My version of a 200W solar suitcase


Solar Enthusiast
Mar 28, 2020
The attached photos show my version of a 200W suitcase. Somewhat primitive, but, it works and used some stuff I had at the house. Materials include 7/64” Dyneema for the “latch”; kayak handles for carrying; 1/2” Nominal pipe size schedule 40 PVC pipe and fittings (2 tee and 2 90 elbows); 1x1x1/8 aluminum angle cut and drilled to suit; undrilled stainless piano hinge; 3/8” bolts; a piece of 1/2” Pex; “D rings”, 3/8” nuts. The 1/2” PVC fittings have a diameter that just fit into the panel frame thickness.

i drilled the piano hinges with the holes staggered to prevent rivet or bolt head interference when panels are closed. The tees on one panel are cut short to prevent interference when closed. The “hinges” have enough slop, that the legs slide down and fit into the bottom end of the panel for storage, but, slide up just enough to allow swinging open for deployment. The D rings are intended as tie down points for windy conditions. The only problem is the hinges provide no friction, so, I use tent pegs to hold the panels and legs preventing sliding, spreading And subsequent falling. If the ground is sufficiently ”loose” I can berm up some material to prevent sliding. The glass was purposely located “outside” for interior storage of my connecting cables. The legs are not yet glued, more as a “proof of concept”. But may remain unglued.
The hinge is a 3/8” bolt with a 1” OD fender washer drilled for 3/8” bolt with a piece of Pex to make a certain fit into the tee with a nut fitting inside the tee and against the aluminum angle, then a nut on the other side of the angle. The two nuts act as jamb nuts and keep the washer to tee distance sufficient to work as a hinge but tight enough to keep wobble to a mininum.
The Dyneema rope is just tied with a bow to keep the panels closed. It will not slip off because it wraps around inside the kayak handles. It and another piece can be used for the tie-down and I just got tired of looking at mechanical latches and drilling holes in the panel frames.
I probably used too many rivets for the hinges.E45E30AE-9213-42BD-A0E2-5EA4BDF399C4.jpeg2EABFE31-F7D1-4940-A4A8-D8237057F302.jpegB14DC459-6127-4B50-99BD-65DA1C79C7BC.jpeg7F74B550-52B7-4BD0-A5A7-AB2187816C62.jpeg284AB003-581E-4019-A3E8-86E84B40559B.jpeg72C2E778-C51D-4E57-A537-F64CF4FC9C28.jpeg