connecting solar panel to van

Submitted: Friday, Apr 13, 2012 at 09:43
ThreadID: 94863 Views:2689 Replies:2 FollowUps:3
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Hello Everyone, I have ordered a 100 watt solar panel and want to connect it to a deep cycle battery. I have purchased and anderson plug and some cable from our Auto Elec. Where is the best place to fix the Plug? What else do I need to know? Thanks everyone What a great site!!!! Also, if I wanted to use a 240 volt laptop computor is an invertor via the cig socket the way to go. Wouldn,t this be very hard on the 12 volt batteries thanks john
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Reply By: Ross M - Friday, Apr 13, 2012 at 13:15

Friday, Apr 13, 2012 at 13:15
G'day johno59

Run the cable from the panel to the voltage regulator , wire the regulator as close to the battery as is practical. I presume you have two anderson plugs cos just one is no good to you.
I have used Narva 6mm twin core cable, this has 4.58mmsq cores for good transfer of the current with little voltage drop.
If the wire you have isn't relatively heavy it will act as a resistor and drop the voltage getting to all components and reduce the 100w which is more likely only 75-80 watts in reality, down to about 50 watts of output. So don't gauge all your calculations for power use on getting anywhere near 100w cos it won't happen.

If running a laptop, it is more efficient to use the 12v power you have by buying a 12v -19v dc/dc convertor from jaycar store. This costs around $60.

The use of an 12v to 240vac inverter is good for some things but is less efficient and you will end up using more of your 12v battery charge.
If buying an inverter for other use make sure it is a full sine wave unit because many items nowdays have switchmode powersupplies inside them and they don't like the modified Square wave. Some don't start running and some items burn out because of this crappy 240vac wave form.
Unfortunately they are advertised as Modified SIne Wave but in fact they are Modified Square Wave and more inefficient as well.
I tried my laptop on the non sine wave model and the power supply for the computer wouldn't start charging and just got hot, i didn't let it sit and burn out.

Ross M
AnswerID: 482988

Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Friday, Apr 13, 2012 at 18:19

Friday, Apr 13, 2012 at 18:19
Hi Johno,

100 watts is a good choice and a good starting point if you want to take it further, though may not be needed in your case.

Is the panel going to be fixed or movable.

As Ross said, mount the regulator as close as is practical to the batteries but keep it where it can be checked from time to time.

The regs have a clear instruction marked on their front panels as to wiring, which wire goes where, and you will only need the Anderson plug if the panel is portable.

If the panel is portable then put the plug in a convenient place for your needs, usually on the A frame and you can put the other plug on a long lead to the

All the regulators I have or have seen have the contacts across the bottom set up in pairs running left to right as follows. Pos + Neg for the panel then Pos + Neg for the battery supply, then Pos + Neg for the load.
Six connectors in all.

You do not need to run the load off the load contacts unless you want to.
All my load runs from the batteries only. The panel and regulator just supply batteries only. The load circuit usually has a program whereby it will shut down the load when the battery reaches a specific low voltage in most regs I have seen.

Hope this helps,
Cheers, Bruce

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restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Friday, Apr 13, 2012 at 19:02

Friday, Apr 13, 2012 at 19:02
Johno, in answer to the last part of your question I have a 12 volt power supply for my lap top which I bought from Repco about 2 years ago. It is similar to the one in the link I have provided.

You can also use this power supply to power up a 17 volt mast head amplifier to run your TV when not using the lap top.

It does not use a lot of power on my lap top running from 12 volts and I would say it is better than an inverter turning 12 volts into 240 then back to 16 volts or whatever. Lot of losses there. Better if you can keep away from inverters unless you have no option.

Hope this helps.
Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: johno59 - Saturday, Apr 14, 2012 at 08:02

Saturday, Apr 14, 2012 at 08:02
hi guys, the panel is a portable with regulator fixed to the back and comes with the normal cabling and alligator clips. My van has a deep cycle 100 watt battery that powers lights and a few other assecories . From this battery there are 2 wires 1 pos and 1 neg that are attached to an anderson plug which is mounted outside on the van chases so that the panel can be "plugged into " it in when needed. So when the alligator clips are snipped off, what plugs do I need to replace them with to be able plug into the existing anderson plug attached to van casis? Thanks guys as u see my knowledge of elec is nonexistant!! johno
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Follow Up By: Member - Jorgen S (QLD) - Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 20:59

Monday, Apr 16, 2012 at 20:59
I have Anderson plug on van which I use to plug in the Anderson plug on car for charging when travelling.
My 120 Watt solarpanel has alligator clips on it and i normally attach them straight to the poles on the battery.
Does all of the above mean that i can cut off my alligator clips and put on Anderson plug and connect straight to Anderson plug on van and charge my battery that way.It should be the same as charging when travelling.Is that correct.
Thanks all

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