solar chargers ???

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by ips, Sep 3, 2009.

  1. ips

    ips Read Only Funster

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    We have started to use mainly CC cl's with no hook up and am considering a solar charger so we dont have to concern ourselves to much about using the lights etc.

    How good are they
    how quick will it recharge my battery
    how are they wired
    how much
    how big
    were to install
    were from
    etc etc etc etc etc etc

    Ian
     
  2. Munchie

    Munchie Funster Life Member

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    Depends, we changed all our lights to LED's and had two 80w panels fitted. In summer we had a week without hookup using lights, 12v tele and Pace Sky box and our two 120aph batteries were more or less fully charged all the time. Quite pleased to say the least as weather was crap.
    Talk to C.L.S (member on here) about your needs and price.
    Wiring goes from the panel(s) to a regulator fitted in a cupboard and from there to the batteries.
    In my opinion it is best not to use an invertor unless absolutely neccessary as they are wasteful of power.
    Hope this helps. :BigGrin:
     
  3. savantuk

    savantuk Read Only Funster

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    I can't answer all of your questions, but this may be helpful. I have an 8kw Sunworks panel on the roof of my Hobby, and I find that it works exceptionally well.

    When the battery is fully charged, the meter on the control panel reads 14.2V. After 5 or 6 hrs using 6 LED spots, occasional use of the kitchen halogens, awning light, pump, loo etc, the charge drops to around 13V, which essentiall means that the battery is still fully charged. The Solar panels usually re-charge to 14.2V within a couple of hours, especially if the sun is bright. The charge rate seems to be an average of around 5 amps.

    I've just spent a week away, without a hook-up, and have had no concerns whatever about the battery going flat - it also keeps the vehicle batter recharged to optimum.

    If you are considering a panel, it would be a good idea to change the halogen bulbs for LED replacements. I run all 6 of mine, for less than the consumption of 1 halogen!!

    I've found this the best source for LED replacement bulbs. If you buy 10, they are only around GBP3 each, a little more if you only buy 5. A great investment!!

    MR16 Bulbs

    I have no idea about instaling/fitting/price of the panels. Mine was fitted when I bought the van. It is fully self contained and regulated. It automatically regulates the charge, and turns off when batteries are charge to prevent damage.
     
  4. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    Hi Ian there are as many answers as there are people who can reply as we all use different amounts of power and have different requirements But I will try to be general with my answers
    How good are they, well I think they are fantastic, once bought they consume only daylight and have no further costs nor fuel to buy.
    How quick will they recharge my battery depends on how much you have taken out of it, where in the world you are, what size you solar panel is, how sunny it is and what time of day/year it is.
    Al but the smallest are wired via a charge controller to the battery.
    Check evilbay for current prices.
    Install fixed on the roof or freestanding, if freestanding they could be stolen but they can also be placed to face the sun and get the max charge.
    There are a lot of threads that cover the size you require, and outputs to expect on this site just search Solar power.
    As a guide expect only a quarter of stated output from a given size panel and often much less. Solar without sufficient battery storage is a waste of time and money. We have 2 x 120amp/hr batteries and 55W solar panel. it is almost sufficient for our meagre needs, 130W is sufficient for most people. Mind you don't confuse amps for Watts or visa versa. Don't expect to get 120 amps for one hour from a 120 amp/hr battery. you will kill the battery half power is the most you can expect. Sorry to be so vague but the information is spread around many other threads. Your first port of call is to estimate your daily requirement in amp/hours from the items and length of time that you use those items.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2009
  5. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    hi Ian,

    1) very good as long as its sunny though they still work in overcast situations.

    2) depends on your battery size and state of charge. a 120watt panel will give a realistic 6 or 7 amps on a sunny day so a 40% discharged, 110ah battery will take about 8 to 10 hours in full sunlight if you're lucky.

    3) wiring is simple......two wires (usually pre-wired) from the panel to the solar controller then two more wires to your batteries. wires need to be quite big though and the longer, the bigger.

    4) all depends on size and quality.....£400 should get a 120watt panel.

