Solar Panels - How?

Submitted: Sunday, Nov 03, 2002 at 01:00
ThreadID: 2278 Views:3058 Replies:5 FollowUps:1
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Ok, dumb question time

Solar Panels..

I see that theres one forsale in the trader section, PANEL FORSALE and it got me thinking, I dont understand how they work in camping.

Do you run a solar panel, down to a battery and then to the lights/whatever??

Is that how they work??
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Reply By: Janset - Sunday, Nov 03, 2002 at 01:00

Sunday, Nov 03, 2002 at 01:00
Hi Truckster.

Solar panels are simply nothing more that a charging system, same as you alternator on your car only much lower charges are generated.

In a camping set up, the best way to utilise them is to have them not mounted as I would usually be parked in the shade :)

Drag the panels into and facing the sun, wires run back to the power input to the caravan or battery you want charged. If the solar panels are of large capacity then I would recommend a relay to control and/or be able to cut off power to avoid overcharging.

Hope this explains.

AnswerID: 8152

Follow Up By: Janset - Monday, Nov 04, 2002 at 01:00

Monday, Nov 04, 2002 at 01:00
I meant regulater not relay <;(

FollowupID: 3866

Reply By: Member - Nigel - Monday, Nov 04, 2002 at 01:00

Monday, Nov 04, 2002 at 01:00
With the correct controllers you can run some devices directly off a panel without a battery (eg water pumps), but for the average camper the panel is to charge the battery to keep the fridge running (and once it's dark it can be used for lights too).

In most cases you also need a regulator to avoid overcharging. You can do without one if you certain that you are drawing more current out than the panel is putting in (eg running a fridge and using a 32 watt panel or smaller) - in which case the battery will still go flat but not as quickly as if you didn't have a solar panel.
AnswerID: 8154

Reply By: OziExplorer - Monday, Nov 04, 2002 at 01:00

Monday, Nov 04, 2002 at 01:00
Solar panels are great. You need to have them in the sun, and during the day move them to the best orientation for the sun. In summer it is not to bad, because the sun is directly overhead, and placing them flat on the ground is acceptable. During winter, you will need to move them a minimum of three times during the day, to get optimal results.
Solar panels need to be correctly setup with the right type of battery and the load checked against what you want to run from them.
Personally, I prefer at least 100w plus, and 120w would be my minimum recomendation. However, if you just want to run a few lights and radio and keep your vehicle battery topped it, 60w would be fine.
These BPSX60 at $576 incl GST and freight are a good buy.
BP solar are one of the top panels, and crystaline solar panels like the BP have a substantially longer life than Amorphous solar panels. Amorphous solar panels are better in partial shade conditions, but the wattage/amperage they supply over time does deteriorate and the longevity of the panel is not there compared to crystaline panels.
AnswerID: 8173

Reply By: desert - Monday, Nov 04, 2002 at 01:00

Monday, Nov 04, 2002 at 01:00
I run a 90Watt Solar-port suitcase type solar panel that will supply up to approx. 4 to 4.5 amps in direct sunlight, to my battery. The fridge, a 50 litre Bushboy _Affordable_Storage_Drawers.aspx about 4.8 amps on the high setting and about 2.5 amps on low. When in camp, I switch the fridge to the low cycle, to minimise the current drain off the battery, connect the panel direct to the battery and forget about it. On a bright sunny day, I know that the panel is supplying slightly more amps than the fridge is draining and all said and done, that is the bottom line. In overcast or shady conditions, I know that I may not be keeping up with the fridge and may have to resort to starting the engine and giving the battery a top up for half hour or so, every 2 hours etc. Does not happen all that often. My charging system is rigged to be able to supply 100% alternator power to either battery.The solar panel is now 10 years old and I have not had any deterioration of current supply.(4.5 to 5 amps is max.)
AnswerID: 8181

Reply By: jeff- Tuesday, Dec 10, 2002 at 01:00

Tuesday, Dec 10, 2002 at 01:00
i have a 120w kyocera, running a 70 litre trailblaser and my lights, i do not have alternate lighting, all my lighting is run off my batteries, i have three batteries and living close to the vic ranges i we do not get 100% sunlight every day, i have never had to run my vehicle to charge my batteries, even on extended stays since i have had the solar panel.
AnswerID: 9520

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