Solar panel - first winter

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by savantuk, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. savantuk

    savantuk Read Only Funster

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    Hi,

    Earlier in the year, I had a solar panel fitted, with the intention of fitting LED bulbs for use on Aires in France, and occasional wild camping.

    I got back from France on the 11th October, and parked the van up. Other than being cleaned when I parked it, I haven't been in since.

    I went in this morning to check that everything was OK after the weekend storms, and found that the panel was reading 14.1V.

    I find that very comforting given that there hasn't been a lot of sun for the last month or so, and the fact that the van is parked between my house and the garage, which means that it only gets sun for an hour or so a day, when the sun is directly overhead.

    If it continues to keep the batteries fully charged, there will be no need for me to intervene with the charger!
     
  2. evans88

    evans88 Read Only Funster

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    What wattage is the solar panel?
     
  3. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    My current panels are 50W and keep the batteries topped up with no intervention all winter. Natural wastage and the power used for the regulator is finely balanced with the charge from the panel in winter. As to panel voltage please don't be fooled by that.
    The panel will always produce that voltage what actually matters is the current produced, in the height of summer I get 1.75amps in the winter only a few milliamps but the voltage remains the same. To read the real state of the battery switch on a load say the TV then measure the voltage at the battery not the solar panel.
     
  4. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    I am the same, even in Wales where its dark between November and may its nice to know the batteries are topped right up. I have The Battery Master from VannBitz fitted as well so I never have a dead engine battery either. :Smile:
     
  5. savantuk

    savantuk Read Only Funster

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    80w:Smile:
     
  6. Mick H

    Mick H Read Only Funster

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    You aren't reading the battery voltage at all, just the output from your solar panel at the time that you took the reading!
    The only way to accurately determine the state of charge would be to either check the specific gravity of each cell, if that is possible on your battery, or to disconnect the battery, leave it standing for a couple of hours and check the voltage using a multimeter.

    Mick H.
     
  7. savantuk

    savantuk Read Only Funster

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    The digital readout on the Sun Works panel shows both the current state of charge of the battery, and the current output from the solar panel.

    [​IMG]

    I always check the voltage reading against that on the van control panel, and they always agree.:Smile:
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2009
  8. smifee

    smifee Read Only Funster

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    My batteries are nearly 5 years old. They have always been charged by 2 75w solar panels.

    When on the drive at home in the winter I only hook up to run a small fan heater when it gets really parky.

    I switch the mains charger on for a couple of days every 2 months or so because I believe that a constant high charge every so often keeps the batteries in good nick.

    Even though it's not much the solar panels are charging at night courtesy of the local council's street light.:BigGrin:
     
  9. Mick H

    Mick H Read Only Funster

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    I understand, now, but I was only going on the info in your original post, where you just quoted the 14.1v
    Even so, WHILST the battery is being charged, you will always get these figures. It doesn't necessarily tell you that your battery is in good condition. Put another way, with your system, even a poor battery would probably show a similar figure, whilst the solar panel is charging.

    Mick H.
     
  10. Judge Mental

    Judge Mental Funster Deceased RIP

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    I have 2 leisure batteries. If I fit a panel 80 amp is recommended yes? I am concerend with payload so need to be careful re weight, any recommendations?

    So this will chatge the 2 leisure batteries, what about the vehicle battery? is there normaally a link are are they always independent of each other?

    If I move and van goes into storage concerned re vehicle and leisure battery condition for alarm and starting etc....
     
  11. evans88

    evans88 Read Only Funster

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    You need either a Battery Link or Battery Master which transfers charge from the leisure battery to the vehicle battery as soon as the voltage drops below a certain level so as to ensure that the vehicle will start.
     
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