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Cant see the Point of Solar

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Cant see the Point of Solar Empty Cant see the Point of Solar

Post by Bigplumbs Sun Nov 20, 2022 5:21 pm

Now I bought a solar set up with an expensive victron Charge Controller (total cost so far £250). Have not fitted it yet.

Now given that when on the road the engine charges both batteries, Most of our lights are Led, Only other drains are a TV and a few other low use devices and I don't think the fridge will work off the Leisure battery I am kind of not seeing the point of Solar.

I suspect we would use the van to travel at least every other day when away so surely the battery would keep well charged in that time and would work for 2 days/evenings.

If I am right here why are people so mad keen on solar ?

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Post by Cymro Sun Nov 20, 2022 5:29 pm

But what happens when the vehicle is laid up for a few weeks at a time, with no EHU? 

Whilst good batteries on your 2004 Nuevo should hold their charge for quite some time, it is a comfort to have them topped up and maintained in good condition by solar (assuming no EHU). That's even more important on more modern vans which, I'm told, suffer discharge of batteries because of the alarm system and associated electronics.  

Nevertheless, a solar system is hardly essential, unless all your use of the van is off-grid. But it's fashionable!

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Post by rogerblack Sun Nov 20, 2022 5:41 pm

I guess it depends on your usage of the van and where you keep it when not in use.

In our case, we never wild camp, we mainly use either full facility sites or CLs/CSs most of which have EHU - if they don't we can manage fine for a night or two.

Whether at home in Fife or Berkshire, the van is parked on our drive and we have external connections to keep EHU attached when required.

So I have never seen the need for solar for our circumstances.

However I can fully understand those who do have a need and enjoy reading about it to keep up to date, should our needs ever change. Although in fairness, it does seem to be problematical at times.

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Post by Relaxez-Vous Sun Nov 20, 2022 5:56 pm

Modern vans have fancy electronics, CAN bus for example, this meant that the old analogue and manual on-off switches that A-S used to fit to their conversions were no longer simple to integrate into the modern base vehicles' electronics.

It irritates me no end that our Peugeot radio that mates with the fancy stereo speakers that A-S fitted in our 2019 Kemerton XL (and we paid for) turns off after 20 minutes. We use instead a small Roberts DAB portable which we can control. The stereo speakers mostly go unused, we have no passengers in the back listening to the radio when we are on the road. A-S sourced a Peugeot Boxer for our conversion that is more set up for a delivery driver than being converted into a motorhome mostly on EHU.

If you're not camping off-grid and usually have EHU even at home, solar is far less of a priority. Fitting a Battery Master might be an advantage to give your vehicle battery a trickle charge to keep its voltage up when on EHU, and save you having to manually switch your 12V supply when on EHU to charge your vehicle battery if staying on a campsite for several days.

PS: I am less irritated now we use our Roberts DAB portable radio.
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Post by Bigplumbs Sun Nov 20, 2022 9:09 pm

Well I am not too worried about battery drain when not in use as our van is 2004 so no fancy stuff. 

I have 5 cars and about 7boats with batteries so I just accept that batteries die and need replacing at times. It is actually not half as bad as people think.

I also think solar is as commented above more of a fashion statement than a necessity.

If I drive for more than 1 hour a day the alternator tops up the battery completly.

So sadly my complete kit will stay in the shed until I find a use for it. I aint drilling a hole in the roof of our van for something that is I think rather pointless

I could easily plug in my van and indeed my boat when not in use but I actually think having such things plugged in when you are not in or close to them is asking for trouble.

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Post by IanH Sun Nov 20, 2022 10:01 pm

Apart from me the most important thing on our van is the solar system, but not everyone will either agree or understand scratch head
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Post by IanH Sun Nov 20, 2022 10:09 pm

Bigplumbs wrote:Now I bought a solar set up with an expensive victron Charge Controller (total cost so far £250). Have not fitted it yet.

Now given that when on the road the engine charges both batteries, Most of our lights are Led, Only other drains are a TV and a few other low use devices and I don't think the fridge will work off the Leisure battery I am kind of not seeing the point of Solar.

I suspect we would use the van to travel at least every other day when away so surely the battery would keep well charged in that time and would work for 2 days/evenings.

If I am right here why are people so mad keen on solar ?
If it helps you, and especially this being black friday week, I'll offer you £50 for the lot and can collect up! hugegrins hugegrins hugegrins hugegrins
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Post by Roopert Sun Nov 20, 2022 10:14 pm

On our Trooper, it's a useful extra that means we never need to worry about either battery when it's not in use during the winter.

