Solar Panel, Inverter and Battery to Battery Charger - Deal or no Deal?

Robert Clark

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I just got quote from Vanbitz as I'd like a solar system.

1 qty 100W solar panel c/w MPPT regulator, Battery Master and including installation @ £494.10
Dometic CombiPower Inverter/Charger (2000W inverter & 100A charger) @ £1,349.10
Installation of inverter/charger (capped 2 hours) @ £120.00
Parts and consumables for above upto £135.00
Sterling 50A Battery to Battery Charger @ £305.91
Installation of battery to battery charger (4 hours) @ £240.00
Parts and consumables for above up to £135.00
Total £2,779.11 (including 10% Funster discount)

Is this a good deal?

Have you bought better (like for like)?

Regards
Robert
 

pappajohn

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2000watt inverter will draw 166amps/hour at its full potential......Hope you have a large battery bank as one 110ah battery will only last twenty minutes.

100watt panel will only give you around 6 to 7 amps per hour of good sunshine.

I would skip the very expensive inverter in favour of more batteries and a much larger panel....or a few smaller ones.
 
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Robert Clark

Robert Clark

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2000watt inverter will draw 166amps/hour at its full potential......Hope you have a large battery bank as one 110ah battery will only last twenty minutes.

100watt panel will only give you around 6 to 7 amps per hour of good sunshine
Hi Pappajohn

Appreciate your comments

We've got 2 x 115 AH leisure batteries

Our biggest power requirement is a Nespresso coffee machine that uses 1200w for about 5 mins at a time.
We've also got at 250w towel rail that runs for 2 hours max, and Mrs C's hair dryer that uses 1700w for about 5 mins too....oh and there is a toaster which uses 750w for 5 mins
Hot water, kettle, heating and cooking (BBQ) runs off LPG

Regards
Robert
 

pappajohn

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The towel rail is going to eat 41a/h over 2 hours...or 45% of your available power reserve.

To me its a luxury you cant afford in a motorhome unless you only use it on hookup.

Towels pegged across bonnet or on a purpose designed window towel rail will dry in no time if its sunny.
 
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Robert Clark

Robert Clark

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Save a grand for starters with one of these instead. Normal claimed output of 100 watt panels is under 5 amps and you won't get most of that most of the time.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/351086663683?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT
So maybe a better option then is to only get an inverter and a battery to battery charger?
We don't spend long in one place so will have plenty of opportunity to charge the batteries as we're going along,
Really wanted the option to stay places where there is no electric and still enjoy a few little luxuries
 
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Robert Clark

Robert Clark

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The towel rail is going to eat 41a/h over 2 hours...or 45% of your available power reserve.

To me its a luxury you cant afford in a motorhome unless you only use it on hookup.

Towels pegged across bonnet or on a purpose designed window towel rail will dry in no time if its sunny.
Hi Pappajohn

Excuse my ignorance but is that 45% reserve taking into account 2 batteries, or just 1?

The BIG question, would we be able to run the coffee machine for 5 mins, the toaster for 5 mins, the towel rail for 2 hours and the hair dryer for 10 mins off the two batteries?

Have you got a pic of your towel dryer please?

Regards
Robert
 

Scout

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Is this a good deal?

Have you bought better (like for like)?
Where would you go for a like for like quote?

Top class branded equipment fitted by one of the best installers in the country with an after-sales reputation second to none. There are probably only one or two other suppliers who you could genuinely compare quotes with.

On the other hand, it's very high spec kit & some might say it's overkill for the requirement. Those top spec inverter/chargers are the ultimate in convenience but only really come into their own when your demand for 230v power can exceed the ability of the EHU to provide it. If you spend a lot of time on sites that only provide a 5A supply, then they are very useful, but a normal UK 16A supply would be fine without it. They were originally developed for marine use - apparently marina shore power supplies are not often to the campsite standards we are used to.

Is your existing charger any good? Does it need replacing? As a Battery Master is included, we can assume that your existing 12v control system isn't anything special & doesn't already keep your vehicle battery topped up.

If you want it (as opposed to need it) & can afford it, I would say go for it. You can always buy cheaper, but then would you sleep as well, wondering if it was all going to work? Personally, I would have to compromise on the inverter/charger, but that's because I'm broke!
 
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Robert Clark

Robert Clark

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Where would you go for a like for like quote?

Top class branded equipment fitted by one of the best installers in the country with an after-sales reputation second to none. There are probably only one or two other suppliers who you could genuinely compare quotes with.

On the other hand, it's very high spec kit & some might say it's overkill for the requirement. Those top spec inverter/chargers are the ultimate in convenience but only really come into their own when your demand for 230v power can exceed the ability of the EHU to provide it. If you spend a lot of time on sites that only provide a 5A supply, then they are very useful, but a normal UK 16A supply would be fine without it. They were originally developed for marine use - apparently marina shore power supplies are not often to the campsite standards we are used to.

Is your existing charger any good? Does it need replacing? As a Battery Master is included, we can assume that your existing 12v control system isn't anything special & doesn't already keep your vehicle battery topped up.

If you want it (as opposed to need it) & can afford it, I would say go for it. You can always buy cheaper, but then would you sleep as well, wondering if it was all going to work? Personally, I would have to compromise on the inverter/charger, but that's because I'm broke!
To be honest, I'm now skeptical about the benefit / efficiency of the solar panel and also how much power the inverter would provide from 2 x 115ah leisure batteries, if we had no EHU. I appreciate your comment regarding supporting an EHU, but we're careful with our energy consumption and plan our usage not to exceed the resources available at any site we've be on so far. I don't believe that we could live 'off grid' for two or three days on the power we'd get from two leisure batteries, with 1 solar panel, so in that respect its a lot of money to spend simply to act as a back up for a EHU.
Maybe we need to choose sites with hook ups when we can, and live without our 'luxuries' when we're off-grid. I like the thought though of using a slow cooker to cook our food when we're on the move, but a 12v slow cooker, or cigarette lighter inverter would provide this - maybe an inexpensive fallback plan?

