solar panels battery charging

Submitted: Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 11:38
ThreadID: 3053 Views:2069 Replies:9 FollowUps:8
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looking for a way to charge 4 vehicles in summer all with dual battery setups and stored in a big shed. hopefully some part of this system could be used to keep my fridge running on trips. have contacted 2 so called solar panel experts[sellers]. on has told me to use one 50watt solar panel and 4 4amp regulators. another seller has told me no way you need a separate panel for each vehicle,[2 batteries every vehicle has 2 batteries. ] and a separate regulator. the panels all seem to be about the same cost but the regulators ranged in price from 40.00 to 100.00 each.
my question are : what do i really need as these vehicles are left sitting in the shed for about 4months? which type solar panel or panels will work well in hot weather and be robust enough to prevent breakage on rough roads? who would you recommend to call or consult?
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Reply By: OziExplorer - Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 13:49

Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 13:49
4 x 4amp regulators is an interesting concept. Thinking about it - hmmmm of course never tried it or seen it, but don't fancy the idea at all. To expensive as well thinking about it.

You see for four months if you disconnected the batteries for certainty, they would normally last 4 months, or go close. Trouble is once the battery was more than a year old they probably would not go that distance.

Then I would use one of these below, with a Shotky diode to isolate the two batteries from each other. As these solar panels are 1.26w $39.95 or $35.90 if purchasing 4 they are cheaper than buying a regulator.

If you wanted, you could always go to the 4.5w ones for $99.95 and connect 4 batteries up to one of those.
The main issue here, is you would have to remove the batteries from the vehicles to cut down on the length of cable and to get the solar panels into an optimum position mounted on the shed. The 4.5w one would be ideal to maintain 3 batteries, but you would most definitely want to isolate each battery with a Shotky diode.

This way would be the cheapest, no regulators and would say the best set-up with minimal work.

ZM9016 12vDC 1.26w
ZM9108 12vDC 4.5w
Quote:
These solar panels are ideal for charging sealed lead acid batteries. Supplied with mounting brackets, blocking diode, 2m output lead cable with alligator clips. Mounted in a plastic weatherproof case. They are ideal for marine use. They can be mounted on their brackets, and moved to follow the sun, or can be mounted flat on a surface. They are tough, and can be walked on if mounted flat (on a yacht or boat). Ideal for charging batteries: in cars used infrequently, for lighting etc, etc.1 Year Warranty
AnswerID: 11674

Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 13:57

Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 13:57
Robert don't know what the hell happened here.
Read the last one only, it is the complete version.
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FollowupID: 6612

Reply By: OziExplorer - Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 13:49

Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 13:49
4 x 4amp regulators is an interesting concept. Thinking about it - hmmmm of course never tried it or seen it, but don't fancy the idea at all. To expensive as well thinking about it.

You see for four months if you disconnected the batteries for certainty, they would normally last 4 months, or go close. Trouble is once the battery was more than a year old they probably would not go that distance.

Then I would use one of these below, with a Shotky diode to isolate the two batteries from each other. As these solar panels are 1.26w $39.95 or $35.90 if purchasing 4 they are cheaper than buying a regulator.

If you wanted, you could always go to the 4.5w ones for $99.95 and connect 4 batteries up to one of those.
The main issue here, is you would have to remove the batteries from the vehicles to cut down on the length of cable and to get the solar panels into an optimum position mounted on the shed. The 4.5w one would be ideal to maintain 3 batteries, but you would most definitely want to isolate each battery with a Shotky diode.

This way would be the cheapest, no regulators and would say the best set-up with minimal work.

ZM9016 12vDC 1.26w
ZM9108 12vDC 4.5w
Quote:
These solar panels are ideal for charging sealed lead acid batteries. Supplied with mounting brackets, blocking diode, 2m output lead cable with alligator clips. Mounted in a plastic weatherproof case. They are ideal for marine use. They can be mounted on their brackets, and moved to follow the sun, or can be mounted flat on a surface. They are tough, and can be walked on if mounted flat (on a yacht or boat). Ideal for charging batteries: in cars used infrequently, for lighting etc, etc.1 Year Warranty
AnswerID: 11675

Reply By: OziExplorer - Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 13:55

Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 13:55
4 x 4amp regulators is an interesting concept. Thinking about it - hmmmm of course never tried it or seen it, but don't fancy the idea at all. To expensive disregarding all the regulator and cable loss issues/efficiences.

You see for four months if you disconnected the batteries for certainty, they would normally last 4 months, or go close. Trouble is once the battery was more than a year old they probably would not go that distance.

