Saturday, 14 May 2011

Solar panel and electrics

We got 2x 40w solar panels from ebay. ( about £160). We decided that 2 panels would be better than 1 big fixed panel, as now we can attach one flat to the roof (which is inefficient, but convenient as it will always be there) and keep the other one for when we get to a safe place and can get it out and angle it more directly at the sun. I have bought a charge controller (8amp steca, about £27 I think). 8 amps should be over the maximum for both 40w panels connected at the same time ( watts /volts = Amps    so  80/12 = 6.666).
I had a Steca controller in my old caravan and it was easy to use and always worked, so I stuck with that brand.
We bought 2 x88amp hour calcium plated leisure batteries (about £100 from ebay, yes I do love ebay!).  We thought that 2 batteries would be better than 1 big one (122ah) for about the same price. If anything goes wrong we will have a spare, and this way we have more capacity and will hopefully keep them above half way discharged (the charge controller should help with that a bit).
I have also bought a 100amp heavy duty relay and a smartcom self switching relay (ebay about £10 each). This is (the cheapest way) to charge the batteries while the engine is running. This is how other people on the sbmcc forum have done it, so I am copying them! More details on this when I understand how it works.
 Brackets which we bought from B and Q (I feel like I live there at the moment). We got zinc plated L shaped cupboard brackets and bolted them together, then bolted them through the roof. We also got rubber washers to help stop water leaking through and sealed it all up with soudaflex. We were going to seal up the wire in the centre but once we had bolted the panel on we couldn't reach it! It is a tight fit and raised up on a ridge, hidden under the panel, so we decided to seal it from the inside instead.

 Here is the charge controller, the fuse box and a load of wires! I tried my hardest to keep it neat, but failed. We may need to hide this somehow. All the electric things were bought from Vehicle wiring products and The 12v shop. The whole lot cost about £100 (cable is expensive!). The LED lights were bought from ebay.

We build a box for the socket to live in so the wires don't keep falling off. The socket charges the laptop and the phones. There is also a fire extinguisher, just in case!

Here is a light. Working!

I still haven't connected the smartcom to charge the batteries when the van is running. It is sunny at the moment so the solar panel is working fine. We might even sell the second panel (be bought 2x 40w , but only mounted one on the roof).
As we are not running a fridge we don't need that much power and one panel (and a hook up to charge while driving) will probably be enough.

1 comment:

  1. Great content. I strongly believe content should be genuine...................... solar pv