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AaronHorrocks

Sun Visor / Moon Visor Replacement Prototype

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Nissan-Pathfinder-WD21-Sun-Visor-ReplaceSo my sun visor is on it's last legs, and keeps falling down on hard bumps. I've tried gluing it back into shape but it only holds up for months at a time, then cracks somewhere else, and falls apart again. 

I went over to a local plastic store, and had them cut me a piece of "Starboard", which is Marine Grade plastic, some of the toughest stuff that they have for UV light and use on boats. Unfortunately, 1/4" is the thinnest that it comes, so I'm running though a few different designs, trying to figure out how to make this work, as even a 1/4" sheet is heavier than the original visor. I'm looking at utilizing the original brackets, perhaps? but that might not be practical. 

What I want to do for mine, is to have a solar panel on the top side (specifically a Goal Zero Nomad 14 Plus), utilizing some of that light. And on the bottom side, have it charging a portable USB powerbank/LED Light (specifically the Goal Zero Venture 30).  The idea is that throughout the day, the light charges the power bank, and then I can use the power bank to charge my phone, or other device. It's out of sight, out of mind thing, where it's integrated into the truck, and you use it when you need to. No longer having to fumble with packing up and storing a portable solar panel. Also with the LED light, when you need more light than the dome light and map lights put out, you can hit this thing, and turn on 65 lumens for some bright white LED light, and actually see. You can use this light for hours without worrying about draining your vehicle battery. Also if you're going camping, or hiking, or going to an event, you can just yoink the Goal Zero Venture 30 from the sun visor and be on your way. 

(Small image attached)

Who would want one of these Nissan Pathfinder WD21 replacement visors? I can make them "Slick" (just the basics), or make them "solar" where you'd be able to set them up for solar as I said. 
Initial costs are looking between $100 to $300.

 

Edited by AaronHorrocks

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I don't have a visor on my pathfinder and went in a similar route that your thinking but I had a goal zero nomad 20 panel with a yeti 400 in the trunk. I also charged my sherpa 50. The major problem I found was the sheer weight of any changer being attached would weight down the panels causing them to hit my head on hard bumps. If you figure a fix for this would love to hear it.

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I just looked up the Nomad 20, and it's like my Nomad 10, it's very thick and heavy. NO WAY. 
Look up the Nomad __ Plus series. They're very thin and light. So much so that they're kinda flimsy and frail, and they've been discontinued. 

I took the pouch/stand off of mine, and use it on the dash or in the sun roof. Here's a video that shows the product fairly well: 

I bought the 14 because it was the largest panel that could fit on the sun roof. But now I'm thinking that I might be better off with one or 2 of the 7 Plus panels instead. 

 

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I have considered putting a panel under the sunroof glass for running fans when the truck's parked in the sun. (I tried a similar arrangement with a computer fan in my '95, taking battery power from the dome light, but I could never convince myself that it was doing any good.) Trouble is, the glass is painted on the inside--not completely but enough to cut down on the sunlight reaching the panels. Also, when you're not camping, how often are you going to use that battery bank? Seems like "the ceiling, right next to your head" is about the least convenient possible location for a USB charger, especially when you've already got a 12v socket in the dash.

What would the difference be between your base model and the solar model? Mounting holes for the kit?

I reckon the way to go here would be to make a basic shade kit with just a blank cutout and the mounting hardware (the quarter-turn or screw-in fasteners), and sell it cheap enough that people aren't afraid to mod it. If someone wants to mount solar panels, or fans, or a bunch of racecar switches, or a Molle rack for maps and granola bars, they can do that using your basic kit as a starting point, and you don't have to do the R&D. If you see a bunch of people doing the same mod, offer a deluxe version with pre-drilled holes.

OE shades are expensive, so I'll bet there's a market for a cheaper alternative. The challenge will be finding the right price point. While I appreciate the effort that'll go into cutting the pieces out, bending them, and sourcing the fasteners, I also remember making a perfectly viable sunshade for my '95 from a cardboard box and baling wire.

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I have noticed that I'm getting less than 50% power from a solar panel under that sunroof glass. It has tinting and those dots all over it. 
So with a 14 watt panel, I'm getting like 4 to 6 watts out of it. It takes several days to charge a power bank, depending on size. 

