Cheap living! free power . Go green ??

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by alcorn54, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. alcorn54

    alcorn54 Read Only Funster

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    Can I ask ,How many morohomers have solar panels fitted??

    How many make use of the free power not used when parked up ?

    Mines been fitted next month 2 extra 115v leusure batteries and 2 80w solar panels ,and when they are I'm going Green. My Motorhome is parked next to my house so when its not in use Im going to plug my invertor in and run maybe my house fridge or telly etc from free power from my motorhome.:thumb::thumb:

    Is there any reason I couldnt do this ??:RollEyes::RollEyes:theres only me and my wife ,we both work so loads of time daily for the batteries to recharge through panels. Am I being tight or is it the right way to go,money itllsave will contribute to road tax .
     
  2. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    I doubt you will run the fridge for long, but TV providing its not huge could be OK, it really depends on the size of your panel.
    We have 2 x 80W solar each connected to a separate bank of two batteries so 4 x 110 amp/hr in total. when parked up the van is used daily when I visit the animals, just to sit in and have a cuppa whilst Sue takes the dogs for a walk or goes riding. Neither bank is charged from the engine and both always have sufficient power. that includes 7-8 hours a day TV when away for 3-4 weeks at a time.
     
  3. alcorn54

    alcorn54 Read Only Funster

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    Same as yours,x 2 80w panels but!! only 2 115Ah Batteries plus origonal allready fitted 85ah I think.Had the same system fitted on me boat ,used to stay on it every weekend and it never seemed to run out ,but couldnt get it anywhere near me house so never utilized spare energy,got board of going up and down the same river system eventually ,so sold it and bought another motorhome with the proceeds from the sale. It was Just a thought as I was sat here thinking about it as its snowing constantly and was thinking how much fuel we are using at the mo :thumb::thumb: Thanks for reply Alan
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010
  4. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    Might I ask if you are having 115 VOLT batteries fitted or 115 Ah ( Amp hour ) batteries fitted ?

    If 115 volt I guess you have an RV or some such with a pretty huge battery space and payload capacity ?

    If 115 volt and you are having it all done as a pack with solar panels rates at 80 watt @ 115 volts, then yes, you will be able to run something like a very small fridge easily ( providing we get at least 10 hours of decent daylight )
     
  5. alcorn54

    alcorn54 Read Only Funster

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    Sorry 2 x 115AH LOW HEIGHT LEISURE BATTERY plus there is a leaisure battery already fitted I think its 85ah.Reply is appreciated . Alan
     
  6. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    You are just dreaming.

    The reality is ( intelligent estimates ) .....

    160W panels in winter in UK, max 80W, over a good day allowing for clouds average 40W.

    Just by having the panels horizontal you nearly halve the power because of the sun's winter angle.

    So 40W for 6 hours on a good day = 40 * 6 = 240Wh.

    A150W TV might manage a few hours but only if no cloud cover.

    If you want GREEN, you want a south facing roof FULL of panels at 50ish degrees then you might see a bit of real power and a bill that makes your MH look cheap.

    Lots of guessing here, feel free to shoot me down.
     
  7. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    Easiest and cheapest way to 'go green' is actually a wind turbine.
    Still REALLY expensive and if you are older than say, 45, virtually no chance of recouping the outlay in your lifetime, but it will delivery worthwhile amounts of electrikery if you are in even a slightly windy locale
     
  8. alcorn54

    alcorn54 Read Only Funster

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    Jesus :Doh::Doh: really !! I honestly thought two panels would run a fridge and or a telly ,this has shocked me. :Eeek: I thought on average tv on an evening when we came in from work 4/5 hrs and fridge . re-charge during day as we arnt in. well like Im said shocked is the word. :Sad::Sad:Alan
     
  9. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    The power available varies greatly according to the time of year. Low sun and short days mean that in winter, you will get very little benefit from solar panels compared with June.

    Have a look at the Aire & Sun website where you will see a link to guides and data sheets.
    http://www.aireandsun.co.uk/index.php

    This suggests that in December and January, on average, 2 x 80 watts of panels will generate 10 Ah of power per day. Given that a domestic TV draws about 120-150 watts and you want to run that through a 12V DC - 230V AC inverter, the current drawn (at 120W) will be 120/12 = 10 amps. Assume 85% efficiency for the inverter and the 10 becomes 10/0.85 = 11.76 amps (call it 12).

    So, run your TV for 2 hours and you will have drawn 2 x 12 = 24 Ah from the batteries; more than twice what the panels will have put in during the day.

    In summer, all is sweetness and light (so to speak). The average power generated, according to the data sheet, will be 48Ah. So now, you can run your TV for 4 hours before you start draining the batteries; better, but still not great!

    I must stress that I have no experience of using solar panels. Having done the calculations, I decided to buy a Honda generator for the times when I need a boost (which is mostly in winter). Others clearly have good experience of panels, but my understanding is that in most instances, other than high summer, they will prolong the time you can last without hookup or driving for several hours to recharge, they are unlikely to make you entirely self-sufficient in power.

    Philip
     
  10. alcorn54

    alcorn54 Read Only Funster

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    Thanks Philip I'm gob smacked and really suprised . I honestly thought solar panels were value for money,during the summer especially , they looked good ,reading about them most say daylight and not the sun is enough to generate power even in cloudy conditions,but I guess you really have to reaD THE SMALL PRINT .Alan:Doh::Doh:
     
  11. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Sorry. The numbers are up for negotiation a bit but it's another of these "up to" sales and the up to is always "absolute tops on a good day with the wind behind".

    You've got a good investment for summer touring but not in terms of "house".

