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Cant see the Point of Solar

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Cant see the Point of Solar - Page 3 Empty Re: Cant see the Point of Solar

Post by FreelanderUK Sun Dec 04, 2022 9:08 pm

rogerblack wrote: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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If you do buy a panel I would recommend buying items separately and would buy a MPPT  regulator as these start the charging process earlier in the morning and later into the evening as they work better than PWM regulators in low light conditions

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Post by Aethelric Mon Dec 05, 2022 1:54 am

rogerblack wrote: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

Solar panels will still provide power when they are in the light. Better in direct sun of course, but sky light is probably enough to keep your starter motor topped up just plugged into your cigar lighter socket. As for the leisure battery it will be fine by itself for months if there is no drain. If in doubt, a cheap battery isolator will sort it.
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Post by Caraman Mon Dec 05, 2022 2:29 am

Those with the later EC700 and 80W solar panel only need to shutdown the EC700 and all the solar charge will go to the VB which is enough to keep it charged.  The load on the LB will then only be 0.01A.  If the LB has at least 65Ah to start with and self-discharge is 5% each month, its SOC will drop to just over 50% after 3 months which is fine.
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Post by IanH Mon Dec 05, 2022 5:50 am

On the other hand, if the solar output is hard wired to a dual battery controller and has the 2 +ves direct to both batteries, via 10A fuses, then both will stay full year round..
The Sargent bits then can have even small parasitic loads coped with. The batteries will both be happy as both full......
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Post by Caraman Mon Dec 05, 2022 7:26 am

IanH wrote:On the other hand, if the solar output is hard wired to a dual battery controller and has the 2 +ves direct to both batteries, via 10A fuses, then both will stay full year round..
The Sargent bits then can have even small parasitic loads coped with. The batteries will both be happy as both full......
I agree and for someone who wants to store their van for more than 3 months its a good thing as it is for those going off-grid.  My only concern with the dual battery controller is its ability to keep the VB fully charged in storage.  The Votronic I have for most of the time charges the VB at 12.9V which is about 0.6V below the float charge going to the LB.  In contrast the PX300 float charge is 13.6V so quite a difference.  I haven't tested my Votronic over a long out of use period.  If I do I suspect the VB will not stay as well charged as the LB.
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Post by IanH Mon Dec 05, 2022 7:52 am

Fairly sure my PWM dual battery controller charges at 13.8v but is adjustable for 3 different battery types....sealed, gel or flooded.....
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Post by Caraman Mon Dec 05, 2022 8:08 am

IanH wrote:Fairly sure my PWM dual battery controller charges at 13.8v but is adjustable for 3 different battery types....sealed, gel or flooded.....
As far as I can see the MPPT dual controllers (Votronic, Epever/PhotonicUniverse & NDS) all do it slightly differently wrt the VB.  The Votronic has two lead acid charging voltages for the LB - 13.45V & 14.4V - depending on its SoC.  The VB charging voltage is always about 0.6V lower than the LB charging voltage regardless of the VB's SoC.  The VB charge is also capped at 1A but I don't think that's the limiting factor.
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Post by Sally Mon Dec 05, 2022 8:12 pm

Aethelric wrote:
rogerblack wrote: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

Solar panels will still provide power when they are in the light. Better in direct sun of course, but sky light is probably enough to keep your starter motor topped up just plugged into your cigar lighter socket. As for the leisure battery it will be fine by itself for months if there is no drain. If in doubt, a cheap battery isolator will sort it.
It possibly worth bearing in mind that not all cigarette lighters charge when the ignition is off. Mind doesn’t (Peugeot boxer 2011).  So I had to plug the small solar panel into the OBD port.
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Post by rogerblack Mon Dec 05, 2022 10:44 pm

It possibly worth bearing in mind that not all cigarette lighters charge when the ignition is off. Mind doesn’t (Peugeot boxer 2011).  So I had to plug the small solar panel into the OBD port.


Good point, Sally.

Mine is OK though - as a 2002 model it has no OBD port but I do know that the cab cigar lighter socket is permanently on even with the ignition off.

I also have CTEK charger connectors permanently attached to both the engine and leisure batteries so if I did go ahead with the solar I could use those.

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Post by IanH Tue Dec 06, 2022 2:28 am

You are correct Roger, indeed I initially connected my 160w panel to the VB in that way, until I have through bulkhead access to the VB.
Not all lighters/12v sockets are live with ign off and keys out but some, thankfully(!) are.
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Post by bikeralw Tue Dec 06, 2022 3:02 pm

Spotted on a camper in NZ, an alternative place to mount your solar panel.
I can see advantages and disadvantages...[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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Post by inspiredron Wed Dec 07, 2022 10:02 am

Disadvantage is that awning will be on East side of van for best solar performance so outside suppers will be cool!


Last edited by inspiredron on Wed Dec 07, 2022 10:03 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Typo)

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Post by rogerblack Wed Dec 07, 2022 10:12 am

I'm confused!

If this is in the antipodes, then the van would surely face north for best exposure to the sun on the front panel, no?

So the awning would be to the west. Doesn't the sun still go down in the west there?

Too much of a challenge to my visuo-spatial ability at this late hour . . .


Last edited by rogerblack on Wed Dec 07, 2022 10:19 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by bikeralw Wed Dec 07, 2022 10:18 am

inspiredron wrote:Disadvantage is that awning will be on East side of van for best solar performance so outside suppers will be cool!
True in the northern hemisphere, but down here, although obviously the sun still travels east to west, it goes via north. So if the van is parked up facing north, it will have the awning side towards the setting sun.
It still takes some getting my head round, and we've been coming here for years...
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