The 12V socket in the dash, I have modified into a 3 socket on the lower center. It works great when I'm driving, and can charge a phone, and GPS, but it shuts off with the vehicle. 
I've put the solar panel above the sun roof visor, and had the charging cable run down to the passenger front frame, taped to the window, and into the pocket on the dash. It's okay for charging a battery bank, but then it's sitting in the sun and getting hot. Anywhere else in the vehicle, a USB power source will be loose. Here, in my idea, it would be mounted and integrated into the vehicle. It's modular. Removable. If you're in your vehicle and driving, it's not like you're going to be using it. This is a place for your USB power bank to charge. Not a location for you to use it. 

The difference in the product from "base model" and "solar model" wouldn't just be mounting holes, but brackets, and also a section of the board milled out to fit the panel. Otherwise the panel would just slide around and be annoying.

I'm still working out the kinks. It seems like the original visor, between the front mounting brackets and the screw in knobs, all gave a huge tolerance for variations in where the mounting points were glued onto the glass. I've noticed some of my measurements were off. And I may have to compensate for that in a design. I've had to fudge my prototype. It's installed now, photo taken. (also, I'm limited to 0.02MB for attachments? yuck!)

Also for the sun visor, I'm currently re-using the original knobs. But since they're plastic, and kinda worn out, I want to replace them. 
Does anyone know what thread the knobs are? 

Nissan-Pathfinder-WD21-Sun-Visor-Replace

 

Edited by AaronHorrocks

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Looks pretty good for a prototype! Having it up there is definitely better than having it on the dash. Sucks about the power output, though.

 

I'll check the screws on mine, I want to say they're M11 x something but it's been a while since I checked.

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Okay, so I stopped by the hardware store a couple days ago, and it seems like M10 x1.5 is close, but the threads are larger and further apart? Maybe M10 x 1.75 or 2? 
It looks like M10 x 1.75 exists and can be ordered, but M10 x 2 doesn't. 

I did end up buying some smaller threaded bolts that matched up with the threads and nuts for the front mounting slots. Unfortunately, I ended up not using those in my final design.

This project is getting so complex that I might have to make my own knobs? I would want metal on metal because of the extra weight of this new visor.

So I stopped by the Nissan dealership, and asked about them. Seems like they're in stock. So I would be able to get NOS/NIW knobs with fresh threads. That's good.
Also I asked about the visor. Turns out it's called a "Sun Shade" or "Sun Roof Shade" in the parts catalog. And that the retail is $500. And it's not available. WOW.

So I've worked out most of the kinks in my head, except for how to mount the USB Power Bank. Plastic strap? held in by? Rivets? Bolts? How does the  power bank stay in place and not fall out while driving? 

I'm going to stop by the hardware store and buy a M10-1.5 bolt and see if they thread in.

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Was reading thru and the answer I had was the netting that comes in the panels. That's how I kept mine from falling out when I had my panel in full time

 

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MOLLE straps?  Nah.
I'm trying to make this thing as simple and minimalist and practical as possible. 
My first design had so much going on that it would probably be too heavy. And get too expensive to make. It was already starting to go into the $200 to $300 range just in components before I started any work on it. 

I'm going to try to figure out some hard plastic brackets. I might have to make something spring loaded so that this snaps into place. Or maybe just some thin flexible plastic that will work. Like study the OtterBox phone holster, and figure something similar out.

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Seems like you could bend up a sheet metal (or sheet plastic) C-channel clip sorta deal that the bank would slot into. Anything specially fitted kinda locks you into that make/model of bank, but I guess it wouldn't be that hard to swap the clip out if you needed to later.

 

M10x1.5 is the only size I have that screwed into the sunroof, but I don't have/didn't check an M10x1.75. Tough to judge the thread pitch on the screws when there are only two threads exposed.

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If I make the clip to hold the Goal Zero Venture 30, it does kinda force people into that specific USB Power Bank. But the reason that I picked that one, other than my support for that company, is the 65 lumen LED light on it. Using that Power Bank above all others, makes my replacement Sun Roof Shade, not only a replacement part, but also a solar panel, a USB power bank, and an additional interior light. One that's actually bright enough that you can see the floors and dig around in your truck if it's full of crap. Rather than the dim map and dome lights. Which, do have their place, as a dim light so that you can just see enough to get in and out of the vehicle, and not hurt your eyes, or ruin your night vision. So it's a shade/solar panel/USB Power/Interior light. I'm using it as mostly a light. And it's all modular, so it can be taken apart. 

Here's an unlisted video that I just made: 

 

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And by comparison, the Goal Zero Nomad 10 and Flip 12. 

Kinda the same concept. A Solar Panel charging a Power Bank in your vehicle, ready to grab and go. But it's loose on the dash. 
 

 

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