Wire solar panel to existing leisure battery?

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Wire solar panel to existing leisure battery? Empty Wire solar panel to existing leisure battery?

Post by janice171 on Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:39 pm

Hi,

I am planning a trip to Morocco in January in my '95 Symphony and exploring options to extend the leisure battery life when EHU is not available. I wouldn't expect to be away from EHU for more than 7 days.
My leisure battery is 85ah.
I've looked on this forum but can't find specific answers to the following...

  1. Can I use a solar panel with the existing leisure battery?
  2. If so how does this actually connect?
  3. Or would I be better off with a Smart Charger than a solar panel (if i've correctly understood what a Smart Charger does)? What are the advantages and disadvantages of both scenarios?
  4. Does anyone have any recommendations for monitoring battery usage…the bluetooth monitors (https://smartercharger.com/products/battery-sense/) look pretty good but have so-so reviews.


Thanks for any help

Janice
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Wire solar panel to existing leisure battery? Empty Re: Wire solar panel to existing leisure battery?

Post by -mojo- on Thu Oct 26, 2017 1:24 pm

On a '95 van - assuming it's original in terms of electrics - things should be relatively simple.

Yes, you can connect direct from the solar controller (you need one for any panel above around 10 Watts) to the leisure battery. There are a few situations on more recent vans where you can't, but that should not apply to you.

Even in January I would expect a fair amount of power can be had from a panel in Morocco - but I confess I don't actually know what weather conditions are like there then! But I would think a 100W panel should be good enough, and 150W panels are not a great deal more expensive these days. You may be more constrained by what will fit on the roof than anything else.

As long as you run your fridge on gas (i.e. it has not been replaced with a 12V compressor fridge) I would think you could get up to 7 days use from your leisure battery, but it really does depend what electrical loads you will have (e.g. if you expect to be watching satellite TV 8 hours a day then it probably won't last).

I'm not sure how a Smart Charger would help, because - unless I misunderstand what you mean - it won't do any charging at all while you are off EHU!

The simplest approach to battery monitoring is just to observe the battery voltage - for which a £3 Chinese voltmeter is adequate. More complex battery monitors may give a little more info but they are slightly more complicated to wire up (usually they need a "shunt" on the battery) and they can't easily account for the way that battery capacity changes as it ages.
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Wire solar panel to existing leisure battery? Empty Re: Wire solar panel to existing leisure battery?

Post by Greyhound on Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:58 am

It also depends on your electric usage.

If you have LED internal lights and nothing too power hungry a 100W panel wired directly to the battery (via charge controller) will be fine.

I managed a long weekend in January in Shropshire with a 100W panel with no issues, so a week in Morocco should be fine, especially if you might be doing the odd bit of driving during the day which will charge the batteries up as well.
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Wire solar panel to existing leisure battery? Empty Re: Wire solar panel to existing leisure battery?

Post by janice171 on Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:16 pm

Thanks for the replies.
I don't have a TV but I would possibly want to charge my laptop which i figure will be the most power hungry appliance i have.

Thanks again.
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Wire solar panel to existing leisure battery? Empty Re: Wire solar panel to existing leisure battery?

Post by matchlessman on Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:54 pm

Solar panels are brilliant if you are parked up for a few days, but if you are driving around a bit may not be necessary. Less than an hours driving should bring the leisure battery up to full, or 4 to 5 hours sunshine if just parked. (Assuming Moroccan sunshine in January is equivalent to England in July).
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Wire solar panel to existing leisure battery? Empty Re: Wire solar panel to existing leisure battery?

Post by Greyhound on Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:01 am

janice171 wrote:Thanks for the replies.
I don't have a TV but I would possibly want to charge my laptop which i figure will be the most power hungry appliance i have.

Thanks again.

Do you 'need' a laptop?

If for work etc then fair enough, but if just for browsing internet etc, I just use a tablet.  Far less power hungry and easily charged off lithium power packs that can last ages and charged up during the day off solar or when the engine is running.
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