2014 Solar Panel

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2014 Solar Panel Empty 2014 Solar Panel

Post by Doonhamer5 on Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:49 pm

Our 2014 Malvern has a solar panel - will this be 40W?  How easy it it to replace/increase?
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2014 Solar Panel Empty Re: 2014 Solar Panel

Post by roli on Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:32 pm

It really depends on who fitted what. For example we ordered our Warwick without the standard sized (for AS) panel as I knew from experience it wouldn’t be big enough and we fitted a 100w panel

If the controller has a large enough rating then you could get away with just a panel swop but you do need to establish both size of control and your current panel

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2014 Solar Panel Empty Re: 2014 Solar Panel

Post by Doonhamer5 on Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:40 pm

I think it's just whatever came with the standard AS Malvern upgrade pack at the time, but I can't find anything in the manual.  The manual says the max we can fit is 120W.
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2014 Solar Panel Empty Re: 2014 Solar Panel

Post by Doonhamer5 on Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:46 pm

Here’s what we’ve got (it has since been cleaned!)

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2014 Solar Panel Empty Re: 2014 Solar Panel

Post by PLOUGHLIN on Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:36 pm

I have a copy of the AS Model Brochure dated Oct 2013. This shows the standard fitment for solar panel (part of the Premium pack) was a 30W panel, upgradeable to 80W. The one in your picture is not 80W, so is probably 30W if you have the Premium Pack.

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2014 Solar Panel Empty Re: 2014 Solar Panel

Post by Doonhamer5 on Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:42 pm

Thanks - that’ll be what it is.  Think we will replace!  

Is there anything specific we need to worry about with connectors or can we just buy one and replace it?  I saw on another thread about using a plastic chopping board for reinforcement!  I’d like to take it into the local caravan centre but everything there seems very expensive.
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2014 Solar Panel Empty Re: 2014 Solar Panel

Post by frenchy on Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:56 pm

Its not something I've done and it may not be technically possible, but looking at your photograph there seems to be plenty of space to add an extra panel and just connect it in parallel to the existing wiring on the roof?
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2014 Solar Panel Empty Re: 2014 Solar Panel

Post by CC on Sat Jan 19, 2019 4:22 pm

I’d just replace it for minimum 100w along with new regulator setup, whyever do Auto-Sleeper fit such miserly panels? 30w is a joke its not even worth making a hole in your roof for in my opinion. 

If you dont fancy fitting yourself just head to one of the motorhome shows in the coming months, they’ll fit it on site & be much cheaper than most companies that come out to you at home.

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2014 Solar Panel Empty Re: 2014 Solar Panel

Post by Doonhamer5 on Sat Jan 19, 2019 4:26 pm

CC wrote:I’d just replace it for minimum 100w along with new regulator setup, whyever do Auto-Sleeper fit such miserly panels? 30w is a joke its not even worth making a hole in your roof for in my opinion. 

If you dont fancy fitting yourself just head to one of the motorhome shows in the coming months, they’ll fit it on site & be much cheaper than most companies that come out to you at home.
Yes - been looking on Amazon at 100W ones.  If the charge management copes with 120W that should be OK?

Good idea about the motorhome shows - I’ll check and see if there’s anything workable.
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2014 Solar Panel Empty Re: 2014 Solar Panel

Post by CC on Sat Jan 19, 2019 4:34 pm

I cant answer your query im afraid as I fitted a 100w panel to our Broadway and simply wired it to the Sargent inbuilt regulator with a dedicated harness kit. I would have gone for a much bigger panel had it not been for the 100w limit set by the sargent controller, which is why if i was doing it again I’d just go through a dedicated regulator. You have a lot of free roof space so i’d get the biggest panel you can aford, Photonic Universe were very helpful when I purchased my panel through them.

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Post by Doonhamer5 on Sat Jan 19, 2019 4:59 pm

Thanks - will also look at Photonic Universe
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2014 Solar Panel Empty Re: 2014 Solar Panel

Post by Paramedic on Sat Jan 19, 2019 4:59 pm

Yep, by the way your panel is positioned (length ways) it is 30 watt. Our 2013 van surprisingly has the 80w when the brochure at the time stated 30w. The panel is secured by four screws which can be plugged to make watertight. If ours had only the 30w, most certainly would have replaced with the 120w and now likely to do so with the 80w. You will probably need to confirm with say, Mark Burdett at A/S if your existing cabling is sufficient to meet the needs of the larger SP. I replaced the tiny SP on our previous Broadway for a 40w using the existing cabling mounted by four corner brackets as I didn't want to make more holes in the roof. Your Malvern on the MB, is the same configuration to our Peugeot Broadway FB. The corner mounting method using adhesive takes up more space on the roof so to make sure the SP fitted in the space available, I made a cardboard template so as to easily move about and position correctly. I can PM you our telephone no if you want further info. Regards.

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2014 Solar Panel Empty Upgrading solar panel

Post by rventhusiast on Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:15 pm

I also wish to change the small A/S solar panel for something more like 120w and had the same questions in my mind. The 2013 Worcester is fitted with the Sergent EC-500 mated to the EC-480 control panel. I believe, from reading the handbook, that the small solar panel is wired directly to a regulator built into the EC-500 which then allows it to be connected into the Smart charge.

