My Solar Shopping List, Thoughts Please?

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by jac-in-a-box, Jun 2, 2015.

  1. jac-in-a-box

    jac-in-a-box Read Only Funster

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    Well you good people have given me sound advice over the last few months on a variety of subjects, can I pick your brains over my next project.

    Having been caught out with a flat starter battery after being on EHU I need to sort out a few issues as to why. I'm in a 2005 Autotrail Dakota with a Sargent PSU 2007 EC200 distribution panel/charger, 2 x 100a leisure batteries and whatever size battery a Fiat 2.8 lump uses.
    Fairly sure there is an issue with the Sargent battery charger plus I 've got a tracker and Toad alarm sucking the life out the starter battery. The charger issue can be sorted later or I can continue using a couple of CTEK chargers to take care of the batteries when on hook-up and besides there's a liklehood to be without EHU in future.

    So, I'm going for solar...I've had a good look through this section of the forum and I feel I've got a fair idea of how to instal. But a few questions lurking in back of my head;
    Am I right in thinking that whatever solar I instal can be independent of the Sargent charger, I simply connect direct to batteries?

    I've picked up the Andy recommends a MPPT regulator from maximium_solar, so I 'm going for the 25a 300w version.
    With the £ being strong against the euro, it seems there are some good deals from Germany...damn iPad, can't cut and paste for links, but on eBay Germany there's a seller bau-tech2012 who's selling 2 x 100w panels for around £150 delivered. Item N0. 261539368859.
    I had the seller bookmarked possibly because of info picked up on here, has anyone used this seller and know if the panels are of decent quality?

    There will be more questions! But your thoughts, as always, will be appreciated:)
     
  2. Baggers53

    Baggers53 Funster

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    Yes you can connect the output from your MPPT regulator direct to the battery, do not forget the inline fuse.
    I did not look at ebay euro when I recently bought, all new, from ebay UK a 100W solar panel, regulator, wiring and fuses for less than £80....fitted the kit myself and it is working great....roll on a few trips now!!!
     
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  3. gibbon

    gibbon Read Only Funster

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    Re the mppt regulator, we opted for a Ctek 250S dual dc to dc charger because when linked to solar it is an mppt regulator.
    When on the move it charges the leisure battery far more quickly than a standard split charger .
    When the leisure battery is fully charged it automatically switches charging to the starter battery.
    No more flat batteries.
    Ctek 250S Dual retails for about £180.
     
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  4. jac-in-a-box

    jac-in-a-box Read Only Funster

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    Thanks for replies.

    Good to know I can keep the solar side out of the Sargent panel loop - not sure that'll bother with sorting out the inboard charger, it's crude and basic, and as far as I can work out, a single stage charger. Much prefer the multi stage CTEK.

    That CTEK 250s looks interesting gibbon. Seems the maximum input voltage is 22v - not sure if that's sufficient now that I'm considering squeezing in a 3rd 100w panel or upgrading my initial 2 x100 to 2 x 130w...suppose it'll depend if the panels are connected series or parallel? More homework needed!

    Can any one tell me what the outside diameter of 6mm solar cable is and how flexible/bendy it is? I've now got to find a way of routing the stuff while keeping the peace with my dearest!
     
  5. pandj

    pandj Funster Life Member

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    Those panels are good, fitted two last year and am in the process of fitting four to the Hymer at the moment, you'll get them in less than a week via DPD and the shipping cost is less than some stuff from UK!
     
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  6. funflair

    funflair Funster Life Member

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    Connect your panels in parallel so voltage should be OK, the spec on the 250S says 20 amp charging current but I dont see what it can take as a maximum input current but 2x130watt panels might be the limit at a guess.
     
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  7. AT Fun

    AT Fun Funster

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    Once the solars are fitted get one of these or a similar from other suppliers you can connect it near the starter battery and pick up the habitation 12 volt on a relay near the battery. Once fitted starter battery problems are a thing of the past.

    http://www.vanbitz.com/product/battery-master/
     
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  8. pandj

    pandj Funster Life Member

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  9. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Funster

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    Well I order one on 1st of June ( first class post!!! ) and when it arrives I will let you know how is goes...............
     
