solar power whilst travelling

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dready sam
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solar power whilst travelling

Post: #201725 dready sam
Fri Jul 02, 2010 8:19 am

hi

we are about to head off in our campervan around europe for 8-10 months. we need some sort of kit to power lights & a laptop & recharge mobile phone, MP3 player & batteries. as we have a self built van we have no inverter fitted so we are starting from scratch. here are some products i have found. does anyone have any experience with these?

http://www.nigelsecostore.com/acatalog/ ... arger.html - the solar gorilla looks good & is reasonably priced, wouldnt be able to power lights from it (i dont think) but would do everything else although it does say to buy the power gorilla to go with it (another £150)

http://www.sunshinesolar.co.uk/khxc/gbu ... PTOP1.html - a little more expensive but probably a better system?? only works with laptops that require DC input, my laptop is AC so would have to buy a new laptop.

suggestions, advice, comments would be most welcome :)
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dave45
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Re: solar power whilst travelling

Post: #201787 dave45
Fri Jul 02, 2010 11:16 pm

Get a cheapo ebay inverter and a battery plus portable solar PV panel like your gorilla thing. That way you have the flexibility to plug in any low-power 240VAC device. Unless you can get everything working off 12V its the best compromise.
Unplug the inverters when not in use as the cheap ones waste power just being connected... smart inverters cost shedloads of money. Batteries need to be "deep cycle" lead acid (not car batteries) or far more expensive hi-tech lithium ones.

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Re: solar power whilst travelling

Post: #201835 battybird
Sat Jul 03, 2010 2:37 pm

Hi
Have you thought about getting a car lighter socket for the campervan then you can charge your laptop, phone mp3 while on the move if no solar available? We get ours from Maplins, they also do some fairly reasonable solar panels if you search their offers(sign up for the newletter and you get money off vouchers too, then cancel letter!) We got our inverter and lap top charger from there. We also have a freeloader which has loads of adapters but, to be honest, have not been that impressed and prefer to use the car. You can get multiple sockets so several things can be charged at once. My phone charger is adaptable with a 24v or 12v charger and also has various "ends" so you can use it for different small electrics. :wave:
Just thought, we saw a very reasonable briefcase style solar panel in Auchen France when we coming home in june. About 45euro for a 13watt panel...might be worth looking at!
The cockerel makes the noise, the hen produces the goods!! anon

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dready sam
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Re: solar power whilst travelling

Post: #202130 dready sam
Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:25 am

thanks :)

dave45 - so could the solar panel could charge the leisure battery or would we have to do that from the engine? i'm asking because it will be likely that we are parked up for at least 2 weeks at a time, more likely a month. we wouldn't be using the van that much during that time as we have cycles. if we used that system we then have a power point which would be great but how do i work out what appliances are low power? i would like to take the external hard drive as well. this is really the sort of system we want as long as the panel charges the battery. do you know how easy it is to fit? the one thing we both lack is any knowledge of electrics hence all the questions :)

ruth56 - yes we do already have charging for our mobiles, camera battery, normal batteries, dvd player through the lighter socket. i looked for a laptop one but couldn't find one as this would be handy. but as i said above there will be times when the van isn't moving for a few weeks so we need another option :)

as we hope to power our new house using solar power (lots of sun in bulgaria!) it makes sense to get one for our needs now so we can see how they work etc
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battybird
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Re: solar power whilst travelling

Post: #202146 battybird
Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:38 am

I got a solar laptop charger from maplins.We charge the leisure battery (we have three as it is for a permanent home) through solar panels connected and use a 12v socket to charge and power stuff in the barn, we do have an inverter which we use when really necessary but you lose some power just to run it so better all run on 12v if poss. You would need to ensure you have enough wattage for your needs. We started with a small 40w panel which was plenty for the caravan. I found some calculators when I was working out our needs try this link. http://midsummerenergy.co.uk/solar_pane ... lator.html but there are loads on google. A separate leisure battery would probably be useful, car batteries do not respond too well to frequent discharging. I reread my post and I was not very clear..sorry! :oops: We use the car whenever we are on the move but the barn just runs completely on solar panels (total 160 watts now). good luck!
The cockerel makes the noise, the hen produces the goods!! anon

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dready sam
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Re: solar power whilst travelling

Post: #202179 dready sam
Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:22 pm

thanks for the information ruth... great link, i hadn't seen those calculators before :)
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dave45
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Re: solar power whilst travelling

Post: #202560 dave45
Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:32 pm

dready sam wrote:thanks :)

dave45 - so could the solar panel could charge the leisure battery or would we have to do that from the engine?
as we hope to power our new house using solar power (lots of sun in bulgaria!) it makes sense to get one for our needs now so we can see how they work etc


sure - one of those briefcase panels would be fine for a portable installation. if you run the risk of overcharging your batteries you may need a charge controller too (check out ebay again) - da v Bulgaria ima mnogo sluntse po lyatoto ! - where are you going in BG?

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dready sam
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Re: solar power whilst travelling

Post: #202962 dready sam
Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:26 pm

ok thanks :) we're heading to the sliven area hoping to settle somewhere in the south east
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