Solar panel for Jayco Swan

Submitted: Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006 at 22:31
ThreadID: 31272 Views:14735 Replies:8 FollowUps:0
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Hi,

I am a novice in terms of Solar power and am looking for advice. We have a Jayco swan trailer with a single deep cycle battery in it. I want to get a solar panel to charge battery and have some basic questions I am hoping someone can answer or point me in the right direction to.

1/ what size panel should I get if I just want to keep the battery charged for lights? I have heard 80 watt should do the job - is this ok?

2/ how does the panel connect to the battery in the van? What wiring is needed?

3/ I have read of a regulator- what is this and is it needed?

Am I better buying the bits locally in Brisbane or can someone recommend a good online site to buy and get instructions on install?

thanks for any help

regards

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Reply By: Steve M - Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006 at 22:39

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006 at 22:39
have a look at some recent threads , theres heaps of info

Steve
AnswerID: 157691

Reply By: Jimbo - Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006 at 22:52

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006 at 22:52
Harold,

I've got an Outback Eagle. The lights only draw 1.5 amps (18 watts) each so you don't need to replace a lot. A 50 watt panel will eat it.

I keep my panel under one of the matresses and pull it out as needed. This offers advantages over mounting it on the roof: it can be moved and angled to get the best use of the sun, the van can be in the shade and the panel in the sun, it is portable and can be used to charge other batteries (in my case the aux batt in the car to run the Waeco) and it is cheaper to set up.

I have a female "merit" plug on the battery case and a male "merit" plug on the end of ten metres of 8mm squared wire (thick wire is needed to reduce voltage drop). This way I simply plug the lead into the battery box and move the panel around in the sun.

Solar panels can put out up to 20 volts which will wellington boot your battery in no time. A regulator regulates this to 14.4 or 14.1 depeding on whether it is a wet cell battery or a Gel/AGM. They are ESSENTIAL. Don't skimp on this, a decent one will set you back about $100.

Hope this helps,

Jim.
AnswerID: 157697

Reply By: ExplorOz Team - David - Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006 at 23:21

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006 at 23:21
Have a look in this article Solar Power. It is located in the Topic Search box in the LHS section under Electrics.

Good luck.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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AnswerID: 157706

Reply By: Member - Jeff H (QLD) - Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006 at 23:21

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006 at 23:21
Holty, Have you looked at LED lights?
I've just made up 2 lights using a 1w ($18) and 3w ($30) globes bought from ledshoponline (I think, at Herberton, FNQ) . Lovely bloke.
The globes fit in 50mm PVC pipe: add silicone ,a switch, 2x 50mm end caps, cable and connector,and you've got a very impressive, low-draw light. (I think my fluoro at 11w is fairly typical of standard lights.)
A possible disadvantage is that the LEDs are rather directional cf the near-spherical pattern of the fluoro. That suits our style anyway.
( Prices cited above are from a dysfunctional memory - close enough eh.)
Good hunting,
Jeff H.
AnswerID: 157707

Reply By: Derek from Affordable Batteries & Radiators - Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006 at 23:25

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006 at 23:25
100w Panel costs much the same as the 80w. Always best to go heavier with 12 volt power. The panels normally have built in regulators and supplied with cable and battery clips. I use BP Solar but Sharp are also a good brand. Do some shoppind around. Piranha also do a 80w folding unit.

Cheers

Derek.
AnswerID: 157708

Reply By: Member - Jeff H (QLD) - Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006 at 23:47

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006 at 23:47
Derek our 123w Sharp has no integral reg. Were we ripped off?
AnswerID: 157718

Reply By: Mainey (WA) - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 00:07

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 00:07
Holty, you ask:
1/ what size panel should I get if I just want to keep the battery charged for lights?

Is it that I just can't see the word 'fridge' in your post??

If as you say it's only for lights, then the vehicle alternator will do what you want, as the lights will probably only draw 2 a/h each if selected carefully and if they are on for 5 hours a night that's not a lot even from a 'small' DC battery .

You will only need a solar panel if you use a 12v fridge or something else that you have not, well I can't see, mentioned in your post above.

If you want to run a fridge at a later date then get a 80wt or even a larger solar panel, I've a 80 watt Solarex panel that I've used for 9 years, however I'm about to replace with a 200 watt system because I now use too many dam unnecessary things, like DVD & TV and all new 12v lights etc, along with the mandatory fridge.
AnswerID: 157721

Reply By: Member - Jeff H (QLD) - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 00:15

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 00:15
Mainey, how will you configure and mount your 200w array? Which reg will you use?
Jeff H.
AnswerID: 157722

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