Solar advice?

aandj

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Jul 26, 2014
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Hi
Have seen this kit in a local shop:
http://www.visionplus.co.uk/shop/solar-40-40w-solar-panel-master-.html
Our campervan is simple in that the 12V leisure battery only powers LED lights and the water pump.
NO fridge, tv or other lighting.
Have a new Numax 85 amp leisure battery which is currently NOT connected to the charging relay in the engine bay as it is currently not working.
looking to do some touring next year and thought maybe the solar panel will do the job in keeping the battery charged up.
Also keeping it topped up over winter without having to keep taking it out and charging it.
Are the kits as simple as they look? fit and forget and the keep the battery charged and will the 40W panel do the job on a 12v 85 amp battery?
Note: the van also is kitted with 240v and full mains led lighting and mains powered fridge, tv etc.
Will only really use the 12v on occasional wild nights and using the water pump.
With Thanks
Andy
 

ukbill

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expensive for the wattage of the panel and a cheap controller imho
 
Apr 29, 2012
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that is a lot of money for the size of it. I would go for at least an 80w panel, from ebay etc, and a simple controller from ebay aswell. It will be half that price. You have to realise that any panel is only going to work at half its capacity in winter.
 
Oct 1, 2013
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What sort of controller do you need with one of these ?

And is it a case of just sticking it on the roof and drilling a hole for the wires. Then attach them to the leisure battery ?
 

GJH

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(snip)
Have a new Numax 85 amp leisure battery which is currently NOT connected to the charging relay in the engine bay as it is currently not working.(snip)
I agree with earlier comments re the cost/size of the Visionplus unit but I'd like to pick up on the relay point please. Why not fix the relay circuit? We did that on our son's camper van as part of a general re-wire that it needed and found it cheap and easy to do.
 

ukbill

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graham i fitted the panel controller a inverter and also the relay suggested by techno and it all works a treat that visionplus unit is a waste of time imho
 

hilldweller

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What sort of controller do you need with one of these ?
If you are talking about the £154 ebay package, that's it, the whole thing unless you need a bit more wire to the roof.

Two wires to the panel. Two wires to the battery.

How hard is that !
 

ukbill

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easy to sort Brian all i needed was the relay for the mains and the inverter i fitted but no always needed it depends on ya needs
 

GJH

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graham i fitted the panel controller a inverter and also the relay suggested by techno and it all works a treat that visionplus unit is a waste of time imho
I think I agreed with you Bill :) Sorry if it wasn't clear. I was just a bit mystified why the engine bay relay hadn't been fixed anyway :)
 

scotjimland

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Have a new Numax 85 amp leisure battery which is currently NOT connected to the charging relay in the engine bay as it is currently not working.
that should be your first priority .. get that working and you may not need solar..

not saying solar is bad or doesn't work.. just that in all my years vanning, never had it or ever needed it..

if you low power requirements and are moving on every other day you don't need solar..
 
Sep 23, 2013
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Hi
Have seen this kit in a local shop:
http://www.visionplus.co.uk/shop/solar-40-40w-solar-panel-master-.html
Our campervan is simple in that the 12V leisure battery only powers LED lights and the water pump.
NO fridge, tv or other lighting.
Have a new Numax 85 amp leisure battery which is currently NOT connected to the charging relay in the engine bay as it is currently not working.
I agree with Graham (GJH) (Edit: & now ScotJimLand). You will get the best return on your money by fixing the charging system from the alternator. If it's just a case of replacing the relay, it will be both cheap & easy to do. I would do this irrespective of what you decide on the solar panel question.
looking to do some touring next year and thought maybe the solar panel will do the job in keeping the battery charged up.
Also keeping it topped up over winter without having to keep taking it out and charging it.
It will help. If you are mostly on sites & EHU & just have the odd night using the battery for lights & water, you probably don't even need solar. It would just about cope with keeping the battery topped up in the winter though, assuming that's all it's asked to do. But not good value for money, as others have said.
Are the kits as simple as they look? fit and forget and the keep the battery charged and will the 40W panel do the job on a 12v 85 amp battery?
Whether 40W is enough or not is more dependent on what you use rather than the size of the battery.
Note: the van also is kitted with 240v and full mains led lighting and mains powered fridge, tv etc.
Will only really use the 12v on occasional wild nights and using the water pump.
That suggests that with the engine charging fixed, you probably don't need solar while touring. You would have to justify it solely on keeping the battery topped up while the van was standing. This looks an expensive option for that job.
 
Sep 23, 2013
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And is it a case of just sticking it on the roof and drilling a hole for the wires. Then attach them to the leisure battery ?
It is in andj's van. It depends on what 12v control system you have in your van already. From what I remember of your earlier posts, I would expect yours to be the same.
 
OP
aandj

aandj

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Jul 26, 2014
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Thanks for all the comments, will be getting the relay sorted from the engine.
Thought a solar panel would be good to look after the battery in winter and handy when travelling and not relying on having drive every day to keep it topped up.
Will look at the other panels mentioned!
Thanks
 
Reactions: GJH
Oct 1, 2013
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If you are talking about the £154 ebay package, that's it, the whole thing unless you need a bit more wire to the roof.

Two wires to the panel. Two wires to the battery.

How hard is that !
That will be this one ...

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/100W-solar-panel-kit-for-boat-caravan-motorhome-camper-12v-/301267835154?pt=UK_Gadgets&hash=item4624f65912&clk_rvr_id=690862840465&afsrc=1

But it adds this in the description ? I thought leccy was leccy ?

Our solar panels are designed to provide more current than voltage. If you are purchasing solar panels to charge batteries then you need to get panel which can provide most current (Amps) at full power.
 

hilldweller

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Our solar panels are designed to provide more current than voltage. If you are purchasing solar panels to charge batteries then you need to get panel which can provide most current (Amps) at full power.
Beats me. A bit worrying that.

As you say watts is watts. 100W you could have 20V 5A or 40V 2.5A and the appropriate regulator would convert this to 14.6V 6.8A.
 
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