    Just speaking generally, most people fail to come to terms with limited resources in a battery world. Every amp counts when it comes from a battery. The gotcha with a battery is in the small print again "110Ah at 20 hour rate". Now few people read beyond 110Ah - right I can draw 110A for an hour, yippee. Wrong. The reality is nearer 20mins when you draw that much.

    110Ah / 20h = 5.5A but even they you only take half out of a normal battery so reality is 5.5A ( = 5.5A * 12V = 66W ) for 10 hours. That's only a night of TV plus old fashioned bulbs.

    110A 12V is only 1320 watts and the usual question is can I use my hair drier, microwave, electric heater ?. Yes, for a few minutes then you have a hot flat battery.
     
  12. alcorn54

    alcorn54 Read Only Funster

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    I'll learn:thumb: not up on these calculation just took it for granted 3 batteries utilized for leisure only would last for ever . I'm so wrong ! :>) :Rofl1::Rofl1:
     
  13. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Some 5 or 6 years ago when we were planning our full timing 'alternative' lifestyle I considered solar power, I wanted to be self suffiecient without the need of EHU or a genny.. yes , i was dreaming :Laughing:

    To that end I completed an on-line questionnaire from one of the major solar panel suppliers for advice about how many panels, size and batteries required.

    They replied and said that my needs were far in excess of what was possible and would not be able to help .. So I ditched the idea and bought a Honda 2kw genny ..

    When we eventually set off and lived in France and elsewhere we discovered that many aires have ehu and the genny was only used very rarely .. but it was a great comfort knowing we had it as a standby.
     
  14. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    Hi everyone...

    I have been fulltiming for 20 years off site.

    I have been using solar panel(s) for at least 15 of those years.

    IMHO, if you want to live the life of a "Housey" off solar then you will need (as someone has already posted) a huge investment in the hardware and hope for lots of sun...

    ... however... if you "cut your jib accordingly" you can live extremely comfortably only using solar power... what I cannot do is turn everything on when ever I want. I can't watch telly and surf the net for hours every day if it has been overcast for the last week... (I have four 85/95 watt panels and three 110 amp leisure batteries)

    When parked up, if it is wall to wall sunshine I am in "energy heaven" and can run my compresser fridge and all my gadgets as long as I desire. If it is overcast and raining for weeks on end I am in England and have to read books etc !!!

    Of course when I am "on the road" as I love being... no problems with electricity 'cos with the batteries charging from the engine... plus solar I am laughing.

    If the worst comes to the worst I fire up my nearly silent :)Wink:) Kipor genny...

    Solar panel(s) on the roof of your motorhome is, imo, a great thing.

    JJ

    Solar + Kipor + Sterling B2B 50 amp charger ROOLS OK?
     
  15. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    In the world of motorhomes, "value for money" is a relative term I'm afraid. It seems to me that most accessories (certainly the bigger ones) are unlikely to show a positive payback against to outlay. It's more a case of enhancing once's enjoyment; increasing independence; or just getting something because you really want it.

    Solar panels will provide a fairly high degree of independence in the summer. If you can get 48 Ah of free charging per day, that is really good. We have 2 x 110 Ah batteries and would expect to be able to last 5 days or more in summer, without re-charging. So you should be able to get by with 40Ah per day, or less, at that time of year. It all depends on your consumption pattern. E.g. TV on all night, lots of lights and other electric accessories, and you will soon use your power. With care, you could be genuinely independent of other charging sources.

    Yesterday, we returned from 3 nights in Ripon in the snow. I thought we might last without hook-up, but the combined effect of lights on early, TV for evening entertainment, cooking, fridge and blown air heating on 24/7 meant we had to plug in on the third evening. In the depths of winter, don't expect to be able to survive for any length of time without a generator or hook-up; and mains wins every time if it is available at a reasonable price.

    Solar panels work in daylight, not just direct sunlight, although that provides more energy. So the nearer you are to 21st June (in the northern hemisphere) and the nearer you are to the equator, the more benefit your panels will give you. Try and survive in December in Durham (or further north) and you will need a lot more panels than you can fit on the roof of a motorhome to stand a chance of power-independence.

    Philip
     
  16. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    There speaks an expert, so now you know what you can expect.

    Not sure I agree entirely with the sign-off line ...... I might substitute "Honda" for "Kipor" but the principle is sound.

    (JJ is famous as the European spokesman for, and itinerant demonstrator extraordinaire of the [in]famous yellow generator of Sino provenance.)

    Philip
     
  17. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    Why a fridge when its zero degrees outside?
    We have 2 solar panels one flat on the roof, the other almost vertical when parked in the dashboard (does not get covered in snow or ice)I am still getting a few hours TV every day and batteries remain topped up (14" LCD TV and inverter drawing a total of 3.75amp per hour) we managed 3 weeks in the north of England during September last year with much smaller panels. One pair of batteries an one panel service the lights/pump/wc/radio/cd player/ electricly operated bed (lowering) and step. The other pair and 80W panel service the TV either digital or with Sat decoder, Video/DVD player. I can change loads between battery banks. Neither is charged by the alternator when the engine is running. We have never been out of power. But then I do keep an eye on it and reduce loads accordingly. Unless totally overcast both banks are fully charged by lunchtime. I stopped carrying a genny.
     
  18. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    Good point, but very warm inside the van and lots of rabbits outside (could see them at night scampering around in the snow).
    Didn't want me veg nibbled!

    Philip
     
  19. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    we find anything in the fridge stays cool in the winter even if its not on. so gas saved runs the fire at no extra expence, hee hee.
     
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