Do I need a Solar panel?

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by Billy23, May 3, 2016.

  1. Billy23

    Billy23 Funster

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    I have a Solar panel on the roof it is very old and past its sell by date. I am going to remove it and was thinking, if I have 2 110 amp batteries, do I really need to replace the Solar. I have LED interior lights and would watch the 15 inch TV for a couple of hours a night, I am only without EHU on the odd night as I like to have hookup if possible.

    I know that lots of people do want/have Solar but, is it just a......Oh I must have one because everybody else has, or are they really necessary.

    Any advice would be most welcome.
     
  2. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    Sounds like you don't need one. But give it a try without, and unless you find you are getting flat batteries I wouldn't worry.
     
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  3. mjltigger

    mjltigger Funster

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    I want one to maintain the life of my batteries. I only want it to recharge and maintain the batteries over time as I have to park away from my house and I worry that over weeks the batteries will lose condition (especially if they were not fully charged when I parked)

    I know I can do 2 nights off grid with my batteries as they are and if I am going to be away longer I will be on sites anyway (as we have no onboard shower)

    For the cost of them, I can't justify it just to maintain battery health - the replacement batteries is cheaper..
     
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  4. MH 55 FUN

    MH 55 FUN Funster

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    I would say you don't NEED one, but we have no solar & are going to get it because it broadens our horizons as to where we can go off EHU & therefore make more use of the MH
     
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  5. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    I would ask why you think it's past it's sell by date ???
    Even if it give 1/2 of what it used to then my logic says rather than take if off, just leave it there..
    Invest in 2 new batteries and you win all around..
     
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  6. Speve

    Speve Funster

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    I agree just give it a good clean and leave it on there you will get some change from it.
     
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  7. Billy23

    Billy23 Funster

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    Good question, the reason is that it was on the motorhome when I got it, I suspect it had been on the roof for some years but, it is far from the best installation and has been bugging me, put with that, is seems to have rundown/destroyed one battery that was on vehicle and 2 new separate batteries in the last 2 years ( I only have one leisure battery at the moment). I have a Snipe2 to place on the roof, so I thought ( if 2 batteries will do the job) buy 2 new batteries and place the Snipe in the place of the Solar.......if I don't really need it.

    Of course, if I really need the Solar, I will buy a new one and fit Snipe in another place.

    I am having a little trouble getting onto forum, I have internet probes at the moment, but thank you all for your replies and I will check as I can.
     
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  8. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    If you think your battery failure is linked to the solar it is most likely to be the solar regulator that is causing problems. With good bright sun you should be getting between 16 - 21 volts out of the panel into the regulator depending on the battery state of charge, output from the regulator should be 14.3 -14.7v while charging depending on regulator and type of battery it is set for. Better regulators then reduce the output to 13.2-13.8v once batteries are charged some of the cheap regulators stay at the higher voltage this can damage batteries but normally not a problem as the batteries get a rest from charging when the sun goes down.
     
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  9. Billy23

    Billy23 Funster

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    Thank you for your replies. I will try to test the solar and see what the output is. From your posts I have concluded that it could be the regulator, so I shall buy a new one (any suggestions :) ) and see what happens.

    I was told by a company that fits Solar on MH's that if one part of the panel doesn't work then the panel is nackered, which made me think that I should take it off, but listening to you guys, perhaps it's worth a new regulator.

    Thanks again.
     
  10. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    Also make sure there is no shade over part of the panel. This will drastically reduce the output in almost all panels.

    Measuring the output voltage from the panel may not be easy if you have what is sometimes called a shunt controller as this effectively connects the panel across the battery terminals so you will only see the battery voltage of perhaps 13 or 14 volts.
     
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  11. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    A solar panel is supposed to loss around 20% efficiency over a 20 year period.
    Unless your van is over 20 years old and the panel was fitted when new theres nothing wrong with the panel.
     
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  12. Dazzlin

    Dazzlin Funster Life Member

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    If you hook up when poss like you say you do, and move regularly you don't NEED one. But if it's there, leave it be. We rely on solar, but have only had ehu once since october (included in site).
    Full time on the road.
     
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  13. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

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    I'd be surprised if its shot if it's producing an output so test it first - if it's okay just tidy up the existing installation that bugs you. :)

    If you want to see how you get on without it, just disconnect it so it can't charge the battries (make sure its safe) and that way if you find you DO need it you can just connect it all back up again. (y)

    If you are really desperate for roof space and knew for a fact that you'd never need the panel, that would be a different matter, but I don't think that's the case for you.
     
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