solar panel for caravan and 4 x 4

Submitted: Friday, Jan 23, 2015 at 11:25
ThreadID: 110844 Views:2674 Replies:4 FollowUps:2
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I'm thinking of installing 20A MPPT regulator to my van permanently wired to external Anderson plug to use portable solar panels. (bypassing inbuilt regulator on solar panels). This was advised by "electronically minded acquaintance" - apparently some of the panels have less efficient PWM regulators?.
I want to use the same panels to charge d/c battery in 4x4. do I need to install MPPT regulator to my 4x4 or can I use existing regulator and wiring on the solar panels for this purpose ?. Looking for simplest way.
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Reply By: Lucko - Friday, Jan 23, 2015 at 13:40

Friday, Jan 23, 2015 at 13:40
You could do as you suggest, but the value of a MPPT regulator Vs PWM is arguable. I have used Morningstar regulators on quite a number applications and find them very good value for money. Your mate is correct, the regulators that come with portable panels are generally pretty cheap. Ideally regulators should be as close to the battery(s) as possible, not out in the sun attached to a panel.
Re. charging your 4X4 auxiliary battery(s). What you are suggesting will work OK, an alternative that I've used is a dual DC/DC charger, like this;
This way you alternator can assist charging while you drive and the portables when you are camped .
AnswerID: 544763

Follow Up By: Member - Bigred13 - Friday, Jan 23, 2015 at 17:16

Friday, Jan 23, 2015 at 17:16
Yes I agree,go with the Dc/Dc charger as lucko says,I have fitted one to the camper and also one in the cruiser, with an Anderson plug at each battery to take solar direct from panels,bypass the regulator on the panels as the C Tek 250s dual has mppt built in ,and probably lot better quality too, also the alternator does the work whilst driving.
FollowupID: 832108

Reply By: Norbar - Monday, Jan 26, 2015 at 22:44

Monday, Jan 26, 2015 at 22:44
I will following this thread with interest. I am looking at doing the same. I was thinking of using just one MPPT regulator on caravan and 4wd.

I was going to fit an anderson plug on each battery. The regulator would plug into the anderson plug and then long run to the solar panel.

With this I could choose which battery I would charge and the regulator would be close to the battery.

Hope this makes sense.

AnswerID: 544914

Follow Up By: Coolie - Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 11:16

Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 11:16
thanks Alex. your idea, along with the previous comments have given me something to think about. Having one "transportable" regulator sounds simple (and cheaper). I hadn't considered this. Among other options I was looking at was installing a regulator in both the van and 4wd (with A. plugs) but I must admit I did like what the Ctek Dual charger had to offer. Tempting (but expensive)
FollowupID: 832347

Reply By: Norbar - Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 19:38

Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015 at 19:38
I looked at kick ass solar panels, they have the option to keep the regulator by the solar panel or put the 5 meter extension directly from the solar panel and the regulator closer to the battery.

Check it out the video other web site.


AnswerID: 544964

Reply By: Trevor&Verna - Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015 at 17:45

Wednesday, Jan 28, 2015 at 17:45
Yes - I'm in that situation as well.
I need to boost the charging capacity of my small van when I am parked up, but I just lack that last bit of practical knowledge about DC-DC charging..
There is a fixed solar panel on the van, and I have a smaller portable panel.
Can I ask one of the more learned out there for an expert opinion on this scammy scheme below??

I install a CTEK 250 Dual somewhere near the van's 2x100 AH batteries and also disconnect (or bypass) the regulators on both solar panels.
The fixed solar panel (now unregulated) becomes one power source for the CTEK and is hard wired direct to this unit
The portable solar unit (now unregulated) can get connected via the Van's Anderson plug (which would normally be attached to the tow vehicle during towing) for the other power source.
During towing, the van will be drawing power from the tow vehicle to charge the van's batteries via the CTEK.
Any opinions please? Thankyou
Trevor&Verna, Kal WA

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AnswerID: 544993

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