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Cant see the Point of Solar

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Post by FreelanderUK Mon Nov 21, 2022 5:32 pm

We should have smiley  and laughter faces  as well as likes button

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Post by glyne lock Mon Nov 21, 2022 5:36 pm

Bigplumbs wrote:
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
So when you start up and have not got solar the alternator is under load so will use more fuel .the batteries will have a shorter life as they are being charged heavy each time you start up .your alternator will not last as long as someone that has solar.so just some reason’s to have solar .longer battery and alternator  life and always got power when needid
hugegrins lol4


Last edited by glyne lock on Mon Nov 21, 2022 5:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Tinwheeler Mon Nov 21, 2022 5:42 pm

FreelanderUK wrote:We should have smiley  and laughter faces  as well as likes button
We have  hugegrins biggrin up!
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Post by FreelanderUK Mon Nov 21, 2022 5:49 pm

Tinwheeler wrote:
FreelanderUK wrote:We should have smiley  and laughter faces  as well as likes button
We have  hugegrins biggrin up!
How do you get those, are they from a button?

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Post by Paulmold Mon Nov 21, 2022 5:53 pm

FreelanderUK wrote:
Tinwheeler wrote:
FreelanderUK wrote:We should have smiley  and laughter faces  as well as likes button
We have  hugegrins biggrin up!
How do you get those, are they from a button?
They appear next to the post/reply box (but maybe not if using mobile version ) like this.....

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Post by FreelanderUK Mon Nov 21, 2022 5:56 pm

Paulmold wrote:
FreelanderUK wrote:
Tinwheeler wrote:
We have  hugegrins biggrin up!
How do you get those, are they from a button?
They appear next to the post/reply box (but maybe not if using mobile version ) like this.....

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Thanks Paul , I knew about that cheers, I was wondering about a radio button like we have to like a post with out having to quote and do a smiley 😆

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Post by Tinwheeler Mon Nov 21, 2022 6:24 pm

There’s also these but again you have to put them in your own post rather than the post you want to laugh at.  [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] 
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Post by Bilbobaggins Mon Nov 21, 2022 6:35 pm

goneoff


But I have just had a look on my phone (android) and the emojis Tinwheeler shows above can get used in a message on the forum. Might get some different ones from up here in the north [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

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Post by rgermain Mon Nov 21, 2022 8:39 pm

Is he Chris, by another name? ( those who remember a chap called Chris) who left with his tail between his legs hugegrins
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Post by Tinwheeler Mon Nov 21, 2022 8:49 pm

rgermain wrote:Is he Chris, by another name? ( those who remember a chap called Chris) who left with his tail between his legs hugegrins
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You're not the first to make that match, Richard.  [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
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Post by Bigplumbs Tue Nov 22, 2022 7:53 am

Tinwheeler wrote:
Bigplumbs wrote:
Tinwheeler wrote:
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.
Yup others need to understand that also

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Post by Tinwheeler Tue Nov 22, 2022 9:16 am

Bigplumbs wrote:
Tinwheeler wrote:
Bigplumbs wrote:

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.
Yup others need to understand that also
So that'll be a retraction of your earlier comment to me. Thanks for that.  up!
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Post by jwells Wed Nov 30, 2022 5:38 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 ?
Why did you buy your solar set up? You obviously did some looking around before you decided to buy, wouldn't it have been prudent to have asked the questions before you wasted your money! think_smiley_46
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Post by IanH Wed Nov 30, 2022 6:01 pm

My £50 offer stands..... hugegrins
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Post by jwells Wed Nov 30, 2022 6:06 pm

But is it worth £50?!!!!!!! confused3
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Post by IanH Wed Nov 30, 2022 7:02 pm

Hopefully!
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Post by Aethelric Fri Dec 02, 2022 11:02 pm

I went for years with no solar power at all, but then I relented and added a 10W panel inside the skylight to compensate for self discharge in both batteries and the remote locking, radio memory etc from the starter battery. That is about 75mA.
I finally changed the panel for a 40W one (still inside the van under the skylight) and it keeps both batteries topped up for months, even in winter.
Before I fitted the 40W panel I used to isolate  both batteries when I left the van unattended for a few months.
,
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Post by rogerblack Sat Dec 03, 2022 1:03 pm

Aethelric wrote:I went for years with no solar power at all, but then I relented and added a 10W panel inside the skylight to compensate for self discharge in both batteries and the remote locking, radio memory etc from the starter battery. That is about 75mA.
I finally changed the panel for a 40W one (still inside the van under the skylight) and it keeps both batteries topped up for months, even in winter.
Before I fitted the 40W panel I used to isolate  both batteries when I left the van unattended for a few months.
,

That's an interesting idea! 

I've never considered having solar fitted to the roof since we never wild camp and seldom use sites without EHU so I consider it to be overkill for our use.

However the idea of having a smallish panel temporarily placed inside under the large rooflight in the overcab bed area (which we currently only use for storage) does appeal. 

