you how to make a one of the first overlanding mods for any rig: DIY solar panels for your truck. This is the pinnacle of sustainable, off-the-grid living, and installing it isn’t as hard as you might think. It’s one of the best off-road mods and most iconic DIY overlanding mods for a reason.
If you want some off-road solar panels for some off the grid solar power, it’s best to mount them to the roof, giving yourself some roof rack solar panels. This is what we did with our 4Runner solar panels.
All it takes is wiring up your solar panels with prewired connections to a solar charge controller, wiring the controller to the electronics in your car, with an inverter, and mounting it all. That’s it. All in, everything costs around $600. In order to keep a consistent 12 volts of power coming in, we ran our four panels in parallel, which means having all the positive and negative lines go to the same place.
We chose four panels because that was the amount that fit on the rack on top of our Toyota 4Runner, but you could have more or less based on how much space you have. To mount the panels to the rack, we carefully drilled holes into the panels and attached them to brackets on the rack.
We then mounted an Anderson plug to the rack and wired all our panels into it, and ran the wires down to the solar charge controller and the inverter. Once the power is coming in, you can hook it up to any other electronics you have in your car, like a fuse box and 12 volt plug.
With this setup, we were able to 111 watts with the sun setting and make a smoothie! More than enough to make any overlander jealous.
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