Battery charging solar panels.

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Charlie, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. Charlie

    Charlie Funster

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    Anyone use them ?

    Just thinking about adding one onto the vehicle battery. Do they go inside or outside the window ? I would much prefer on that goes inside.

    I believe we should only use a low power one ?

    Any recommendations to a good quality reliable one welcome. I dont mind paying more for a nice reliable quality one as I hate cheap junk.

    As always Thanks !
     
  2. Chockswahay

    Chockswahay Funster

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    @Charlie I had a few suggestions HERE on a similar thread yesterday :)

    It looks like 20w is the way to go, but not sure if powerful enough (where I live anyway) :(
     
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  3. Charlie

    Charlie Funster

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    HaHa thanks for that ! I just read some of it but all the talk of this amount of watts volts and so on left me standing !

    All I want to know is what will work and where to get it. The numbers mean nothing at all to me..

    Thanks !
     
  4. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    in a word....NO.

    a 20watt panel may provide 1 amp....in full summer sun.
    the little ones are inefficient and no where near powerful enough due to the low and weak sun in winter.
    if you want to throw away your money look on ebay....but opt for a 50 watt version.
    they will work fine on the dashboard providing, of course, it is south facing.
     
  5. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    Why not go all the way and put a decent sized one on the roof, at least 100W and bigger if there is room? Properly wired in it will keep leisure and vehicle batteries topped up all year round and help when you are stopping where there is no EHU, such as aires.
     
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  6. Chockswahay

    Chockswahay Funster

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    I only want about 1 to 2 amps per day..........
     
  7. wizzer59

    wizzer59 Funster

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    Again:doh:
    I have a 20w one on the dash of a car for well over a year, its connected directly to the battery with no need for a reg, its never failed to start (about 5 times in that time and not left to idle for more than a couple of minutes) its not been driven in that time and its not pointing south, in fact its nearly pointing north. So I'm more than happy with that as its a no hassel fit and forget thing with no need for cables trailing about all over the place:swear2: The engine is a 2.2cc Diesel so the battery must be quite a size as well(y) It cost me about £26 on ebay:) IMG_2318[1].JPG IMG_2319[1].JPG

    I'm not saying it keeps the battery FULLY charged but as I said its never failed to start which is good enough for me(y)
     
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  8. Chockswahay

    Chockswahay Funster

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    Last edited: Oct 25, 2015
  9. Chockswahay

    Chockswahay Funster

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    Hi Tim, I really like the simplicity (and price) of that. Thing is it would need to keep my van battery good for up to a month with the alarm turned on. Many people here reckon thats just not possible o_O ?
     
  10. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    As I suggested above, why not put a proper big one on the roof? A lot more expensive of course but useful all year round.
     
  11. wizzer59

    wizzer59 Funster

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    Not sure on this questiono_O my car battery is not disconnected from the car and it has a factory alarm, but I have no idea if it is drawing anything from the battery sorry :cool:

    If someone can tell me how to do it I can check(y) I have a multimeter but would have no idea how to set it up for checking:doh:
     
  12. Chockswahay

    Chockswahay Funster

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    Or
    I just don't really want to get involved in all that drilling, wiring, glueing grief, a weak excuse I know. Also don't need it other that when the van lies idle for a few weeks (we would normally be away in it but 'stuff going on at home right now')
     
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  13. wizzer59

    wizzer59 Funster

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    I think one of those folding ones you linked would be ideal if you can put it somewhere safe facing the sun at an angle, expensive, but ideal for what you want (y)
     
  14. jenny and mitch

    jenny and mitch Funster

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    Put some Watts on the roof. Dave Newell will do it for you and you will not regret it..
     
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  15. Charlie

    Charlie Funster

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    Mmmmmm And double Mmmmmmm... I did consider having a solar set up installed but on the very impartial advice of Mrs D Newell I dropped the idea.

    The advice was to try using the MH for what we wanted then decide if we need one or not..

    When we went to France after this advice we only used sites and never used an Aire once. To be honest I dont see us using Aires unless we are stuck and if that happens it will only be for one or two nights tops so fitting a Solar for just charging the battery's is not the best way I think.

    Our van charges just one battery at a time when on EHU.

    So what Im doing just now is turning on every 2 weeks and allowing one battery to charge then switching to the other. I charge each battery for 24 hours then turn the EHU off again.

    I know there is a device called a battery master so I may look into those but the solar charger was mentioned on the AS forum but there is much more information forthcoming here on this forum .

    To be honest its no agg at all to remove the leisure battery and put it in the workshop and connect a battery tender onto it and cycle charge it every couple of weeks.

    But the solar option appeals to me IF of course they work. I have no idea really (y)

    Thanks for the input !
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2015
  16. Charlie

    Charlie Funster

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    My friend the link below is brilliant ! It will explain in detail exactly how to test your vehicle for a draw on the battery. Often called a Parasitic Draw

    Link
     
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  17. paulmold

    paulmold Read Only Funster

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    I see folk have said a panel of 20w or so can be used but the Camping Club give this advise as to whether a regulator is needed or not..

    Do you need a regulator or charge controller?
    Larger solar panels can over-charge your battery unless you add a regulator into the circuit, to restrict the current to a sensible level.

    As a rule of thumb, check whether you need a regulator by taking the rating of your battery in amp hours (Ah) and dividing by ten. If the power (in watts) of your panel is lower than this figure you won’t need a regulator. If it’s higher, you will. So for a 90Ah battery, a panel of 9W or less won’t need a regulator. Anything more than 9W should have one.
     
  18. jo-ca

    jo-ca Funster

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    I have two 100 amp battery,s, 120 watt solar panel. Will this st up keep both leisure and starter battries charged whilest in storage.
     
  19. rosalan

    rosalan Funster

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    I do understand your situation I think.
    You spend most, if not all of your touring time on sites with a hook-up, so have no real need for independent power sources.
    You tend to charge each battery independently, which works for you.
    My suggestion would be that you would gain most from having a Battery Master as you mentioned. What it will do is charge both batteries from hook-up, always making sure that your van battery gets priority so that it will always start.
    I would avoid fitting a small solar charger for a couple of reasons. If there is enough sun, which is not often in the UK unless you have some form of control unit, you can damage your battery. The price of a control unit for such a small solar charger could outweigh its advantages.
    Alan
     
  20. TheCaller

    TheCaller Funster

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    Even in winter, that setup should produce enough power to keep the batteries charged while the van is in outside storage, assuming nothing is switched on apart from an alarm.

    Whether it does actually charge both batteries will depend on how the system has been wired up. If you have a multimeter, put it across each battery on a sunny day with everything turned off (storage situation). If both batteries are reading over 12.6V & there isn't more than 0.5V between them, then the answer is almost certainly 'yes'. To be absolutely certain, check again after it's been standing a couple of weeks. If the difference between the batteries is growing & particularly if the starter battery drops below 12.4V, then possibly not.

    If the starter battery isn't being charged, then think about fitting a Battery Master - available from Van Bitz or from Jim's shop. That passes enough charge from the leisure battery to the starter battery to keep it topped up.
     
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