solar power

Looking for some advice for a camping trip to Ningaloo in a few months time. I have currently a dual battery system incorporating a Sure Power battery separator installed by ARB for my Prado. This has worked very well in the past, to power our engel and recharge mobiles etc. In the past we have been mostly on the move when holidaying. However the holiday we are oraganizing will have days when we wont be on the move, hence the two batteries will not get adequate recharging.
Looking at possibly using solar panels to compensate for this. Any ideas the best way to go about this without compromising / damaging the dual battery system.
Cheers Mike
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Reply By: pepper2 - Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 at 17:28

Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 at 17:28
if you have a solar panel just connect it to the auxilary battery as your isolator should preserve the power in the starting battery (ie with your set up only the auxilary powers the engel and therefore is the only battery to require charging).
AnswerID: 505192

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 at 17:57

Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 at 17:57
Hi Mike,

As Pepper2 says, your battery management system should disconnect the auxilliary battery from the cranking battery when the engine isn't running, so you only need to charge the aux battery to keep up with household requirements.

For modest energy demand - just the fridge, a few LED lights, charging cameras, phones, torches, to cope with 2 or 3 days without running the engine you'll probably need about 120W of solar panels. That assumes that you will move them a few times a day to roughly follow the sun. You'll also need 100 Ah of battery storage. (More battery and more solar is always better.)

You will need a solar controller to connect the panel/s to your battery. This should preferably be mounted close to the battery rather than close to the panels, and all wiring should be done using heavy (8 B &S is good) twin cable. Ideally the controller should be an MPPT type to deliver maximum energy to your battery/s.

Suggest you'll find Electricity for Camping a useful read.


J and V
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AnswerID: 505195

Reply By: Member - Trouper (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 at 18:33

Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 at 18:33
I recently purchased a 140 watt folding solar panel which included a 15amp MPPT controller which I understand is the best type available. I have a 100AH 2nd battery. I tested it last week during 4 days camping. I run an Engel Fridge set at 1.5 and some LED lights and a 600watt inverter (.75amps) for a CPAP machine(for sleep apnia) which draws 1.75amps runnimg fot 8 hours per night.
On the day of arrival at the camp site 2pm the Aux batt was at 12.80v on the morning of day 4 the batt was at 12 .38 about 60% SOC. One day was part cloud the other 3 clear sunny days. I was more than satisfied with that.

AnswerID: 505198

Follow Up By: daz (SA) - Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 at 20:41

Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 at 20:41
Hi there trouper

this is a change in the topic
I also use CPAP machine whlist travelling. Mine is a Phillips Responic remstar. I am able to run this on 12 volt without the humidifier. this saves the use of invertersetc, Can you also run your machine on 12 volt only, Interested to hear.

Agree with above 120 amp solar panels are all that should be needed.

FollowupID: 782147

Reply By: Member - Mike H9 - Thursday, Feb 21, 2013 at 10:46

Thursday, Feb 21, 2013 at 10:46
Thanks everyone for your help. Looks like an easy solution to our power needs, as long as we have sun!
Cheers Mike
AnswerID: 505231

Follow Up By: Best Off Road - Thursday, Feb 21, 2013 at 11:02

Thursday, Feb 21, 2013 at 11:02

Give Steve at Mandrake's Solar Power a ring 03-99741441.

You'll find his prices and quality hard to beat.

FollowupID: 782178

Reply By: fisho64 - Thursday, Feb 21, 2013 at 12:13

Thursday, Feb 21, 2013 at 12:13
Bit Deals on Ebay have 120W and 140W folding panels with MPPT reg for $170/$215 respectively and free postage.
Ive ordered a 120W so will be interested to see what its like.
I believe a fair few off here have bought from Bitdeals with as good result after searching here.
AnswerID: 505235

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