Best way to integrate solar?

Dec 22, 2020
9
12
Wiltshire, UK
Funster No
78,569
MH
Bessacarr E495
Hi there, I've just collected a new to me Bessacar E495 (2010) and love it! Because it will normally be stored outside in a lock-up with no charging facility, I want to fit solar to keep the batteries topped up between trips out, but having searched and read copious threads, I can't find an answer to my query about whether to connect an MPPT controller direct to the single leisure battery, or to the Sargent EC450 (which I think is possible...). I know fitting a second leisure battery would make sense for many people, but I'm not sure I need it yet, though there is space in the battery tray for a second leisure battery.

If I go direct from the MPPT controller to the leisure battery, I can fit a 150W panel (or larger). But if I connect to the EC450 PSU, using a Sargent solar connecting lead, will I be able to go from the MPPT controller to the PSU and benefit from trickle charging both batteries? I think I'd be limited to a 100 or 120W panel because of EC450 limitations (correct me if I'm wrong), but that probably isn't a problem really.

Usage will be regular day trips out ('working from home' via a laptop on occasional days during the week, as well as long weekends and weeks away in the more traditional sense, at a mix of campsites and Britstops).

What does the collective experience recommend as the best way to connect the panel and MPPT controller? Direct to the leisure battery, or via the Sargent EC450? Or something else entirely...?! Many thanks in advance for all comments, and if I've missed a thread that covers these queries, please point me there...!
 

Lenny HB

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 18, 2007
29,428
50,899
On the coast in West Sussex
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658
MH
Hymer B678 Dynamic Line
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Since 2008 & many years tugging
The limit on the Sargent unit is due to the inbuilt solar regulator, you could disconnect it as it is a seperate unit inside and then connect your solar regulator straight in. It maybe easier just to connect straight to the batteries..
 
OP
M
Dec 22, 2020
9
12
Wiltshire, UK
Funster No
78,569
MH
Bessacarr E495
Thanks Lenny! Connecting the MPPT controller directly to the leisure battery is definitely the easiest option, though I don't know enough about the EC450 to know if I'd be missing out on any magic its capable of performing. I don't anticipate leaving the motorhome for more than 7-10 days tops, so may not need to worry about pushing any charge into the vehicle battery anyhow...

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tonka

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Jul 2, 2008
9,044
15,672
Cannock, Staffs
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3,141
MH
A class Burstner 800
Exp
Since 2000
My previous van (watertrail) had the EC500. Dont think there is much spec difference on the 450.
I fitted a 120w panel and fed straight into the Sargent unit using their built in solar regulator. Advantages is that you retain all the features within the control panel ie smart charging to cab and leisure batteries, display info etc.

Personally I would add a second battery as that straight away doubles your capacity.
Utilise the EC450 and see how you get on. If you think its not doing the job you can add an MTTP regulator at a later date, bypassing the Sargent unit. (y)
 
Oct 8, 2014
643
1,041
Wiltshire
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33,737
MH
Autotrail Excel 600B
Exp
Previous VW Camper + Caravan
You are probably aware that If you go with connecting direct to the leisure battery, you could fit a dual output MPPT Controller, such as a Votronic, or something like a Victron one, and fit a Battery Master to charge the Cab battery. You then won't be limited to 100 W solar panels.
 
Oct 10, 2018
180
122
Bracklesham Bay, West Sussex
Funster No
56,646
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PVC
Exp
Since 2005
I think you will find that the EC450 has not got a built in controller, but the EC500 has. Although the wattage limit may still apply.

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