90W Solar Charger

G'day!

I have a 12V fridge with a 4x4 auxiliary battery, wired in to charge off the alternator of the ute.

If we stay put for more than two nights the battery is flat.

Is a 90W solar charger what I need?

That is: I know I need a solar charger. Is 90W the size to get?

Besides running the fridge, the battery will need to run small led lights for a short time and charge a phone and laptop, but they won't amount to much compared the the fridge.

Thanks,
Laurie.

Thanks,
Laurie.
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Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, Apr 01, 2015 at 20:53

Wednesday, Apr 01, 2015 at 20:53
Really depends on the weather Laurie.
If fine clear days and you keep the panels moved say 3 x a day to align best to sun, then that 90 watter should put out ~ 5amp/hr.
Your fridge ?? Maybe 1.5 to 2 ?? (This too depends on size, how it's used, ambient temps, etc.)

A few LEDS aren't a bother, nor average phone recharging, not sure about laptop charging.
Technically you should be able under fine conditions to run the fridge and still keep battery topped off ok.

Your battery will run down a little overnight, and recharge next day after using a moderate amount of power overnight.

What size aux battery do you have ?
My 100 amp/hr AGM battery will keep me ok for a few days running the fridge and leds.
I'm about to order and 80w Projecta folding panel, so when early camped I can set up the car facing the sun, shade the interior as well as get a bit of charge into car or Arkpak battery.
AnswerID: 551904

Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Wednesday, Apr 01, 2015 at 21:23

Wednesday, Apr 01, 2015 at 21:23
I don't know the power useage of the fridge but it's 32 litre, freeze or fridge (no divider). Just a small fridge.

The battery is a usual 4x4 battery, not a deep cycle. I know a bit more now than when I bought it.

Some of the time away I'll be way out on a sheep and cattle station and want to keep some meet well frozen.

Other time I'll be in a small outback town and will walk down town to get frozen meat each day. So not the worries there. I'll set the fridge on 2 deg C and all will be well.

On our trip last year, I found I could get a bag of ice to put in the bottom of the fridge, set on 1 deg C, and it was three days before the fridge motor kicked in.

Mind you, ice is not real cheap at places like Innaminka!
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, Apr 01, 2015 at 22:45

Wednesday, Apr 01, 2015 at 22:45
Hmmm, ok then, a fair bit is unknown, and the battery not the best for such work . . . you say you'll set fridge to 2C, yet you'll be using as a freezer ?
With mine, if I use it below a certain temp, it pumps more power into it, but I've only ever used it as a fridge.
Generally setting at -2C it is great for keeping things frozen from home for the first few days, pack around the plate area, defrosts slowly, stretches out chicken etc a bit more.
At this setting the beer's perfectly chilled in the middle :)

My fridge averages 1.48 amps/hr in fridge mode and 1.64 amps/hr in freezer mode, and from memory my freezer mode is from setting - 4 or lower.

If you're not sure about how much power you'll need, maybe go up to 120w solar panel ?

You do know you'll need some sort of solar controller if using a standard solar panel ?
Unless it's like the Projecta where the controller is built in.
They also do a 120w panel see link HERE . . .

You might be better hooking up a ctek250 controller, and running the car charge and solar panel charge into the battery using that, much more you can do with it later, larger or 2nd solar panel etc.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, Apr 02, 2015 at 08:20

Thursday, Apr 02, 2015 at 08:20
Just a bought a similar folding set to Les' link, from ,Autopro, for $299. Only a PWM controller, but tried it recently, and was putting out close to 7 amps. Padded bag, 5m lead etc etc.

Leads look a bit thin, but bypassed them anyway and ran thicker cable via Anderson plug to our camper's BMS system.

Bob

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Thursday, Apr 02, 2015 at 09:05

Thursday, Apr 02, 2015 at 09:05
Ooh ta Bob, will pop in there and check that out today or tomorrow !!
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, Apr 02, 2015 at 09:36

Thursday, Apr 02, 2015 at 09:36
They're on special, Les, and in their latest catalogue.

