Which choice

kelpie

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Given the choice between solar panels or gasit refillable system, which would you go for?. Your thoughts would really be appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
John
 

Minxy Girl

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Difficult to answer without knowing your travel plans etc ... eg if you intend to wild camp or use sites, what time you intend to go away and for how long ... give a little bit more info please.
 
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kelpie

kelpie

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Both wild and sites , and all year I'm afraid. Got caught out last year by my spare gas bottle. Van takes two 13kg bottles , one ran out and when I tried to change over , the second bottle had a faulty thread and wouldn't screw on. All the time I was trying I was being eaten alive by bloody midges. Gasit should negate that problem.
The solar would hopefully let me stay on a wild for more than a day I imagine .
At this time I don't want to fit both, and that's where original question comes from.
Thanks ,
John

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EX51SSS

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Our choice was refillable cylinders albeit we chose Gaslow (other makes available) and have served us well. We have considered solar panels but we'd have to have a flexible panel as our roof doesn't have a big enough flat area to be practical and without ruining the look. We've done weekends away and our longest trip was 6 weeks touring and only occasionally used EHU when available otherwise it was on Aires up to 4 days but usually 2 days then move on.
The refillable system was our 'need' and solar was the next but never came around and tbf, we don't miss it and it's just another thing that could go wrong
 

mfw

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11kg refillable - exterior fill point - and adaptor can be done for £230 or less which would give you what you need and keep your old bottle usable as a spare that is using all new and only £12 to fill up

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Northernraider

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I fitted both..well I fitted a gas it instead of gaslow both looked the same but big difference in price.
The refillable gas has saved me a fortune up till now.
The solar ...hmmm not overly impressed at the minute and I'm a solo traveller who doesn't use a lot of electricity my engine running for an hour puts In more than the solar panels.

Refillable Gas saves you money and i opted for 2 bottles with manual changeover ...when ones empty I swap and go fill up so I never run out and I'm not guessing how much is in a bottle
 

Tincataylor

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Never leave a campsite with your clothes line tied to a lamp post.
Scenario #1......You are lovely and warm but its a bit dimpsy in the van, time to run the engine for a bit and charge the hab battery.

Scenario #2.......You are freezing to death in the van but at least the lights work.

The Tincas
 
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Solar Panels first. I have both but solar with a decent MPPT regulator would definitely be my first choice.
With a refillable gas system you have to find a garage for gas, which can be hard to find in many places. A lot harder to find than a calor exchange.

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kelpie

kelpie

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Thinking I might go for one refillable instead of the two I was hoping to do , covered if I 'm not near a garage with lpg. That would leave enough to do the solar set up as well.
Trying to keep the cost down:D.
Will do the figures today whilst I'm at home . Van needs mot , tried to take it couple of weeks ago and it snowed heavily. Hate when the weather dictates my time:).
Thanks to all who have taken time to answer(y)(y)(y)
John
 

mfw

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Thinking I might go for one refillable instead of the two I was hoping to do , covered if I 'm not near a garage with lpg. That would leave enough to do the solar set up as well.
Trying to keep the cost down:D.
Will do the figures today whilst I'm at home . Van needs mot , tried to take it couple of weeks ago and it snowed heavily. Hate when the weather dictates my time:).
Thanks to all who have taken time to answer(y)(y)(y)
John
pol to 21.8H is the adaptor you need for refillable and then your present propane hose will screw into it provided youre using propane
 

EX51SSS

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Solar Panels first. I have both but solar with a decent MPPT regulator would definitely be my first choice.
With a refillable gas system you have to find a garage for gas, which can be hard to find in many places. A lot harder to find than a calor exchange.
Hmmmmmm? Well tbf, we've travelled quite extensively throughout France, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy and never had a problem with finding LPG I tend to just glance around when 1 has been used and then fill up. Never encountered a problem anywhere

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kelpie

kelpie

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Hmmmmmm? Well tbf, we've travelled quite extensively throughout France, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy and never had a problem with finding LPG I tend to just glance around when 1 has been used and then fill up. Never encountered a problem anywhere
In the past couple of days I've been looking at gas systems. I don't know what I put in the search panel , but a thread appeared with an article regarding BP stations removing lpg "pumps" due to lack of sales . It seemed to concentrate on UK outlets , didn't say anything about mainland Europe though. The article implied some of the other major fuel stations might do the same.
Think I'll go with one refillable and one bought full. If I don't keep swmbo warm there could be trouble:D.
Back to net to check prices and capacities.
John
 

