Batteries and Solar

Submitted: Monday, Sep 12, 2011 at 17:56
ThreadID: 127604 Views:2710 Replies:2 FollowUps:2
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We have four batteries and five solar panels and it extra panel is making a difference! So far no generator use and I am carrying lots of genny fuel!!

We are electric pigs - use lots of juice. When we stop we have proper coffee in the afternoon, evening and the next morning - and I watch the batteries go down to the high 11s.

And, of course, the TV is on all night, as is my computer. The TV is 12V; the computer is on the inverter.

Generally we are down 150+ amps each morning.

It is 7am and the sun has is rising and we are already putting in 7-8 amps.

If you have the room, think about that extra panel; it will result in less genny noise.
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Reply By: The Hob - Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 04:14

Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 04:14
Yes It is a pity that most caravaners (not BTs) do know about solar.

On our recent trip I was astouded that the general plan for most caravanners is to get to campsite about lunch time and then run generators. I must admit they all shut off by about 8-9pm but baffled by the need for a generator at all. They must have 240V appliances and never heard of batteries and solar and most of these were new or near new vans.

We don't have a generator and don't even have Andersen supply from tow vehicle.

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Follow Up By: Luvntravln - Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 03:48

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 03:48
Alan, I have to ask some questions of someone who has neither a genny or an Anderson plug:

How many batteries and panels

What electrical appliances, if any, do you run

What do you do for heating at night

Size of fridge


What do you do when you are in a location with no sun for several days?

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Follow Up By: The Hob - Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 05:50

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011 at 05:50
I have 4 panels and 4 batteries

We have the usual fridge,TV satellite decoder, sound system, water pumps, etc but these are all 12V and the only 240V appliance is the aircon and this is seldom used. Open windows and a fan provide ventilation.

Heating is done by Diesel heater on the road and a small fan heater if on power.

We have a 190L fridge (usually on 1 or 2)

So far (3 years) we have not run out of sun (or light). Come close a couple of times but I would move on if a bad weather front is coming or just go a park to get 240V. (plus water etc)

In super isolated areas we are usually just in transit. Always seek a full sun site to pull up during the day and to camp. A hairdryer is run via the inverter sometimes for short periods.
I keep an eye on the batteries and find if the satellite dish and TV used for a long period at night the batteries can be in very low 12V in the morning but are quickly returned to 14V by the time we stop for lunch.

Try to shower in the morning so that pump draw down is quickly replaced by solar.

If the weather looks like being fine I don't fret at all about using the power. I always monitor the weather to help manage power.

If travelling, we would go to a park at least once a week for water, washing, etc and to give a boost to batteries via the charger.

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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 06:57

Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011 at 06:57
We have 4 panels and 4 new batteries and yesterday when the weather was cold and in full sun we had up to 36.8 amps going in. Prior to this I had only every seen a maximum of about 31 amps.
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