Solarpanelconfused.com!!

Feb 9, 2018
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Hi All, I'm planning my first off grid trip in a couple of weeks and not sure if my battery is up to the job, so thought I'd invest in a solar panel. I've been reading through all the previous threads but am now even more confused. I need, I believe at least 100w, portable (as I'm a girl and not up to climbing on the roof!) and with clip things to attatch to the battery, I have up to £200 to spend, can anyone advise me on the best one to get please? I have an Elddis Autoquest 4 berth (although there's only me in it :)). Thanks.
 
Jan 19, 2014
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This is the sort of thing you are looking at.
https://www.photonicuniverse.com/en...ny-other-12V-system---German-solar-cells.html
And while the portable panels are good you do have security issues if you want to be away from the van for a bit...
Also to get the best out of them you will have to be adjusting the position a bit to keep it in sunlight...
You will also need to make some provision for attaching it to your battery...
Just a few pointers... to consider before deciding on what to do...
And

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tonka

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Jul 2, 2008
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A second battery first as @jezport states..
Instantly doubles your capacity.
Depending on age of van, if you dont have LED lights then look to upgrade to them.

Then save and get a solar on the roof, fit and forget..
Solar will do very little this time of year, As a free investment maybe just understand what power certain devises take...
If in doubt just ask on here.. (y)(y)
 

Popeye

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(as I'm a girl and not up to climbing on the roof!)

What? Don't let @Minxy Girl and several others hear you say that:Eeek:

minty-girlsroof-732.png
 
Jan 26, 2017
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The need for more battery power is dependant on your 12volt usage.

We have a 100w solar panel and a 'tiny' 75Ah battery plus a battery master, no telly but do keep our phones and a laptop charged, plus all lighting is LED.. with this setup we can stay without EHU almost indefinitely.

Certainly all over winter the van parked up out outside, both leisure and starter battery remain fully charged, usage over the Christmas as a spare room, showed no major drain at all, even with 3-4 inches of snow on the solar panel both batteries are being charged (albeit at a low rate).

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william morgan

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Nov 9, 2017
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I am with you on this one, Les, we have a 100w panel,2x75ah batteries,300w inverter,mainly for the tv and phone chargers,yes I know I can charge phones on 12v, bit while the tv, a 45w one, is on its convenient, my batteries are are always kept charged, even in the winter in storage all lghts are led by the way.
 
Feb 8, 2014
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@Ginster We managed with a 40w panel and 2 batteries and put the panel through the sky light onto the roof so no issue with security.

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May 7, 2016
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I’m not so sure about the second battery coming first. If your daily battery usage is heavy then a second battery may well be needed but if you fully use the capacity of 2 batteries then you need twice as much solar power to replenish them.
One advantage of a portable panel is that you can angle it to catch the full sun. A fixed horizontal panel on the roof may be convenient but is not going to catch as much sun, particularly at this time of year in the uk. Even on the south coast the sun is only 39 degrees above the horizon in March.
This link is handy for finding out the sun angle http://solarelectricityhandbook.com/solar-angle-calculator.html
 
Jan 26, 2017
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Four Years and 17,000 Miles.
But with 1 battery and a solar panel in the winter or when theres no sun you are still back to the 1 day, what then?
Never had a situation when the solar is not charging at all other than at night.
 

hilldweller

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Dec 5, 2008
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But with 1 battery and a solar panel in the winter or when theres no sun you are still back to the 1 day, what then?

Yes indeed, no-one said this was easy.

Same applies to toilet cassettes "I carry a spare cassette". OK so now you have two days to find a dump instead of one.

The battery has to be topped up sooner or later. Now two batteries take twice as long to charge as one.

A lot depends on camping. Drive a distance every day, no problem. Want to stay a week, big problem.
 
Jul 29, 2013
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The poor girl is even more confused now! All she wanted to know was what solar to get and with only a couple of hundred pounds that will take some finding to do an extra battery and a panel.
As she says she will not be clambering on the roof and probably want some assistance with a battery.(y)(y)(y) Only saying

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May 7, 2016
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Perhaps the most directly helpful post was @andy63 who pointed towards a photonic universe panel that would do what @Ginster wants. I have been using one of these for a couple of years now to keep the engine battery topped up and run alarms, tracker etc in the winter. Does the job well and is a complete unit with built in controller.
I also have another system for leisure battery but more expensive and involved fitting mppt controller so probably not what is being looked for in this case.

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OP
Ginster
Feb 9, 2018
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Er, I do do most things myself and am a very young 63' but..... I have no idea what capacity the battery is, the MH is 12 years old but only clocked 20,000 miles, no led lights and a 'normal' TV. No idea how to connect up a second battery, but I've heard you use crocodile clips to connect a panel?
 

hilldweller

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Er, I do do most things myself and.......

....even more confused not. The trick on FUN is spotting the tongue in cheek humour.

12 years and 20k, that's terrible, I hope you do better. But having said that, there are those who equate miles to quality of trip and just never stop moving, that's also terrible in my opinion.

We did do 5 weeks in Benidorm a few years ago, better price, but we were not enjoying it towards the end. A week or two and move on, that works for us.
 
OP
Ginster
Feb 9, 2018
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....even more confused not. The trick on FUN is spotting the tongue in cheek humour.

12 years and 20k, that's terrible, I hope you do better. But having said that, there are those who equate miles to quality of trip and just never stop moving, that's also terrible in my opinion.

We did do 5 weeks in Benidorm a few years ago, better price, but we were not enjoying it towards the end. A week or two and move on, that works for us.
I agree, I've been away three times since Christmas for short stays just to get used to the van and all its gadgets , have booked for a couple of days at a C&MHC meet off grid but not sure if the battery alone would be enough, hence my question.

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hilldweller

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couple of days at a C&MHC meet off grid but not sure if the battery alone would be enough, hence my question.

Before solar I used to estimate 3 days out of our 80Ah battery. We had all LED lighting which helps a great deal but usually watch a film on TV at night, however, very cold and use of blown heating easily knocks a day of that.

Last November we grabbed a bit of winter sun in Southport and our 100W flat panel had the battery topped up by midday. The 120W kit mentioned looks very workable with the slight disadvantage you have to keep you eye on it all the time whereas in Southport we just go into town for a coffee.
 
OP
Ginster
Feb 9, 2018
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Before solar I used to estimate 3 days out of our 80Ah battery. We had all LED lighting which helps a great deal but usually watch a film on TV at night, however, very cold and use of blown heating easily knocks a day of that.

Last November we grabbed a bit of winter sun in Southport and our 100W flat panel had the battery topped up by midday. The 120W kit mentioned looks very workable with the slight disadvantage you have to keep you eye on it all the time whereas in Southport we just go into town for a coffee.
Yeah, they're a thieving' lot down here! But seriously many thanks for all the responses, I think I'll go for the solar panel. Cheers
 

Minxy Girl

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Aug 22, 2007
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Since 1996 we've had Elddis, Swift, Rapido, Rimor, Chausson MHs and Autocruise & Globecar PVCs
You can get a 100w semi-flexible panel on Ebay for about £80, these are easier to fit as you just stick them onto the roof itself (some come with an adhesive backing on already or just use some Sikaflex type adhesive), you then need a regulator to feed it through to your control unit which don't have to been expensive or difficult to fit.

Next get some LED bulbs for all of the lights you use a lot and if you can replace your TV with a less power-hungry one or don't go mad watching it for hours on end.

If you still have some dosh left then a second leisure battery would be a good idea if the original one is not too old, alternatively replace it with as large a one as you can fit to increase your capacity.
 
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