Then the lights went out!!!!!

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by pappajohn, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    with all the rain at stratford our solar panel was pretty much useless, only producing a couple of hundred milliamps most of the day.

    we have 2 X 110ah batteries

    late on sunday night (11pm+) the leds lights died, very fast and totally out.

    the leds may have gone out but the TV/sat receiver was still working so i figure this is a good indication your battery is in need of a charge:thumb:(LEDs more low voltage sensitive than the TV/sat)
    (im not checking battery voltage at 11pm in a dark locker so im guessing at this.:RollEyes:)

    might i add that we arrived on friday around 3pm and 1 hour later the rain started and didnt stop until sunday around 1pm which meant we had next to no charge for 46hrs.

    we used the TV/sat for around 20hrs total plus 2 or 3 LED lights during the evenings (we have 12 leds but no point in using when you dont need 'em) plus water pump, phone charger etc.

    stratford last year was a different tale, arrive friday afternoon.....one 110ah battery, no solar panel, similar daily TV use and HALOGEN lights and the genny was out and running on saturday afternoon:Eek!:

    Solar panels, extra batteries and LED lighting........its the only way to go.

    BTW....no probs with the lights going out sunday night....just switched to the chassis battery for an hour.:thumb:
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2009
  2. andyman

    andyman Read Only Funster

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    Out of interest how big is your solar panel
     
  3. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    120watt roof mounted:thumb:
     
  4. Caztur

    Caztur Funster

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    The morale of the tale being - don't watch the telly.

    I have an 85 aph battery in my caravan. We just did 9 nights in Scarborough and the battery was still fine at the end of it. All we had was a little solar trickle charger, and the lights are the old fashioned sort.
     
  5. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    Ive asked Mark (CLS) to look into some rain panels for us, about 1 amp per rain drop ought to do it:thumb:
     
  6. Kon tiki

    Kon tiki Read Only Funster

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    We were at Stratford from the Monday (we were just up the road at Evesham from the Friday) We only have one 85 amp gel battery & our solar panel is around 80/85 amp. We still have the halegon lights, we had the sat digi box on the radio during most the day through a couple of speakers & usually watched a few hours TV in the night & the grand Prix qualifying & race in the day. The lowest I saw the battery was about 12.4 volts & it was back up to around 14.2 volts usually before midday except for when it was raining (even then it was putting about 1 amp in) We didn't run the engine or get a charge from anywhere else. So I can't understand why you had problems with over twice the battery capacity?

    The only economy we took was using candles (the small scented tea light type) this was when we had the TV on as the spotlights were too bright.:thumb:
     
  7. Johns_Cross_Motorhomes

    Johns_Cross_Motorhomes Trader - Motorhome & Accessory Sales

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    Oh dear the mind boggles at the thought of what you must have been doing:Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1:
     
  8. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    not a problem Ed.....

    TV and sat box for 20 hours at 5 ah drain = 100amps....one battery used.

    3 LEDs for maybe 8 hours daily plus others as needed = maybe 9 amps total.

    water pump...total use maybe 1 hour = 10 to 15amps.

    the battteries may be 220ah but only usable for maybe half this capacity before they become dangerously dis-charged and knackered in no time.:Sad:

    only 200ma going in.:cry:

    im happy with that and i certainly wouldnt have a live flame in the van:Eeek:

    BTW......my tv will run as low as 10.5v through the stabilizer but if i run it that low it means iv just killed my batteries
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2009
  9. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    latestin charging batteries is available world wide but not in uk. they are lunar panels not marheted here as there could be a rush. i,am sure we get more moon than sun even in summer.
     
  10. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    dont think there'll be much of a rush for them somehow, Alan

    found 'em on the web.....

    can generate almost 1.2watts per hour :Eek!:

    can run a ceiling fan for 1 hour off an 18 hour charge :Eeek:

    website states....for mere thousands of dollars it can save hundreds of dollars per panel during the life of the panel.

    you must be winding us up!!!
     
  11. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    i was only joking but you beat me every time how you come up with these things so quick. i,ll never know . :Rofl1:
     
  12. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    curiousity and boredom Alan.....:Wink::Blush:
     
  13. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    i just googled lunar panels . didnt know if it would get anything . we koke about it in the winter n even get people believe us that we have them. in future i,ll shut up.nnnnnnno i,llhave to sleep on it.
     
  14. Planetgen

    Planetgen Read Only Funster

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    Powered my stand with a Generator, not 1 loss of power all weekend! lol :Rofl1:
     
  15. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    Interesting thread. Our 50 watt free standing panel kept our 85Ah battery topped up all weekend.

