the best solar panel for a caravan

Submitted: Friday, May 30, 2003 at 06:33
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gidday folks
just after a bit of info on solar panels
want to put one on my caravan, about 4 amper
any advice as to what or where
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Reply By: Janset - Friday, May 30, 2003 at 15:10

Friday, May 30, 2003 at 15:10
Hi glenac

I recently bought a Uni-Sola 64 Watt for my Jayco Outbacker mainly based on the belief that it was more efficient in dappled light plus a bit of info from various sights and people who are satisfied with it.

Here is my view. Don't buy this brand!

(1) What nobody tells you is that the surface is a soft plastic and very easily scratched.

(2) Due to the rough texture of the surface dust collected on the surface is hard to remove. This negates any benefits relating to the extra charge capabilities that are touted.

(3) The surface is prone to become static electrically charged, more so if you try to wipe the dust off and thus becomes a magnet for airborne dust. (again as above)

(4) If you try to remove the red dust with a damp rag, the dust turns to paste and remains in the rough texture of the surface. You need copious amount of water to actually rinse the dust of. (again as above.)

(5) If allowed to stay flat with puddles of water on the surface, the plastic goes a gooey white, this disappears once dried out.

If you are going to use it in an area where none of the above applies then go for it because under perfect conditions they are a good brand.

Incidentally, When contacted relating to a scratched surface I was told to apply a 'neutral cure' salastic to prevent and ingress of the elements. What they did not tell me was that the salastic does not stick too well to the material.

As to the problem of the static charge and how to over come it, they are still getting back to me on that one :-(

Food for thought

AnswerID: 21459

Reply By: Member -BJ (Sydney) - Friday, May 30, 2003 at 15:34

Friday, May 30, 2003 at 15:34
glenac, from a few forums i inhabit BP solar seem pretty good.Regards Bob
Wish i was still here / Gulf in July
AnswerID: 21461

Reply By: Dave - Friday, May 30, 2003 at 16:48

Friday, May 30, 2003 at 16:48
I have used solar panels on my caravan trips for many years. I have found that permanent attachment to the caravan is a big mistake.
It means you have to park in the sun and the panel is rarely pointed in the optimum direction or angle.

I have found that a stand alone panel of 70 to 80 watts with 15 metres of cable gives me all the power I need.
I attach two hinged legs on the rear and can then change its position during the day to get maximum amps from it. If facing the sun square on I get 5 amps in full sun. If I don't change its angle or position now & then, the output can drop to 2 amps or less. You can imagine that this would always happen if the panel is permanently mounted on the van.

My panel is 9 years old and is a BP Solar brand.

At night I use an inverter to run a 14" TV and a VCR, along with lighting & recharging of mobile phone etc. The TV use is about 3 hours.

By about 3pm the following day, the battery is fully charged. If I don't move the panel now & then, the battery never fully charges.

Hope this helps.
AnswerID: 21465

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