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Thread: Adding Extra Panels to an existing system

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    South Australia
    Posts
    558
    Well, that's been a most interesting discussion folks!
    I didn't mean to start a jousting session. I guess the proof of the pudding is in the charging....
    And maybe Pedro's suggestion is a better approach, but will try the direct connection to the battery first and monitor the current coming from each panel, just for interest. Thanks for your advice.
    Cheers

    Coop

  2. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Tatura, Vic
    Posts
    5,389
    The problem with pedro's suggestion means you have to always park your van in the sun.

    I plan to put panels on the roof of my van, but I will still carry my portables.

    Also you can orientate the portables to correct angle and to follow the sun, whereas on a van roof they will never produce maximum currant as they are lying flat.
    Dave.

    I was asked " Is it ignorance or apathy?" I replied "I don't know and I don't care."



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  3. #13
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Sunny Coast QLD
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    25,962
    yep,, park in the sun.
    shade is bad for caravans,,
    and tents, and people too really.

    shade means trees.
    trees drop limbs.
    limbs hurt anything below them.

    if your storage setup is on that much of a knife-edge that you have to spend all day chasing the sun,,
    you need to re-think your leisure time priorities.
    "How long since you've visited The Good Oil?"

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    Making Lemonade since 2016.


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  4. #14
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Tatura, Vic
    Posts
    5,389
    Its alright for you Queenslanders where it does not get hot.

    Try parking a caravan in the sun when it is often above 40 degrees.
    Dave.

    I was asked " Is it ignorance or apathy?" I replied "I don't know and I don't care."



    1996 TDI ES. 2003 TD5 HSE

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    South Australia
    Posts
    558
    For those who followed this thread to the bitter end, I had a chat with some folks at the Mt Barker 12-volt shop today, where I originally purchased my portable panels. They confirmed that simply hooking the portable panels (with their own built-in regulator) across the batteries would assist with charging the batteries and that there was no need to connect the portable panels via the existing charge controller on the van. They said both sets of panels would react to the battery voltage and adjust their charging accordingly as the batteries neared full charge.
    Cheers

    Coop

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Western Sydney
    Posts
    26,170
    Quote Originally Posted by bee utey View Post
    Just plug the portable set into a power connection near the battery and they'll be fine. The only thing to note is that your cables should be thick enough to avoid too much voltage loss between the controller and the battery.
    I was thinking of buying additional folding panel (2 x 80w folding) as my existing 120w panels don't provide enough power in winter where I camp in a deep valley. The sun doesn't clear the eastern ridge until fairly late and drops behind the western ridge fairly early. I wasn't sure if there would be an issue with just paralleling the existing 120w and new 160w units.

    Note that the 120 watt rating can be taken with a grain of salt. I never get above 7.5 amps out of the panel even in summer.
    Last edited by p38arover; 6th December 2017 at 08:12 PM.
    Ron B.
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  7. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Crafers West South Australia
    Posts
    10,332
    Quote Originally Posted by p38arover View Post
    I was thinking of buying additional folding panel (2 x 80w folding) as my existing 120w panels don't provide enough power in winter where I camp in a deep valley. The sun doesn't clear the eastern ridge until fairly late and drops behind the western ridge fairly early. I wasn't sure if there would be an issue with just paralleling the existing 120w and new 160w units.

    Note that the 120 watt rating can be taken with a grain of salt. I never get above 7.5 amps out of the panel even in summer.
    The watt rating of a solar panel is at a panel surface temperature of 20C and at around 17 to 18 volts. Panel output current doesn't increase enough to compensate for the voltage drop under load, and of course no panel will stay at 20C out in the full sun for any amount of time. The only regulators that can make use of a larger amount of the panel's rated power output are 'maximum power point tracking" (MPPT) types and cost a fair bit more than the standard type.

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