Help with solar in a new Hymer

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by peterc10, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. peterc10

    peterc10 Funster

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    I am about to buy a new Hymer A class B678 and want to fit or get fitted a 200W solar installation. I think the Hymer has a Schaudt Electrobloc ELB 29 and a Schaudt control panel LT 95F. Am I the only person to be decidedly unimpressed with these in an expensive new A class? When compared with my 7 year old much cheap Adria coachbuilt they seem extremely primitive.

    I was planning to use a Schaudt LRM1218 (MPPT) solar controller. The EBL has connectors to take the output from this but does not appear to have any input for the signal cable for the control panel, which means that the control panel cannot show the charge from the solar panel. And even if it did have the input it would be no good because the display only shows voltage and there is no way to read either the current or the % capacity of the battery on the Hymer display panel (both of which my Adria does).

    Any advice on the best way forward please?

    I am worried that if I just connect a non-Schaudt MPPT controller direct to the batteries it will fool the EBL into thinking the batteries are fully charged when I am driving along or on an EHU and therefore not charge the batteries via the alternator or EHU, which would provide much more charge than the solars (as per the advice on A&N's website) . So should I connect the solar controller's output via the EBL anyway and then have a new separate remote display dedicated to the solar? If I use the Schaudt LRM1218 and its remote control panel (which only shows current) they will come to over £300 between them, and I suspect I could get a better controller and panel for a lot less. What alternatives could I use?

    At the moment I am likely to get the dealer to do all of this (he has given a good price for it and several other additions I want) and his fitter has said that he could use an MPPT controller to feed only the leisure battery and then install a Battery Master to trickle charge the vehicle battery. That seems a bit crude to me given that the EBL is supposed to be able to charge both and the LRM1218 has outputs for both too.

    So any advice to help me would be gratefully received please
     
  2. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

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    AFAIA you MUST use an LR1218 solar regulator with the Schuadt electroblocks - we've got a EBL99K electroblock in our Globecar and had to get the LR1218 but didn't bother with the MPPT version at twice the price.

    http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/stock-list.php
     
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  3. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    My van has an ELB 29 ( replacement for the ELB 99) one of the more basic unit and the Lt 95 is as good as useless.
    Also the ELB 29 does not control the solar charge so once the potential reaches 14.3 v the voltage holds at that voltage.
    You must not use a battery master with an Elektroblock.

    If you want to fit a different regular it is best to check with Schaudt first.

    I fitted this cheap battery monitor £21 on eBay.

    P1050070.jpg
     
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  4. kaasbroodje

    kaasbroodje Funster

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  5. peterc10

    peterc10 Funster

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    I would prefer MPPT hence my choice of the LRM 1218 rather than the LR 1218. That and the monitor comes to £240 though (found a cheaper place thanks to Mel).
     
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  6. Chipster

    Chipster Funster Life Member

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    Bit the bullet and fitted the LRM and display panel to our recent (2014) Hymer. Yes it's expensive but it all goes together easy and works as it should. You don't have to fit a panel I guess?
     
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  7. peterc10

    peterc10 Funster

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    But my Hymer does not seem to have any easy way of showing the current going in or the battery voltage (as opposed to the charge voltage) or % capacity without switching everything off for several hours. With the Adria I can get the info easily
     
  8. Chipster

    Chipster Funster Life Member

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    No my Hymer (Schaudt) main panel doesn't either. So I fitted the Schaudt solar panel in a cupboard and the LRM under the seats near the electroblock. I would suggest you fit the LRM regulator as opposed to the LR one as your van will have Gel batteries? Th LRM is more suitable for Gel.
     
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  9. peterc10

    peterc10 Funster

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    Did you wire the LRM in through the electrobloc or straight through to the batteries?

    I really wanted the solar display over the door with the other control panels, but that is a long way from the batteries and electrobloc :(. The dealer will want to fit it in one of the cupboards near the kitchen I suspect to save fiddly threading of the wires to the other side of the van.

    I chose the LRM because it is an MPPT controller, which is supposed to give better charging when the sun is not strong (so most days in he UK). The batteries on the new Hymer range all seem to be AGM not gel.
     
  10. peterc10

    peterc10 Funster

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    Lenny

    I have checked with Udo at Schaudt and he recommends using the LRM and a different monitor. Do you have a link for that one please as I can't find it on Ebay
     
  11. JeanLuc

    JeanLuc Funster

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    The LT95F control panel does indeed seem to be a very basic model and appears to give no indication of hab battery charge current from any source (EHU / Alternator / Solar Reg). In this respect it is less capable than the old IT992 twin needle meter model fitted in my 2003 Hymer. So to see the charge current you would need an additional meter as you suggest.
    However, the EBL29 does charge the starter battery as well as the hab batteries from a Schaudt regulator. I only have direct experience of the LR1218 but I expect the cable options on the LRM1218 will offer the same functionality. The centre pin of Block 6 on the EBL29 (pin number 2 on the solar regulator input) is connected to the starter battery +ve pin on block 2 (pin number 1). You should use the supplied charging cable that has three wires - the one connected to the centre pin of the 3-pin MNL connector is red and this charges the starter battery.
    For advice or confirmation about how to proceed I suggest an email to Udo Lang if you still have queries. Udo.Lang@schaudt-gmbh.de
     
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  12. Speve

    Speve Funster

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    Our Exsis new import in June has a Büttner MT 130-s regulator that was fitted by the dealer it does not have a monitor with but apparently you can get one and it plugs into the regulator with supplied lead.
    I have not heard whether this is a good one or not but it is connected to the Schaudt panel.You can buy the complete kit with black line solar panel and mounting kit.
    We have the same Schaudt kit as you and it. Does trickle charge the vehicle battery as well as the leisure,s.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2015
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  13. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    eBay item number 181289964449, do double check with the supplier that it is capable of measuring charge & discharge as they do a very large range, should be the right one the part number is the same as on my one (just been out to the van and checked).
    Only downside of this cheap one is, it samples 5 time per sec so display is always flickering, but you can turn it on & off at a press of a button.
     
