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 Solar queries

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MarcusMB



Cabin : Club
Location : North London
Posts : 3
Join date : 2019-04-17

Solar queries Empty
PostSubject: Solar queries   Solar queries EmptyWed May 08, 2019 9:03 pm

Hi all

I have read some very helpful guidance from surfwagen Stan and others on here, and a very large amount of helpful stuff on another well known forum. So I am nearly there in my solar panel decisions. I just had a couple of queries about the whole solar plan, which some of you might be able to help with ....

1. Reinforced aluminium solar panels. Is the reinforcement a good thing? Because stronger more durable will last longer, possibly even perform better? Or could it be a risk, e.g. not flexible enough so don’t fit well to the pop top? Or does it make little difference.

2. Is there a big benefit in having a dual system I.e. one that charges both leisure and starter battery, which requires slightly different kit? Or should I just deal with the leisure battery charging, and leave the starter motor to the alternator?

3. Any other tips gratefully received!!

Cheers
Marcus
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Bumble

Bumble

Cabin : Exec 049
Location : Surrey
Posts : 1190
Join date : 2014-09-03

Solar queries Empty
PostSubject: Re: Solar queries   Solar queries EmptyFri May 10, 2019 10:27 pm

Hi Marcus,

1. I'm now on my second set of semi-flexible solar panels and both have been straightforward to fit to the pop-top. I believe a degree of flexibility with the panels helps with the flexing of the pop-top (not just as it goes up and down, but when raised).

2. Yes, I believe having a system that charges both batteries is the best. You can decide how much of the charge goes to each battery and (with the right kit - i.e. a display) you have a quick and easy visual check of the charging state of both batteries.

Feel free to pm me, if you'd like to know more and/or talk about this further.

P.
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Als

Als

Cabin : Flight 060
Location : Warwickshire
Posts : 1095
Join date : 2015-05-17

Solar queries Empty
PostSubject: Re: Solar queries   Solar queries EmptyMon May 20, 2019 11:19 am

Who has a proven portable solar panel ? How does it attach? How much power does it produce? Eg what will it power?
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Bumble

Bumble

Cabin : Exec 049
Location : Surrey
Posts : 1190
Join date : 2014-09-03

Solar queries Empty
PostSubject: Re: Solar queries   Solar queries EmptyMon May 20, 2019 12:49 pm

@Als wrote:
Who has a proven portable solar panel ? How does it attach? How much power does it produce? Eg what will it power?

Lots of different questions!  I'd say it depends on what you want to do and whether you're looking for fixed or portable.

I have found wwwphotonicuniverse.com to be very helpful with surfwagonstan and Bumble having had fixed set-ups for a while now.  Both of these are fixed systems.

1. Fixed solar panels.

Ours is a 200w (2*100w) system fixed onto the roof, using some of the following products:-

https://www.photonicuniverse.com/en/catalog/list/page/2/category/flex-panels

2. Portable solar panels.

For portable systems, most of what is on the market is, in my mind, of limited value and won't really deliver the sort of power that many of us are expecting.  Yes, they might be good for walkers and light enough to be able to carry around, but if that's not an issue (and with most of us, that isn't), then going for a more robust system is preferable.  Here are some examples:-

https://www.photonicuniverse.com/en/catalog/list/category/folding-solar-kits

I have seen and talked to people with some of these units and I guess you do have to turn them around as the sun moves (!) sunny

3. Additional items.

So both of the above will generate the power, but it depends on what you want to do with it:-

a. top-up the starter battery;
b. top-up the leisure battery;
c. top-up both batteries.

Depending on the answer to that, you'll need a solar controller to balance the output from the panel(s):-

https://www.photonicuniverse.com/en/catalog/full/25-20A-dual-battery-solar-charge-controller--regulator-for-12V--24V-batteries.html

Also, do you want to avoid the need for EHU and be able to use the sockets (in particular) at any time?  If so, you'll need a power inverter:-

https://www.photonicuniverse.com/en/catalog/full/257-300W-12V-pure-sine-wave-power-inverter-230V-AC-output-UK-socket-with-powerful-USB-charging-port.html

Final item is a remote monitor (optional), so you can keep an easy look on what's happening with the system:-

https://www.photonicuniverse.com/en/catalog/full/23-Remote-meter--display-for-10A-and-20A-dual-battery-solar-charge-controllers.html

By the time you're into more than just charging one battery at a time (and having to get the portable panel out each time, secure it to the van - so it doesn't get taken! - and connecting it up to the battery), you're looking at a fixed system (rather than something portable).  There's a few more bits for installation, but that's managable - I've done it (twice!), as has surfwagonstan.

A fixed system does have the added benefits of being on all the time.  I often use mine to charge up my laptop while stopped wherever I happen to be - a truly portable office!  At the flick of a switch I have all the benefits of EHU without the ongoing costs.

Plus it's greener alien sunny

I book at sites without EHU and then mentally deduct the cost saved from the overall cost of the system!

Happy to share more about this, as required.

P.
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Als

Als

Cabin : Flight 060
Location : Warwickshire
Posts : 1095
Join date : 2015-05-17

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PostSubject: Re: Solar queries   Solar queries EmptyMon May 20, 2019 12:53 pm

Wow Thankyou for that comprehensive response. You’ve given us lots to think about
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http://www.nevillesadventures.com
Bumble

Bumble

Cabin : Exec 049
Location : Surrey
Posts : 1190
Join date : 2014-09-03

Solar queries Empty
PostSubject: Re: Solar queries   Solar queries EmptyMon May 20, 2019 2:52 pm

@Als wrote:
Wow Thankyou for that comprehensive response. You’ve given us lots to think about

Happy to talk about it when we next meet up - Chard or sooner?

P.
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PeteH

PeteH

Cabin : Exec 079
Location : Fairford
Posts : 142
Join date : 2016-03-07

Solar queries Empty
PostSubject: Re: Solar queries   Solar queries EmptyMon May 20, 2019 3:15 pm

Very interesting information on the solar panel. What was the reason to fit the second set of panels? Did the first ones fail early?

________________________________________________________________________________
Pete and Sue.
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Bumble

Bumble

Cabin : Exec 049
Location : Surrey
Posts : 1190
Join date : 2014-09-03

Solar queries Empty
PostSubject: Re: Solar queries   Solar queries EmptyMon May 20, 2019 4:19 pm

@PeteH wrote:
Very interesting information on the solar panel. What was the reason to fit the second set of panels? Did the first ones fail early?

Yes, one of them did and they both were replaced under warranty.

I must write up what I did etc. and post it on here!

P.
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Dennis



Cabin : Exec 033
Location : Manorbier Pembrokeshire
Posts : 940
Join date : 2010-08-08

Solar queries Empty
PostSubject: Re: Solar queries   Solar queries EmptyMon May 20, 2019 4:29 pm

Point of interest how do you get the cables down from the roof did you use a curly extendable cable. Tim
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PeteH

PeteH

Cabin : Exec 079
Location : Fairford
Posts : 142
Join date : 2016-03-07

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PostSubject: Re: Solar queries   Solar queries EmptyMon May 20, 2019 5:38 pm

Yes please Paul, the more info on the site we have the better.

________________________________________________________________________________
Pete and Sue.
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Bumble

Bumble

Cabin : Exec 049
Location : Surrey
Posts : 1190
Join date : 2014-09-03

Solar queries Empty
PostSubject: Re: Solar queries   Solar queries EmptyMon May 20, 2019 11:01 pm

@Dennis wrote:
Point of interest how do you get the cables down from the roof did you use a curly extendable cable. Tim

I drilled two holes in the roof! affraid

More to follow ............ bounce

P.
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