Monthly Archives: June 2015

We need more power Charlie

Having read others blogs, we realise that the the ‘farty’ 80ah habitation battery and the 100w PV roof panel that came with Charlie will not be ‘man enough’ when your trying to charge laptops, notebooks, watch TV & run lights, pumps etc. So, there’s only one thing for it, dig deep & splash out on some more power equipment. After a bit of research I decided on this set-up.

2x Varta silver Dynamic 100ah batteries. Read http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk/battery-technology.php

1x Tracer 30a MPPT Charge controller & remote interface. http://www.bimblesolar.com/offgrid/mppt/Tracer3215BN

1x 160w Mono PV Panel http://www.eco-worthy.com/catalog/worthy-160w-monocrystalline-solar-panel-p-352.html

2x Mounting panel brackets http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Solar-Panel-Mounting-Kit-Mounts-Brackets-Supports-/181128328937?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item2a2c16f6e9

1x 20a 4 pole rotary isolator (between panels & charger) Any decent trade electrical.

2x 20a in line spade fuse holders (between panels & charger) local motorists discount.

1x tube Sikaflex 512 in white, – Flea bay

5m 2.5mm ‘solar panel cable’ – trade electrical.

4x Battery terminals & connector cables, from local battery retailer.

Ok all set, first job, out with the old battery & in with the new ones plus, fuses, charger controller, isolator & remote control/monitor.

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Next clean & prepare the roof for the panel, drill the hole feed the cable up & through. At this point I fitted an extra cable hole & gland, just in case I need anything else up there at a later date. Stick the cable entry box down on the roof & prepare the panel…

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Job done

Last job, to stick the panel feet to the roof & let it stand overnight & connect the panels to the isolator. (note to self: must remember, when the engine is running or when on EHU- Disconnect the panels, that way the Electroblock will divert higher power charge to the habitation batteries correctly.)

Next morning was bright & sunny & 22v available from the panels, a potential of 20a pushing it’s way into the batteries, I nearly wrote ‘free electric’, but this is anything but free, convenient I will agree, not needing to go on EHU, but far from free.

Total cost £500 + a weekend.

01/07/2015: Just an update on the set-up above.

After a few nights out, this set-up seems to be delivering all the power we need. Certainly enough to power the little TV, LED lights & various chargers for electronic equipment. The batteries drop down to 12.5v & hold there till the sun comes out in the morning and normally we are back up to 14v within a couple of hours, even if it’s overcast. Reading from the (French) manual, it’s suggested to plug in to 240v as often as you can to keep the batteries topped up but with this system the batteries stay full continuously. It may be a good idea to hook up to 240v now & again to alow the Electroblock to condition the batteries….must remember to disconnect the panels when on 240v EHU!