Happy New Year & Solar Panels

Submitted: Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 18:42
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Hi all,

hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year, we had a wonderful time away with Glenn & James, The Diamonds, The Toonfishes and Jimbo and Stephen, relaxing by the Loddon River between Castlemaine and Malmsbury.

We took our solar panels 2 x US42watts which ran our 70lt waeco and for some of the time Glenn's 50Lt Waeco; the 70lt was used as a drinks fridge for adults and kids, and we gave it a work out by restocking with warm cans, bottles etc, and by opening and closing it often to get drinks for all of us. The solar panels were charging 2 100 amp hour batteries, and it took 5 days for them to start registering low, we didn't top up the batteries with anything other than solar power & as per Jimbo's post we were in a valley and the weather was not the best for getting full charge from the panels. The 2 solar panels will not top up the batteries to full charge in this envirnonment but they allowed us to keep the drinks cold for 11 days. We now know what the panels are capable of, and for a 4 - 5 day stay with no additional power they will allow us to run our fridge[s] in an envirnonmentally friendly way :)

cheers

PS...Obs were carried out by everyone on camp and I think we all enjoyed checking and moving the panels and seeing just what amps/volts we could get, I think the highest amount was 7.1amp, the batteries didn't drop below 11.7 [under load]

Lyn
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Reply By: Bonz (Vic) - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 18:47

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 18:47
welcome back, glad a good time was had by all, and good info re the panels too, what was the campsite like?
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Follow Up By: Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 18:51

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 18:51
campsite was great Bonz....got a bit busy at times, but we had a great pozzie....went on a few drives...great hill climb at the site - I tackled the steep hill yesterday and got up it no probs :)
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 19:02

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 19:02
did u use low range like I told you.
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Follow Up By: Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 19:03

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 19:03
Low 2, lol
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Reply By: Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 19:08

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 19:08
forgot to mention the camp fire/camp oven cooking was fantastic....and Glenn's boned and marinated lamb cooked on the bbq plate was superb....
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Follow Up By: Member - Jimbo (VIC) - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 21:00

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 21:00
The roast on Wednesday night wasn't too shabby either. Stevo got home and told his Mum "I don't like roasts but you should have tasted this".
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Follow Up By: Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 21:09

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 21:09
you're right there jimbo...was fantastic....
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Reply By: Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 20:48

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 20:48
I forgot to mention, the fridge wasn't hooked up to the car, it was outside the CT, as it was a communal fridge with a lead running through to the front of the camper to plug into the batteries via merit plugs...the cable length was approx 6 meters
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Reply By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 20:59

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 20:59
Welcome back Lyn and intersting to hear the experiences. I guess I have never been in one spot long enough so far to need a generator or the panels. I wonder which would be the least fragile, I guess the panels would be lighter.

Nice pic of you and Callum, Lyn..
Cheers,
Who?
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Follow Up By: Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 21:11

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 21:11
I guess it comes down to whatever one you prefer....

yes it's a nice pic of callum and me....thanks
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Reply By: Member - Jimbo (VIC) - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 22:22

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 22:22
Lyn and Al,

Solar Panels,

Wonderful things. Your's worked great, mine worked great. Did things they weren't "supposed" to.

Such an easy way to keep power up to your batteries. Move them three times a day and no loss of power. Easy way to make camping more comfortable.

Thanks again for the invite to join yourselves, The Diamonds, The Tooney's and Glenn and James. Look forward to doing it again, soon.

I'll get Jenny along to the next one with a little more notice so she can get some time off work.

Cheers,

Jim and Stevo.
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Follow Up By: TheUndertaker - Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 22:32

Monday, Jan 03, 2005 at 22:32
Dont you just love it when it all comes together and works as you know it will, and some people with a small mindset feel they must " moderate ' a perfectly suttle reply to one of the best posts on a real world test of solar.
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Follow Up By: Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 09:22

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 09:22
Hi Jimbo

the panels are great, and for the type of camping that we intend to do, they'll work for us, as Al said it's all about experimenting and seeing what things are capable of, we are happy with ours and yours powered your 80Lt no probs as well.

I have to admit I get completely fed up with people who just want to howl down what others are trying, the world is full of experts, doesn't mean that they're always correct sometimes life is just about giving things a go..

was great that you and steveo could come along, can't wait for the next trip

Lyn
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Reply By: Mainey... - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 01:37

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 01:37
The way I understand it;
2 x 42watt panels (84 Watt) supplied the power to the 2 x 100 a/h batteries
without outside assistance from any other source
powering two Waeco fridges
given reasonable use by adults and billy lids for the duration, even though the weather was overcast on some days and you were in a shaded valley!!!

With those results I suggest you are proud you have a solar system that works as it was intended to by the supplier.