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  14. Chipster

    Chipster Funster Life Member

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    Yes. Gel they are! My mistake. I wired via the electroblock. Plug n play. Also there's a long cable for the monitor/controller which I'm sure would be ample. My run from LRM to panel is about 4m.
     
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  15. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    Has your regulator been wired into the Elektroblock or does it by-pass it?
    I'm looking at the possibility of changing my regulator as I think the LR1218 has contributed to the early demise of my AGM batteries. The ELB29 does not control the solar charge like it does on more upmarket Elektroblocks. All the time the sun is out and the batteries have reached a potential of 14.3 v it just holds at that voltage, not good practice.


    What batteries does your van have ? I believe Hymer have changed to Varta AGM as they have had so many problems with the Banner AGM's, the Banner does not like the Elektroblock's charge regime.
    I can only assume the change from Exide Gel's was down to cost saving, not one of their better decisions, also noted in the spares shop in the main Hymer showroom at Bad Waldsee they only stocked the Exide Gel's.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2015
  16. eddievanbitz

    eddievanbitz Trader - Funster

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    I do chuckle as to why people want to see what a solar panel is producing. People will look at it for a couple of weeks, realise that it is academic as they have no ability to influence the situation anyway and never look at it again.

    A proper Battery Computer with a large shunt telling you exactly what is happening is worth its weight in Gold however. Just say that the panel is producing 5amps and gives you a warm glowing feeling, yet you quiescent drain is say 7amps that is the figure that is relevant. The shortfall of 2amps is the really important figure. That you can actually do something about by turning things off.

    A solar display is indicating a figure that is meaningless is a waste of time and money, as it will give you a false sense of security.

    I do wish that motorhome manufacturers would take a leaf out of boat builders book and install equipment such a Victron or Mastervolt in motorhomes which is a truly integrated system and things like our Battery Master wouldn't been necessary. As it is fitting the Jack of all trades equipment such as Elektroblock is a cheaper option for the converter, at the cost to the motorhome users.
     
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  17. eddievanbitz

    eddievanbitz Trader - Funster

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    I do chuckle as to why people want to see what a solar panel is producing. People will look at it for a couple of weeks, realise that it is academic as they have no ability to influence the situation anyway and never look at it again.

    A proper Battery Computer with a large shunt telling you exactly what is happening is worth its weight in Gold however. Just say that the panel is producing 5amps and gives you a warm glowing feeling, yet you quiescent drain is say 7amps that is the figure that is relevant. The shortfall of 2amps is the really important figure. That you can actually do something about by turning things off.

    A solar display is indicating a figure that is meaningless is a waste of time and money, as it will give you a false sense of security.

    I do wish that motorhome manufacturers would take a leaf out of boat builders book and install equipment such a Victron or Mastervolt in motorhomes which is a truly integrated system and things like our Battery Master wouldn't been necessary. As it is fitting the Jack of all trades equipment such as Elektroblock is a cheaper option for the converter, at the cost to the motorhome users.
     
  18. peterc10

    peterc10 Funster

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    Eddie,

    The EBL and panel on the 2008 Adria I have at the moment can tell me the net amps plus or minus, including whatever charges are going in, as well as the % full the batteries are. The problem is that the one on the Hymer I am thinking about buying does not. However I think both provide a trickle charge to the engine battery to keep it topped up, so I do not think I need the battery master.

    If I buy this Hymer I will be down to you for a Strikeback or Growler (not sure which yet) to be fitted anyway. I have already spoken to somebody there to find out how busy you are. Could you PM me please and tell me what my options and costs are to have a battery monitor fitted at the same time. All I would like to know is the voltage, net current gain or drain, and how full the batteries are, so nothing too sophisticated. It should also be able to to cope with a 2000W inverter wired directly onto the batteries that gets used 2 or 3 times a week for 10 minutes to dry my wife's hair.

    Peter
     
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  19. Robert Clark

    Robert Clark Funster Life Member

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    @peterc10
    We had Eddie fit a Victron 2kw inverter and a couple of 100w solar panels on our new van. The van came fitted with a b2b charger.
    We also added two extra leisure batteries for extra resilience, though I fitted these myself
    We don't monitor the solar panels - however our main control panels tells us how many volts in the leisure batteries
    We're back to Taunton later this month for a Growler - wish I'd had one fitted at the time
    Good luck with the new van
    Will have to pop up and take a look when you get it
     
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  20. Judge Mental

    Judge Mental Funster Deceased RIP

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    Ah! the hair dryer dilemma @peterc10 ..I know it well:censored:
     
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