Maplin solar panel

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by Fatalhud, May 25, 2010.

  1. Fatalhud

    Fatalhud Read Only Funster

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  2. gazz

    gazz Formerly "gazznhelz"

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    not got one of them, i have some "real" solar panels on the roof of my van, giving 375 watts of charging power,

    i'm not saying those maplins panels are naff, just be realistic to what they can do, if your hoping to buy this and never need to use shore power again, you'll be dissapointed,
    but if you want it to trickle charge the battery when it's not in use, then you'll be happy,

    it is a very low power output, and a high price per watt, but that's the way with solar, the bigger the panel the cheaper the watt price is, (that panel is about £3.80 per watt, my 125 watt panels were about £2.40 per watt)

    let us know waht you hope to do with solar power, and someone will tell you how much you need, unfortunately it wont be as cheap as you hoped, and people will tell you you'll never get any payback,

    thing is i dont work on the 'i've camped 200 nights without shore power at £x a night, so it'll take me xxx nights to break even' that some peope do,
    i work on 'i dont need shore power, so i can choose sites without it as an option, stay on the cheaper pitches at sites which offer the option, and not even bother with sites as i am making my own power,
     
  3. chas

    chas Read Only Funster

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    Hi- I purchased one last year and find it very convenient to set up and store. It must be remembered that this unit will only produced about 1 amp and therefore will keep a good leisure battery topped up. With gentle use of lights ( hopefully leds) and an hours use of a low energy TV you should be able to cope, providing you get lots of sunshine :Cool:

    Another advantage of these units is you can couple up another one with it if you find you need just a little more input. Handy also when you perhaps change vans as you can hold on to them rather than lose it if it was permanatly fixed on a roof.
     
  4. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    one amp if you are lucky on the brightest day of the year for maybe 3 hrs .never worth buying .do it properly save up stick 2or 3 80watts on th roof then you have a nice bit of power .except in darkest winter. i amp is only an interiour light bulb in the middle of the day.
     
  5. Fatalhud

    Fatalhud Read Only Funster

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    Thanks for the replies
    I am not after mega watts, I am more looking at what Chaz has said
    I have 2 banks of batteries one does the leisure side and the other does the invertor for the telly and other mains appliances
    I just want to top up each day over summer to minimise how often I have to run a genny

    I do like the option of connecting 2 panels together so that if needed I can boost one set of batteries faster if needed

    For a £100 for 2 suitcases, delivered to my door giving me 26 watts, I though was not bad to get me started on the solar route

    Alan H
     
  6. sandyketton

    sandyketton Read Only Funster

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    I bought one of these from Maplins last December as my vehicle battery was going flat occasionally (alarm draw probably).

    Since using it I have had no further problems, so it suits my purposes. Well worth getting.

    But I've never used it for the habitation battery so don't know if it's much use for this purpose


    Sandy
     
  7. gazz

    gazz Formerly "gazznhelz"

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    sorry to say this, but if you need to run a genny to rechrge the batteries, then even 5 of those panels will not help,

    they will help with parasitic loads draining the batteries when in storage, and 'may' give you a few more hours of use if you can last on your batteries a weekend anyway,

    as has been pointed out, that 13 watts is the absolute max power draw, which will be at midday with the panel angled exactly at the sun and moved every few minutes to track the sun,
    you mention using an inverter, that panel wont even cover the stand by power of the inverter (turned on but not in use)

    there's no reason to leave roof mounted panels on when you sell the van, lots of second hand vans come with the mounting brackets and cable gland fitted, dealers list them as 'solar ready'
    whats happened is the last owner removed the panel from the brackets, but had to leave them on the roof as they are sealed to it, they then removed the regulator and wires, and put them on their new van.

    good panels have a life of at least 25 years, and that's to a certian percentage of power output of new, so they still work after 25 years, just not as well as they did when new, so solar is an investment i rekon, but only if you get the proper panels,

    those suitcase panels are really aimed at tent campers, to charge mobile phones and ipods up,

    at least theres one good thing, your looking at solar panels and not wind generators, now they are useless,
     
  8. atakd

    atakd Read Only Funster

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    For a 13W panel £50 isn't a bad price, particularly with the convenience of a hinge.
    However, as others say, in terms of providing power day after day the panel is far too small.
    It would be a good choice for trickle charging while your van stands idle between trips.

    We have an 80W panel which is not fixed to the roof so it can be positioned at right angles to the sun for maximum power. Last weekend we got about 4A from 0830 to 1730 (36 AH) This is about twice as efficient as having a panel screwed to the roof but is hassle because you have to store it inside when driving and then set it up. The advantages are that it is cheap and (why it was our only option) you can carry canoes and kayaks etc. on the roof.
    You can also improve panel efficiency by choosing a better regulator:
    Bog standard regulators switch off charging when battery voltage reaches ~13.8V then switch it on again as the battery cools.
    PWM (pulse width modulation) regulators cost about £30 and deliver a smoother power curve
    MPPT regulator (multi-point tracking- about 30% more efficient than PWM) but cost ~ £100
    Confused? I was. I've stuck with a basic reg which was built into my van and am satisfied with the results.
     
  9. Autoquest

    Autoquest Read Only Funster

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  10. Jaws

    Jaws Funster Life Member

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    Actually.. that is 13w at 17 volts !!!

    So at 12 to13v you will proly get about .7 to .8 of an amp ( guess who has just been on a solar panel info course then ! LOL !! )

    I reckon they are most useful if you are storing your van for several weeks as they will keep batteries topped up nicely..
    But as a realistic option if you are considering long term wild camping or away from hook ups, I am afraid they are not really a starter ( imo )
     
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