On our Celex, it's essential - it has a compressor fridge which would not be viable off-grid without solar.

Whether you can see the point or not depends on how you use your van.
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Post by Caraman Sun Nov 20, 2022 10:58 pm

Bigplumbs wrote:...

If I drive for more than 1 hour a day the alternator tops up the battery completly.

....
I'm surprised. It normally takes much longer than an hour to return a 100Ah leisure battery from 50% SOC to 100% SOC.  I understand that driving is not the quickest way of recharging the leisure battery as the fridge will be taking quite bit of power from it.  This was certainly my experience when towing a caravan although the voltage drop caused by the longer cables may have had something to do with it.
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Post by Sally Sun Nov 20, 2022 11:35 pm

I’m not surprised that some people have no need for solar for their circumstances. But I confess to being a little surprised that they can’t see how others could benefit.
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Post by Caraman Mon Nov 21, 2022 8:01 am

The longest we have been off-grid without driving off-pitch, which we don't normally do, is 4 nights at the Totnes CAMC site.  We couldn't have done this without solar.   

When we left Totnes the leisure battery was not fully charged and nor was it when 2 hours later we reached our next site.  It was only the mains charger/EHU at that site that got it back to full charge again. 

I've since done the solar MPPT regulator mod so we can perhaps go longer off-grid or do it with more confidence.

As everyone has said, it's down to how the van is used and whether it has a later Sargent power control system like the EC700 which on its own consumes about 7Ah a day and that's without using any of the habitation electrics.
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Post by FreelanderUK Mon Nov 21, 2022 8:26 am

Horses for courses, each to there own, if you pitch up only  on site’s  with EHU or drive every day between sites you can do with out solar and would benifit more from a DC to DC charger, when finished your trip plug the the EHU in when home to keep the battery charged,

We use temp holiday sites and sites with no EHU so solar benifits us, we can do 10 days and more just on solar and that includes charging the wife’s mobility scooter

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Post by bikeralw Mon Nov 21, 2022 9:27 am

I'm thinking of uprating our existing solar next year as the 85w panel is now almost 14 years old and its efficiency may well be dropping off.
We rarely use EHU, on a continental trip it might only be on three or four occasions. 
Like BB we move on every second day or so, but lying in bed in the mornings it's comforting to see the little green LED light up on the battery master, which indicates the solar has charged the leisure battery to 100% and is directing charge to the vehicle.
As has been said, it's fit and forget in the winter months when the van isn't in use, negligible drain on an old van means both batteries are kept topped up. I only plug in at home the day before a trip to cool the fridge.
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Post by Richard G Mon Nov 21, 2022 9:46 am

Bigplumbs wrote:Now I bought a solar set up with an expensive victron Charge Controller (total cost so far £250). Have not fitted it yet.

Now given that when on the road the engine charges both batteries, Most of our lights are Led, Only other drains are a TV and a few other low use devices and I don't think the fridge will work off the Leisure battery I am kind of not seeing the point of Solar.

I suspect we would use the van to travel at least every other day when away so surely the battery would keep well charged in that time and would work for 2 days/evenings.

If I am right here why are people so mad keen on solar ?
Solar does not use any Diesel
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Post by v8oholic Mon Nov 21, 2022 10:17 am

I found I could survive without EHU indefinitely in Europe in summer partly because of solar. Whether driving each day or not, the leisure battery was fully charged every day. Some places I stayed 3 or 4 nights without using anything except solar to charge the battery. I didn’t generally bother with EHU since the 3 way fridge isn’t working on mains. It’s actually cheaper to run the fridge and water heater on gas than pay for EHU when they charge extra for it so I might continue to do that even when the fridge is fixed.
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Post by rgermain Mon Nov 21, 2022 10:30 am

I agree, never used EHU on site or at home all year round, both batteries always fully charged even in winter! I also agree with using gas due to the prices campsites want for electric.

It works for me, but then I only have 1 van and no boats smile!
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Post by IanH Mon Nov 21, 2022 11:36 am

Richard
On the rare occasions we actually use sites we will use EHU if included in site price, otherwise, even though available we still only need/use solar. up! (5 nights on sites in 20 days last Pyrenees adventure!)

As a general rule, no matter what we do to the batteries from the previous day, they're both 100% full by circa 11am.
IMHO a MH without solar is like a dog without a tail!! hugegrins
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Post by Bigplumbs Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:03 pm

Richard G wrote:
Bigplumbs wrote:Now I bought a solar set up with an expensive victron Charge Controller (total cost so far £250). Have not fitted it yet.

