Solar Panel advice request.

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Solar Panel advice request. Empty Solar Panel advice request.

Post by BML on Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:12 pm

As Autumn comes closer I've reached the decision to have a Solar Panel fitted and am looking for some advice and am willing to be told my suggestions don't make sense.
MY camper is a 2002 Autosleeper Polensa.
No TV, main need is lighting, charging smart phones and laptop.  My wife mentioned a Hair Dryer and a Coffee Maker.  I hope it will charge the batteries over Winter.
I think it might be worth placing the panel on the roof where it won't be knocked over.
I spoke to someone who told me his 60 wat with a built in regulator is great.
I then spoke to someone who showed me his set up with a separate regulator and a 1200 solar panel with two batteries.
I asked a major Motor Caravan supplier about fitting a Solar Panel and one of their figures were two batteries at £140.each.
I'm not into electrics so I need to have it fitted.
I would welcome any comments or suggestions.
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Post by Roopert on Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:24 pm

Probably the best first step is to assess what space constraints you have on the roof. There's no point in planning to have 150W (or whatever) of panel on the roof if it won't physically fit!

Now, back to your power needs. The first sentence suggests a moderate requirement:

BML wrote:main need is lighting, charging smart phones and laptop. 

And then the second sentence completely obliterates the moderate requirement!

BML wrote:My wife mentioned a Hair Dryer and a Coffee Maker.

Both of these will (probably) require an inverter and serious amounts of power. If those really are requirements then that will transform your installation - especially the hair dryer. Nobody is likely to want to use a hairdryer with a rating of less than 1200W, and many are near double that. Simple maths and the equation IV=W gives you a current loading of 100 Amps on the battery, which is not trivial.

So... I would suggest you need to decide whether those items really are requirements.

On a more general level, I would say that these days there is not a lot of point in considering a panel of less than 100W, provided you have space for it, and that outputs up to 150W are nowhere near as expensive as they were. We installed a semi-flexible150W panel and fairly basic solar controller in the Trooper, plus an upgraded split charge system, around 3 years ago now, and IIRC we spent less than £300 in total, DIY.

You could of course go bigger than that, with more batteries, though if your requirements really are moderate, you probably don't need to.
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Post by BML on Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:52 pm

Many thanks, very helpful.  I'll tell the wife, Roopert said no hair dryer and drink tea.
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Post by Wolfie on Sun Aug 18, 2019 11:19 am

Hi BML
Have sent you an e-mail
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Post by Roger G on Sun Aug 18, 2019 2:01 pm

Hi BML,

Definitely forget high drain domestic type appliances unless you are on 240v hookup. As previously mentioned lower consumption 12v items like chargers, lights, water pump etc will be fine with a solar panel charger. I would suggest 100w is a good sized panel that should fit on your roof ok, but maybe 150w if you have the space. 

I recently fitted a 100w solar system to my 1993 Clubman and here is the link to the thread [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] Another forum member fitted an identical setup and has reported that it is working fine.

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Post by easylifer on Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:13 pm

BML wrote:Many thanks, very helpful.  I'll tell the wife, Roopert said no hair dryer and drink tea.
Excuse me. I am younger and even I remember coffee pots that sat on the hob. Just think of the exercise you will get grinding. content
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Post by Roger G on Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:25 am

easylifer wrote:
BML wrote:Many thanks, very helpful.  I'll tell the wife, Roopert said no hair dryer and drink tea.
Excuse me. I am younger and even I remember coffee pots that sat on the hob. Just think of the exercise you will get grinding. content
I thought a cup of coffee was just a spoonful out of the jar and some hot water from the kettle. In the van we like everything simple, so even tea is now a spoonful of Quickbrew Instant tea with not even milk needed. It's actually quite nice  Whistle1

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Post by BML on Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:45 pm

Roger very kindly came over this morning and allowed me to pick his brain on the matter of Solar Panels and I will take it from there.
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