Then I would use one of these below, with a Shotky diode to isolate the two batteries from each other. As these solar panels are 1.26w $39.95 or $35.90 if purchasing 4 they are cheaper than buying a regulator.

If you wanted, you could always go to the 4.5w ones for $99.95 and connect 4 batteries up to one of those.
The main issue here, is you would have to remove the batteries from the vehicles to cut down on the length of cable and to get the solar panels into an optimum position mounted on the outside of the shed. Probably make a shelf just inside the shed with the solar panels on the outside wall. The 4.5w one would be ideal to maintain 3 batteries, possibly try it on 4, but you would most definitely want to isolate each battery with a Shotky diode.

This way would be the cheapest, no regulators and would say the best set-up with minimal work.

Yes, I would imagine you would have preferred an option to use the solar panel to charge your battery while travelling, but when you look at the cost of this, it is still well under the cost of a 50w solar panel and is far more suitable for that function. Worst case here $300.

Robert4615 (shaking my head in disbelief) surprised that you would even consult anywhere else other than the ExplorOz forum (smiling).

ZM9016 12vDC 1.26w
ZM9108 12vDC 4.5w
Quote:
These solar panels are ideal for charging sealed lead acid batteries. Supplied with mounting brackets, blocking diode, 2m output lead cable with alligator clips. Mounted in a plastic weatherproof case. They are ideal for marine use. They can be mounted on their brackets, and moved to follow the sun, or can be mounted flat on a surface. They are tough, and can be walked on if mounted flat (on a yacht or boat). Ideal for charging batteries: in cars used infrequently, for lighting etc, etc.1 Year Warranty
AnswerID: 11676

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 15:59

Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 15:59
ozi, those fires must have had you worried, got the finger shakin' pretty bad on that mouse key? See ya..
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FollowupID: 6622

Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 16:33

Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 16:33
Bob is not at all good. We lost a shed, but cleared out gear three days ago as we knew it was inevitable as they could not stop it. Would have needed rain or a dramatic wind shift. Is fully insured for replacement value.
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FollowupID: 6626

Reply By: bruce.h - Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 15:52

Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 15:52
www.solarsales.com.au
AnswerID: 11683

Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 16:26

Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 16:26
Bruce have you priced stuff from Solar Sales compared to other outlets?

Suggest you do and see the price differences on some identical brand/make model and specifications.
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FollowupID: 6625

Follow Up By: Bruce.H - Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 17:15

Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 17:15
ozi
no cant say i have they are customer of mine for 15 odd years so they look after me but they know what they are talking about & wont sell you something that wont work
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FollowupID: 6629

Reply By: bruce.h - Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 15:52

Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 15:52
www.solarsales.com.au
AnswerID: 11684

Reply By: robert4615 - Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 17:40

Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 17:40
ozi,
thanks for the great idea to eliminate the regulators on the panel. just finished talking to solar sales for about 30 minutes. in the beginning they wanted to sell a big panel 60watts with regulators and because i read this forum asked him how to get rid of the regulators. he told me he only sells smallest 5 watts and would need a regulator and probably more things to go wrong. please tell me another place to phone that may have the smaller panels and the parts i need. also are you sure that i won't overcharge the batteries?, and the solar panels you suggest will do the job? are you talking about the blue panels or the black colored panels?
the otherproblem i have if i wish to install a solar panel for my camper. if the camper goes in the shade i would want black color panels,but if the panel is removable i would like blue crystals so i could move it into the sun. i understand the blue crystals do not like hot 30-35 temps. to sum it up which type panels for the batteries blue or black and are these panels flexible? which size panel and regulator for my fridge? my fridge consumes on an average 25 amps per day but i get some charge from running my vehicle.
i know i'm asking alot but people tell me you have all the answers.
regards, robert
AnswerID: 11688

Follow Up By: Ozy Traveling Aussie - Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 18:27

Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 18:27
Robert,
The ONLY way to eliminate the overcharge and damage to a battery or in your case EIGHT (8) batteries, maybe $800 replacement value, is to either:
A. use a regulator with a decent sized pannel.
B. use a smaller than what would be normally recomended solar pannel without a regulator...
However, you also say you would like to use the solar pannel to recharge your camper, choice (A) will do that for you.

K-Mart stores have solar pannel battery rechargers on their shelf, if you read the Manufacturers recomendations and output you will see for yourself if they will work for you.
I use a Solarex 80watt, 4.71 amp, panel to power my camper's battery system and it works a treat. (I won't mention the brand of fridge or calcium batteries) lol.

