Do we need solar? (1 Viewer)

Affiliate links here may earn MHF compensation

Candice

Free Member
Apr 13, 2019
5
0
Funster No
59,888
MH
Don’t own one yet
Converting Mercedes sprinter into a camper van and unsure whether we should spend a fair whack of our budget on solar panels?

Won’t be off grid for more than 3-5 days as will then want to stop at a campsite with facilities. Would want to power led lighting, phone and camera charger, and our fridge?

Is there any other way that could achieve this or not? And if not what solar panel companies do you reccommend so we can delve into it? Wattage/flexi/fixed etc?

We’re very new and in early stages of looking into everything so guidance greatly appreciated!
 
Mar 23, 2012
9,663
32,639
sleights
Funster No
20,245
MH
c class
Exp
1
Is the fridge a compressor one or one that would run off gas and what sort of heater are you thinking of fitting? Are you having a shower/water tank/pump etc
 
OP
OP
C

Candice

Free Member
Apr 13, 2019
5
0
Funster No
59,888
MH
Don’t own one yet
The fridge will be a domestic compressor fridge, having running water with a water pump etc but not planning to heat it? Will purely be for kitchen sink/drinking water. No shower.

If it gets cold thought we could just use a little fan heater?

Open to suggestions of course!
 

DBK

LIFE MEMBER
Jan 9, 2013
18,132
48,589
Plympton, Devon
Funster No
24,219
MH
PVC, Murvi Morocco
Exp
2013
Is that 3 - 5 days off grid in the same place or will you be driving a bit every day? If you are going to be driving then consider a Battery to Battery (B2B) charger as it will put a lot more energy quickly back into the leisure battery than you will get from the standard vehicle charging system and it work all year round. Which of course begs the question, how many leisure batteries have you got? If you want to spend some time off grid then two of around 90 to 100Ah would be ideal, more and bigger ones if you have the room and payload.

If you want to go down the solar route then around 200W and an MPPT type charger should keep a compressor fridge running more or less indefinitely but don't expect much in the depths of winter in the UK. A conventional aluminium framed panel will probably be cheapest.

An alternative approach would be to see how you get on once you start using the vehicle and fit a B2B or solar later. If you want to try this approach it would be sensible to make provision during conversion for fitting solar panels, specifically fitting the wiring in the roof for a solar panel or two before you complete the interior fittings and leave an access point so you can take the wires out of the top through a gland later - or fit the gland anyway and blank it off.

The fridge will be a domestic compressor fridge, having running water with a water pump etc but not planning to heat it? Will purely be for kitchen sink/drinking water. No shower.

If it gets cold thought we could just use a little fan heater?

Open to suggestions of course!

Do you mean domestic or Dometic? If a standard house type fridge then you will need an inverter for 240 volts and you can forget spending more than a day or so off grid unless you have a lot of batteries. A fan heater will be even worse and flatten your batteries in minutes. :)
 
Mar 23, 2012
9,663
32,639
sleights
Funster No
20,245
MH
c class
Exp
1
The fridge will be a domestic compressor fridge, having running water with a water pump etc but not planning to heat it? Will purely be for kitchen sink/drinking water. No shower.

If it gets cold thought we could just use a little fan heater?

Open to suggestions of course!
How are you going to use a fan heater if you are off grid for 3 to 5 days???????

Subscribers  do not see these advertisements

 

Janine

LIFE MEMBER
Aug 22, 2007
14,504
43,641
A little bit left of Middle England
Funster No
142
MH
2006 A/S Nuevo
Exp
since 1988
Coming at the question from the opposite direction, without solar, I can last 4 days on my one 85amph leisure battery. That is running a couple of led lights in the evening, water pump when washing up and a bit for the fridge running on gas.

Now I have a 100w solar panel, it charges the leisure battery constantly when the sun is shining, obviously!

Hope that helps.
 

mfw

Banned
Sep 16, 2017
1,224
508
Worthing
Funster No
50,537
I've got 160w panel 2 100 amp hr leisure batteries ( 4 or 5 days is long time to sit in same place for me anyway get bored too easily ) and never use hookup does phone/computer charging lights and water pump ( fridge runs on gas all the time when parked up) not had problems with low batteries - think it is being realistic about what you want power for - or run lots and have a large battery bank to store power
 

TerryL

LIFE MEMBER
Mar 5, 2010
6,244
8,296
North East
Funster No
10,511
MH
Low Profile
Exp
2009
Depending on your budget I would think that carefully sourced solar panels and regulator wouldn't be that large an investment. Similarly an extra battery would have so much more to offer for a relatively low cost.

Appreciate your plans but after 10 years motorhoming we've changed. However I am glad that we fitted a B2B charger, 100w solar panel, an additional battery and a battery master which for £25 or so keeps the engine battery topped up too. This has given us the option to do whatever we please, without worrying about having enough electricity; for example, the mains element on our fridge failed as we were starting our 3 month winter trip and it was going to be quite difficult getting a replacement. Solution? Forget about it, we had enough electrical power and a refillable gas system meant we just used the fridge on gas all the time.

As I said, it depends on your budget but if you can afford to plan for the "what if", you're motorhoming experiences will be a lot less stress-free.
 
Jul 5, 2013
11,786
13,827
Tunbridge Wells, Tunbridge Wells, UK
Funster No
26,797
MH
A class
Exp
Since 2013
You can't use a fan heater on batteries, unless you have a lot of them, whether you have solar or not. If you are not on hook up you will need to use gas or diesel heating systems. A domestic fridge is also going to give you problems unless you have plenty of solar and more than one leisure battery. Better to get a 3 way fridge that can run off of gas, or a motorhome specific compressor fridge. Either way they are more expensive to buy than an equivalent sized domestic fridge.
 

Jaws

LIFE MEMBER
Sep 26, 2008
23,864
73,627
Thetford Norfolk
Funster No
4,189
MH
C class, Chieftain
Exp
since 2006 ( I think ! )
Could not be without panels.... They do not need to cost a fortune, about the same as a decent B2B set up

2 x 100w panels max £200, decent solar regulator £50.. Some wire and some ally angle cut into 50mm sections to mount the panel with, and lastly a weather proof gland for entry in to the roof, about a fiver

No worries about the alternator and contrary to common belief they will charge even in overcast conditions.
It is dull and grey here at the moment, and I am still getting 3 to 4 amps going in ( been out there playing with the radio set up :) )

Subscribers  do not see these advertisements

 

Join us or log in to post a reply.

To join in you must be a member of MotorhomeFun

Join MotorhomeFun

Join us, it quick and easy!

Log in

Already a member? Log in here.

Funsters who are viewing this thread

Back
Top