Advice on electric while away

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Simba, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. Simba

    Simba Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    May 17, 2010
    Messages:
    238
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Basildon, Essex. UK
    Your knowledge and advice would be appreciated. When going away staying on the same site for 3 nights plus we stay on sites with elecy but we have booked a few meets this year with no elecy on sites, what would you recommend we use, Solar panels (if so what size?), Wind turbine or Generator, I don’t know much about any of these so your input would be appreciated we use the fridge (which we can run of the gas), 1300 watt halogen cooker and tv off the elecy. The van is fitted with 2 large leisure batteries plus the main battery.
     
  2. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Messages:
    26,432
    Likes Received:
    25,101
    Location:
    Macclesfield
    Forget that ! Unless you buy a 2kW gennie.

    Solar best environmentally ( quiet ) - bigger the better sounds like 100W min 200W better. You rarely get the 100W etc, often 10W due to time and clouds.

    When on batteries 100W is a big deal, think small.

    TV means nothing, we need the wattage to comment.

    Gennie usefulness is limited by on board charger which is probably under 20A so only using about 12x20=240W of whatever size gennie you buy. In other words you need it running A_Long_Time to fully charge you batteries.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. chatter

    chatter Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2009
    Messages:
    3,723
    Likes Received:
    939
    Location:
    cheshire
    I dont think you will be using the halogen cooker whilst off ehu neither the 12v battery nor solar could cope with the power requirement, if you have to use the halogen cooker i would suggest you need at least a 2kva genny - do you not have a gas oven in the van. If you have no oven i would invest in either a Cadac or Cobb as both of them you can cook all manner of meats on or even a double skillet : http://www.doubleskillet.com/index.php/demonstration/
    Tv you could run through an inverter off the 12v system or if the tv is 240/12 tv you can buy/make a lead with a stabeliser for it to run straight off the 12v.
    A good idea to also change your most used lights in the van for LEDs

    maggie

    when away over here its mostly the shows be it motorhome type or steam shows that we go to and we can exist quite happily on our 2 x 110 batteries when they have been fully charged for 3 or 4 days dependant on how much tv etc is watched by my other half and how much im on my lappy, we have leds in the main lights we use which make a big difference to the power consumption.We turn things like the water pump off when not needing water as that draws power all the while its on.
     
  4. dellwood33

    dellwood33 Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2009
    Messages:
    3,449
    Likes Received:
    887
    Location:
    Newcastle
    Hiya Bill & Jenny) - We manage quite well with 2 x 110Ah Leisure Batteries serviced by an 80w Solar Panel. We have a generator as well, but that hasn't travelled with us for over a year now and we have never felt the need for it. :Smile:

    (How are the dogs :BigGrin:)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. pablomc

    pablomc Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    Messages:
    860
    Likes Received:
    235
    Location:
    Co. Durham
    You might not actually need to do anything if its only for a few nights.

    If you want to want to run your halogen cooker then a generator looks like your only option as suggested by others.

    Assuming you don't need the halogen then it's really down to how you utilise your 12V system. We have 2 X 110 AH batts (no generator, solar or wind device to top them up) and regularly attend meets 2-3 days without EHU and have no issues. We use the TV (probably a few hours per day) and also have LED lights. We have also used the blown air system regularly, so it maybe that you don't actually need anything additional apart from making sure your batteries are fully charged.

    If attending meets in the late spring summer and early autumn also consider that your 12V needs are reduced as you don't need lights, blown heating as often.

    As a test consider the next time you go away on EHU (make sure that your batts are pre charged). Switch off the 12 volt charger (you should still be able to use your halogen cooker and other mains items as normal, just the batts will not be getting topped up) for your batts and them monitor them closely. Make sure you use your TV via 12 volts if it has that capability or via a inverter also and also anything else you may wish to use whilst not on EHU. You then can switch the charger back on should you need to and you will know whether you need additionally equipment whilst off EHU.:thumb:
     
  6. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Messages:
    25,845
    Likes Received:
    76,162
    Location:
    Sutton on Sea
    If you are rich, get extra batteries, a roof full of panels and a Honda genny for when the sun doesn't shine.

    If you are not rich, do the following in this order, untill you find you have power for as long as you like


    1. Ensure the battery you have is in good nick., maybe buy a new one if it is not.
    2. Be frugal with power use, buy LED replacement bulbs etc
    3. Test to see how long you can survive, without additional power.
    4. If you are still running out, Buy another battery, this will double your power
    5. If you are still not getting enough, consider a small genny (1kva) to boost them, but think about noise, payload, storage and petrol storage; then save up for panels.
    6. when the bank balance is high enough; buy a sloar panel or two, this will save you using the genny, but only when the sun shines. In winter in the UK panels are not very good for anything other than keeping batteries topped up.
    keep the odd battery lamp in case you run out because you will, even with all of the above, (cloudy, forgot petrol etc) When you do, its not the end of the world, it just feels like it.:Smile: In fact without the power it like being back in a tent, and we all know how much fun that is:BigGrin:
     
  7. Simba

    Simba Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    May 17, 2010
    Messages:
    238
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Basildon, Essex. UK
    Thank you all for your replies :thumb: , sounds like willl be running off the batteries until the lights go dim and then take the MH for a run, and SWMBO will have to find an alternative way of cooking, or better still eat out and when leaving walk out backwards and pretend your coming in :Rofl1:
     
  8. Langtoftlad

    Langtoftlad Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,616
    Likes Received:
    3,936
    Location:
    Langtoft, South Lincs
    Does anyone have a rule of thumb measurement (accepting there are many variables) of how many miles one would have to drive to replenish a depleted leisure battery...? 50 miles, 100 miles, more?
     
