solar panel use

Discussion in 'Top Tips & Tricks' started by welsh winger, Jun 17, 2010.

  1. welsh winger

    welsh winger Read Only Funster

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    Hi all Late last year i phurchased a van with a large solar panel on the roof, The main leasure battery finally died last weekend, with a new one in place already, my question is, do you leave the panel turned on perminatly or only use it when needed, ie when away, having just checked the meter reading in the van and checked that reading against a mutimeter, the both showed 13.8 volts, in very bright sun light, so back to my question on all the time or only when you use the van?

    Cheers

    Nick
     
  2. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Leave on all the time. 13.8 is perfectly safe.

    PS - I see others have mentioned "regulator", I could not imagine anyone fitting a permanent panel without one so I didn't. I guess some dumbos might just do that. But the 13.8v in bright sunlight indicated that you were safe.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2010
  3. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    i leave mine on all the time .you have a regulater i hope. i have 240wt panels hopefully i will always have full batteries ,i wish. at the moment at home i run a lead from the inverter in to the house and run my house fridge and other small leccy things off the batteries and panels..cheers alan.
     
  4. Happy Hippy

    Happy Hippy Read Only Funster

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    I also have solar panels on the roof - they are permenantly fixed there, so yes, on all the time, but you need to have a regulator between the panels and the battery to prevent overcharging. Rugulators come in different sizes - you must get one that is rated at least as many watts as your panel is rated, generally the higher the rating (in watts) the more the regulator will cost. Without the regulator you would need to keep a very close eye on your battery voltage and disconnect the panel when the battery is fully charged, if you forget you will kill the battery, I know someone with a freestanding panel who does it this way, but I think it's far better to fit a regulator, then the whole system is automatic and you don't have to do anything.
     
  5. VMax666

    VMax666 Read Only Funster

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    If you consider that a large percentage of base vans are driven around all day with the alternator pumping out 90+ amps, then unless you have a VERY large solar panel array, you are not likely to overcharge the battery ( assuming regulator fitted ). VMax
     
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  6. welsh winger

    welsh winger Read Only Funster

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    Thank to all of you for you answers, and yes i do have a regulator fitted.

    cheers

    Nick
     
  7. novawight

    novawight Read Only Funster

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    i am quite thick (on reflection very thick ):Wink: but do you need a regulator for a small solar device that just trckle charge the battery
     
  8. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    What is "small solar device ?".

    Watts ?

    But probably not.
     
  9. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Slight flaw there, if the alternator is charging the battery fully then a solar panel could overcharge it.

    But not, as you say, with a regulator fitted.

    Anyone asking should have a voltmeter and just check the battery, as welsh winger did, and start getting worried at anything over 14.5V.
     
  10. novawight

    novawight Read Only Funster

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    the trickle charger i was considering a Maplin charger, that has a reverse blocking diode fitted do i still need a regulater?
     
  11. barnybg

    barnybg Read Only Funster

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    Solar panel

    I would think a small 'trickle charger' solar panel is designed for just that,to top up your standing ,unused battery.I think the diode you mention is to stop current leaking back out of battery...
    To the OP,i leave my 100 watt solar panel on permanant which is on top of the camper,it is in full sun from 7am till 7pm,reaching temperatures of up to 40 c in the air but much more..off the scale direct,checked thermometer today in full sun and its off the scale,the town one has broken !
    There should be a safety devise built into the regulator to prevent overcharging etc. :Cool:
     
  12. atakd

    atakd Read Only Funster

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    Rule of thumb is you can use an unregulated panel up to 10% of you battery bank. e.g., a 10W panel for a 100Ah battery.
     
  13. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    cant turn mine off if i wanted to......short of cutting the wires...:Laughing:
     
  14. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    i do have one of those big red key switches in line just in casi need to do something to the wiring .or if something goes wrong.
     
  15. oldun

    oldun Read Only Funster

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    If your alternator pumps out 90+ amps all day then there is something seriously wrong with the alternator voltage control system.
     
  16. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    Normally I consider "regulation" to be an infringement against freedom and often an attempt to curb reasonable pleasures in life but in the case of solar power I say it is a must. :BigGrin:

    JJ

    Why on earth would anyone wish use a solar panel system without a regulator? (NB. I don't consider a little dash board panel that plugs into your ciggy lighter socket to be a system.)
     
  17. Diabalo

    Diabalo Funster

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    If you have a battery master fitted your vehicle battery will then be topped up from the hab battery:thumb:
     
  18. motorhomelover

    motorhomelover

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    My Rv has an emergency switch so the cranking batery is not connected to the leisure side but if run flat power can be taken from liesure battery
    it also starts the generator from either battery

    i have 3 x 110Ah batts topped up of the 230 watt solar panel
    2 500w 12v-240 invertes run the tv, free view box, laptop and other small electrical things so its free power

    5KVA gen runs microwave and all 240volt items when needed
    petrol is no longer cheap so its sunshine power most of the time
    :thumb:
     
  19. oldun

    oldun Read Only Funster

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    I assume then that your three leisure batteries are wired with cable sufficient to carry cranking loads all the way back to the engine?
     
  20. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

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    I was told by the people who fitted my panel that if you need to switch it/ disconnect it then you must break the circuit between the panel and the regulator, not between the regulator and the batteries as you could damage the regulator.

    Solar panel should be left on all the time as long as there is a regulator.

    The little panels from Maplin etc do not need a regulator as their output is very low. The blocking diode does not act as a regulator but just stops the battery discharging through the solar panel when there's no sun.
     
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