Solar verses batteries (1 Viewer)

scotty1

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Mar 10, 2010
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2009
went to our local motorhome dealerto ask how much to have a solar panel fitted to our warwick duo ended up coming out having ordered 2x110 amp batts fitted instead.they have had to order low profile batts to fit under seats ( passenger one swivels) .Their advice because ileave it on hookup when in storage at home.when we are away we only do two or three nights wild then find site with hook up to recharge.est £450 inc parts and labour ?
 

SUGGY

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We have 2 x 90 amp batteries and 260 watts of solar , in the last year (265 sleeps in the van ) plus been away since Dec , we only used hook up about for 7 days last september cos it was included free at a THS in Newquay ,

your van alternater will top up your leisure batteries if you run your engine for 5 mins a day , (a lot less time and noise than a generator ),

solar is the way to go ...
 
Nov 30, 2009
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Since 2009 with motorhomes several caravans then tents before that.
We've solar and 2 trojan batteries in our Mizzi.
When Ralphs finished our "Pug" were going Victron blue solar and Victron AGM leisure Batteries.
 
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D

Deleted member 29692

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We've got 2x110ah batteries and 200W of solar and can go indefinitely without hookup. We've been away through the winter with no problems at all.

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Lenny HB

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Good choice always increase the battery bank first, then when you add solar you should have enough capacity for coping with dull rainy days.

We have 2 x 95 a/h AGM batteries & 2 x 100 w solar panels never been on a EHU.
 
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scotty1

scotty1

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Mar 10, 2010
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Fitter told us that if we fit 100 watt solar that we might pump in 3 or 4 amps oof charge( i think thats what he said). I am a total numpty when it comes to electric. So i am taking his advice.also i totaly respect you guys on here thatare always ready to help.
 

kglblue

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Nov 7, 2010
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We have a Swift Escape 622, the van only has 12v lighting, LED Lighting which uses hardly any battery power. We have a 100w solar panel on the roof which charges the leisure and the vehicle battery. We've stopped using electric hook ups, we don't need them. When we tour Europe, usually for 6 weeks, we stay on Aires or municipal campsites, without electric hook up, it's very cheap about 5 or 6 Euros a night.
 

kglblue

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I should add re the above, when we first started motor homing, we toured the UK, staying on caravan club or camping and caravan club sites, we were members of both. Nowadays we are members of neither, it was expensive to pay the membership fees, then to use their sites it was about £25 a night. Touring France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany using an ACSI card we pay 13 Euros a night sometimes less. I don't know why is so expensive in the UK, we have stayed on French municipal sites for 5 Euros a night with hook ups. The sites aren't luxurious, no swimming pools or bars etc. but basic is ok the facilities are clean and you get a warm welcome, and in my experience you get free wifi that you can actually use. I've met Brits on these sites who think the caravan club and the camping & caravan club have priced themselves out of the game, a view I now share. And the wifi you have to pay for on UK sites never works.
 
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scotty1

scotty1

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The 2 low profile 100 amp hr were £250 then there was cable and fittings rest was labour2-3hrs!!!

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Theonlysue

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Sep 14, 2009
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Not long enough!
I would say try and get the largest you can, or 2 smaller ones. It will free you up to wildcard for longer.
Sometimes it's more about where you can camp in some beautiful places.
It did seem a tad expensive for batteries, but then they are quite large.
 
Jul 23, 2013
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Should i still have panel fitted??

I personally would! When we bought our first van that was the first thing we asked for but as you've said in your first post that you do a few nights wilding, have you worried about how much power you had left? What about now that you've got the new batteries! Maybe you should see how you get on with them and you've always got the option to fit a solar panel at a later date or if you decide that your going to stay off the grid as much as possible ;)
 

Terry

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Should i still have panel fitted??
Just for info -you can buy a solar panel kit (100w) for around £150 ish -fitting time for a basic job around an hour inc coffee break :DNever recommended fitting solar as a first choice but since you now have the extra battery @150 quid they are now dirt cheap
terry
 
Jul 5, 2013
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Should i still have panel fitted??
Depends how you intend to use your motorhome. Two decent batteries will give you 3 or 4 days between charges in the summer, i.e. without any blown air or pumped water heating on, as long as you use LED lighting and a reasonably efficient 12V TV. If that is how you want to use your motorhome then you do not need anything more.

However if you want to spend longer periods wild camping or using Aires then you are going to need either solar or a generator. For us the solar wins hands down. We have 2 x 110Ahr batteries and 2 x 100W solar panels and we don't need to use a hook up at all, except in the winter in the UK. Mind you I fitted them all myself, and the lot probably didn't cost a lot more than what you are paying for the two batteries. It was very easy with all of the help available on this forum.

