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Solar Panel

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Solar Panel  Empty Solar Panel

Post by mcalid Mon Jan 16, 2023 11:14 pm

I would like advice as to what power of solar panel would be needed to maintain both vehicle and leisure batteries in our 2008 Nuevo.
They are both lead/acid but I am leaning towards lithium for the leisure.
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Post by Molly3 Tue Jan 17, 2023 1:28 am

Not much roof apace , I have 100 w on my nuevo my sargent 328 Is restricted to 120 w
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Post by IanH Tue Jan 17, 2023 7:14 am

4of the, now, 5 motorhomes I have had were 100w, and this one now is 130w, just because it was special offer and fitted.
All have had same Photonic Universe pwm dual battery controller with remote display.
All have worked perfectly and I have never had any battery issues at all.
We very rarely use EHU not even here at home, solar does everything.
Unless you have unusual needs I'd see little point in very expensive lithium, or even dual leisure battery
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Post by MelB Tue Jan 17, 2023 10:30 am

Exactly the same solar system set-up as Ian but with 100w panel. Van in storage site without access to EHU. Both batteries now 7 yrs old and even in the winter months, remain fully charged.
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Post by Aethelric Tue Jan 17, 2023 10:57 am

A 40 watt panel mounted underneath the skylight keeps both our batteries topped up.
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Post by FreelanderUK Tue Jan 17, 2023 11:15 am

With solar put the largest panel on the roof you can get up there , but if you are using the inbuilt Sargent solar regulator this is limited to 120w panel size and only a PWM regulator

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Post by Dave 418 Tue Jan 17, 2023 12:56 pm

Our Rienza was fitted with a 130W panel and a second 100 amp leisure battery when we bought it seven years ago 
The first improvement I made was to fit a battery master. Recently I changed the solar controller to a Victron and improved the wiring. Last year I replaced both leisure batteries. 
 During the winter I can use the hook up to keep the batteries topped up but most of the year we rely on solar. The two things I think make a big difference are the Victron controller and battery master. Even during this winters grey days the batteries have been topped up.
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Post by Caraman Tue Jan 17, 2023 4:27 pm

IanH wrote:....
We very rarely use EHU not even here at home, solar does everything.
.....
Do you use your van in the winter in UK with just the 130W solar panel i.e. no EHU?
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Post by IanH Tue Jan 17, 2023 7:59 pm

Yes, but not often, if we do go away in winter it'll be 2 or 3 days with different stops each night, so some charging is alternator done. That said we'll be parked in daylight and leave in daylight in most cases.
As a general rule we always have enough power (130Ah battery of uncertain age, was in the van when we bought it) for all lighting, TV, heating fan, heating on gas of course, and hot water, also gas so doesn't really use any dc except for the solenoid valve and electronics.
If a nice clear day next morning we can be fairly sure of having full batteries (both remember) by circa 11am..The Photonic remote display tells me panel voltage, each batt volts and actual charge current. We have the solar regulator set to 20% VB and 80% LB.

At home we have electric right beside its launch pad but is only ever used to precool the fridge before a trip.

TV is a 16" Cello with DVD, aerial has an amplifier built in but, of course, takes some power. All lighting is LED and we expect to fully charge 2 x phone and 2 x tablets as well.
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Post by Dave 418 Tue Jan 17, 2023 8:21 pm

Likewise for us during the winter. Having the two 100 amp hour leisure batteries gives us a lot of reserve but we generally have the WiFi thingy, tv, heater fan, lights and small odd and ends on at a time. 
Using pub stops a lot in the winter at the most for two nights we can last that long. Our biggest restriction on time is how long our water will last rather than running out of electricity.
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Post by Caraman Tue Jan 17, 2023 8:57 pm

Thanks IanH & Dave 418.  A key difference is that later vans like ours have an EC700 power control system that uses at least 7Ah per day and cooker with a cooling fan that goes on for ever.  Even locking and unlocking the van consumes power as the lights flash, the awning light comes on and the step goes in and out.  I also have an automatic leveller.  Currently we only have a 90Ah LB, although the box will take 115Ah, and an 80W solar panel albeit now with an MPPT controller.  We use our van differently.  At this time of year we expect to go to a hard standing pitch and not move for 4 or 5 nights, so no alternator charging. Fortunately hard standing pitches come with an EHU which we make full use of for the fridge, kettle, microwave, hairdryer, to heat the van continuously to either 14 degrees or 20 degrees, to provide hot water on tap for daily showers and washing up and to allow the fresh water tank heating pad to be used if the temp is well below zero.  If I didn't use an EHU at this time of year, the microwave and hairdryer wouldn't work and I would end up with an empty LPG tank, possibly a frozen tank, a very flat LB and a very unhappy wife!
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Post by IanH Tue Jan 17, 2023 9:32 pm

Can't help you with much there as very different circumstances, also we have no Sargent infestations in our older trucks, but if you leave the wife at home, one of the problems is instantly solved!!!!!!!!!!! up! hugegrins hugegrins hugegrins hugegrins
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Post by IanH Wed Jan 18, 2023 10:21 am

Just taken these pics as proof that solar does work in depths of winter.....
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Solar panel coated with frost, white, should be black!
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Panel voltage

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Starter batt voltage
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Leisure batt voltage.
LB was lower as I had lights etc switched on.

Normal lead acid batt voltage range 12.2 to 12.8v. If any higher (and trust me there's no EHU and no engine runs in a week) then the battery is seeing a charge. Albeit not a big one, but this, surely, shows that solar will keep both batts full even in depths of winter.

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Just to show not a bright sunny day here either.
All of these pics taken within a 20min period...........
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Post by Caraman Wed Jan 18, 2023 11:20 am

Impressive.  My set-up will only do this in the winter when the van is out of use with the EC700 shutdown.  We only use sites and only use grass pitches in the summer and some don't always have an EHU.  So for us off-grid is an occasional summer exercise which our current set-up is able to do, now I've changed the controller.  If I want to speed up the daily recharge or make it more guaranteed, I might go for an extra panel but am undecided.  When the 90Ah LB packs up I will replace it with a 115Ah because I can but don't see any need to go higher than this given the way we use our van.

Do you find going off-grid in the winter means you are constantly having to resupply your gas?
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Post by IanH Wed Jan 18, 2023 12:05 pm

Well, the fridge will be using, as will hob for kettle boiling, however the biggest users will be heating, air and water.

We have a dual gas system, see pi. For EU we use as seen, primary is Campingaz, two X 2.75kg bottles..One in use other spare.. Campingaz easy to get in Europe, anywhere, Calor impossible. However, the Calor, 6kg, is full and useable if we can't find Campingaz.
 In Uk we only use Calor Propane. So then a second propane bottle replaces the 2 Campingaz ones. So with 12kg we could go, easily I guess 10 days.
In Europe 2 X Campingaz easily manages 3 weeks, but that is in summer, albeit off hook
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Post by IanH Wed Jan 18, 2023 12:07 pm

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Post by Caraman Wed Jan 18, 2023 1:26 pm

Thanks.  I may have a go at using gas for heating next week.  The pitch has a metered EHU.  More than 10 units a day and you have to pay extra and I am sure gas will be cheaper.
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Post by IanH Wed Jan 18, 2023 3:19 pm

I do know, however that Campingaz is approx same cost as liquid gold, but, for us, availability is more important than price, especially if none left!
Hence why we only use it overseas and only use calor in UK....
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