solar panels

Submitted: Tuesday, Jul 13, 2004 at 14:37
ThreadID: 14620 Views:2122 Replies:7 FollowUps:3
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G'day - wanting to know something about solar panels - "the boss" has bought one of those little power pack things - just to run a light on - planning on using a light that only _Affordable_Storage_Drawers.aspx 1 amp which should be good on this pack. But for extended stays (we don't have second battery system) - can we charge this up on a solar panel - looked at one the bloke said with a sneer that it would only charge 1 amp or so per hour - which to us seems ok for what we need - we would only be running the light as I said, everything else is on gas. what would be the minimum panel to get? we don't know much about solar at all - but a friend who runs her complete property on wind and solar reckons solar is pretty inefficient - but can't carry a wind turbine around everywhere can we?
I am sure one of the wise people on this forum will be able to help us with some info.
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Reply By: Magnus - Tuesday, Jul 13, 2004 at 14:51

Tuesday, Jul 13, 2004 at 14:51

There is plenty in the archives on this subject. Just quickly, I have used a 20 watt panel that puts out just under 1 amp for 3 years now. Initially just replenishing 4x7amh hr batteries in my small camper. Now hooked to 80 amp hr deep cycle in new larger camper trailer.

Worked fine. Like u, use gas for fridge and 12 volt for lights.

All u need to do is make sure your overall draw for the evening is not too much more than you can put back the next day. Say 6 hrs sunlight then u dont need to draw down much more than 6 amps for the evening. Say 2 x 10 watt lights = 1.7 amps for around 3-4 hours max. That way your battery slowly goes down but not so much that u run out of light during your camp. Just don't let it go down too far.

See the post before yours for a link to my home page for more battery info.

Longest we camped without power using those sorts of numbers was 10 days. No problems

Ps. We always carry a small gas light just in case.


AnswerID: 67580

Follow Up By: Magnus - Tuesday, Jul 13, 2004 at 15:05

Tuesday, Jul 13, 2004 at 15:05

Some of those power pack units only have a small battery. You will need to know the amp hr rating of the battery so you can do your calculations on allowable draw. It should be with the literature that cam with the unit.

If that is all u are using for lighting, I would be investing in a small gas light as well before you set out next.!!

Have fun

FollowupID: 328275

Reply By: jules15 - Tuesday, Jul 13, 2004 at 15:09

Tuesday, Jul 13, 2004 at 15:09
Thanks for quick responses - have gas lanterns - but it is insdide the camper - don't like having gas inside - and our bed is quite high - and I like to have a light right next to me hanging from the centre pole.
will check out the suggested info.
AnswerID: 67583

Reply By: Member - Bernard - Tuesday, Jul 13, 2004 at 19:09

Tuesday, Jul 13, 2004 at 19:09
Solar power is great for many operations, mainly while stationery. But how come no one has come up with a wind-powered accumulator attached to the vehicle?

Wind farms are becoming more popular all around the world .. so wouldn't some form of mobile "wind turbine" attached to the vehicle make sense?

Obviously a constricting air intake would be necessary, but any reasonable forward speed should then be able to drive a fan connected to some form of turbine or whatever.

Perhaps one of you more experienced scientific types can tell me if the idea has some sense to it, or if I'm of in La La Land.
AnswerID: 67626

Follow Up By: Peter - Tuesday, Jul 13, 2004 at 20:32

Tuesday, Jul 13, 2004 at 20:32
good idea. i thought about something like that as well. then i thought a little longer and figured if the car is moving the engine is running which means the alternator is working which means the battery is charging. thus no need for a wind powered electric charging source.
not in la la land. more like "well duh" land.
FollowupID: 328332

Follow Up By: Member - Bernard - Tuesday, Jul 13, 2004 at 22:25

Tuesday, Jul 13, 2004 at 22:25
Appreciate comment about the alternator ... but was really thinking about charging to a secondry accumulator. Nevertheless, your point is taken. Thanks.
FollowupID: 328382

Reply By: Bilbo - Tuesday, Jul 13, 2004 at 22:08

Tuesday, Jul 13, 2004 at 22:08

I reckon that's a top idea - not "la la land" at all. Hmmm,,,,,,,,have to have a good think about this. It would be a useful addition to my solar panels ( which I use on a roof rack) to charge an additional battery on a dull day. Simple to switch off - just stop it turning by having a plate over the intake.

Let's see 100 kmh for about 8 hours a day ( or night) - should be enough draught to keep up a charge. My son's an electrical engineer, maybe he can work out if it'd work.

AnswerID: 67678

Reply By: Member - Bernard - Tuesday, Jul 13, 2004 at 22:21

Tuesday, Jul 13, 2004 at 22:21
Thanks. Sounds like there might be some blue skies ahead. Hope ypur son can come up with an answer. Will keep checking Post for the latest info.

AnswerID: 67682

Reply By: motherhen - Wednesday, Jul 14, 2004 at 00:37

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2004 at 00:37
We bought a single portable (made a stand for it) solar panel. We did have extra battery in the van, but when the levels were low, put the panel facing the sun for a bit and it charged up much quicker than when driving. Ran the fridge (fitted engel fridge-freezer, and adequate lights.
AnswerID: 67705

Reply By: jules15 - Wednesday, Jul 14, 2004 at 07:43

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2004 at 07:43
Some int4eresting comments and info - and there is a wind turbine available - seen in July issue 4WD Monthly - about $900 - would be good for caravan or bus. Notr much info on it - just an ad.
AnswerID: 67711

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