Solar panel

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Solar panel

Post by Homer2 on Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:22 pm

Wonder if anyone can help?

I'm looking at fitting a solar panel to our Rienza, the roof mounting seems straightforward, but I'd appreciate if anyone can suggest the best route for the wiring to the underseat battery box.
Intention is to come down through the wardrobe but getting through the bathroom looks tricky. If anyone has achieved this I'd be interested to hear how it went.

Many thanks 

Homer
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Re: Solar panel

Post by Paulmold on Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:35 pm

On my Nuevo the wiring came into the wardrobe and everything linked into cabling inside the wardrobe. Trunking runs along the inside edge if the wardrobe so this was opened up to give access to the existing wiring. No need to go any further than that. Even a battery-master was wired in there as well. I didn't do this myself so can't give exact method.

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Re: Solar panel

Post by Greyhound on Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:45 pm

I did my Nuevo like that too, but we have the benefit of the bathroom being behind the wardrobe instead of in front of.

I didn't want to go into the existing wiring though and prefer to keep the solar running direct to the battery, so I guess that's the two options. Either wire into the existing or re-route.

To go direct I'd probably look at coming through the ceiling at the most forward point that has straightforward access i.e. ideally through the ceiling, on the wall immediately outside the bathroom and then run it down the wall in trunking where you can go easily to the front.

Even with the relatively low power of a solar panel, running wiring into the bathroom probably isn't a great idea.
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Re: Solar panel

Post by Homer2 on Sun Nov 06, 2016 4:56 pm

Thanks for the replies, I have considered wiring just as far as the control panel, only downside is that I thought that it would mean that I'd only be able to charge the leisure battery from the solar panel. 
Having said that, the control panel gives the option check and charge the vehicle battery so further investigation needed. 
I'll try and pop off the plastic bathroom wall panels in a couple places and have a look behind.....
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Re: Solar panel

Post by Greyhound on Mon Nov 07, 2016 9:30 am

I set my panel up to only charge the leisure battery.

No big deal to do both, but I don't see the point of charging the vehicle battery unless you're going to leave the van sat for months on end. The drain on the vehicle battery is so low it can go weeks without use and still fire the engine up no problem.
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Re: Solar panel

Post by Paulmold on Mon Nov 07, 2016 9:41 am

Noggin wrote:I set my panel up to only charge the leisure battery.  

No big deal to do both, but I don't see the point of charging the vehicle battery unless you're going to leave the van sat for months on end.  The drain on the vehicle battery is so low it can go weeks without use and still fire the engine up no problem.
You must be one of the few lucky ones. My previous Symphony would be dead after 3 weeks and the Nuevo used to be similar before we has the solar. Have you got an alarm? They seem to be the biggest drain.

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Re: Solar panel

Post by Peter Parkes on Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:26 am

Hi everyone,

Many thanks for your information posts.

This topic is very interesting to me as we will be picking up our Rienza on Friday and one of the projects to do will be fitting solar panels at some point. I fitted them to our Talisman GL and used them for both the engine and leisure batteries so I will keep an eye on this thread to learn what to expect.
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Re: Solar panel

Post by Greyhound on Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:57 am

No alarm, just lots of mechanical deterrents.

If drain is an issue then fair enough to link to both, the main battery only needs a small amount dedicating to it for trickle charging though.
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Re: Solar panel

Post by Redwink on Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:18 pm

Just a simple question, the leisure battery on my Nuevo is only 75 amps. Being under the driver seat it is the only size than fits. Just what small solar panel wattage can I get away with?
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Re: Solar panel

Post by KeithM on Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:55 pm

As big as you can fit, wattage and physically.

There is lots of discussion elsewhere as to the size (amps) that a charger (solar panel) should be.

The general thought is the maximum charge (amps) available should be between 10 and 15% of battery capacity.

In your case between 7.5 and 11.25 amps. about 80 watts plus

Anything less will not charge the battery* but may just about maintain the normal losses when in storage.