  9. wivvy's dad

    wivvy's dad Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Messages:
    3,218
    Likes Received:
    1,807
    Location:
    48.066895,12.862673
    As many miles as the string is long.


    Hope that helps.............:Wink:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Langtoftlad

    Langtoftlad Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,616
    Likes Received:
    3,936
    Location:
    Langtoft, South Lincs
    So if I have a hook up cable as long as my piece of string then there'll never be an issue ???
    :Rofl1:
     
    • Like Like x 2
  11. movan

    movan Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2009
    Messages:
    12,861
    Likes Received:
    22,459
    Location:
    Moving around
    Try again! Borrowed dongle as bad as my own.


    Hi Jenny, Following Brian's answer, might it be worthwhile taking a small camping gaz stove (as used in tents) just in case it is cold and you need warm soup or stews. Joy
     
  12. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Messages:
    18,337
    Likes Received:
    21,675
    Location:
    Narrfoook
    Well it has always been a VERY rough guide that it takes 10 minutes driving to put back in what a cold start takes out..

    if the batteries are that low though you are talking quite a long time.. If the alternator puts out 40 amps max, that is going to be absorbed thus.

    A little to the van battery as that will already be charged and will just need to be kept topped up ( I am talking about driving without the headlights on as they alone will draw about 8 amps unless they are HID's )
    The leisure batteries will then take a a large chunk of what is left.. Say 10 or 15 amps each ( maybe more but we are talking ballpark figures here )

    Now if you have a 110 amp hour battery that would take 11 hours at 10 amps to go from dead flat to fully charged/gassing voltage

    There is also the issue that some vans do not use a direct charge system but go via a separate charger circuit which reduces the charge rate

    So that is one hell of a drive !!

    I would suggest you bite the bullet and go for solar panels.. I could not afford what I wanted in one hit, so went for a 110w one first, then some months later when the pin money for the van had built up again, added an 80w unit.
    Now I really do not worry if we have no hook up at all,,, as long as there is daylight we usually recoup that which we use the night before without a problem
     
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Simba

    Simba Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    May 17, 2010
    Messages:
    238
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Basildon, Essex. UK
    We are at Carmarthen this weekend will see about getting solar panel fitted there :thumb:
     
  14. Langtoftlad

    Langtoftlad Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,616
    Likes Received:
    3,936
    Location:
    Langtoft, South Lincs
    I did mention in my intro that I'm neither practical nor DIY competent so please excuse if this is a ridiculous follow on question - does it matter how far or how fast one drives to charge up the leisure battery via the alternator? I presume just having your engine running on tick over whilst parked up wouldn't do the job?
    Don't laugh - this is all completely outside my area of knowledge/experience.

    [from reading these pages, I have learned that first discover one's power needs, then acquire a second leisure battery as your first option, then possibly a solar panel if necessary, before the final resort of a generator]
     
  15. Squire

    Squire Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    324
    Likes Received:
    60

    Due to the design limitations of modern automotive alternator charging systems, the batteries will never be more than 60-65% charged however long or far you drive. To remedy that I would recommend modifying the existing system by fitting a Sterling battery-to-battery charger - apart from anything else they're a much cheaper first option than either gennies or solar panels. I have to the Sterling system plus a solar panel charging a 220 amp Elecsol battery bank and have no problem wild camping for a few days at a time - even with sat-TV.
     
  16. buttons

    buttons Funster

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Messages:
    12,936
    Likes Received:
    10,701
    Location:
    Hertfordshire
    Simples..... go back to basics. :Smile:
    Leave the tv where it belongs in the lounge at home.
    Get a Kindle.
    Cook with gas.
    Diesel heater.
    Use LEDs
    12v compressor fridge.
    3 good size batteries >110AH

    Take your home for a drive each day.:driving2:
    Or just downsize to a California. Just as much fun without the hassle.:Wink:
     
  17. 1_man_and_his_dob(lo)

    1_man_and_his_dob(lo) Funster

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    2,253
    Likes Received:
    1,516
    Location:
    Mid. Glamorgan, S. Wales
    Aren't the diesel heater and 12V compressor fridge bad for battery life? My diesel air blown unit and compressor do a good job of hammering my poor 85Ah battery :Sad:

    I always thought the main advantage of a 3-way fridge was the fact it saves you battery life when it's running on gas.
     
Loading...

Share This Page