Portable Solar Surveillance Trailer

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The Portable Solar Surveillance Trailer allows you to mount up to three Sensera cameras along with their solar panels on a highly portable, mobile platform with a retractable 25 foot mast.

This article contains step by step instructions for setting up your Portable Solar Surveillance Trailer.

Step 1:  Select a Location

There are two things to consider when placing your trailer.   First, it should be in a place that will give your cameras the desired viewpoint.  Second, the location you choose must allow your cameras’ solar panels to be in direct sunlight for several hours per day.   A shaded solar panel produces little or no power.

Since we do not recommend towing the trailer with your cameras mounted, you should place it at or near the desired location before proceeding further.

Step 2:  Deploy the Legs

Extend each of the four trailer legs horizontally as far as possible:

Next, use the cranks to extend the legs vertically until the feet contact the ground.  Once all four feet are in contact with the ground, extend each foot a small additional amount, one leg at a time, until the tires are about 1/2 inch off the ground.  If necessary, use the four legs to make the trailer approximately level.

  

A cable lock and/or a padlock can be used to secure a wheel or prevent unwanted use of the hitch.

Step 3:  Mount the Cameras

Make sure the trailer mast is fully retracted (all the way down).  Attach the camera mount to the mast as shown:

 

Point the camera mount in the direction that the camera should face and tighten both 1/2 inch nuts on the camera mount.  (This position can also be adjusted easily later.)

Next, attach the camera to the camera mount:

 

If you have more than one camera to mount, raise the mast enough to make room for all camera mounts, and attach all mounts to the mast before attaching cameras:

 

Step 4:  Mount the Solar Panels

The solar panel shelf can be rotated so that the panels are facing the correct direction for maximum sunlight (due south in the Northern Hemisphere, north in the Southern Hemisphere.)  Disengage the solar panel shelf lock and rotate the shelf appropriately.   Re-engage the shelf lock:

 

Place the Spring Channel Studs in the channels.   Place the stud parallel to the channel.  Push down to compress the spring and rotate the stud until it is perpendicular to the channel.  Release the spring and ensure the stud is seated in the channel.

 

The number of Spring Channel Studs you will be using, and their placement, depends on the number of solar panels to be installed.  There must be two studs (top and bottom) in each channel for each solar panel.

  • For one solar panel, install two studs in each channel, positioned about 16 inches apart and centered in the channel.
  • For two solar panels, install four studs in each channel, each pair of studs about 16 inches apart, with one pair above the center point and one pair below the center point.
  • For three solar panels, install  six studs in each channel, each pair of studs about 16 inches apart.
  • Do not worry about getting the placement exact at this stage, you will be adjusting them later.

Once the Spring Channel Studs are installed, then place a solar panel clamp and washer on each stud.  Loosely thread a knob onto each stud.

Slide the solar panel underneath the two bottom solar panel clamps and hand tighten the knobs.

 

Adjust the location of the two top solar panel clamps to engage the solar panel, and hand tighten the knobs.

 

Ensure all four clamps are properly contacting the solar panel and the knobs are tightened.

If you have additional solar panels to install, repeat this procedure for the remaining panels.  All panels should be approximately centered on the channels and mounted as close together as possible (especially important for three-panel installations).

  

Step 5:  Connect Solar Panels to Cameras

First connect the Extension Cables to the solar panel cables.  Insert the solar panel cable into the extension cable, then push and rotate the plastic collar until it clicks into place.

 

Run the end of the extension cables through the loops on the mast.

Place the cable over the top of the camera mount as shown.  This is important, as it provides strain relief for the cable connection when the mast is raised.  Insert the extension cable into the camera, then push and rotate the plastic collar until it clicks into place.

 
Verify the cables are hanging freely and not wrapped around anything.  Begin raising the mast slowly.  Watch the cables to ensure they are not under tension.  The cables should be pulled smoothly through the rings as the mast is raised.
 

Use zip ties to tie down any excess cable to the horizontal support on the trailer.

Step 6:  Take a Test Picture

Take test pictures with your cameras to verify the alignment is as desired.  If adjustments are necessary, collapse the mast and adjust the cameras.  Care must be taken when collapsing the mast to ensure the cables do not get caught on anything.

Transporting the Trailer

  • Do not drive with cameras attached to the mast.
  • Do not drive with the mast extended.
  • When driving with solar panels installed, rotate the solar panel shelf so the solar panels are facing the mast.
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