Solar Advice For a Novice

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by BravoTwoZero, Feb 20, 2016.

  1. BravoTwoZero

    BravoTwoZero Funster

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    Hello Everyone,

    My wife and I bought our first motorhome in September and have been on a steep learning curve ever since ! We took the plunge and got an new Elddis Autoquest 115.

    Our leisure battery is being replaced under warranty and I wondered whether a solar panel would be a good investment. The Elddis is parked in a secure compound 10 minutes from home with no ehu. We plan to stay mainly at Caravan Club sites but also do some wild camping in the highlands. The main reason though for thinking solar is for battery care when stored.

    I would be very grateful for any advice.

    David
     
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  2. irnbru

    irnbru Funster Life Member

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    I am so glad we got a solar panel fitted. Keeps the batteries topped up and lets us wildcamp for longer.
     
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  3. Kool Kroozer

    Kool Kroozer Funster

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    Yes solar and a battery master is the way to go, an if your a bit of a DIYer have a go at fitting them yourself - there is nothing hard or complicated about it at all, i have just fit x2 140w panels and cant fathem why people pay dealerships to supply and fit a 100w panel with solar charger £500 - my quote for x2 140 panels with a solar charger was £700, I paid £285 for everything (apart from sikaflex which was £10) and fit them myself in a couple of hours - the hardest part i found was figuring out the cable run to the leisure batteries. gives you a sense of satisfaction and knowing whats been done.
     
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  4. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    As above, solar on its own won't normally charge the vehicle battery. For that you need a battery master.

    Go for at least 100W of solar, twice that if you can would be my suggestion. You can then begin to think about the wonderful world of inverters!

    However, you can get little panels which just top up the vehicle battery but ideally for these you need a cigar lighter socket which is live with the ignition turned off, which are rare and some wiring will be required instead.
     
  5. BravoTwoZero

    BravoTwoZero Funster

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    Many thanks for the replies. I would struggle to install myself so will get some quotes.
     
  6. funflair

    funflair Funster Life Member

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    You can get a solar regulator that had two outputs, the main one goes to the habitation batteries and the other sends a small current to the starter battery.

    Make sure you get a MPPT regulator, they are more expensive but will give you more amps from your panel especially when the weather is a bit iffy.

    Martin
     
  7. DanielFord

    DanielFord Funster

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    Go see @eddievanbitz, he put ours in, you aren't a million miles away from us, so if you are ever cruising around our area, we'd be happy to show you what he did for us.
     
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  8. ****

    **** Read Only Funster

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    Dont know how good they are but you can get little solar panels that sit on your dash and trickle charge the battery while sitting in the street. This plugs into the fag lighter socket. Now they may be crap i dont know as the alarm may take more juice out than the panel puts in but worth a look just in case.
     
  9. DanielFord

    DanielFord Funster

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    Unless you flip the wiring behind the dash, the cig lighter is disabled with no ignition on the Ducato, so that won't work.
     
  10. ****

    **** Read Only Funster

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    That part i was not to sure about. I have one in the boot on my car that is not on the ignition. My car uses a lot of juice on the alarm and can sit unused for two weeks. Thats enough to drain my battery. Not 100% but down to 12v what will not start the car. Kind if thinking this may be my answer as well.
     
  11. DanielFord

    DanielFord Funster

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    We have a car that sits unused for months at a time, the solution is simple, and I think it cost us £5.25 from halfrauds. A battery isolator terminal, when you leave the car, pop the bonnet and switch off the battery. The battery will still be good to go months later when you return :D
    Modern cars drain so much power even when they are in 'off' mode!
     
  12. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    Your insurers will love you....any excuse not to pay out.
    Isolating the battery also isolates the alarm and not all stolen cars are driven away.
     
  13. DanielFord

    DanielFord Funster

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    Yes, but driving away without a battery could prove problematic! :D
     
  14. DanielFord

    DanielFord Funster

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    I'd just love to see it if it happened, window smashed, hot wire done......
    "Oi! Kevin, it ain't startin'"
    "Fak it, let's nick a soobaarooo"
    LOL!
     
  15. BravoTwoZero

    BravoTwoZero Funster

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    Thanks again everyone. Just got a quote for a panel from a very local servicing company, £599 for 100w and £699 for 120w both including vat. Does this sound reasonable.
     
  16. Stealaway

    Stealaway Funster

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  17. BravoTwoZero

    BravoTwoZero Funster

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  18. Ron & Gerri

    Ron & Gerri Funster

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    I would get a quote from @Vanbitz, with the funsters discount, we paid about that amount for our solar panel, battery master, mppt controller and second leisure battery, all fitted and including a free night at their campsite. Plus you have the reassurance of getting the work done by a highly respected company:)
     
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  19. DanielFord

    DanielFord Funster

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    As it happens I have my paperwork from VanBitz handy, 150w solar fully fitted with battery master and MPPT £699 - 10% funster discount!
     
  20. ****

    **** Read Only Funster

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    I drive an 2002 car and not worth claiming on and i see no mention of having to have the alarm set or my policy would be void.
     
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