BTW the idea in the post above that your engine alternator will be able to charge up your batteries in "5 minutes" is incorrect. 5 hours more like, unless you have some pretty expensive B2B kit fitted, and even then it will be a lot more than 5 minutes.
 
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scotty1

scotty1

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I am going to france about 8 hrs down but will do it in a couple of stops dont know if there will be hup ,iknow that where we are staying there is no electric we will be there for 3 nightsthen we will slowly make our way back on a different route prob on hup the 1st night.also hoping that the 3-4 hrs driving will help to charge in between??

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Terry

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Can't remember ;)
I am going to france about 8 hrs down but will do it in a couple of stops dont know if there will be hup ,iknow that where we are staying there is no electric we will be there for 3 nightsthen we will slowly make our way back on a different route prob on hup the 1st night.also hoping that the 3-4 hrs driving will help to charge in between??
Suck it up and try it(y) I am sure your extra battery will be more than you need :)
terry
 

colinw

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We have a Swift Escape 622, the van only has 12v lighting, LED Lighting which uses hardly any battery power. We have a 100w solar panel on the roof which charges the leisure and the vehicle battery. We've stopped using electric hook ups, we don't need them. When we tour Europe, usually for 6 weeks, we stay on Aires or municipal campsites, without electric hook up, it's very cheap about 5 or 6 Euros a night.
Hi kglblue , how much battery power do you have ?
 
Aug 15, 2014
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scotty 1,
Perhaps a little like yourself I feel completely out of my depth regarding the fitment of solar panels, and leisure batteries, for that reason I left it to a company to install them for me.
Whilst it obviously costs more than doing it yourself should you have any problems with the installation you can then let them sort it out, isn't that what we pay for.
Great idea and saves money to do it yourself if you know what you are doing but if you don't know and things go wrong, and you were not sure what you were doing in the first place :whistle:
I have two 110amp leisure batteries and a 120 amp solar fitted, I will find out how it all performs this year having had a few problems with a previous system.
Have a great holiday.

Norman.
 
Oct 5, 2014
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we are also planning on an extra battery and or solar power advice would be much appreciated. Some questions first do both batteries have to be the same make and size, are there any batteries that other funsters would recomend for interior sighted leisure batteries. for wilding what usage have other people had with blown heating.Oue swift has led lighting but blown heating. we have an Elecsol 100ah caarbon fibre battery and it only runs tv for 5 hours:eek: on test. we dont watch much tv, but want to get it right because we intend to spend longer periods away off grid. Any help or advice would be much appreciated.
 

pappajohn

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your van alternater will top up your leisure batteries if you run your engine for 5 mins a day
No it won't.!!!!

To put back what you used the night before may take an hour or more running to replace depending on your power demands and the state of discharge.
An almost flat battery could take all day.

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pappajohn

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do both batteries have to be the same make and size,
No they don't....but same or similar age does help.
The charger, alternator or solar only see the batteries as one large battery regardless of individual capacities.

But...an older, less efficient, battery will 'pull down' a new battery to the old batteries capability.
 

magicsurfbus

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Solar's handy if you don't want to be dependent on EHU either when touring or in storage. If you're never more than 3 days away from a campsite and if you keep your van on the drive there's probably no point in having solar.

Personally I prefer the flexibility and the cost saving from aires and very basic campsites . I simply had an 85W panel wired up to my existing 110 Amp leisure battery, and I connect a temporary split relay charger to the cab battery when in storage.
 
Sep 23, 2013
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I would agree that increasing battery capacity was a necessary first step. Solar power generation is intermittent & generally performs at it's best when you need it least. So you need to be able to store it for when you need it.

If you only need to last a couple of days & your usage is light, then you may never need to add the solar panels. Only experience will tell you that - everyone's usage patten is different. Just watch that you don't drain the batteries though - batteries don't last long if you regularly drain them below 50% capacity.
 

Trikeman

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Should i still have panel fitted??

Go for it mate, you will never look back.
Just got back from three hard nights away (hard due to Wife being a freezer) and didn't touch the starter key or the EHU. Watched TV, DVD, Hot water, pumps, showers, toilet flushes, blowers, lights, radio and expelair - 08.30 this morning batteries full charge again, 2x 110amp'ers from 2x 100w panels in series through MPPT. Never used EHU since fitting them and certainly don't start the engine whilst away, even in the depths of winter.

Regards,

Trikeman. (y)

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