Free standing solar panel –how to attach to battery?

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by dencol, Jun 3, 2010.

  1. dencol

    dencol Read Only Funster

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    I’ve been watching the various threads re free standing solar panels and think I have some idea of the for’s and against although still somewhat like ‘electrickery’ to me:Doh:. My problem revolves around attaching the solar panel to the leisure battery?

    I have an auto sleeper symbol style van with the battery under the drivers seat (no spare space for an extra battery or moving the original battery) so getting to the battery is a no no due to back problems.

    Before I seriously consider buying one I was wondering if anyone can suggest how I can use the panel without having to try and get to the battery every time i.e. can I connect to the 12 volt system elsewhere or can I get an ‘add on’ to the battery that gives a connector elsewhere?

    Thanks for any suggestions
     
  2. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    The panel we bought from Solar Solutions has a lead which is in two parts, connected by a standard caravan S plug/socket. One part of the lead is connected to the panel whilst the other terminates in two ring terminals which are permanently attached to the battery. The lead is kept coiled out of the way when the panel is not in use.

    Graham
     
  3. peter marshall

    peter marshall

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    Hi Dencol
    I have a suitcase type from Maplins it plugs in to the 12v plug in the cab when placed in the windscreen, hope thats some help to you. Pete:thumb:
     
  4. Douglas

    Douglas Read Only Funster

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    there are quite a few ways to connect to the battery with the ability to disconnect easily, If you have any 12v plugs in the van you can go in that way, or you could make and connect a extension cable from the battery with a suitable socket on the end to plug the panel into.

    There may be a connection point at you battery charger. I'm sure there are more that escapes me at the moment.

    The one think you have to be aware of, is there a fuse protection in the circuit, you don't say what the panel output is but the fuse must be a suitable rating also without a regulator of some kind you have to be on the ball to make sure you don't boil the battery (that's if the panel is that big) and you have to check that there is a diode in the circuit to stop the panel draining the battery over night should you forget to disconnect.

    Doug...
     
  5. Robinhood

    Robinhood Read Only Funster

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    My free-standing panel was supplied with a hella/din type surface-mount socket and the wires from the panel were terminated with a Hella plug.

    The Socket is designed to be permanently wired to the battery, with the socket mounted to a convenient remote point.

    Panel then simply plugs into this point when required.

    This arrangement could be adapted in a number of different ways, you'd just want to be careful about the current capacity of the particular plug/socket combination, and also the wires used, to ensure a good connection and minimum loss.

    Only need to get at the battery once with this arrangement.

    Connection through the lighter circuit without modification is usually not possible due to the lighter being isolated with the ignition off.
     
  6. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    bullet connectors always keep the live from the battery insulated .i keep one at home just for charging spare battery,s
     
  7. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    a visit to your local RC model shop may be worth it.

    buy a 'TAMIYA' type plug and socket as used on radio controlled, battery powered, cars.
    i believe they are rated at well over 10amps and are un-reversible.

    simply connect one half to the panel and the other half to your leisure battery but make sure the live connection from the battery is the sheathed one and also fit a fuse in the live wire close to the battery.
    simply leave the battery socket on a short trailing lead outside the seatbase.

    BUT.....STOP !!!!! how big is your panel in watts.

    anything over about 20 watts will need a solar controller between battery and panel or it will overcharge..
    you probably know this already but always worth pointing it out.
     
  8. Theonlysue

    Theonlysue Funster Life Member

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    solor power

    Hi,in my hightop, i had one in the cupboard under the oven, S,
     
  9. dencol

    dencol Read Only Funster

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    Thanks for all the suggestions.
    I do not have a panel in mind at this time more a case of keeping eye open for special offers now I understand that having a fixed lead from the battery can work.

    Do have two 12 volt sockets in the van but never thought about sending power in via these was worried I would burn something our not knowing enough about electrickery. I can get to this wiring via the cupboard although now thinking a fixed wire and plug to the battery (with suitable fuse) may be my best option.

    Was thinking of a smaller panel as only need to top up the habitate battery but will check re controllers if a larger panel comes up on offer.

    Thanks again for all the advice :thumb::thumb:

    Colin
     
  10. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    When we bought our panel I asked about plugging into a 12v socket for the connection. The salesman told me the reason they supply the lead as they do is that they have no idea what might be between a socket and the battery in any given van. The dedicated lead removes that uncertainty.

    On ours there is an in-line fuse in the cable near the battery connection. The panel comes with regulator etc already built in to the rear of the support frame.

    Graham
     
  11. lebesset

    lebesset Read Only Funster

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    I went to buy a controller for a single panel like that and was advised that for a single panel up to 80 watts or so it wasn't necessary , amperage wouldn't be high enough to overcharge
    battery [ standard automotive ] lasted 7 years so can't have been far wrong

    and your cigarette lighter sockets are more than capable of taking the output from a solar panel if thats what you decide
     
  12. Douglas

    Douglas Read Only Funster

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    Sorry but this is not true, a 80 watt panel is capable under perfect conditions of putting out 6.5amps. 6.5amps day after day is more that capable of boiling a battery to death.

    Doug...
     
  13. lebesset

    lebesset Read Only Funster

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    you don't think the size of the battery affects that ? so why did my battery not fail in 7 years of use then

    the truth of the matter is that if you think you are getting to get 6.5 amps all day long from an 80 watt panel you will be highly disappointed

    the solar panel supplier who told me not to bother showed me what he sold , so why did he turn down a sale

    I can only say that the advice he gave me was spot on ...I never once had a boiled battery
     
  14. Douglas

    Douglas Read Only Funster

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    Reread my post! the OP never said what battery he had.

    Doug...
     
  15. lebesset

    lebesset Read Only Funster

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    no he didn't , but I hardly think it was less than than the 70A/hr I was able to get in , and it doesn't make what you said correct , using the same argument
     
  16. Douglas

    Douglas Read Only Funster

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    Did you re-read my post?

    Doug...
     
  17. PeteH

    PeteH Funster

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    Solar Charging

    Hi

    The Battery on my BMW (Bike) was under the seat so in order to use the Charger without dismantling it every time (especially during winter layup) I connected a Heavy duty socket direct to the battery, with a line fuse in the +side and just plugged it in when needed to keep the battery up . Worked OK for over 10years. Perhaps you can do the same and fix the socket on the seat frame?.

    PS use substantial Cable to prevent line loss.

    Pete
     
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