EX51SSS

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In the past couple of days I've been looking at gas systems. I don't know what I put in the search panel , but a thread appeared with an article regarding BP stations removing lpg "pumps" due to lack of sales . It seemed to concentrate on UK outlets , didn't say anything about mainland Europe though. The article implied some of the other major fuel stations might do the same.
Think I'll go with one refillable and one bought full. If I don't keep swmbo warm there could be trouble:D.
Back to net to check prices and capacities.
John
That's a reasonable way forward. I decided to go straight for 2 cylinders and manual change-over so I know when one is empty. I did think about similar but I had 1 calor and 1 BP lite so decided to sell those and go for 2.
I go to independent place here. Lot cheaper
 
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kelpie

kelpie

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That's a reasonable way forward. I decided to go straight for 2 cylinders and manual change-over so I know when one is empty. I did think about similar but I had 1 calor and 1 BP lite so decided to sell those and go for 2.
I go to independent place here. Lot cheaper
Yip , one of each for the moment . I could add second bottle fairly easily at a later stage , hopefully just the bottle and a connection between the bottles:).
Thanks again for your help.
John

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two

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If you have to ask, I guess that the pennies matter to you. In that case, I'd recommend neither. You can get by perfectly well without and may never recover the investment in either.
What were your reasons for asking?
 
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kelpie

kelpie

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Only had the van since last Feb and would like to do more winter trips. Long dark nights here , battery would take a thumping. If off site without hook up lots of gas for heating.
Thought of extra leisure batteries , but if I stopped for a couple of nights they would still need charging.
Not meant to sound the way it will ,but, money not the problem , just trying to decide which way to go.
Got to use the van more , or it's a waste of money:).
John
 

two

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Solar panels won't bring much joy in winter.
Rather than try to solve a potential problem, I'd wait until you know there is one and look at the exact nature of it. The solution should then become much clearer.

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kelpie

kelpie

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Solar panels won't bring much joy in winter.
Rather than try to solve a potential problem, I'd wait until you know there is one and look at the exact nature of it. The solution should then become much clearer.
If I wait for the problem that I KNOW will come it will be too late . The good lady's comfort is paramount. Similar to preventative maintenance, don't wait until a track rod fails if you know it's on it's way out.
 
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Only had the van since last Feb and would like to do more winter trips. Long dark nights here , battery would take a thumping. If off site without hook up lots of gas for heating.
Thought of extra leisure batteries , but if I stopped for a couple of nights they would still need charging.
Not meant to sound the way it will ,but, money not the problem , just trying to decide which way to go.
Got to use the van more , or it's a waste of money:).
John


John

Now we are getting the picture.

You are addressing two issues heating and 12v electricity, so first you have to choose which of those are more important.

Gas can of course be obtained in exchange bottle form. If you tour around the Continent you will be swapping one bottle for another in different countries, and maybe pigtails also, and even in countries where the bottles and gas are cheap I doubt not cheaper than LPG once re-fillable installation is made.

We fitted a Gaslow 11kg 8 years ago but kept the other Calor cylinder. Fitting is easy especially as we have an older 37Mb regulator which screws direct onto either cylinder. Our experience of use is that we have not had to touch the Calor back-up in 8 years - I try not to, because one then has to change cylinders. Got close to having to use it in Pyrenees - no LPG up the mountain, and we were coming down to change to next valley so had a 25km round-trip to LPG station - not bad once in 8 years. Calor is still full.

Now the electrical side. You only mentioned solar. You have since stated money is not a problem.

You want to use the MH in winter, and has been said you will not get much charge out of solar in winter, even with the sun out low angle, short days.

Have you considered Battery-to-battery(B2B) chargers? If you do not know them, they basically use the alternator to give a large charge to all batteries when the engine is driving the alternator, instead of the base vehicle Voltage Regulator shutting the charge down as soon as the vehicle battery is topped up [Very good description of function on Sterling website, who manufacture one B2B.

My experience with a 80Amp B2B is that it will top-up our 2x90Ah batteres on a 30 min. drive, which lasts us 2-3days. You could also run engine while parked to do same. As long as you have diesel in the tank you can charge, without sunshine.

