|With many of us using more and more electrical
appliances in our caravans, or tents, we are becoming more reliant on having a
hookup on our pitch. But what if the site we're staying at has no hookups and
we are relying on battery power? Solar power may be the answer. There are many
options available, but we we decided to take a look at the relatively cheap and portable
'Briefcase' type solar panel from Towsure, to see how it performed, and to
provide a basic idea of what to expect.
So what is it?
The briefcase solar
panel is just that really - to put it basically it's two solar panels fitted
inside a hard case which folds up on itself. This provides excellent
protection to those delicate solar panels when not in use. When closed it's
just 53cm x 40cm x 5cm, so nice and slim and easily transportable.
To use it
you unfold it flat, and and use the support leg on the back to prop it up and
face the sun, which will give an improved output if you follow the sun round
through the day. Alternatively, as we did on the first day,
you can lie it flat on your roof which means it should catch the sun all day
long, without having to move it. It comes with long leads with detachable
connectors including crocodile clips. This means you can
easily use it to charge your leisure battery, or your car battery.
The solar panels are 13w giving you a theoretical maximum output of 1 amp in
bright sunlight, although in practice we measured this slightly lower.
When it's active it has a blinking LED letting you know it's working. The
panel comes complete with a blocking diode to prevent reverse
charging - when the panel is able to supply power to the battery, the diode
lets it through, when the panel cannot supply power (at night or in bad
weather) the diode prevents the battery discharging back through the panel.
Unless you plan to leave the panels charging your battery for long periods
whilst not in use, the manufacturers advise you don't need to fit a
regulator/charge controller to prevent overcharging.
If your power demands are high you may want to consider more expensive panels,
Towsure can supply panels from 10W to 80W as well as all the solar equipment
you'd ever need. But for most people these are perfect for conditioning your battery, and keeping it topped up
whilst in your caravan or tent with no mains hookup. Or you could even run a
small coolbox on a sunny day from it. Portable, easily and safely stored,
everything you need for basic solar power charging is here in one package.
A powerful 13 watt solar charger with adjustable support panel to maximise the power output. Ideal for charging caravan or motorhome batteries from general use such as interior light use or water pump. Simple and quick to connect and use and ideal for motorhome use - just connect up the panel and leave in the windscreen for solar charging.
- Blocking diode for battery protection
- Flashing charge indicator
- Suitable for all types of 12 volt batteries
- Comes complete with detatchable leads for different applications
- Ideal for caravans, motorhomes, boats, laptops etc
- Size: 53cm x 40cm when closed
Where can I get them from?
Towsure Products are stockists of the Briefcase Solar Panels and
are currently offering them at just £94.95 (prices correct at
time of publication and are subject to change without notice). Find out more from the
COMPETITION! Win a Briefcase Solar Panel
UKCampsite.co.uk has teamed up with Towsure Products to offer you the chance to win a
Briefcase Solar Panel.
Click here for your chance to win! Competition now closed!
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