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  10. AT Fun

    AT Fun Funster

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    I found that once everything is fitted you just forget about batteries as the system just does its thing. I do have a NASA BM1 so can see charge rate and charge state but its not really required.
     
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  11. jac-in-a-box

    jac-in-a-box Read Only Funster

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    Again, thank you all for your comments and snippets of useful advice, a few options to consider for vehicle battery charging...so feel confident with that aspect.

    I've opted for a MPPT controller from eBay - the same type as Andy use's. Seem's well regarded around the bazzars. Allthough I do have a fondness for the CTEK products it was more than double the cost of the controller.

    Just about to buy the solar panels from eBay (same seller as I mentioned at start) "Thought" I could squeeze on 2 x 130w mono panels, just been to measure accurately and I'm blocked by the heating flue - by probably 1.5 cm on width...I've got roof lights and fans all over the place.

    Leaves me with a couple of options; first of all use a single 100w and a single 130w panel. If they're both of the same construction type, poly or mono, can I do that? Would it have an effect the panels being wired in series or parallel?

    The second option is to look at modifying the flue. It currently comes up on edge of a wardrobe to exit onto the roof and there is no room to move it outboard or forward. It's just a plastic stub flue, so I can't imagine it gets overly hot , I know I need to find out just how hot!
    Any thoughts?
    Two obvious concerns, are restricting the fumes if the panel is too close assuming I try to modify the flue. The second would be a local warm/hot spot very close to the panel.

    Really want the two 130w panels!

    Thanks:)
     
  12. AT Fun

    AT Fun Funster

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    What mounting brackets have you aloud for? maybe you can miss out using corner ones and use extra edge type to give a bit more room.
     
  13. jac-in-a-box

    jac-in-a-box Read Only Funster

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    I haven't yet! I've got a roof rack fitted (it came with m'home) that holds a roof box which in turn holds a safari room...that's right where, the only place, the only place that I can mount the panels.

    I had thought of using the rack to support the panels...but I'll probably remove it. Mounting will probably be with angle aluminium, sikaflex etc.

    Just too many roof lights, extractors and other junk that's squeezing me for that 1.5cm!

    Anyone any thoughts on using two different output panels?
     
  14. AT Fun

    AT Fun Funster

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    Two different power output panels are fine wired in parallel as they will both be 12 volt panels with similar voltage outputs the total power output will be say 120watt + 80watt = 200watt combined as long as the regulator can handle the total power its OK.
     
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  15. gus-lopez

    gus-lopez Funster

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    yes ,I've got a 50w and a 20w wired together.
     
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  16. gibbon

    gibbon Read Only Funster

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    Really want the two 130w panels!

    Sounds like a lot of work!
    We've done almost 6 months away with 1 130w panel & 1 heavy duty 135ah Trojan battery .
    The lights never went out & the telly stayed on, we had the occasional hook up but only when it was included in the price,saved a bit of gas by having the fridge on mains.

    Try one big panel first, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised(y)
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2015
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  17. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    Allow 7mm diameter max per cable actually nearer 6.5 ,yes it is very flexible
     
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  18. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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  19. jac-in-a-box

    jac-in-a-box Read Only Funster

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    gibbon - had thought of that too...seem to be spending lots of time doing it!

    From mail exchanges with the seller of the controller it seem's that the closer I can get to loading the controller to its max capacity, the better/more efficiently it will work; he suggested that 2x130w would be better than 2x100w with the controller able to accept 300w. He's not selling panels so no vested interest.

    Extra work? Not really, mount an extra panel and join up with some electric string - just as well maximise what I can fit especially as we're considering a few lengthy periods of being static without HU...unless of course my thinking is wrong!
    The extra cost; hmm...now that's a Scottish thing!

    Techno 100 - thanks. Just what I needed to know.
    As I'm using the same controller as you favour, what sort of connectors do I need to use for in and out cables?

    Indeed, thank you all. Feel I'm getting grips with an alien subject:)
     
  20. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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