Solar panel, how does it work?

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Billy23, Sep 16, 2013.

  1. Billy23

    Billy23 Funster

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    Could you tell me how the Solar panel works: Is it just the Solar panel that charges a Leisure Battery, or is it he engine as well? If it is both, does the Solar panel stop charging when the engine is running or is it the other way round? How do “they” know when it’s full of charge?



    I am sorry if it seems a daft question, I know how to fix computers, but I know nothing about electric…..No let me explain, I know LESS than nothing about electric, except you put a plug in and it works!

    Next question: Is it worth having a Solar panel and why?
    Could you explain in simples language please.:Smile::Doh::thumb:
     
  2. jb0371

    jb0371 Read Only Funster

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    Let me try and explain in laymans terms.

    The sun gives off magic rays, which the solar panel imps catch in there little magic converters which in turn fills up the magic box. If you get a cheap solar panel, the imps only work when the sun is shining, but if you have an expensive panel, the solar imps knock off when the sun goes down and then the magical moon fairys take over.


    Hope that explains it all. Simples.
     
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  3. Emmenay

    Emmenay Read Only Funster

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    :censored:2:Wacko:
     
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  4. Billy23

    Billy23 Funster

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    Well that was FUN:Rofl1:

    Perhaps I didn't explain in a proper manner (always got to be VERY careful on this forum). The main thrust of the question was....How does it work....Past the little magic sun rays and the little fairies.

    But I must really thank you for your detailed information, that will help me soooo much when I start to do my repairs on the motorhome:thumb:
     
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  5. jb0371

    jb0371 Read Only Funster

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    here to help, to be honest I would be interested to know exactly how it works. I do know you need a regulator/rectifier which stops the batteries cooking but thats about it
     
  6. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    I don't pretend to know all the technical stuff (beyond a regulator being needed and the fact that a better quality panel only needs daylight rather than direct sun to produce at least some power). That is why we got Dave Newell to install the panel on our Burstner. We used a stand alone panel with the Autoquest which had everything built in so was easy to attach.

    Whether or not the panel will charge both batteries depends on whether there is the necessary circuitry between them. Brief notes of our experiences Here.

    By the way that bit about Moon Fairies isn't true. Like all Funsters they're in the bar/beer tent after the sun goes down :BigGrin:
     
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  7. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    im in a sensible mood so here goes.

    solar panel produces around 17v direct current (DC).

    this then goes to your solar controller which lowers the voltage to around 13 volts

    now its sent to your battery.

    the solar controller monitors the voltage in the battery and when it equals the voltage from the controller it cuts off the charge, until the battery voltage drops slightly then it begins charging again....and so on.

    running the engine or connecting to hookup makes no difference to the solar charge in so much as it will continue to charge if needed.

    as for which battery, its normal for the leisure battery to be charged but it could be wired for both or either.
     
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  8. mitzimad

    mitzimad Funster

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    most vans have a split charge system which charges the batteries from the alternator when the engine is running its called split because once the engine is off the switch breaks the circuit so you cant flatten the starter battery
    a battery charger to charge the batteries when on ehu this usually acts as a power supply so you can use all the 12volt stuff in the van when on hook up
    the solar is added to get charge into batteries when not on hook up and stationary it obviously charges continuously when ever there is sun
    the output from the pane lis taken to the batteries via a controller which ensures the batteries receive the voltage they need and cuts the charging if the reach full capacity
    thats a basic outline there are other ways of doing the same but this is probably the cheapest and most common
    if you use the van on sites with electric hook up all the time you probably dont need solar
    if your off grid all the time the more solar and batteries the better
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
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  9. Billy23

    Billy23 Funster

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    So glad I caught you in a sensible mood!:Smile:

    Thank you very much, a valued explanation, very, very clear. :thumb:
     
  10. stcyr

    stcyr Funster

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    ... and always ensure you wire the regulator to the battery/ies before wiring the panel/s to the regulator :thumb:
     
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  11. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    I know the reason why, as im sure you do, but how many others know ?

    or is it...cos i was told to.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
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  12. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    :Eeek::Eeek::Eeek:
     
  13. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    well, i had just got off the phone to the solar imps asking where they were going now their main supplier had gone south for the winter.

    they said they were going ski-ing with the lunar fairies providing there was a good fall of fairy dust, but would be back in May next year
     
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  14. jb0371

    jb0371 Read Only Funster

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    How is that any different to what I said:RollEyes:
     
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  15. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

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    If you store your MH on your drive, within reach of mains electricity, and you only plan to stop on campsites and pay extra for an Electric Hook Up (EHU), it's probably not worth having a solar panel.

    If you store your MH elsewhere and don't want your batteries to go flat between outings, thus damaging them, then a solar panel is handy but not infallible. UK sunlight levels can be very low in winter, and other means of topping up the battery charge may be necessary, for example driving the MH round for half an hour every couple of weeks.

    Where solar panels really come into their own is if you want to use low cost field-plus-tap type campsites that don't offer EHUs, if you want to wild camp in lay-bys or similar (for example in Scotland) or if you want to use Aires on the continent, most of which don't offer EHUs. Eventually, the savings on EHU fees and expensive campsite fees will probably go some way to offsetting your solar panel costs, but the biggest bonus is the flexibility it allows you when touring around, and the ability to stop somewhere during Spring through to Autumn for as long as you want without hooking up to the national grid.
     
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  16. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    no different mate....just took me a lot longer to type it. :Doh:
     
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  17. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Also known as FUN meets/shows.
     
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  18. Billy23

    Billy23 Funster

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    :Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1:
     
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  19. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    its the way he tells em :thumb:
     
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  20. Xabia

    Xabia Funster

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    If yiu talk to Alan at http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/ he will explain all to you and can supply you with a good quality solar panel (they are not all the same) together with everything you need to install the whole thing.

    I got mine from him earlier this year, fitted it myself quite easily, and now have no problems with keeping the batteries charged whilst in storage.

    Only connection is as a very satisfied customer.:Smile:

    Mike
     
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