* well it will if its output is greater than the losses. but but no one has that long to live. wink02

Note:
in the UK the output of a solar panel is about 10% of maximum during the late Autumn to early Spring, even in our summers maximum output is rare thing
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Re: Solar panel

Post by Greyhound on Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:32 pm

This is a very good explanation:
https://www.photonicuniverse.com/en/how-to-choose/12V-solar-panel/

Basically the best way to look at it is the higher the wattage panel you use, the less sunshine you need to re-charge the power you've drained from the previous evening.

I have a similar battery to you and I have a 100W panel.  I found through summer the battery was fully charged by the late morning after about 3-4 hours sunshine no problem and the afternoon you're pretty much enjoying 'free' energy with no impact to the battery. I have large capacity USB phone/tablet chargers that I also charge during the day from the 'load' output of the solar controller and can then use them for any phone charging in the evening etc keeping the hab battery for the important stuff.

In winter the panel will struggle of course, as usage of lighting etc is higher during a longer evenings, and less quality sun the next day to re-charge.  Therefore if you want to go wild camping, get the biggest panel you can fit on the roof and a massive battery, but for normal use you should be fine with 100-150W and use EHU during winter trips if you can.

50W or less should really just be viewed as trickle chargers.
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Re: Solar panel

Post by Redwink on Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:58 pm

Thanks to all for the explanations. Noggin where is it fitted on your motorhome, do you have a photo? I have a status directional ariel fitted and have read somewhere not to have a shadow across the solar panel
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Re: Solar panel

Post by -mojo- on Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:20 pm

Redwink wrote:have read somewhere not to have a shadow across the solar panel

That's right - solar panels are internally wired in a way that means that if just one cell is shaded the total output is drastically reduced, so you need to avoid any location where a shadow is likely to fall anywhere on it.
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Re: Solar panel

Post by Greyhound on Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:42 pm

Mine is literally just behind the very large skylight.  You can stand on the bed and reach out the skylight to clean it which is handy.

You shouldn't shade them, but it'll be hard not too with that on the roof.  Don't forget the sun moves anyway so will change at times, and if you don't mind which way round you park just have the side of the van without the aerial facing south - not always possible but worth being aware of.

In terms of shade effects, some modern panels have bypass diodes so the effect is kept to a minimum, but it's hard to avoid some shadows when you have trees around etc.

Just take some time thinking how best to get the most out of the available roof space. 2 small panels linked might fit better out of the way than one larger panel stuck in the middle.
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Re: Solar panel

Post by Paulmold on Mon Nov 07, 2016 6:58 pm

This thread shows different panels and positions including mine ......

http://www.autosleeper-ownersforum.com/t12139-solar-panel-on-nuevo-es?highlight=Solar+panel

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Re: Solar panel

Post by Dave 418 on Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:49 pm

Hi Homer, wave There is a 100W solar panel fitted to our Rienza  on the n/s of the roof ,just behind the luton using the original roof rails for mounting. The wiring appears at the bottom of the n/s cab door pillar. This is close to the control box and small leisure battery under the passenger seat.
A large leisure battery is fitted in place of the vehicle auxiliary battery and linked to the control box. This was all fitted when the vehicle was fairly new. If we do use the van off grid I think we should last quite a while with this arrangement.
To make further use of the solar panel I have now fitted a battery master.
Hope this helps.

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Re: Solar panel

Post by Homer2 on Thu Nov 10, 2016 7:16 pm

Hi Dave
Thanks for that, wonder if you are able to post any photos please? I hadn't considered running wiring down that side.
Off to the classic car show at the NEC on Saturday, but I intend to have another look at Homer's wiring on Sunday.
Cheers
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Re: Solar panel

Post by Dave 418 on Thu Nov 10, 2016 8:33 pm

scratch head Hi Homer, Er I am not sure what pictures would show because the only pictures would be of the panel, the wiring is well hidden. My solar panel is farther back than I thought. I have just leaned out of the bedroom window for a look. Its rear edge is against the big rear vent front edge. The rails across my roof must be standard fitting I think. They appear to be fitted into the raised sides on the roof. It must have made fitting the panel easier I think.
The wiring runs forward towards the back edge of the luton into a junction box.
I must admit I havnt tried down loading pictures yet. think_smiley_46

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