Seem quite robust, with steel legs, and controller mounted on one of the legs. Don't know if other controllers have this feature, but you can switch off the controller?

Happy with the purchase......we'll see how it goes over Easter.

Bob

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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Apr 01, 2015 at 22:16

Wednesday, Apr 01, 2015 at 22:16
Hi Laurie

Regardless of what size solar panel you get, make sure you do your homework, as not all panels are what they claim.

There are some very cheap units on eBay, that are not worth the time of day.

I went through the process of getting a good solar panel recently, and with the sound advise from a couple of members that realy knew whst they were talking about and went for a Kickass solar panel out of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. They are top quality, very well made and extra heavy duty cabling. They are not the cheapest by a long run, but this was a genuine case of you only get what you pay for.


Cheers



Stephen
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AnswerID: 551907

Reply By: Batt's - Thursday, Apr 02, 2015 at 02:36

Thursday, Apr 02, 2015 at 02:36
What is the brand name on the fridge Engel, Waeco etc and how old is it this may help to figure out how much power it draws and yes you are definitely better off using a deep cycle battery the brand I use is Supercharge Allrounder you can buy them at Autobarn my previous one lasted just over 5 years I would probably look at a 105ah storage capacity or larger only costs $209 which is a good price there are other brands but I have only tried this one and have been happy with it and they have stores all over the country. It is a combination deep cycle and cranking battery so you can run your fridge and if your main starter battery fails you can use it to run your car there a very good versatile battery.
AnswerID: 551908

Follow Up By: Batt's - Thursday, Apr 02, 2015 at 02:45

Thursday, Apr 02, 2015 at 02:45
As for using a starter battery to run a fridge it may be ok for one night but in the long term or even short term if will probably fail suddenly one day. If you get the correct battery to start with your half way there to solving your problems.
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Follow Up By: edwin - Saturday, Apr 04, 2015 at 12:51

Saturday, Apr 04, 2015 at 12:51
Mr Bega, i agree with batts here for sure, i think your flogging a dead horse here running a normal battery,dont wait for it to chuck it in as it will cost you more than $210 (frustration,rotten food and possibly a lengthy drive for a new one). Spend the $210 and get a supercharge 105 deep cycle along with your solar blanket and you definitely wont need to put ice in your waeco.
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Reply By: Bega Photographer - Thursday, Apr 02, 2015 at 21:11

Thursday, Apr 02, 2015 at 21:11
Thanks for all the posts and follow ups Fellas! I've been busy all day and didn't see the replies till just now. I'll try and address the questions here.

It's a Weaco fridge, a few years old. Three litre or maybe 3.2 litre.

I'm going on a trip from 5 May for three weeks to the northern Pastoral District of South Australia, around Woomera way and a little further north.

I have some diet problems which dictate that I need to eat fresh meat the day it's bought or else have it well frozen.

I'll be a week or so camping in two spots on a sheep and cattle station with no trip to the shops. In this time I'll keep the fridge at -18 deg C, I guess, or at least down to say -10 deg C. Any suggestions here?

I'll put some ice from home in the fridge and with the fridge set on -18 deg C while I travel, all should be well when I get to the station. I expect that while traveling 10 hours a day the battery will be no problem. Correct?

Next I'll be at Andamooka town for a week or so and can walk down to the supermarket each afternoon for a frozen lamp chop. This is when the fridge can be set to 2 deg C. It will be nice to have some fresh milk rather the UHT.

After this I'll go out to Lake Torrens for a couple of nights so can take a few frozen chops with me and keep them frozen.

The solar charger I'm looking at is the Ridge Ryder, $299, 90W one from Supercheap. In the current catalog they have a price of $269, ending Friday. On Saturday only they have 20% off store wide. This will be 20% off the $299 price, about $240. You'd pay that for an eBay model.

