Solar/12 volt system for the caravan

Hi guys I am going to install solar on the caravan, cause we mostly free camp but like to use things like tv's and the odd hair dryer etc I want a solid system.

In one of the recent caravan mags somebody described their system as

2 140 watt panels installed + 110 watt portable
3 batteries
Pro-star 30a solar charger
Xantrek 40a multi-stage mains battery charger
700watt pure sine wave inverter

They ran things like sewing machines etc

I was just wondering if anyone else had experience with this stuff and if so what size and brands do they think would be suitable.

Also eBay has a large range of stuff for varied prices and I was wondering if there's anything dodgy to look out for.
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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 00:08

Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 00:08
Just one quick question, do you realise that is going to consume wel over 100 kg or your 300 or 400 kg loading allowance? We run one one 110 Ah battery and an 80 W panel. This keeps us going in lights and a bit of TV,
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Follow Up By: Ray s1 - Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 06:59

Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 06:59
Yep I understand I gotta watch this I am planning on weighing everything that goes into the van so I need to consider this. I am pretty good at this stage just gotta watch how much water I can carry.
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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 07:26

Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 07:26
Your 700 watt inverter won't be big enough to run the hair dryer.
You may be able to find a baby one, but an average hair dryer consumes in the order of 2200 watts and anything much less, well, wouldn't dry hair very quickly at all.

Perhaps you should rethink the need for a hair dryer when free camping and save yourself some grief.




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Reply By: Bigfish - Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 08:11

Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 08:11
Save your money. If its only for free camping , why not get a quiet 2 kva honda generator?

Hair dryer...your joking, right?
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 08:23

Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 08:23
Ray,

Suggest have a read of Electricity for Camping. I think it will answer lots of questions.

Suggest too forget the "odd hairdryer", and any heating appliance. They are very hungry devices and will call for plenty battery storage and charging capacity. A 700W inverter won't be big enough to run them - though they don't need a pure sinewave one. You can reduce your charging and battery needs by probably 2/3 if you abandon heating appliances. If you must use heating gear, suggest it's better and cheaper to carry a small QUIET generator.

Cheers

John

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Reply By: Member - lyndon NT - Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 08:44

Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 08:44
The "fairer" Half needs to do what mine did. Cut the hair off and bin the dryer. A bit hard to convince them of this I realise.
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Reply By: Member - Sanantone - Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 08:53

Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 08:53
G'day Ray,

I am no expert, but from what I have read & researched, you are going to the extreme, without really knowing if you will have enough power for it all anyway?

Try http://www.fridge-and-solar.net & read the techno info about how much you may need?

Don't forget, you can charge your batteries with your car, as well?

Good luck
Tony
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Reply By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 09:32

Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012 at 09:32
This is our setup and is in perfect balamce for us free camping

3 x 130w fixed panels on the roof
3 x 105 ah agm batteries
1 x 1500 w pure sine wave inverter (rarely used just a quick zap to reheat the odd meal for convienence)
fridge is a 220L compressor type
all lighting is 12v
TV sat TV etc is all 12v....(the most power user..but not used a lot)
Heating is a diesel heater for the interior
Water heater is gas
Charging the odd device like laptops etc is all 12v

Controller is a Plasmatronics that enables us to monitor in and outs on a daily basis plus history logging

Average daily use is around 80 /90 ah in the high 20's to mid 30's ambient and we are nearly allways in balance with batteries rarely below 80 %

Always some variables come into the above but overall works perfectly for us...if thats any help to you


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Follow Up By: Ray s1 - Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012 at 07:14

Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012 at 07:14
That is exactly what I was looking for tks heaps you have been a great help. I am happy to have more then less..
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Reply By: Robert O - Saturday, Oct 20, 2012 at 12:10

Saturday, Oct 20, 2012 at 12:10
Ray

I have read with interest the replies to your querry. Having had some experience with solar on my previous van I have just ordered a new van equiped with 2x150w panels, 2x120ah batteries, and a prostar30, I do have a portable 80w panel from my camper trailer days but use that mainly for the dual battery system in the Cruiser, I am having a 1000w inverter fitted only to charge phones, computer etc.
I believe there could be occasions where it didn,t matter how many panels you had you still could run short of power, for this reason, and to allow me to run the aircon. I have swallowed my pride and purchased a Honda generator.
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Follow Up By: Ray s1 - Sunday, Oct 21, 2012 at 09:48

Sunday, Oct 21, 2012 at 09:48
Thank you for the info
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