Solar Questions

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by Dave K, May 3, 2015.

  1. Dave K

    Dave K Funster

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    Hi all
    We currently store our motorhome at an outside storage facility nearby, I'm interested in getting a or some solar panels fitted but have a few questions
    1. Would having the panels fitted save having to start the van periodically because it keeps everything topped up?
    2. Will I need 2 leisure batteries to get any benefits from the solar panels?
    3. Is it best to have an inverter to power all of the 240v stuff like chargers, tv etc?
    4. What capacity solar panels would I need to power things like chargers, tv's and fridge on a regular basis?
    5. Can anybody recommend manufacturers that I should be looking at
    6. Is it a DIY job or more of a specialist fit, I'm a carpenter and have a go at most things but understand the need for a proper job

    Thanks all, any advice/ help appreciated (y)
     
  2. CJB

    CJB Funster

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    1) I have a 100W panel and never start the van over winter, come spring starts no problem.

    2) Don't see why you would need to have two

    3) I think it is best if possible to use 12V chargers when off grid

    4) It depends how much you want to run and whether it is sunny or not, surely a fridge should be on Gas if not on EHU. General rule go as big as you can, can never have too much power when off grid.

    5) I just got mine off some guy on the Internet, many use Ebay

    6) I am no expert and did the install myself took a couple of hours. Just make sure you seal the holes properly. You need an MC4 crimping tool as well really.
     
  3. SomeoneElse

    SomeoneElse Funster

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    1. The panels will keep the batteries topped up. But a lot of people like to run the engine periodically anyway. They also move the vehicle a couple of feet in winter to place the load on a different bit of the tyres.
    2. Two batteries will increase the capacity to cover really dull days and if a large inverter is fitted it halves the current from each battery which is good. So two batts are more important for an inverter than for panels.
    3. Inverters are better for large short time loads like hair dryers and toasters than TVs and chargers, these are better run directly on 12V.
    4. Two 100W panels supplies all our needs.
    5. No recommendations but get mono crystalline panels, avoid pollies.
    6. You need to use Sikaflex properly and are up to doing 12V wiring.
    Good luck.
     
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  4. Dave K

    Dave K Funster

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    Thanks @CJB, I've also noticed that I only have one 12v socket behind the tv and 1 on the dash plus cig lighter, I guess that must be the norm?
    Fitting wise I guess it's a case of running cables from panels to a control panel situated in a wardrobe or cupboard, do i then run cables from the batteries or pick up a feed from elsewhere?
    Thanks again
    Dave
     
  5. Dave K

    Dave K Funster

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    Thanks for the advice @SomeoneElse
     
  6. Trikeman

    Trikeman Read Only Funster

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    Dave,
    this may help decisions.
    http://www.motorhomefun.co.uk/forum/threads/trikemans-solar-installation-photo-diary.78243/
    We have just about everything 12v now, inc phone/tablet chargers. Since fitting our system we have not been anywhere near a EHU and all over winter they just kept everything charged without running - not bothered with inverters as not too sure what we would use one for.
    I am a solar convert since doing the job and have complete faith in it - half a chance and the whole house would be 12v and solar powered.(y)

    Regards,

    Trikeman.;)
     
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  7. Dave K

    Dave K Funster

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    Thanks mate
    I'm really interested in having a go, fitting the panels wouldn't worry me but regarding the connection of the batteries and necessary fuses I would need to get my head around that part, are the instructions pretty good?
    Dave
     
  8. Trikeman

    Trikeman Read Only Funster

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    Dave,
    it really is quite simple once you get started. As long as you mark the ends of the cables (red tape for pos) then you should have no 'sparks'. From the panels I used white tape for the pos, then I couldn't get things wrong, all checked by multi-meter before popping in the last fuse.
    I had instructions from Sunstore and they were quite comprehensive with excellent backup on the phone - get the best MPPT controller you can, the one I am using has been faultless and that's with my panels in series.

    Seriously enjoyed doing it all to - you are more than welcome to pop in to have a look at mine and chat through.

    Regards,

    Trikeman.
     
  9. mitzimad

    mitzimad Funster

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    its an easy enough job ive fitted two on our van with 2 batteries and never need ehu
    as previously said you should run as much as possible on 12v i would add some usb sockets for phones and pads as they seem to charge much better than adapters in cigarete lighter style sockets some electro blocks will already be wired for solar and may charge both batteries
    the main thing to remember is"batteries before" you allways connect the batteries to the controller before the panels
     
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