Portable Solar Panels

Submitted: Thursday, Feb 27, 2014 at 20:07
ThreadID: 106449 Views:2043 Replies:5 FollowUps:0
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To all those Tech People I need some advise please. We were free camping a couple of weeks ago and the place was that nice that we stayed a bit longer then we should have.Saying that I didn't start the car up at all to charge the 2 deep cycle batteries that are in the back of my slide on camper.I have in the back 2 -40 litre engle fridges that we use all the time and we use occasionally and I mean occasionally the 12 volt-240volt air conditioning in the bed area plus a few lights on the camper.I havent enough room in the camper to carry a generator so I hope there is something out there that will keep me charged up enough to stay that little bit longer if I need to. Ken.
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Reply By: Member - KBAD - Friday, Feb 28, 2014 at 00:08

Friday, Feb 28, 2014 at 00:08
Ken i suggest you get some of Collyn Rivers books http://www.caravanandmotorhomebooks.com/books/camper_trailer.htm
You need to work out a few things like current draw power storage and so on, before you can work out how much charge you need to put back in, there are some good easy to carry solar options now, there are also other options to 240 volt generators, like small power driven alternators for quick charge and so on.
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Friday, Feb 28, 2014 at 07:40

Friday, Feb 28, 2014 at 07:40

Suggest that you'll find Elecricity for Camping a useful read.


J and V
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Reply By: Member Andys Adventures - Friday, Feb 28, 2014 at 13:39

Friday, Feb 28, 2014 at 13:39
Hi Ken,
I have 2/ 40litre Engels fridge and freezer I run a 160W solar panel and 2/ 80ah Deep cycle batteries. They have been running for 3 years now constantly and for 6 months of the year the car is parked up and only started once a week to keep the oil up the top of the motor not to charge the batteries. I have had many cloudy days and have never had a problem. I also run a TV and lights as well from this system.
Hope this helps you work it out.
Cheers Andy

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Reply By: Robin Miller - Friday, Feb 28, 2014 at 14:02

Friday, Feb 28, 2014 at 14:02
You have the answer Ken, when you say you didn't start the car for days to charge your batts.

I wouldn't leave my car for that long without starting it just to ensure that the constant small bleed current doesn't leave the battery to flat to start the car.

There are optimium ways to use the cars charger system but running it for 1/2 hour every couple of days is both good for your system and would be cheaper than solar panels for a long time, doesn't take up any room and you already own it.

I don't know how you manage your fridges , but we don't take anything that needs less than 4 degrees to stay ok and so fridge is both left accordingly and usually turned off overnight which helps us a lot because we only have the car battery.
Robin Miller

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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Friday, Feb 28, 2014 at 18:14

Friday, Feb 28, 2014 at 18:14
Hi Ken,
If you get some portable solar panels, about 100 watts per battery at least and a good MPPT regulator of around 20 to 30 amps that should solve your problems.

However If you get the largest sized panels you can and fit them on the roof of your camper it will have 2 effects.
Firstly they will provide some shade to the roof of the camper, therefore insulating it somewhat and reduce even further your need for that power hungry air conditioner.

Secondly they will charge your batteries all the time while some sun is shining and more so with an MPPT regulator and Mono panels.

It is better to go over the top with solar capacity than undershoot. Go as big as you can afford. From that point on you will probably never need to worry about power again, unless you want to run that air conditioner too much.

I have 280 watts of panels on my van roof and mains power is a thing of the past for me, I just don't need it anymore.
Solar is so good I keep dreaming of ways to completely wean myself off grid power at home.

Cheers, Bruce.
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restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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