Solar Panels + Waeco

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 11, 2004 at 22:04
ThreadID: 11185 Views:8699 Replies:7 FollowUps:1
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Gday All,am wanting to go solar(partial)power for running our ARB 40l fridge.Our current system is a Waeco Urban power pack hooked up in duell battery setup while driving and then just running the fridge on the P/P while stationary.This setup gives us 3days power(30-35deg).What we are wanting to do is trickle feed the P/P while driving(as well as main bat charging)and camping to give up to 5 days power.On previous trips we stayed at caravan parks every few days to run the fridge on 240v to let the P/P charge up fully.
Would a 70w solar panel do or should we go bigger(yes on a budget).Been quoted $550 for a 70w KYECERA(how ever you spell it)$690 for 80w and $88 for regulator from Tasman Energy.
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Reply By: Glenno - Thursday, Mar 11, 2004 at 22:16

Thursday, Mar 11, 2004 at 22:16
Hi Nick,

I run a 80W Kyocera with a 40L Engel and a 1Amp Flouro for night. Only have room for a small 40amp hour 2nd battery in the Hilux. I find I can go 5 days without needing the alternator to charge the battery.

One thing is dont skimp on the Solar regulator. Make sure you get one that varies the charge depending on the level of the battery. Cant remember the name of the unit I purchased however, if I run the battery low, it produces a different charge compared to the normal trickle charge to keep the battery topped up.

I found the dimensions of the Kyocera cell much better than the BP. Fits on the Hilix roof no probs and allows the 8ft Mal to sit next to it.

AnswerID: 50009

Reply By: Member - Raymond - Thursday, Mar 11, 2004 at 22:52

Thursday, Mar 11, 2004 at 22:52
Hi Nick
I use two panels giving me 96 watts I use a Solar Panel regulator for Jaycar STOCK-CODE: MP3126 I tried the small unit but it cut out at 13.7 volts which trickle the currect in but did not full charge the battery. The new one charge to 14.4 volts and cycles through to full charge the battery
AnswerID: 50024

Reply By: -OzyGuy- - Thursday, Mar 11, 2004 at 23:12

Thursday, Mar 11, 2004 at 23:12
go for the 80 watt panel, shop around and try for Solarex (BP) if possible.
A good regulator is the 'Plasmatronic' 20 amp unit.
If you are only going to use the fridge when it is connected to the solar panel then you may not need a regulator at all as the power in and out will be similar numbers....
AnswerID: 50028

Reply By: Rod - Thursday, Mar 11, 2004 at 23:21

Thursday, Mar 11, 2004 at 23:21
Regulators: The Stecca Solsum regulators impressed me as they are a 3 stage regulator and use pulse width modulation on the later stages to get more charge into the battery. The plasmatronics look fancier (monitor current in and out etc) but are more pricey. My advice is to get a 3-stage type, whatever the brand.

70W of solar panel for $550 sounds good. Not sure how efficient they are ?

How many amp hour is your Waeco Urban P/P and will you run the vehicle at all whilst camping or be completely stationary ?

2 x 40W BP cells, a 105AH battery and running my vehicle for 30 minutes a day kept my 60L Evakool freezer/fridge going fine for 7 days on Straddie over easter last year. Ambient temps were around 26 deg.

Home Power magazine on the web may have studies into how efficient the Kyocera panels are (check backissues on PDF on their website)

Keepikool in Darwin's website recommend 2x80w to run a fridge setup indefinitely, but that is allowing for tropical conditions and the occasional cloudy day.
AnswerID: 50029

Reply By: Big Trev - Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 06:31

Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 06:31
Ring Battery World Shepparton on (03) 5831 3176, the owner of this store is an expert on Solar power.

Click to Batteryworld Solar webpage
AnswerID: 50040

Reply By: paul - Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 10:04

Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 10:04
If u have only a 70w or 80w solar panel i suggest you don't need a regulator if you have a decent sized battery. I have two BP 40W panels hinged together, charge at about 4.4amps at the battery. I also have them connected thru a stecca solsum - cheap, approved by the world bank for development projects in dirt poor countries so robust as, and a genuine 3 stage digital charger. But the thing is i think it was a waste of money, when i go away and put the panel on the battery with the fridge going there is no way it is ever going to over charge it, but i am just losing a bit more current by putting it through the regulator.

So what i mean is if you are going to permanently mount your panels on the roof and connect them to a dual battery, sure, you will need a regulator or you will one day cook your battery. But if you are attaching panels to a battery when the waeco is going to be in non-stop use for 5 days, you are never going to get to a stage on an 80ah battery where you will need to trickle charge it.

I note you said you camp in 30 - 35 ambient temperatures, me to as camp live in Qld south east, and in those temperatures waecos do a lot of cycling, they calm down at night time but your panels are not charging at night time. So you are in permanent catch up to top up the battery, so your regulator will never got to the third or probably even the second stage of charging.

that's my 5c and i am not an electrician.
AnswerID: 50056

Follow Up By: David N. - Saturday, Mar 13, 2004 at 18:32

Saturday, Mar 13, 2004 at 18:32
Agree with that Paul.
If the solar panel is only hooked up with the frig running you are unlikely to ever fully charge the battery,- let alone overcharge it!
FollowupID: 312016

Reply By: Member - Nick (TAS) - Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 13:52

Friday, Mar 12, 2004 at 13:52
Thanks for the replies,food for thought.The Urban P/P is only 24Ahr I believe.Also the fridge will be running non stop hooked to the solar panel,dont want to run the vehicle at all when stopped camping.Again Thanks All
AnswerID: 50083

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