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Old 04-06-2019, 06:01 PM   #1
JES
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Default Feeder Solar Panel and Flexible Conduit Upgrade

The coons have wreaked havoc on the spiral wound flexible conduit that comes with the small solar panels on most feeders. I have had them constantly rip it apart and break the wires, etc. I tend to have a lot of time on my hands while at work and finally found a solution.



I wanted to use some type of tubing (copper, stainless etc.) instead of the flexible conduit, something coon proof. I found some steel brake line that would work. It took several tries of buying the wright sized tubing and wire to get a combination that worked, where I could pull the wire through the tubing.



I settled on 1/4" brake line and I think 22 gauge wire. I bought the brake line off eBay for like $28 for 25'. I used 1/4" compression fittings ($4/each) to secure it to the battery box and then just tubing clamps and self tapping screws to attach to the feeder hopper.



I had to buy a tubing cutter ($8) and a special bending tool, ($12) wish I would have bought a better one though.



I upgraded an All Season and two Krivoman feeders and installed a new giant Krivoman feeder with this new tubing. and still have enough to do one or two more. If I was better at this I could probably have gotten more out of it then I did.



So you need to guestimate how much tubing you need, cut it to length and use a rat tail file to deburr the ID of the end of the tubing. Then push the wire through the tubing before you start bending it. On the big feeder it was too long of a run to be able to push it so I used some fishing line as a fish tape and then pulled the wire through the tubing.



When bending it, I ended up flattening a couple of sections and that prevent the wire from being able to be pulled in/out to adjust after terminating on each end, not ideal, but I made it work.



Hopefully this keeps the coons form breaking the wire like they have in the past. I'm sure they have been hanging off of it the last couple of weeks since I installed it.



Here are a few pictures, not the best, that show the finished work.








Last edited by JES; 04-06-2019 at 06:05 PM.
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Old 04-14-2019, 09:49 AM   #2
Tbuddyandroby
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Good idea!
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Old 04-14-2019, 09:55 AM   #3
louieagarcia
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Well done, I like it
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Old 04-14-2019, 10:09 AM   #4
RR 314
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Man, that is a great idea. I can't kill enough of those destructive bastages.
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Old 04-15-2019, 09:35 AM   #5
MagicBlade
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Great fix.
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Old 04-15-2019, 09:38 AM   #6
hog_down
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You must have some P&Y sized coons!
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Old 04-15-2019, 10:16 AM   #7
88 Bound
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Good work!

In the future, you can also just zip tie that tubing that comes with the panel tight to every surface between your box and the panel, leaving no slack or space. Coons will pull on anything with slack or that they can fit their hands around. Seems to work well for me and I have a big coon population as well.
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Old 04-17-2019, 06:48 AM   #8
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Good idea! I started using rigid EMT conduit, and have had zero issues since. I think the stuff I used was an actual 3/4" OD, and was super easy to fish the wires through. Also, it doesent get any easier than EMT when it comes to fittings........slip joints with set screws!

The main thing is to make sure your supports are stout, because they will be hanging all over it!
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Last edited by Palmetto; 04-17-2019 at 06:51 AM.
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Old 04-17-2019, 06:55 AM   #9
Rick
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We mount solar panel directly to timer box that is inside coon cage. wire goes through hole in timer box so no exposed wire. Those are good solutions, but seems easier to mount directly to timer box to me.
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Old 04-17-2019, 07:39 PM   #10
TXBRASS
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Like Palmetto, I used the rigid EMT. Just heated it red to make my bends and welded a large flat washer on the end where it mounts to the box. Drilled 2 holes in the washer to bolt to box and caulked all seams.



I like how you did it OP. Gotta do what we can against those dang coons!!!


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Old 04-18-2019, 07:40 AM   #11
Palmetto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
We mount solar panel directly to timer box that is inside coon cage. wire goes through hole in timer box so no exposed wire. Those are good solutions, but seems easier to mount directly to timer box to me.
Been there. That's why mine is mounted up high.
Works ok on 55gal drum, but the bigger ones cast more shade. Plus, they get filthy from all the dust, & dirty little coon hands making them less effective.
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Old 04-18-2019, 08:07 AM   #12
Rick
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palmetto View Post
Been there. That's why mine is mounted up high.
Works ok on 55gal drum, but the bigger ones cast more shade. Plus, they get filthy from all the dust, & dirty little coon hands making them less effective.
you have to remember the solar panel only recharges a battery that is used to run a motor a few seconds twice a day, so there is very little battery drain. Most timers have their own AA batteries. If you were trying to run lights all night, direct sun is a bigger issue. But either way works, it just depends on what you like or want
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Old 04-18-2019, 10:47 AM   #13
texan4ut
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I use an ammo can for my feeder timer box and mount the solar panel to the box.
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Old 04-18-2019, 07:05 PM   #14
JES
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Some great ideas. On spin cast feeders you can pre-install the solar panel, either with electrical conduit or mounting directly to the motor, and just spin the feeder to make sure the solar panel is facing the right direction to get the most sun exposure. Most of my feeders are directional and at home I’m not sure exactly where the solar panel will need to be placed once installed in the field and on my existing feeders I needed a solution that was easy to install in the field and felt his was my best option. I pulled pretty hard on the tubing and added some extra clamps when needed so this should be a durable fix.

Zip ties, my coons laughed at those and even using cable clamps on the flexible conduit was not enough to deter these devils.

I’m happy with what I used and hopefully the ideas posted in this thread will help some other folks.
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