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More solar or lead carbon batteries ? (1 Viewer)

Mar 30, 2022
1,539
1,479
Funster No
87,744
MH
Swift Suntor 590RL
My present set up is 115 watts of Victron solar, 60amp B2B, Victron shunt and 2 x 100AH lead acid leisure batteries.
I don't go on EHU.
My summer usage is about 20- 25amps per day average and last summer my set up coped fine including 24 consecutive days on the same pitch.
My winter usage is 50-60amps per day.
I only tend to stay in one place for 1 night so driving the following day the B2B recharges the leisure batteries.
Last summer, which was my first with solar so I have nothing to compare with, was not normal weather for the UK and I am wondering if in a normal UK summer my solar will struggle.
I was going to install another solar panel and MPPT and basically double my solar.
This I think would cope with a normal British summer for me.
Cost would be about £315.
Recently though I've been reading about lead carbon batteries, which apparently can be discharged lower, down to 20% I believe, and recharged quicker than lead acids and much cheaper than lithium.
I could replace my 2 x 100AH lead acids with 2 x 110AH lead carbons for £380.
This would improve my useable amps from 100amps to 176amps.
£65 dearer but less work than fitting a second solar set up.
Which route would fellow funsters choose ?
 
Last edited:

Lenny HB

LIFE MEMBER
Oct 18, 2007
54,089
152,642
On the coast in West Sussex
Funster No
658
MH
Hymer B678 DL
Exp
Since 2008 & many years tugging
If you put larger or batteries that you can discharge lower there is not much point if you can't recharge them.
As you don't use EHU I would fit more solar first see how you get and maybe save your pennies for Lithium.
 
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funflair

LIFE MEMBER
Dec 11, 2013
19,520
31,086
Guisborough
Funster No
29,351
MH
MORELO palace
Exp
since 2012
As you have identified summer and winter use are completely different, if you had more battery capacity for the winter and possibly stopped 2 nights would you then be driving 2 hours or more the next day? if not and you only drove around 1 hour then the next night you are back to the battery capacity that you have now, basically as Lenny says whatever batteries you have you need to be able to recharge them before you next want to use that capacity. More solar is great but not much use in the winter.

Basically more battery for the winter and more solar for the summer ;)
 
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OP
OP
H
Mar 30, 2022
1,539
1,479
Funster No
87,744
MH
Swift Suntor 590RL
If you put larger or batteries that you can discharge lower there is not much point if you can't recharge them.
As you don't use EHU I would fit more solar first see how you get and maybe save your pennies for Lithium.
Thank you Lenny.
My thinking was that at present, to be on the safe side, I could manage 3 days of bad weather, which is perfectly possible in UK normal summer weather, with no useable solar before needing to recharge my batteries.
With the lead carbons I could manage 6 days of bad weather, on the safe side, as they can be discharged lower and don't mind sitting discharged unlike lead acids.
 
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Jan 8, 2013
8,496
11,538
Dronfield - Derbyshire
Funster No
24,202
MH
Burstner Lyseo 690G
Exp
Happy FLT since 2011
I think :Eeek:
You need another solar panel and dual battery solar controller.
Depending on how old your hab batteries are I would replace those next with L/A but bigger - if they will fit.

120W solar panel and kit £115
Dual battery controller £15
2 x 130ah batteries £220

Total £350

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OP
OP
H
Mar 30, 2022
1,539
1,479
Funster No
87,744
MH
Swift Suntor 590RL
I think :Eeek:
You need another solar panel and dual battery solar controller.
Depending on how old your hab batteries are I would replace those next with L/A but bigger - if they will fit.

120W solar panel and kit £115
Dual battery controller £15
2 x 130ah batteries £220

Total £350
My lead acids are 1 year old and physically about the biggest that will fit.
My solar pricing was a second Victron 115 watt panel £150, Victron 75/15 MPPT £112 and about £50 for some roof rack rail fixings, cable gland and cable from MPPT to batteries.
I have a Vanbitz Battery Master fitted.
Cost isn't the issue just whether more battery capacity or more solar would be the more beneficial for me with my usage ?
 
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Jan 8, 2013
8,496
11,538
Dronfield - Derbyshire
Funster No
24,202
MH
Burstner Lyseo 690G
Exp
Happy FLT since 2011
My lead acids are 1 year old and physically about the biggest that will fit.
My solar pricing was a second Victron 115 watt panel £150, Victron 75/15 MPPT £112 and about £50 for some roof rack rail fixings, cable gland and cable from MPPT to batteries.
I have a Vanbitz Battery Master fitted.
Cost isn't the issue just whether more battery capacity or more solar would be the more beneficial for me with my usage ?
If the batteries are as big as possible then charge them faster - more solar?
 
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Feb 9, 2011
248
852
Sussex
Funster No
15,257
MH
Elddis Accordo 120
Exp
Since 2002
I changed from AGM to LC and now to LifePo4. (200Ah from China was £400 delivered). I had 100w of solar and recently added 120w and will probably fit another 100w (then the roof is full), but I also have a 160w folding panel which has proved really important in the past when I only had a single 130Ah LC batt. The trick for Li is to have a large capacity B2B which will easily give a day or nights supply at your usage on 1-2 hrs of driving. If you have a cheap and nasty PWM controller- bin it and buy a decent MPPT, they do make a difference.

LC is workable but you need ones that accept larger capacity charge - not all do. I've made compromises with my cheap LifePo4s as they will only accept a 20Ah charge which I accept and can work with.
 
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OP
OP
H
Mar 30, 2022
1,539
1,479
Funster No
87,744
MH
Swift Suntor 590RL
I changed from AGM to LC and now to LifePo4. (200Ah from China was £400 delivered). I had 100w of solar and recently added 120w and will probably fit another 100w (then the roof is full), but I also have a 160w folding panel which has proved really important in the past when I only had a single 130Ah LC batt. The trick for Li is to have a large capacity B2B which will easily give a day or nights supply at your usage on 1-2 hrs of driving. If you have a cheap and nasty PWM controller- bin it and buy a decent MPPT, they do make a difference.

LC is workable but you need ones that accept larger capacity charge - not all do. I've made compromises with my cheap LifePo4s as they will only accept a 20Ah charge which I accept and can work with.
My present solar controller is a Victron 75/15 MPPT smart solar.
If I add another panel I would fit another Victron MPPT.
When I had my solar fitted I wanted 175-200 watts as I had worked out that would be enough due to my low energy use.
However Vanbitz could only fit a 115 watt panel due to space issues.
I was surprised how well that worked last year but as I said last year was not a normal UK summer which is why I am thinking about my options.
 
Upvote 0
Feb 9, 2011
248
852
Sussex
Funster No
15,257
MH
Elddis Accordo 120
Exp
Since 2002
My present solar controller is a Victron 75/15 MPPT smart solar.
If I add another panel I would fit another Victron MPPT.
When I had my solar fitted I wanted 175-200 watts as I had worked out that would be enough due to my low energy use.
However Vanbitz could only fit a 115 watt panel due to space issues.
I was surprised how well that worked last year but as I said last year was not a normal UK summer which is why I am thinking about my options.
Have a look around and locate a "slim" panel if necessary. They are straightforward to fit, but some companies won't source panels, but will only fit what they have in stock or there supplier has. There are a good few quality brands with quite a difference in panel sizes. So a 160w from one supplier many not fit, but the same capacity from another would. I hope that makes sense. With your limited roof space a foldable panel is definitely worth considering. It doesn't take much room at around 30" x 16" x 4" when folded. I've cabled it up to directly feed the batts via a permanently wired plug of off its own controller which is built in.
 
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