Solar Help please

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by grumps147, Aug 2, 2010.

  1. grumps147

    grumps147 Funster

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    Hi folks

    Before posting this thread I read a lot of the others, but I am still a little confused.

    Background - motorhome newbie - like cheapness of no power holiday sites - like to do early season/late season, yet to really consider true winter outings - part time working but ready for full retirement, so lots more use to be had.

    Generator - do not really want the noise, weight but especially not carrying the fuel.

    Threads indicate that you can manage on solar power alone for some time, the further south in Europe the better.

    Autotrail Apache 700 SE with one 85 amp hour battery.

    Cost balance - realise solar will be expensive, but don't want to rely on hook-ups every other night. I will gain most benefit the sooner I get it installed.

    DIY - my worst nightmare - so experience of companies fitting in NW England needed.

    Positioning of the panels I read is crucial, but on the roof how can they be anything other than flat??

    I accept flat panels will lose some efficiency.

    Are there good/bad panels from your experience?

    What issues are there with panel security, do you need security bolt fittings??

    Cable diameter is critical, i need to specify this to any fitters.

    From reading all the threads I need another 100 amp hour battery (or do I, suggestions needed), 2 solar panels (amp/wattage?), a controller unit (i am sure their is another technical term), and fitting. What should I be paying do you think??
     
  2. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    ok lets start from the beginning. If you add a second battery it really should be the same in size, capacity and condition as the existing one, or buy a matched pair. The bigger the better, a pair of 110 amp/hr batteries plus an 80W panel may well be sufficient, a solar regulator of sufficient amperage and a through roof cable gland to keep the water out. Mounting brackets, and away you go. depending on your power use that could well do the job.
    I would suggest you do a power survey to see how many amp/hours you actually use in a day, lights (change to LED's a must) waterpump, TV, laptop chargers etc.
    Then decide on a combination of batteries and solar to provide it. If you use the van off site in the winter, a lot more batteries and solar are required as charge rate plummets to approx 1/10 of the summer rating. work out your needs first.
     
  3. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    As I have stated on another thread, I am not an expert but I have fitted and used a solar system for well over ten years now. I started with one 80/85 watt panel and a 110 amp battery and now have 3 (soon to be four) panels and 3 110 amp batteries. I fitted them myself but I do not have a posh van (and the roof is fibre-glass) so it was very easy for me.

    I live fulltime in my van and am hardly ever on a hook up as I don't visit sites very often. I should also add that I have a 65 litre compressor fridge which draws 4.5 amps when running which is most of the time.

    I do not watch telly but I do have my laptop on a lot.

    In the UK I quite often run low on leccy if the sun doesn't shine for a few days and I am not driving anywhere. The combination of these two things leads me to turn the fridge thermostat down (losing the freezer facility) and not chatting too much on MHF Chat!

    I am now quite used to the idea of not having unlimited leccy and change routines accordingly. If the sun is shining (or I am off on a long journey) all the things that can be charged up (laptop, dvd player, rechargeable radio batteries etc) get plugged in. If I am low on leccy I go to bed early!

    Hope this helps a little...

    JJ :Smile:
     
  4. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

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    My thoughts entirely JJ,I have 3X75watt solars and 3X110amp batteries,never have hookup but have to change my lifestyle a little with the weather,but you get used to that very quickly.Its just a matter of adjustment and being sensible...which am not good at.:Doh:
     
  5. grumps147

    grumps147 Funster

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    Its just a matter of adjustment and being sensible...which am not good at.:Doh:[/QUOTE]

    Many thanks to all so far, keep them coming if you can. Sensible, now how that applies to all in life.
     
  6. dazzer

    dazzer Read Only Funster

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    Many thanks to all so far, keep them coming if you can. Sensible, now how that applies to all in life.[/QUOTE]

    Or you could just buy a small LPG powered generator, not have to worry about the fuel smells or the sun shining and do what you want when you want :Wink:
     
  7. grumps147

    grumps147 Funster

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    LPG Generator as solar alternative

    Or you could just buy a small LPG powered generator, not have to worry about the fuel smells or the sun shining and do what you want when you want :Wink:[/QUOTE]

    Now that's put the cat amongst the pigeons, I did not know they did them. Thanks for an excellent suggestion.:thumb::thumb::thumb:
     
  8. dazzer

    dazzer Read Only Funster

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    Now that's put the cat amongst the pigeons, I did not know they did them. Thanks for an excellent suggestion.:thumb::thumb::thumb:[/QUOTE]

    They do them but they are few and far between. My mate took his cheapy £100 genny to an LPG specialist to have it converted, cost his about £80 and it works a treat without lugging smelly petrol cans around :thumb:
     
  9. grumps147

    grumps147 Funster

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    Halfway there

    Well, many thanks to everyone for the advice and suggestions.

    We did not want a genny, but the thought of LPG instead of petrol really got us thinking. We may in the future invest in one, and Honda do 2 that converted cost around £800 and £1200, dependant on power output.

    However, even £800 and with the rising cost of power thats still a lot of EHU.

    We do not watch the telly, maybe we will for the grandchildrens occasional video, but that will probably be on an EHU. The only other high power item could be a hair dryer, but M is happy without unless on an EHU.

    So battery top up need not be great, and we think solar will get us through.
    We both want to try and save a bit of the planet and the quest now is determine exact needs before going further.

    Once again thanks to all.:thumb::thumb::thumb:
     
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