Simple solar ventilation system for cargo trailer


Old 05-15-15, 06:49 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Canada
Posts: 1
Simple solar ventilation system for cargo trailer

Hi everyone,

I am starting a paddlesport rental company here in BC. Quality kayak trailers cost about $2000 so I decided to buy a $600 folding utility trailer and custom build it. My brother in law is welding a couple hitch receivers to the trailer perpendicularly below the bed so I can insert the T-style cross bars he's fashioned into them and later remove to fold the trailer for storage. I'm going to build some plywood chests 6' to 8' long on the bottom to store paddles, PFDs, and safety equipment. My customers will be paddling in the ocean so I will need to rinse the equipment with freshwater after each use. I will try to airdry what I can but there is always the risk of mold and mildew damage to nylon gear if put away wet.
I was thinking of building a bootleg ventilation system to move air through the chests. I though I could pick up one or two of these cheap 15w solar panels from Harbour Freight 15 Watt, 12 Volt Solar Panel 15 Watt, 12 Volt Solar Panel[/url] ), cut some vents with a holesaw at each end, staple 1cm cross wire inside and install a DC fan to move air.

I dont have any electrical experience so was wanting your advice. Would a standard DC fan like this (11.5 w, peak CFM 206)have enough kick from a 15w panel to move a reasonable amount of air through about 25-30 cubic feet? Bear in mind the solar panel wont always be producing peak power 6248M:]6248M: EBM-PAPST: Fans & Cooling EBM-PAPST: Fans & Cooling
Can I hook the wires up straight to the fan and have it go or does their need to be some sort of device in between? Would the panel, on a sunny day, kicking 15w peak power burn out a DC fan rated at 11.5w?

Should the fan be attached to the outtake vent? The trailer will be stored at a dirt staging yard so the fan will need to survive humidity from the gear and a lot of dust in the hair. I was thinking about cutting changeable filter pad inside the vents to offer some protection.

I would really appreciate your input. I'm really enjoying building an awesome custom trailer with loads of cool features for half the price. (Approx $1000). I will try to upload some project pics later but I've attached a crude drawing to illustrate my idea. Thanks!Name:  Diagramedited.jpg
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Old 05-16-15, 06:23 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 18,166
Whatever you choose I would first wire up the components and test them before cutting any holes in your trailer. You are quite far north and solar panels advertised specs are the absolute best the panel can do. The panel you linked may put out 15 watts at the equator at noon but anywhere else it will produce less. You panel will be flat on the roof and never perpendicular to the sun and add on your latitude and the sun will always be at a 50 degree angle or shallower so on a sunny day you might peak at half it's rated output at noon. So, you may need a lot more solar panel than you think.

You've choosen a 12v panel and a 48v motor. I think you would be better picking a 12v fan.

How about just installing vents for natural air circulation? Vents down low to let air in and some on the roof to let air out. As the trailer heats in the sun the hot air will rise and go out the roof to be replaced by fresh air coming in at the bottom. Then you'll get additional airflow when pulling the trailer or when the wind blows.

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