Giving credibility to the notion you really don't need 300 Watts of solar panel to power a couple of heavily used Waeco fridges.
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Follow Up By: hl - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 08:33

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 08:33
Mainey,
I can't understand why everyone wants to get so bitchy when someone's just pointing out a few facts.
It was said that the battery registered low after 5 days!
A peak 7.1A charge current, and I am not disputing that figure even though it equates to 92.3 watts at 13 volts coming out of an 84 watt panel.
Two fridges running under these conditions will draw about 7 amps, probably for more than 12 hours in a 24 hour period. The panels will supply 7.1 amps as stated in peak conditions, much less for the rest of the day, probably averaging about 4 amps.
Where is the top up charge coming from?
I know these people are very happy with the result and it will probably always work for them this way, but to state that they disproved all the naysayers is just plain wrong.
You cannot run a fridge continously with 64 or 84 watt panels. End of story.
Cheers
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Follow Up By: Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 09:16

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 09:16
Mainey, we are rapt with the results...

hl...the average charge was between 5 & 6, about 3 - 4 during early morning and late afternoon....the draw with the two fridges was about 7 as you say, but only when both fridges cycled together which was not all the time and I would presume that this would be the case with all fridges especially if one is being used all the time and the other was being used as a food fridge and only opened when required, also, Glenn's fridge was not run by the panels for the entire time, but, when it was plugged in probably for half the time we were there, the panels were coping with the extra load and there was NO top up charge to the panels...

We haven't disproved ANYONE we have just proved to OURSELVES that the panles work for US and I think at the end of the day that's all it should do.

regards Lyn
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Follow Up By: hl - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 10:19

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 10:19
Hi Lyn...
It's nice to see a reply that doesn't want to stick the knife in deep...haha.
I also love fiddling with solar panels and even have a small one (32W) mounted on top of my truck (GU Patrol) permanently, although that one is purely to keep the aux batt topped up for the HF radio.
Also have a wind generator that can deliver 400 watts in a decent breeze.
At the end of the day though, we found that the panels do a great job running the fridge and extending battery life but when it comes down to it, in practice the car will run for a while every day and therefore negates much of the benefit of the panels. The alternator can shove quite a lot in a short time, more then the panels would, especially on a cloudy day. The wind genni is too fiddly to set up and can be dangerous, so we don't use that any more.
It all depends on your style of camping.
If you're in one place for a week or so, the panels do give a useful extension to the battery life if you don't want to start the engine.
If you are travelling with only a couple of day stops most of the time, they're probably more a nuisance to store and set up than they are worth
Have a Happy New Year
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Follow Up By: Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 10:23

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 10:23
Hi hl

storage won't be a problem, Al is building a special storage box for them.

cheers

Lyn
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Follow Up By: David Au - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 22:17

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 22:17
HL rank ill-informed amateurs that promote incorrect advice and cannot even calculate out basic numbers, can never be helped.
The lies told by some make politicians look like saints and angels.
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 22:46

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 22:46
well hl I am not sure but your reply reminds me of the whale oil & beef issues that surface every October. Its a constant worry.
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Reply By: Willem - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 09:49

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 09:49
Happy New Year to all the Al's. Glad to hear you had a good time and that you managed to keep all the drinks cool...very important that!

I am out here in the Flinders minding a dog, a cat, a kangaroo, a budgie and a guinea pig. Had a couple of showers of rain yesterday and this morning it was a fresh 10 degrees with a stiff breeze.

Logging on is a slow process out here on the station line and I am only registering 28,800bps

It is very quiet out here and I have the whole 355 square kilometres to myself.
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Follow Up By: Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 09:54

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 09:54
hi Willie

I bet it's great there, we've had a thunderstorm today here in Romsey and some heavy rain, but nothing too much, though LJ is not happy
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Reply By: Mainey... - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 13:50

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 13:50
The fact remains this system has been tested in not perfect conditions for a solar system and found to deliver sufficient power, totally unassisted to run the fridge/s for a minium of five days, (if not seven?)

In my own opinion it would be erroneous to attempt to denigrate the test results as there were too many people there to verify the results, and has been stated the system was a stand alone without the benefit of the vehicle alternator to assist in recharging the battery system in any way.
The test results are reliable as far as the system was still working after five days, albeit getting down to 11.7v under load, which I believe would return to a number around 12.2v when the fridge cycled and the solar panel would then continue to recharge the battery once again.

Tests of this nature are important to dispel the mumbo jumbo of uninformed people!
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Follow Up By: hl - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 15:05

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 15:05
Dear Mainey,

I don't know how good you are at maths, but it may pay you to get the calculator out.
The system had 200aH worth of battery capacity to start with. Assuming that the fridge uses about 40aH a day, then 5 days works out pretty well, doesn't it?
Obviously, the battery wasn't totally flat as the panels did put in a fair bit, but not enough to keep them anywhere near topped up.
That is not mumbo jumbo... and I am actually informed and can do my maths.
There you have it.
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Follow Up By: Member - Jimbo (VIC) - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 21:24

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 21:24
"Simple maths". At 12.2 volts unloaded the batteries were still at better than 50%. This means thay were still holding over 100 amps between them after 5 days of adverse conditions.