Now given that when on the road the engine charges both batteries, Most of our lights are Led, Only other drains are a TV and a few other low use devices and I don't think the fridge will work off the Leisure battery I am kind of not seeing the point of Solar.

I suspect we would use the van to travel at least every other day when away so surely the battery would keep well charged in that time and would work for 2 days/evenings.

If I am right here why are people so mad keen on solar ?
Solar does not use any Diesel
 But the drag from the panel will  wave

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Post by Bigplumbs Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:06 pm

IanH wrote:Richard
On the rare occasions we actually use sites we will use EHU if included in site price, otherwise, even though available we still only need/use solar. up! (5 nights on sites in 20 days last Pyrenees adventure!)

As a general rule, no matter what we do to the batteries from the previous day, they're both 100% full by circa 11am.
IMHO a MH without solar is like a dog without a tail!! hugegrins

Lots of dogs with no tails and they get on very well  up!

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Post by Bigplumbs Mon Nov 21, 2022 1:06 pm

rgermain wrote:I agree, never used EHU on site or at home all year round, both batteries always fully charged even in winter! I also agree with using gas due to the prices campsites want for electric.

It works for me, but then I only have 1 van and no boats smile!
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Are you agreeing with me or them other blokes

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Post by Dbvwt Mon Nov 21, 2022 3:53 pm

Give it a rest BP, I’m not sure if you are trying to provoke people or not. 
I come on here as it’s generally just a happy place to exchange a few views with others about our vans.
As far as this Thread is concerned, you have realised that solar is definitely not for you (which is completely understandable, many others don’t need solar either) but don’t seem to have considered that a lot of us might just find Solar to be the complete answer to our off grid power issues.


Last edited by Dbvwt on Mon Nov 21, 2022 4:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Tinwheeler Mon Nov 21, 2022 3:58 pm

Bigplumbs wrote:
rgermain wrote:I agree, never used EHU on site or at home all year round, both batteries always fully charged even in winter! I also agree with using gas due to the prices campsites want for electric.

It works for me, but then I only have 1 van and no boats smile!
----------
Richard

Are you agreeing with me or them other blokes
As people's needs and experiences differ, I’m not sure it’s necessary to agree or disagree with anyone. What’s right for one person won’t be for another - that’s life.  up!
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Post by Bigplumbs Mon Nov 21, 2022 5:13 pm

Dbvwt wrote:Give it a rest BP, I’m not sure if you are trying to provoke people or not. 
I come on here as it’s generally just a happy place to exchange a few views with others about our vans.
As far as this Thread is concerned, you have realised that solar is definitely not for you (which is completely understandable, many others don’t need solar either) but don’t seem to have considered that a lot of us might just find Solar to be the complete answer to our off grid power issues.

It was a genuine point for discussion so perhaps you should just give it a rest.

I consider your comment most rude and unnecessary. You obviously just posted to have a pop so what all that happy place nonsense is all about I know not.


Last edited by Bigplumbs on Mon Nov 21, 2022 5:23 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Bigplumbs Mon Nov 21, 2022 5:15 pm

Tinwheeler wrote:
Bigplumbs wrote:
rgermain wrote:I agree, never used EHU on site or at home all year round, both batteries always fully charged even in winter! I also agree with using gas due to the prices campsites want for electric.

It works for me, but then I only have 1 van and no boats smile!
----------
Richard

Are you agreeing with me or them other blokes
As people's needs and experiences differ, I’m not sure it’s necessary to agree or disagree with anyone. What’s right for one person won’t be for another - that’s life.  up!

It was the fact he said 'I agree' but with no quoted post so I was simply confused as to what he was agreeing to that is all.

Perhaps you could have left rgermain to reply for him self

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Post by Tinwheeler Mon Nov 21, 2022 5:26 pm

Bigplumbs wrote:
Tinwheeler wrote:
Bigplumbs wrote:

Are you agreeing with me or them other blokes
As people's needs and experiences differ, I’m not sure it’s necessary to agree or disagree with anyone. What’s right for one person won’t be for another - that’s life.  up!

It was the fact he said 'I agree' but with no quoted post so I was simply confused as to what he was agreeing to that is all.

Perhaps you could have left rgermain to reply for him self
Perhaps if you look again you’ll see I did not stand on rgermains toes but merely added my own observation. It’s a forum, not a private conversation.
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