Solar panel for Engel

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 09, 2002 at 00:00
ThreadID: 931 Views:2867 Replies:4 FollowUps:2
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I've got a dual battery (1 deep cycle 90amp) Arrid solenoid controlled setup on a Troopie camper with a 1hzj engine. My question is, what would the forum recomend I use to keep the batteries charged over a 5-7 day camp without running the engine. I'm not keen to use a generator due to the volatility of the fuel & noise. I am interested in mounting 1 or 2 unisolar panels on the roof. Has anyone got any experience with this setup? Do I need 1 or 2 panels etc. Anybody got any good ideas, tips etc I would much apreciate the forums comments
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Reply By: Nigel - Tuesday, Apr 09, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Apr 09, 2002 at 00:00
The Unisolar panels are probably the best choice for mobile use as they don't have any glass and cope with heat and/or shade better. A 64 watt panel will put in about 4 watts in full sunlight. So if your fridge averages 2 amps then you need 48 amps a day. If you can get 6 hours of good sunlight a day then 1 panel will put in 24 amps a day. So 2 panels (in theory) would keep you going indefinately, except that battery's need more input than they will put back out, so your battery may be flat after a couple of weeks, but thats a lot better than only getting a couple of days. So you'd need 3 panels to be self sufficient, but even a single panel will extend your battery usage time by 40%. Be wary of other brands of panel as they only put out their rated current when the temp is at or below 25 degrees and partial shade reduces their output to zero.
AnswerID: 2715

Follow Up By: John - Wednesday, Apr 10, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Apr 10, 2002 at 00:00
Thank you all for your replies
FollowupID: 1044

Reply By: Andrew Donald - Tuesday, Apr 09, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Apr 09, 2002 at 00:00
I'm not experienced in these matters, but do you need to face the panels towards the sun to get full rated output from them.
AnswerID: 2717

Follow Up By: Nigel - Tuesday, Apr 09, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Apr 09, 2002 at 00:00
The rated output is what you get in perfect conditions. From what I've heard the Unisolar panels don't lose as much output in less than perfect conditions than other panels. Generally you can get close to rated output without having to move the solar panel constantly if you place the panel facing the optimum direction and angle .
FollowupID: 1015

Reply By: Fred - Tuesday, Apr 09, 2002 at 00:00

Tuesday, Apr 09, 2002 at 00:00
John I'd strongly recommend you buy a second fridge - pick up a second hand 3way Finch for about$100. A 3kg gas bottle will go for about 12 days. Gas is the only reliable way to go for camping without running the vehicle.
Good Luck!!
AnswerID: 2721

Reply By: Rob G - Friday, May 17, 2002 at 00:00

Friday, May 17, 2002 at 00:00
hi john,

i did a quick round oz in nov/dec last year & had a single unisolar 32W panel on the roof. it managed to give me 2-3 days on my 39l engel. an additional panel would definitely be the go for me next time. mind you, my engel is 10 years old & takes a bit of cranking up for it to start humming along.
AnswerID: 3624

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