That is to say using at least 40 amps per day (5 x 40+ amps = over 200 amps used) and still over 100 left means the panels did a fine job in the conditions. Then when the weather improved they actually made ground.

The FACTS are that 2 x 42 watt panels kept a 70 litre fridge running full time for 11 days plus a 50 litre fridge for at least half of that time.

Forget the opinions of "experts" that you cannot run a fridge with anything less than 160 watts.

Put aside all the "mumbo jumbo" and the facts tell the story.

Theory is just that, conjecture. Practical evidence is the key.

Jim.
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Follow Up By: David Au - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 22:21

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 22:21
Jimbo how about you get out a calculator or spreadsheet and work out the facts. Unfortunately educated professional qualified people do not promote incorrect information that misleads people like you are Mainy are trying to do.
What you are saying is not correct and will not maintain the batteries in good condition and will not allow you to continuously run the system all year round.
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 22:39

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 22:39
Geez David Au and hl, cant you just put your point without bagging all the time??????? Your verbal bullying is giving a lot of people the irrits and dragging posts down. Just put an alternate view don't paint yourselves as the oracle's of todays world. Just have to look at the poster's to realise what will follow is vitriolic flabberblabber. I am sure you guys know something, How to behave isnt amongst your knowledge.
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Follow Up By: Glenn (VIC) - Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 22:40

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 22:40
Watch it Bonz, you may get moderated with personal comments like that

Cheers

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Reply By: Member - Bradley- Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 23:04

Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005 at 23:04
sounds like a good set-up Lyn, hmm wonder where Al will get the supplies to make a nice box....

PS- funny to see a fellow 4x4 driver in the servo today, being the economical beasts they are :-)) Did you know the safeway and fuel are going at Wallan now, you probably did, but i thought i'd let you know just in case.

See ya
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Follow Up By: Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Wednesday, Jan 05, 2005 at 08:20

Wednesday, Jan 05, 2005 at 08:20
Hi Brad,

yeah good to bump into you at the servo, I did know about the Safeway at Wallan, may have to go and check it out...

cheers
Lyn
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Reply By: Mainey... - Wednesday, Jan 05, 2005 at 10:08

Wednesday, Jan 05, 2005 at 10:08
David Au posted this followup

Quote: (Jimbo how about you get out a calculator or spreadsheet and work out the facts)

David, the facts were presented from actual use, not from any theoretical numbers!

Quote: (Unfortunately educated professional qualified people do not promote incorrect information that misleads people like you are Mainy are trying to do)

David, your knowledge of our English language is appalling, reread your statement above, fortunately no incorrect or misleading information has been posted!

Quote: (What you are saying is not correct and will not maintain the batteries in good condition and will not allow you to continuously run the system all year round)

David, yes a solar panel will maintain a battery in good condition, that is why you sell them, and no one has posted here the solar system will be "continuously run the system all year round" as it is very clearly posted "We now know what the panels are capable of, and for a 4 - 5 day stay with no additional power they will allow us to run our fridge[s] in an environmentally friendly way :)"

David may I nicely suggest you keep your vindictive and malicious remarks to your self, and if you can’t say something on a family read forum in a polite way please say nothing at all!

David a reply is not required to me, as this will be my last post here, I will not lower the tone of the thread by allowing you to continually disrupt threads by quarrelling with me!

Please don’t disrupt other people’s threads, instigate them yourself and allow others to participate.

Al & Mrs Al (Vic), a good thread, informative and helpful information, enjoy your camping adventures.

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Follow Up By: Al & Mrs Al (Vic) - Wednesday, Jan 05, 2005 at 10:14

Wednesday, Jan 05, 2005 at 10:14
Thanks Mainey,

we shall :)
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Reply By: Flash - Wednesday, Jan 05, 2005 at 12:58

Wednesday, Jan 05, 2005 at 12:58
Hey guys- you can camp next to me anytime!
I'll enjoy the peace and quiet and clean air- (no vehicles running and no generator either.)
Well done!
Cheers and happy 2005
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Follow Up By: hl - Wednesday, Jan 05, 2005 at 13:13

Wednesday, Jan 05, 2005 at 13:13
Hi guys,

This is getting boring.
Let's start a new threat.
I will claim I can run Melbourne on one of those cheap chinese generators (on a cloudy day, i.e. most of the time)
Anyone want to argue against it?

cheers
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Follow Up By: Member - Jimbo (VIC) - Wednesday, Jan 05, 2005 at 21:04

Wednesday, Jan 05, 2005 at 21:04
Boring?

Only when you respond to your own posts.

Who are you?

Ozi?... hl?... David Au?... Outback Man?... davidillion?

Mate, you have got a serious personality disorder. You need treatment.

Good luck,

Jim.
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