Solar Controller

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by Tommy_harry, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. Tommy_harry

    Tommy_harry Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    County Durham
    I have decided that my next step is solar panels on the van but before I take the plunge can I just pick the brains of some of the experts out there...

    Im looking at a 130w panel to top up the 2 x 110 leisure battery's.

    As the van is kept in storage I think I need a dual controller to keep the vehicle battery topped up as well but have seen something called an MPPT controller - are these better / necessary / worth the extra cost ? and do they charge both batterys.

    Next do I go for a controller that shows me exactly what the system is doing or do I go for the ones with a series of LED lights (the van has a sargent PSU2007 system fitted which shows me what charge the batterys have and what the current going in/out is - is this accurate or is it not worth looking at)

    Sorry for the number of questions but i want to make sure i get it right first time.

    Thanks in advance

    Des
     
  2. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2008
    Messages:
    5,706
    Likes Received:
    3,211
    Location:
    Eastbourne East Sussex
    You will need at least a 10A controller. You need an expert on your particular van electrics, as mine charges all the batteries without the need for a dual controller,and if you don't need one it will save you a few bob.
     
  3. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2009
    Messages:
    10,141
    Likes Received:
    16,407
    Location:
    Liverpool.
    Whichever controler you decide to buy I guarantee one thing....You will become obsesed with watching it:BigGrin:
     
  4. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    29,478
    Likes Received:
    16,966
    Location:
    YO11 2BD
    in my opinion you dont need an all sing, all dancing controller.

    no matter what the panels doing you cant do anything about it.

    the mppt controller is superior to the pwm type which, i beleive, just switchs the current on and off by monitoring the batteries charge state.
    the mppt adjusts the current as needed to maintain charge.

    the easiest, and cheapest, way to 'split' charge, is a wire linked to both the hab and cab batteries positive terminals.

    you need a fuse, probably 10amp, in the line (preferably one at both ends of the link) and this must be removed before starting the engine or it will blow due to the high current at the starter.
    simply insert the fuse (engine off) and it'll charge both batteries from your solar panel.
     
  5. artona

    artona

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    1,480
    Likes Received:
    690
    Location:
    Europe
    MPPT stands for maximum power point tracking. You can download a very good pdf by clicking here

    I only read people raving about them which must be a good thing. Some claim 33% more charge

    stew
     
  6. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    Messages:
    28,934
    Likes Received:
    25,574
    Location:
    .
    I agree with Pappajohn,

    In addition to the fuses in the charging line to the starter battery, I would fit a 12v relay controlled from the ignition to break the circuit when you start the van.. then there is no need to remove fuse when starting engine..
     
  7. lookback

    lookback Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Mareham le fen, Lincs
    I have the same setup as you describe 2x110AH leisure batteries, a 130 watt roof mounted solar panel and a LED regulator. The solar panel and regulator were installed by Towtal, Stoke on Trent. The wiring is run from the roof, through the habitation area, to one of the leisure batteries + - terminals, with the fused LED regulator fixed to a convenient position in the habitation area . Prior to this I purchased a 12v harness, specifically for Autotrails from Brownhills (Newark) (cost approx £17) to link up the leisure batteries.
    I contacted Sargents electricals and asked if the solar panel wiring could be linked directly to my PSU2007 and told that this was not possible. (later PSUs have this facility). The only way you can charge you vehicle battery is by switching the control panel on and selecting "battery" - normally it is set at default and automatically charges your leisure batteries.

    Hope this helps.

    Ian
     
  8. Tommy_harry

    Tommy_harry Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    County Durham
    Had the panel fitted yesterday by Aire and Sun from Hexham. Cant recommend them highly enough - splendid job, tidy and clean together with a good price...

    Went for a dual controller as with my memory I was worried I would forget to take out fuses / switch over switches etc.

    Thanks for everyones advise / comments.

    Des
     
Loading...

Share This Page