Yes, I now know the battery is not the best choice. When it chucks it in I'll get a deep cycle one.

I'll be making my own yogurt and I suppose this will be OK frozen, though I'll need to freeze it in small packs. Maybe thaw a pack overnight, ready for breakfast.

I'll make fresh bread in the camp oven every day or two. Keeping bread and toasting it on the second day is not a problem for me.
AnswerID: 551945

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Friday, Apr 03, 2015 at 00:27

Friday, Apr 03, 2015 at 00:27
See this one at Autopro on sale now Autopro 120w $299 page 5 this is the one Bob Y mentioned in a post above.

It's not what I'm looking for though, even though the 80w Projecta folding is $435, picking it up Tues, it is soft and flexible-ish, going to use it across windscreen to block sun from cab while charging facing the afternoon sun at camp.
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Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Friday, Apr 03, 2015 at 11:46

Friday, Apr 03, 2015 at 11:46
OK, Thanks Fellas!

The 120W one mentioned above is only available at Supercheap Superstors, so I can't access that.

However, I've just now been up to Supercheap and besides the 90W one they also have a Ridge Rider 100W blanket. With 20% off tomorrow it's $320. This sounds like the way to go for me.

http://www.supercheapauto.com.au/online-store/products/Ridge-Ryder-Solar-Blanket-100-Watt.aspx?pid=367168#Recommendations

Features & Benefits

100 Watt crystalline
Unfolded size: 1250 (L) x 770 (W) x 5mm (H)
10 Amp regulator
Operating voltage 17.5V
Compact folding unit for easy storage
Includes carry bag for safe storage

I reckon I'll be able to put it on top of the canvas canopy of the ute.

It will be much more compact for packing and much lighter.

Any thoughts on this please?
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FollowupID: 837499

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Friday, Apr 03, 2015 at 12:25

Friday, Apr 03, 2015 at 12:25
Looks like a great option for you, great the way those folding ones come down to a neat package for safe travel . . . the loops on that would be good to lightly tie down for camp.
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Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Friday, Apr 03, 2015 at 13:53

Friday, Apr 03, 2015 at 13:53
Thanks Les!

I appreciate all your help and the other fellas too. Thanks to you all.

I'll slip up to Supercheap in the morning a do the deal.

I'm about to start my homework on some strip LED lights. May need to make another post for that, depending on what I find out.

The canopy has a square tube frame and the sides roll up, so I hope to fasten some strip LED lights to the top of the frame.
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FollowupID: 837507

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Saturday, Apr 04, 2015 at 17:36

Saturday, Apr 04, 2015 at 17:36
Well, you convinced me about the RR panel Bega, went and got one myself this morning, the LAST ONE at both Darlington (nil stock) and Noarlunga (last one !!).

Very pleased with it, had it charging a spotty battery this arvo, works well.
I will find a place to mount that controller now, very easy just plugging in the panel to it from the windscreen and then the leads to the battery (car or Arkpak AGM).

It also has same leads as other Supercheap gear too, so can recharge Supercheap jump packs I use for work lights off it too.

The load lead is interesting, could get a SC lead with aciggy plug and maybe run the fridge right off it too ??







http://www.4x4earth.com.au/forum/attachments/camping-equipment/30431d1428129191-ridge-rider-solar-panel-rr_100w_04.jpg
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Saturday, Apr 04, 2015 at 17:36

Saturday, Apr 04, 2015 at 17:36
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Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Saturday, Apr 04, 2015 at 18:01

Saturday, Apr 04, 2015 at 18:01
Pleased for you Les!

No room for my battery under the bonnet so it goes in the tray beside the fridge. A metre of charging lead on the battery with an Anderson plug that connects to another Anderson plug under the tray.

I cut the bulldog clips off the end of the solar panel charging lead and replaced them with another Anderson plug so I can simply unplug from one charging source and plug into the other.

Overcast and drizzling here so haven't given the solar panel a run yet.
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