    The battery was fully charged when we arrived Thursday lunchtime. We used a couple of LED lights in the evenings but not for long; longest was Friday from about 7:30 to 11:00, otherwise just half an horu to an hour. Plus half an hour to an hour of TV/Sat each day plus water pump for washing, washing up and re-filling the tank.

    Even with all the rain on Saturday we never dropped below 12.5v.

    Graham
     
  16. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    big difference though graham....2 to 4 hours TV. we had it on for 20+ hours (tele addicts)
    god knows why but three LED lights were on for maybe 8 hours a day(still watching tv at 2am)....you had 5 hours use total.
     
  17. gazznsam

    gazznsam Read Only Funster

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    the price of being a telly addict, we never turned ours on all week... infacct i cant remember the last time i riased the sat dish, the freesat card will have been turned off again through no use.

    we have 3 x 123 watt panels flat on our roof, during the begining of the week we were regulary getting 20 amps going into the batteries, (displaying 24 amps again on power from the panels)

    by the weekend and the rain, we were down to around 5 amps into the batts, and had to run the genny for a few hours on saturday evening.

    but our batteries are shot, 460 AH worth, but lucky if there's 150AH of capacity, the fridge pulls 9 amps, runs for about 14 minutes every 35 minutes or so (varies on ambient temp and how many times we open the doors) think i worked out once i need about 70 AH a day for the fridge, which the solar panels usually provide with some excess.

    the only other loads we had are water pump... 7 amps, but run for maybe 10 mintues a day in total,
    heater, that's 10 amps on start up for a max of 3 mins (usually a 1.5 min re-start time for the glow pins) then 3.5 amps running, 1.5 of that is the water circulation pump, but begining of the week the heater only came on for half an hour at 3pm to heat the calorifier for hot water,
    during the weekend it was keeping the van heated due to colder temps outside.

    Oh and the laptop charger, that's a 12 volt one, so no wasting power running the inverter, but i charged it during the day using spare solar power, and ran the battery down at night,
    we didnt use the washing machine at all... and hence lasted exactly the week on 140 litres of water.

    and lights at night, once we're in bed we have a couple of 12 inch cold cathode tubes on, they pull just over half an amp (and light up nearly all the van) they'll run right down to 4 volts, infact they can be dimmed just by varying the input voltage,

    But once i've sold the bike and buy me new bigger battery bank, we'll be back to normal power usage, which will be a 3 minute vacuuming every morning (150 amps) microwaving ready meals (100 amps), sam using her hairdryer (120 amps), watching TV or at least playing dvd's or CD's and so on.

    i do keep toying with the idea of rain water collection, to top the water tank up, would have to be implemented at van build stage, roof made to slope towards one point where a screened hopper is set below the roof skin, through a filter or 3 into the tank, with an overflow for when it's full,

    but in that downpipe insert a small turbine wheel, connected to an alternator, and we have a rain water generator.
     
  18. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    Definitely agree John. Overall it's a matter of balancing consumption against capacity. That's why we changed our main lamps to LED (saving 90% of consumption).

    I see you mentioned that your TV/Sat draw 5Ah. Ours draw 2Ah so that's another significant difference.

    I noticed that one of the Hymers parked behind us had a small wind generator on its roof, spinning on a vertical, rather than horizontal, axis. Any idea how much those things generate?

    Graham
     
  19. Kon tiki

    Kon tiki Read Only Funster

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    Interesting so you don't use a gas cooker :Rofl1: We use candles in glass containers & then I usually put something non flamable under them for safety. :thumb:

    Don't really know why but I am fine with our set up for the leisure battery as it's always had enough power. My problem is with my engine battery, it seems to lose power very quickly. The original one was replaced after 3 months but the new one seems to discharge quickly. I tried putting an ammeter on it to see the parasitic current drain when left with nothing turned on, this showed as 0.25 amps:Eeek: but I don't know what the expected reading should be. One thing I am going to check is how much the radio is using, other than that there is only the alarm fitted.
     
  20. Munchie

    Munchie Funster Life Member

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    I'm gobsmacked :Eeek:

    We have two 120 batteries and were at Stratford from the Monday. We had to run the gennie twice for around 15 mins to top them back up and they never fell below half. We are expecting with 2x80 solar panels to be able to run the van for at least a week.

    A couple of questions, I was under the impression you can run the batteries down to 1/4 without damaging them? Is the big battery drain due to using invertors?

    We would expect to run our 12v tele and sat box approx 2hrs per day. There would be the water pump of course and LED lights say 2-3hrs per day. Possible invertor to recharge pooter battery and occasionally recharge camera battery.

    Are my expectations unrealistic? :Eeek::BigGrin:
     
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