I know I have introduced B2B when you only asked about Refillable gas and Solar, but I would go for the Gas and B2B before Solar, especially if Winter use is involved, but why not all three if money is there?

i and a mate fitted both Gaslow and B2B - so just cost of kit - and a dinner or two for him:D but tha is our normal social life.

Hope this helps.

Geoff
 

two

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If I wait for the problem that I KNOW will come it will be too late . The good lady's comfort is paramount. Similar to preventative maintenance, don't wait until a track rod fails if you know it's on it's way out.
Sounds, to me, like you need a better lady and, if money's no object, I wouldn't delay. :)

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kelpie

kelpie

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Hi nicholson ,
Thanks for your observations. I've only had this van for a year , but had another for two years which was written off. So far the longest we've been away in the van is nine nights spent on the Outer Hebrides during the summer. I would like to use the van more in the winter , hence the thoughts on ways to "power" the hab area:). We have always gone to sites ,but would like to experience waking up in the middle of nowhere without the sounds of Thetfords being pulled or carried to empty points, bad enough when your own waste disturbs your peace and quiet:D.
Will look into the B2B and extra batteries , not sure I would run engine whilst stationary, probably upset our legislative gurus:).
Thanks again for your answer
John
 
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kelpie

kelpie

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Sounds, to me, like you need a better lady and, if money's no object, I wouldn't delay. :)
Absolutely nothing wrong with the lady I've got thank you , but her comfort and well being is important to me ,as I'm sure it is to most men.
 

two

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I don't (yet) have solar on my van because I haven't found the need for it and need to watch my payload, but I do have refillables for the convenience of always setting out with a full supply of gas in winter.
On the electric side, I fitted a battery monitor to check my 12V capacity, and that's how I know that I don't need any additional input (or to reduce my consumption).

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In the past couple of days I've been looking at gas systems. I don't know what I put in the search panel , but a thread appeared with an article regarding BP stations removing lpg "pumps" due to lack of sales . It seemed to concentrate on UK outlets , didn't say anything about mainland Europe though. The article implied some of the other major fuel stations might do the same.
Think I'll go with one refillable and one bought full. If I don't keep swmbo warm there could be trouble:D.
Back to net to check prices and capacities.
John
@kelpie you might see a change on that filling station intention with the apparent move away from Diesel cars .
 
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Sounds like you're in the same position as me, refillable or solar, I think I'll go for a Diy refillable with an outside fill point . We don't normally stay anywhere for more than a day or two and got the biggest lesuire battery I could squeeze in under the drivers seat 110 AH. Also fitted led lights which makes a big difference to the 12v consumption
 
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kelpie

kelpie

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I don't (yet) have solar on my van because I haven't found the need for it and need to watch my payload, but I do have refillables for the convenience of always setting out with a full supply of gas in winter.
On the electric side, I fitted a battery monitor to check my 12V capacity, and that's how I know that I don't need any additional input (or to reduce my consumption).
What level of battery power have you in the van . Was tempted to add currently , but thought not:). In the last van I almost fitted extra batteries the week before being t boned by an idiot .
Need to spend a few quid , or sell the van and make a few quid:)
John

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kelpie

kelpie

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Sounds like you're in the same position as me, refillable or solar, I think I'll go for a Diy refillable with an outside fill point . We don't normally stay anywhere for more than a day or two and got the biggest lesuire battery I could squeeze in under the drivers seat 110 AH. Also fitted led lights which makes a big difference to the 12v consumption
Seen a video on self fitting the Gasit system , looks very straightforward , but as it's the only video I've found I wonder on the legality of self fit. If I go the self fit route I might get an "expert" to give it the once over:). Politicians are self proclaimed experts :D
John
 

two

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Seen a video on self fitting the Gasit system , looks very straightforward , but as it's the only video I've found I wonder on the legality of self fit. If I go the self fit route I might get an "expert" to give it the once over:). Politicians are self proclaimed experts :D
John
I self-fitted GasLow with ease. I fitted an internal bracket for the filler and never found the need to change it. An internal fill point makes it easier to keep when you move on (if you want to) and removes the need to drill though an outer skin. Use a leak detector to check the joints (or soap or a nose).

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