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Leisure battery how to keep it topped up.

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Post by Greyhound on Mon Nov 16, 2020 12:10 pm

streetglider wrote:Hi all, just bought a 2017 Nuevo so a question on the same (ish) theme - does the solar panel charge both the vehicle and leisure battery ?

Thanks

Don

As Dbvwt says, it will but 80W over winter in the UK with the inefficient EC500 can leave the batteries wanting.

A few of us did a workaround by fitting a more advanced solar controller and bypassing the EC500 completely so that the batteries are efficiently charged while the whole system is turned off (and so no unwanted drain from the system).  This should keep both batteries safe over winter.

For more security and for longer off grid, I fitted a second 80W to my Symbol so I have 160W total and now have no issues regarding power, definitely a worthwhile mod if the van is off grid or in storage without EHU for decent lengths of time.
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Post by streetglider on Mon Nov 16, 2020 4:16 pm

Thanks for your prompt replies. A can of worms indeed !
I'm no electrical wizard so 'solar controllers' leave me flummoxed. We use the Nuevo as often as possible throughout the year (though not at the moment obviously) so hope to keep charged with site EHUs. It's unlikely that the van would be unused for long periods and I can hook up at home if necessary. With these circumstances in mind is it likely to be a problem 
If the fitted solar panel can't keep things topped up what's the point of it ?

Don
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Post by Greyhound on Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:05 pm

streetglider wrote:Thanks for your prompt replies. A can of worms indeed !
I'm no electrical wizard so 'solar controllers' leave me flummoxed. We use the Nuevo as often as possible throughout the year (though not at the moment obviously) so hope to keep charged with site EHUs. It's unlikely that the van would be unused for long periods and I can hook up at home if necessary. With these circumstances in mind is it likely to be a problem 
If the fitted solar panel can't keep things topped up what's the point of it ?

Don

The fitted solar panel can keep up, it's the EC500 that's the problem.  The controller unit drains a large amount of power when it's on (the main push button switch rather than turning off the display) and the 'smart' function switches between the 2 batteries every 4 hours.  In winter, you may only get 4 hours decent sunlight, which means only 1 battery gets a decent charge on a given day.  If that happens routinely it doesn't take long for the charge to drop.

Turn off the EC unit to avoid the drain, and the 'smart' function turns off and only the one battery is charged by the solar, leaving the second to drop over time.  So the fault is the controller rather than the solar if you see what I mean and the reason bypassing it for solar charging is a common mod.  No problem if you're not up on solar electrics though, the storage you describe should be fine.  As long as you have access to EHU you can top up the batteries every now and again to stop the problem.

When I stored mine on the driveway, I used to have a timer plug on the EHU so that every night it would come on for a few hours to give a decent top-up charge while there was no sun for the solar and worked fine.
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Post by streetglider on Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:01 am

Thank you greyhound - now I understand. As you say, it seems our projected use, together with the occasional top up, will maintain both batteries together, a huge relief.
Of course it all assumes we'll be able to get away !!

Don  smile!
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Post by bolero boy on Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:24 am

in addition to Greyhound's explanation, the 'point' of solar power is to allow users the choice 'not' to be on campsites with ehu...
many new users tend to gravitate to Club type campsites early in their vanning 'career' as its the 'safe' option....plenty of facilities and that orange cable....
...but, as confidence grows, and the yearning to explore places where sites are thin on the ground, might lead to (say) a remote CL (certificated location) where there is no ehu, or even onto more inpromptu stopping, especially if your travels take you abroad, where such stopping places are abundant.
this is where solar power comes into its own, allowing users to be autonomous of cables, with their own battery power for lights, water pumps, tv and gas to heat your water or keep you warm.
there is a whole world out there where being tied to a bollard (and a white post) just isnt a consideration.
good luck.

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