On my previous Hymer the Schaudt Electrobloc had this capability but a 120w panel had been wired directly to the leisure batteries via a cheap PWM regulator and then a B2B charger wired from the back of the Electrobloc to charge the engine battery. Not quite what Hymer or Schaudt intended. So I removed the B2B charger and cheap regulator replacing them with a Votronic MPPT regulator wired into the solar input of the Electrobloc with a proper harness/connector. The difference was astounding.

So, I would really like to do something like this on the Worcester if it is possible but I really don't know if the Sergent built in regulator is a good MPPT one? 

If yes and can handle 120w then can the replacement panel simply be wired direct to that solar input thereby keeping it connected to the Smart charge? 

If not, does this mean getting a good MPPT regulator (like the Votronic) and connecting the panel to that then to the leisure/engine batteries - but how will the Smart charger know what solar charge is coming in?

Finally, I have been impressed with the new MiPv flexible solar panels. They seem to be technically advanced compared to traditional flexible panels giving a better solar harvest in daylight rather than just sunlight. However, some people think having no air gap beneath the panel is not good but again, MiPv claim it does not heat up as much as traditional panels. Anyone had any experience specifically of these?

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Post by Doonhamer5 on Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:52 pm

Paramedic - thanks - that’s hugely useful.  Once we work out what we’re going to do we might take you up on your offer.  Sounds like it might be the simplest option if it’s possible.

rventhusiast - look forward to seeing what people say.
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Post by Molly3 on Sun Jan 20, 2019 1:24 am

Go for the 120 W panel  or the max that your  controls panel will take  .my 30 W  panel was useless .
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2014 Solar Panel Empty Re: 2014 Solar Panel

Post by ajrm on Sun Jan 20, 2019 7:46 am

We had a 30 watt panel on our Broadway, rather than remove that panel,I added an 80 watt panel. Our Sargent controller could cope with 120 watts so it was within limits. 
It all worked fine, keeping the batteries charged when not on hook up ( which we rarely were). 
I spliced the new panel wiring into the original, but the original cabling was very thin, much thinner that it should be. I was going to replace all the cables with proper sized ones, but never got round to it as it all seemed to work.

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2014 Solar Panel Empty Re: 2014 Solar Panel

Post by Mike187 on Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:16 am

I replaced our 30W panel with a 120W and have had no problem with discharged batteries in storage since. I posted some pictures on this thread. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]


Relatively easy to do, in fact at the same time I took off the TV arial as it cast a shadow on the panel and we don't take a television with us and that was the hardest part of the whole job.

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2014 Solar Panel Empty Re: 2014 Solar Panel

Post by Doonhamer5 on Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:30 am

That’s a great thread Mike!  
Interesting about the TV aerial, we never use ours either.  I’d thought about satellite but now realise that we’d never use it either, and solar is a better use of roof space.
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2014 Solar Panel Empty Re: 2014 Solar Panel

Post by Paramedic on Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:15 pm

Hi Doonhamer5, Mike187's photo shows clearly the mounting brackets to affix the panel to the roof that I'm sure you will agree look very smart. These are similar as on our previous Broadway. The panel was placed on a piece of cardboard, laid on the floor with the corner brackets in situ, traced around to form a template. Regards

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2014 Solar Panel Empty Re: 2014 Solar Panel

Post by Doonhamer5 on Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:41 pm

Hi, yes the fitting looks great.  We are swithering between rigid - in which case we will do exactly as you suggest - or semi-flexible.  Tempted because it is half the weight, although it does look possibly more difficult to handle.  This one also only has 1m cable:
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I think this is the rigid one that would suit - fitting kit £47.99
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Post by rgermain on Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:04 pm

I bought a 120w rigid panel from photonicuniverse and I am very pleased with some 2.5 years ago. Only problem I had was that the MC4 connectors which came fitted would have required a rather large hole to be drilled in the roof to pass through, so I cut them off and just used an electric type block to join onto the solar connector on the power pack.
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2014 Solar Panel Empty Re: 2014 Solar Panel

Post by Mike187 on Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:29 pm

Doonhamer5 wrote:
I think this is the rigid one that would suit - fitting kit £47.99
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That is the one I used, Photonic Universe are very helpful if you have any questions. 

As Richard says you don't need the MC4 connectors but remember to mark the positive wire before you pass it through the roof or you will have no idea which is which.

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Post by Doonhamer5 on Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:47 pm

Thanks!  It’s good to hear from people who’ve actually fitted these things.  Think we’ll give Photonic Universe a call to get their views on which to go for. 

We may need to wait months for it to stop raining to get it fitted!  A rigid one might be easier in that respect.
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2014 Solar Panel Empty Re: 2014 Solar Panel

Post by Mike187 on Sun Jan 20, 2019 7:10 pm

The Sikaflex adhesive needs needs a minimum temperature of (I think) 10 C so unless you can get the van inside it will be awhile before you can fit it if doing it in the open.

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Post by Doonhamer5 on Sun Jan 20, 2019 7:36 pm

In that case it will definitely be a while!
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