Solar/Fridge/Batt. Stats post Fraser Trip

Submitted: Wednesday, Oct 01, 2003 at 13:46
ThreadID: 7531 Views:3892 Replies:1 FollowUps:2
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Thought you may be interested in the performance of my solar setup over the course of a recent week long trip to Fraser Island.

My vehicle is a Cruiser Ute, with a tri-battery setup. Normal start battery, with an ARB smart solenoid to a pair of Exide 75a/h deep cycle batteries wired in parallel (battery cable is all 3 B&S, equal to 23mm2 cross sectional area).

From this I power an Explorer 78L fridge/freezer (sits in tray), versa-lite fluro and a Narva 55w work light in the tray.

Solar power is via a 120w Kyocera mounted on the roof, with a Lyncom true 3-stage charging regulator. I currently have 1.8mm2 cable wiring the solar together and according to most references, this is way to small to avoid significant voltage drops.

I charged the aux. batteries with an 8 amp three stage charger before leaving. Over the course of the week I saw no less than 12.3v under load conditions with the solar removed, and no more than 14.1v connected. Peak amperage output from the panel was 5.6 amps (only doing spot checks so may have been higher).

Upon my return home I checked the aux. batteries with a hydrometer and all cells were an even 1260. Could say I'm a very happy camper!

Some other relevant points include
-I kept the fridge shaded at all times while in the tray
-Tech. gurus say that solar panels laid flat should be de-rated by about 20%. The 5.6 amps peak that I saw is almost exactly 80% of the peak power of the panel.
-The fridge is rated to use about 36 amp hours per day
-12v fluros appear to draw bugger all
-the 55w work light appeared to use significant amounts of power when left on for long periods eg. while filleting (noticed the voltage display drop by 0.1-0.2v).
-I believe that the benefits of the car running during the day would be almost negated by the stereo and the night-time running of my spotlights (460 watts total).

Hope some of this may help others who are weighing up a solar setup or trying to accurately size one.


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Reply By: Member - Doug - Wednesday, Oct 01, 2003 at 22:16

Wednesday, Oct 01, 2003 at 22:16
Many thanks - very useful information.
I too have a similar battery setup, but no solar charging yet, or fridge
as I'm still in trip preparation mode.
My third battery (not deep cycle) is in my Camper Trailer connected to the vehicle Aux deep cycle battery via an Anderson plug. Vehicle is already fitted with auto battery isolation/charging with manual override.
I have 2 55w rear facing roofrack mounted lamps for reversing/campng lights, individually switched from the dash. (plus 2 forward spots also on the roofrack. all wiring running through the rack courtesy of an excellent job by Northside 4WD (ARB), Caboolture.

Thoughts I have had:
- to fit the largest Solar Panel my roof rack will handle, laid flat with light luggage on top for travelling, tiltable towards the sun when camping.
- to use whatever regulators I need so I can almost set and forget (although I would like a meter to see what the panel's doing.) I'm assuming the panel will just be charging the Aux batteries.
I'm open to suggestion on what panel I should use as I haven't done the research yet.

Thanks again for your performance details, they certainly help.
The Welshmun & The Witch
setting off in 2004 for 2+ years
in '93 Series 80 & Dream Camper
AnswerID: 32556

Follow Up By: Graham - Thursday, Oct 02, 2003 at 20:41

Thursday, Oct 02, 2003 at 20:41

Go and have a chat with Brian from Springers at Brendale about a Solar setup, he certainly knows his gear and his prices are keen.

P.S. Is that an Aust. RV camper in your photo?
FollowupID: 23333

Follow Up By: Member - Doug - Friday, Oct 17, 2003 at 18:41

Friday, Oct 17, 2003 at 18:41
Sure is Graham (click on the image and you'll see full details).

Thanks for the tip about Brian at Springers

The Welshmun & The Witch
setting off in 2004 for 2+ years
in '93 Series 80 & Dream Camper
FollowupID: 24618

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