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Thread: Solar panels - regulated

  1. #1
    Just a 10 min job, what could possibly go wrong? Hauler's Avatar
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    Solar panels - regulated

    Hi,

    I'll soon be in the market for some new portable solar panels. I currently have a folding set which is 12 V / 120 Watt so, after accounting for inefficiencies it should be putting out somewhere around 7 amps but It only gets 4.5 amps in bright midday sun. With my new bigger fridge running in the camper that isn't going to be enough if we are stopped for a few days and it is not 100% sunny. So I'm looking for probably a 200w set of panels, preferably folding, that will put out at least 6-7 amps or more. Has anyone bought panels recently and are the new blanket type panels worth the big extra $$? I have a DC DC charger in the camper so panels do not need to be regulated which should help price I hope.

    Thanks.

    Mike.

  2. #2
    Administrator pacs's Avatar
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    Hey Hauler personal experience I've found the folding sets with the connections never make the full amp rating compared to a single higher rated panel must be due to voltage drops in the connections and then it depends on the panel type I guess

    as for the blankets I'm interested to hear what others have found with these also
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    Most campers or vans with batteries are able to be topped up with the connection from the car. So if required I run the car for half an hour or so and that tops up the batteries if required. In addition to that I have 150 watt solar blanket that certainly does the trick in the right conditions. I use the blanket when the suns about and then top up with the car if not.
    However I'm never long in the same place so with my set up all has been honky dory!

    Col.
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  4. #4
    Defusing the grenade. Graham99's Avatar
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    Hi there,

    I suspect that your solar panel has a PWM controller on it. This will hurt the output of the panel as the controller will clip the panel voltage to 12v without boosting the current.

    On the back of the panel there should be a label with Max voltage and max current. My 120W panel is 21V and 6.67A. I removed the controller and ran it direct to the BCDC 1225 internal MPPT controller. This turns the extra voltage into current.

    If you change to an MPPT controller you should notice a difference.
    Regards
    Graham

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  5. #5
    Just a 10 min job, what could possibly go wrong? Hauler's Avatar
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    Thanks Graham99, I can't remember if those figures were before or after we disconnected the regulator but now it is bypassed and I run it via the Redarc BCDC charger into the camper batteries. Over a weekend it should be fine even without much sun but for a longer stay I'll need bigger panels even just to run the fridge/freezer I think.

  6. #6
    Just a 10 min job, what could possibly go wrong? Hauler's Avatar
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    I ended up taking a punt on a set of 250W folding panels from Kings - $299 delivered. I was skeptical about the quality but just had them tested by a leccy and in midday sun with a good bit of haze they were putting out > 15 amps which is brilliant and will be plenty to support the big fridge, lights and water pump in the camper. I also have charging setup from the tow vehicle.

  7. #7
    Crossed-Over greig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hauler View Post
    I ended up taking a punt on a set of 250W folding panels from Kings - $299 delivered. I was skeptical about the quality but just had them tested by a leccy and in midday sun with a good bit of haze they were putting out > 15 amps which is brilliant and will be plenty to support the big fridge, lights and water pump in the camper. I also have charging setup from the tow vehicle.
    Was that 15 amps from an unregulated panel....or after a controller ?

  8. #8
    Just a 10 min job, what could possibly go wrong? Hauler's Avatar
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    > 15 amps from unregulated panels going through Redarc BCDC charger setup in the guy's test unit - charing into an almost dead battery so good indication of max charge. The panels advertised 13.5 amps so I wanted to make sure they were performing as advertised.

  9. #9
    Forum Master CatchinJack's Avatar
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    I run a 160w blanket and keeps my cfx75 workin and 100ah battery charged with ease.
    Cheers
    Leo

  10. #10
    Just a 10 min job, what could possibly go wrong? Hauler's Avatar
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    Yeah, if I had an Engel I reckon I could have got away with a smaller set of panels but this Evakool thing just runs all the bloody time. Not happy with it.

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