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FollowupID: 6634

Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 21:49

Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 21:49
Robert those panels are Monocrystalline (blue) panels - the blue panels

Robert charging batteries is all about voltage. With that 4.5watt panel shared between two batteries, and with a Shotky diode fitted between each battery, yes, I can most definately state they will not overcharge.
Robert www.jaycar.com.au have the panels and would have the Shotky diodes as well.
Who do you want to phone, Jaycar but only to order the panels, as you will find nobody there that knows anything about them.

Now for the panel for your camper van. Robert there are lies, more lies and then statistics and specifications and saleman.
As for any panels charging in the shade bull manure. Now, because an amphourous (black) panel is made up of more cells as are modern monocrystaline (blue) panels if they get slightly shaded, then they will charge a small amount, but of course shade of any sort on a panel cuts down the charging rate dramatically.

Now more lies, damn lies and statistics/specifications/salesman.
If you download all the specification sheets for solar panels, you will see that the amount of energy difference on a monocrystaline (blue) panel over their ideal tempreture of 25C is NEGLIGIBLE. Now under 25C a Monocrystalline (blue) panel is substantially better than an Amphourous panel (black) Yes, the amphorous people are quick to say how much better their panels perform in the heat, yes, marginally they do, but the forget to tell you how badly they perform under 25C and colder. As you well know, in some parts of Australia for probably six months of the year and maybe more, some places never get above 25c at all during the day, and remember we are talking about PEAK day tempretures. What about all the days when the average sunlight temprature would only be say 17C average all day.

As for the stores of multicrystalline panels breaking the glass, well, if you break the glass on multicrystalline panel, you can rest assured the amphourous panel would also be destroyed. The quality brand panels all use quartz glass which is incredibly tough and you can jump on it.

Why do I prefer multicrystilline/polycristilline to amphourous, well amphourous panels are substantially larger in area than multicrystilline and all year round they perform better.

Robert I think your 25 amps a day for your fridge would be understated, and would suggest it would be more like 36aH. Now, to run that fridge all year round and your lights etc, you would need 2 x 75w panels to cope with all weather conditions and that would/should guarantee cover it. For most average years, 2 X 60w panels in the large majority of circumstances would cover it. Now for you using your vehicle part time to charge the battery, the difference in prices between 60w and 75w is not that much and would go for the 75w.
Robert, a solar panel of say 60w does not deliver 5amps to charge a battery. You can derate that by close to 50%, and I always work on 50%.
Best prices on panels currently is:
www.biasboating.com.au
They are on average $200 panel cheaper than others.
The regulator you want is the MP3126 from Jaycar Electronics $69.90

Sorry, Robert, you cannot phone me I don't sell solar or wind gear, just worked in it for far to many years.
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FollowupID: 6644

Reply By: rors101 - Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 18:19

Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 18:19
The 12v shop in WA sells a switching relay that allows up to four separate battery banks to operate from one solar bank and regulator. It can be set to switch between banks on a hourly, daily or weekly basis.
AnswerID: 11691

Reply By: Eric - Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 23:52

Wednesday, Jan 22, 2003 at 23:52
Robert.
The system you choose will be a compramise because the only 100% reliable way would use a seperate panel and regulator for each battery.Very exspensive. The reason sharing a panel with 8 regulators is risky is that if one battery dies it will take all the current and leave all the other batteries with out charge. One large panel and regulator swithed from battery to battery in rotation would be the most cost effective solution. To trigger the swith to move onto the next battery would be easy if it used a dialy switch so that at sunrise it switched as the voltage rose.Any competant technician could build such a switch or try the 12volt shop as suggested above. the same large panel could power your fridge as well. Eric.
AnswerID: 11722

Follow Up By: Robert4615 - Thursday, Jan 23, 2003 at 15:43

Thursday, Jan 23, 2003 at 15:43
thanks everyone for the great info,websites etc. have to agree will need more watts to charge the fridge and will go with 2 solar panels. now must look into the size of the larger panels to make sure it will fit on top of my camper trailer. apparently some 64 to 80 watt panel come with hard frames and other don't. will keep you updated and may have some other questions. again thanks for all the help. cheers, robert
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FollowupID: 6686

Reply By: Peter S - Friday, Jan 24, 2003 at 15:43

Friday, Jan 24, 2003 at 15:43
Just as a quick suggestion. The setup I have is a 60 w panel with plasmatronics pr1210 which will fit in the cable box on the back of most larger solar panels.
dont forget a diode to stop reverse discharge.
A lead with a plug on it in. On each car a socket connected to battery and way you go.
It is a bit of a manual thing to charge each batt but once a week for a day with solar panel on will keep them all charged.

also If second batt in any car all that is required is another socket to this.
AnswerID: 11812

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