But this raises a some questions:

our rooflight is large however it is (slightly) tinted - would that affect the performance of a solar panel?

how close to the rooflight would the panel have to be - bearing in mind this would only be temporary, mainly during periods when the vehicle is unused and purely to keep the engine battery topped up to make up for discharge due to alarm etc.

can these be attached via the cab cigar lighter socket, which is permanently 'live'?
(Although it might be preferable to connect to the leisure battery, since we have a BatteryMaster fitted so this would keep both topped up).

Any help from those with experience of this would be appreciated, along with any suggestions for appropriate kit.

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Post by IanH Sat Dec 03, 2022 2:24 pm

RogerI have a 23w panel I had to use recently as my big one was off for warranty.
Now, panel wattage is not as simple as you may think. My 23w one is 21v so gives out just 1A.
That was enough though via my dual battery controller to keep both battery full, for a November month.

It can be connected via live cigar lighter but will then only do the
Starter battery. It would also still have to go via a solar controller in yr case with b2b it would probably do both.

I'd just put it on the dash, though if screen cover fitted a skylight would be better. As near to it's glass as poss. 

Or, if only at home, how about outside??
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Post by IanH Sat Dec 03, 2022 2:26 pm

Or, thinking this through, if only for when van not in use, a cheap folding one outside......?
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Post by Sally Sat Dec 03, 2022 3:15 pm

I initially used on of these, simply to keep the starter battery topped up while left in storage. I left it sat on the dash (which admittedly faced the sun) and it worked really well, plugged into the OBD port.  I had no problems over winter, with gaps of 4-6 weeks. Used it for a couple of years successfully before I upgraded to roof mounted solar and dual controller.

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Post by Dbvwt Sat Dec 03, 2022 3:33 pm

Before I upgraded the solar setup in the van, I bought one of those small AA panels as a few on here found them great for keeping the vehicle battery topped up over winter. 
Unfortunately it didn’t work for me, it just didn’t provide enough power but that may have been down to the fact my van sits against a north facing wall all winter. I sold it on the bay after 2 months.
I’m sure I started a thread on the subject about 3 years ago.
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Post by rogerblack Sat Dec 03, 2022 5:52 pm

Thanks for the inputs.

I was thinking of something a bit more than the AA one, especially since here in Scotland we get very short days in the winter plus where the van is parked it's in shade a lot.  One advantage is that there is a bright white LED right across the road and I understand any light source will work on the panel. 

I had thought of laying one on the roof and taking the cable through the skylight however with the very strong winds we get here that wouldn't be feasible. I don't want to strap it to the roof rails either as we use the van all year so it needs to be easy to remove, so inside will be best. Through the windscreen is out too as I keep the thermal covers on. So propping it under the large rooflight is the best option I have.

I've listed some of the ones I'd looked at below, would appreciate any feedback or advice from those who know about these things.

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Post by Roopert Sat Dec 03, 2022 8:35 pm

One of the problems with assessing the best location for a panel in this type of situation is that the human eye is extremely adaptive to a wide range of light levels and can trick you into thinking that two locations have similar brightness of illumination, when in fact they are radically different.

The bright white LED across the road may appear to be bright, but in reality it will generate little useful output at all, even on a very big panel. It only appears bright because our eyes are good at adapting to low light levels.

One thing that you can do to get a more independent assessment of light level is to install one of the free light meter apps on your phone, and then test to see whether theories of where might be best are actually true.

Every storage situation will vary according to a large number of factors, but in my experience what you should expect is that if you get full sunlight on any of the side windows, you should put a panel there. It may only get full sunlight for a relatively short period in winter, but the difference between direct sunlight and indirect scattered light is so huge that it will be worth it.

Note also that in Scotland in winter you will find a greater yield from a panel that is angled almost vertically - because the sun spends so much of the time very low in the sky. There are online lookup tables that will show you the optimum for your particular location, if you want to try for the best angle of inclination.

Looking at the first of the panels that you linked to, you are looking at panels which are way too big for internal use, IMO - the first is over a metre long and half a metre wide! The problem is that you simply won't be able to find a location where a significant proportion of the panel's cells are not shaded, and it that situation you can expect to get little output. You should expect to get most effective performance from a panel that fits within the frame of one window, with no shading at the edges.

One other thing: try for a monocrystalline panel in this type of case - at low light levels this should make a difference of several percent. If a panel seller doesn't say which it is, it's ~probably~ a poly panel with slightly lower efficiency.


Last edited by Roopert on Sat Dec 03, 2022 8:41 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Missing word)
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Post by rogerblack Sat Dec 03, 2022 9:47 pm

Roopert, thank you so much for your detailed and informative reply, that's really helpful.

I hadn't realised that direct sunlight made such a big difference and on that basis I think the project has failed at the first hurdle.

Our smallish drive in Fife has buildings virtually all round and is north facing, so in the winter is unlikely to see any sun at all and it seems the large(excessively, in my opinion!) bright LED streetight right outside is no good either. When the van comes back from having the work done to get through the MOT (hopefully on Monday) I will put some Lux data loggers in various positions just to check. 

Our drive in Berkshire, whilst much larger, is virtually completely surrounded by trees although in winter most lose their foliage so maybe not so bad.

However, I have external power sockets at both locations so it looks like I'll just be continuing with the CTEK smart chargers.
Thanks again everyone who helped.   allthumbz

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