    5) depends on your budget but the bigger the better.

    6) on the roof is the most convenient but not always the most efficient. free standing is better as you can aim it at the sun during the day but it may not be there when you go to move it unless you chain it to something un-movable.

    7) Ebay shops are a good starting point. thats where mine came from.....less than £400 for a 120w panel and controller.
     
  6. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    You are surely Joking Eight Kilowatt, will take up the size of a football pitch and cost more than a couple of new vans. I presume you actually mean 80Watt
    :Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1:
     
  7. ips

    ips Read Only Funster

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    Wow.....some very quick, very informative and helpfull replies gentlemen. Many thanks to all ..... so far.

    Ian :Rofl1:

    PS - not a clue what my daily usage would be but we spent 3 nights last weekend using the lights , pump (incl 4 showers) deisel eberspatcher etc and everything was still working by monday morning however battery indicated 1/2 charge.
     
  8. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    Jesus christ....an 8000watt panel....thats 470amps at the panel or 7 minutes to fully charge a flat 110ah battery.

    im sure you mean an 80watt panel or is your roof one massive solar panel. :RollEyes::BigGrin::Rofl1:
     
  9. Munchie

    Munchie Funster Life Member

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    Have to say it makes mine seem paltry :Rofl1:
     
  10. geoff587

    geoff587 Read Only Funster

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    What you want is a good generator, I hate been parked next to vans with solar panels, stealing my sunshine and silently emitting death rays into the atmosphere.

    Sorry could not resist that .:Rofl1:
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2009
  11. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    Hi Ian until you let us know what size batteries you have how do we know what half charge is. 1/2 charge by the way puts you at the danger level for damaging your battery. It should never be allowed to go below that ever.
    Until you add up the wattage of your bulbs and list with the number of hours use along with same figures for water pump, Eberspatcher (uses quite a lot) TV etc to arrive at a normal daily consumption figure then convert to the number of amp/hours a day you need it will be difficult to advise you based on assumptions. Everything switched off you only have battery leakage to cope with and a tiny panel will suffice, all on large colour TV 4-5 hours a day chargers and an inverter, fan heater, hair dryer etc and you may not be able to put enough panels on your roof to supply your needs.
     
  12. savantuk

    savantuk Read Only Funster

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    Mea Culpa:Blush:

    I did mean 80w:Rofl1:
     
  13. C.L.S

    C.L.S Trader - Service & Repairs

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    I have just listed a free standing panel in the classifieds if of any use

    Mark
     
  14. Ant&Debs

    Ant&Debs Read Only Funster

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    generators

     
  15. geoff587

    geoff587 Read Only Funster

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    Your going to be getting a visit from Greenpeace with such controversial statements.:Eeek:
     
  16. ips

    ips Read Only Funster

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    Oooh er, this is getting way to complicated for my liking. Batterys about 12" x 8" x 6" and is mounted under the passenger seat if that helps :BigGrin:
    Lights are on some times as is the eber
    Do flush the toilet and do have a shower (as does mrs ips)
    Dont have a tv
    Hope that helps :Rofl1:
    Ian
    (only joking I take your point dont spose my question can be answered with what knowledge I ave of usage, will try and get more info)
     
  17. Scotties

    Scotties Funster Life Member

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    Baffled ...

    Guess its a matter of personal choice. Used to cart around 25kg of expensive smelly noisy generator but then saw the light :RollEyes:

    Surely I can't be the only one who has no problems running all week without hook up (80amp liesure battery, LED lighting, 60w solar panel, plus a inverter to warm my porridge). Although I may struggle in the winter months.

    I'm a little baffled what is using all this power :Eek!: Maybe the hairdresser should switch off the 42" TV/surround sound while you are under the dryer or in the Hot Tub :Wink:

    Regards Richard
     
  18. ips

    ips Read Only Funster

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    So hwat is the minimum solar panel to trickle charge my battery during the day am i to understand that the £50 jobs from various places that are about 4w and plug into fag lighter are not up to the job ?????
    Dont want to spend hundreds of pounds
     
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