Regards
Robert
 

Techno

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for those of us the dont speak german, whats that then? looks like an inverter, but its got mains input? so is it a inverter/charger? just guessing there! whats it do
Yes it's a UPS 2000watt continuous pure sine inverter with 15 amp three stage charger. I won't need the charger except on rare occassions but I got mine on ebay auction for £216 :sneaky:
 
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Maybe we need to choose sites with hook ups when we can, and live without our 'luxuries' when we're off-grid. I like the thought though of using a slow cooker to cook our food when we're on the move, but a 12v slow cooker, or cigarette lighter inverter would provide this - maybe an inexpensive fallback plan?
Now you know the price of the ultimate solution, having a fresh look at your requirements makes sense. If you are only going to spend the occasional night away from EHU, then would it be possible to forego the hairdrier with a bit of planning? Easy for me to ask - I'm not in the line of fire! :D

Coffee machine is more difficult, but there are other ways of making good coffee, just as there are other ways of making toast.

With the proposed 100W solar panel & 2 x 115Ah batteries, I don't think I would be comfortable with the inverter using much above 600W when relying on batteries alone. I can't back that up with facts & figures I'm afraid - it's more a gut feeling & there are others on here with more genuine knowledge about what batteries are capable of. I'm sure others are comfortable with 1000W+, so long as it's only ever for a few minutes at a time.

The combo unit specified is at it's best when combining a restricted EHU with your batteries to give you 2000W when you need it & then automatically keep the batteries recharged when you don't. If you are on a 1200W EHU (approx 5A), they are ideal.

As Techno100 says, more battery storage capacity is always good, so long as you have both the physical space & the spare payload available.

One other point - if your batteries are genuine leisure batteries, are they rated for the sort of discharge current a 2000W invertor will pull? See pappajohn's first post.
 

Steve

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2x115 batteries Max discharge 50% or their knackered so you have 115ah max more like 100 so will not take long to use the lot.

My suggestion would be b2b plus 200w solar about £500 + fitting (sorry eddi)
 
D

Deleted member 29692

Deleted User
To be honest, I'm now skeptical about the benefit / efficiency of the solar panel
I can vouch for the solar panels. The last time we were out it was 4 days/nights with no hookup at a music festival and even with overcast weather didn't notice the batteries dip below full. We have 200W of solar (fitted by Vanbitz) looking after 2 x 110ah batteries and a battery master.

Coffee machine is more difficult, but there are other ways of making good coffee, just as there are other ways of making toast.
This is true. Do you really need to take half your kitchen from home with you? Boil water in the kettle and use a caffetiere will make far better coffee than any of those instant machine things any day.
 
Apr 29, 2012
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oh to be at the mercy of the leisure industry. And pump lpg is so cheap now aswell...59pltr. We have a 250w home type panel, 12v controller, and 2000w inverter, running 2x110amp batteries, £500 the lot, and we hardly ever have hook up, summer or winter.
 

funflair

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Hi Pappajohn

Appreciate your comments

We've got 2 x 115 AH leisure batteries

Our biggest power requirement is a Nespresso coffee machine that uses 1200w for about 5 mins at a time.
We've also got at 250w towel rail that runs for 2 hours max, and Mrs C's hair dryer that uses 1700w for about 5 mins too....oh and there is a toaster which uses 750w for 5 mins
Hot water, kettle, heating and cooking (BBQ) runs off LPG

Regards
Robert
Hi Robert

We have the Nespresso machine running off two 80ah GEL batteries using 2kw inverter, if I watch the battery voltage while using the coffee machine it only draws maximum amps for a short period while it warms up, we also use a microwave for hot milk (4 minutes) and wife uses hair dryer, no problems as long as we get some sun and the 360 watts of solar charge it all back up in an hour or two ready for the next coffee or uncle bens rice.

You will need a pure sine wave inverter for the Nespresso machine to run.

Martin
 

Cal54

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Heated towel rail, what a luxury! I use a good quality face cloth after showering and then a towel, it's amazing how successful this arrangement is - no soggy towels. Face clothes can easily be rinsed through and having 2/3 available is ideal.
 
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Hi Robert

We have the Nespresso machine running off two 80ah GEL batteries using 2kw inverter, if I watch the battery voltage while using the coffee machine it only draws maximum amps for a short period while it warms up, we also use a microwave for hot milk (4 minutes) and wife uses hair dryer, no problems as long as we get some sun and the 360 watts of solar charge it all back up in an hour or two ready for the next coffee or uncle bens rice.

You will need a pure sine wave inverter for the Nespresso machine to run.

Martin
Martin

What inverter do you have ?
 
Dec 21, 2011
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With your Funster discount - you can have a week away (y)(y)

But 1st class work with a 1st class warranty does cost.

I suspect you will have years of service out of the equipment and it will never give you any problems. :):)
 
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what doesn't your present system do that you need to spend all that money, in our van we have an 110 battery and an 80 , I know you are not supposed to mix them but the 80 came free so stuck it in,but we used to manage with just the big one and we have never run out of battery,no solar no nowt and we are just now onour second European tour on Aires and fp
 
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