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Subject Topic: Solar power / panel
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05/3/2011 at 5:31pm
 Location: Argyll Scotland
 Outfit: 1997 Bailey Ranger 470 4
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Uig CP

This is our last unit, a Sprintaway Caravan and you can see the solar panel that was built into the roof.

We used it mostly for wildcamping so no EHU although it was equipped for it. This pic was taken during our 27 night trip to the Outer Hebrides.

Using Gas for cooking, the fridge ran on 12v but it was a Waeco Compression Fridge and used very little power.
The lights and waterpump also ran off the battery but the Laptop had to be charged in the car to minimise battery use.

Some sites only have a 6A supply (1300watts) so be careful what power you use.

Also Caravan Site Mains Electrics (EHU) are notorious for failing, usually at peak times and so relying on the mains for all your cooking, refridgeration and lighting is a bad idea.  

When you say "and I'll have a kettle for cuppas in a morning? " I sincerely hope you are not talking about an Electric Kettle????

The ONLY electric kettle you should be using on a campsite is one that is specifically made to use on a campsite. A camping electric kettle will use around 750 watts. A domestic electric kettle will use around 2200 watts.



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Lobey.


05/3/2011 at 5:37pm
 Location: Hayle Cornwall
 Outfit: Honda CRV Bailey Bordeaux + tents
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There are lots of led replacements that actually produce more light than the old halogen bulbs. I have replaced all my 12v halogen with G4 6L and Bs15 adapters,and led festoons for the overheads. Our tv is now a 12v and while I do use a laptop, its not for long each day. I intend to have a go at making my own monocrystalline panel soon and have costed each panel(80w) at about £73. A pair of these should keep my 110ah battery sufficiently topped up for our normal 5 day trips providing there is sufficient sunlight.

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Nigel

March 2012 - Dove Meadows
6th July Moving to Hayle


05/3/2011 at 5:47pm
 Location: Argyll Scotland
 Outfit: 1997 Bailey Ranger 470 4
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Ofcourse you could change your lighting to the old Gas Mantle type ones but we much prefer wick paraffin lamps. They give off a lovely yellow glow that is just so relaxing.

LED lights are great for saving energy but, for us, they are far too harsh to fit into our idea of the relaxing nature of camping/caravanning.



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Lobey.


06/3/2011 at 11:18am
 Location: Spalding Lincs
 Outfit: Burstner Lux (roughly 1986?)
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Wow lots of thoughts and suggestions this is great!


The kettle would yes be a camping version. A list of things I would be running would be;

- Kettle as above
- Stove to heat food (don't mind carrying a small gas canister, but did consider the electric table top stove type as I nothing else runs on gas. I'm guessing this would be too much so gas it will be)
- Laptop / phone charging
- Running hot water (in-line water heater) with foot pump / switch


I would normally be using EHU (see, getting the lingo now!) but I do festivals for 3 / 5 days without EHU quite often and these are the times I wanted to have power provided. So if I get a battery, can I get 2 to double the length of time? Does it just charge when I drive?

x


06/3/2011 at 12:27pm
 Location: None Entered
 Outfit: trigano chantilly
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Quote: Originally posted by LobeyDosser on 05/3/2011

Ofcourse you could change your lighting to the old Gas Mantle type ones but we much prefer wick paraffin lamps. They give off a lovely yellow glow that is just so relaxing.

LED lights are great for saving energy but, for us, they are far too harsh to fit into our idea of the relaxing nature of camping/caravanning.



just sold a load of fittings but i still have a box of bijou mantles somewhere


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06/3/2011 at 1:43pm
 Location: Argyll Scotland
 Outfit: 1997 Bailey Ranger 470 4
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Quote: Originally posted by Iz+Nik on 06/3/2011
Wow lots of thoughts and suggestions this is great!

The kettle would yes be a camping version. A list of things I would be running would be;
- Kettle as above
- Stove to heat food (don't mind carrying a small gas canister, but did consider the electric table top stove type as I nothing else runs on gas. I'm guessing this would be too much so gas it will be)
- Laptop / phone charging
- Running hot water (in-line water heater) with foot pump / switch

I would normally be using EHU (see, getting the lingo now!) but I do festivals for 3 / 5 days without EHU quite often and these are the times I wanted to have power provided. So if I get a battery, can I get 2 to double the length of time? Does it just charge when I drive?  x

If you are running everything from a Battery then the largest battery you can have would be a12 volt X 110Ah.
Now 12v at 110Ah amounts to 1320w (12 times 110). That means that the maximum power you can draw from that battery for a time of one hour is 1320 watts. However to run the likes of your electric kettle from your battery, you will also need an Inverter and that will also use power to run and so will reduce the usable amount of available power.

Now if your camping kettle is pulling out 750w and your laptop charger is using say 90w, that will leave just 480 watts for your "In-line Water Heater with Pump".

Okay, lets say that you do manage to run all that from your battery, that will take care of your first hour, so what are you going to use to power your appliences for the next 3 to 5 days and 23 hours?

If power was as easy to obtain as you seem to think it is, mains electricity would be non existent and our houses would be battery operated never mind campsites.

Those that "do" Festivals, Meets, Rallies, Wildcamping etc and depend on 12v batteries for power, do not contemplate taking electric kettles, Laptops and in-line Water Heaters and pumps with them.

Electric Kettle ------  Pan of water on a Gas or Primus Stove.
Laptop ------- BlackBerry (minimum use).
In Line Water Heater. -------- See electric kettle or use a Solar Shower.
Water Pump. --------- Bucket and arms to lift it over your head and tip it.

Using a 110Ah battery the way you want to use it and it will not even last one hour.
Using a 110Ah battery to power just electric lights and cooking and heating the way any other camper would, and your battery will last for the festival.



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Lobey.


06/3/2011 at 2:28pm
 Location: Dorset
 Outfit: Lots.mainly Cabanons!
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Quote: Originally posted by Iz+Nik on 05/3/2011
Thankyou! To all the replies. It certainly seems getting a back-up battery would work better! I won't be running anything other than lights, a tabletop stove, a TV, and charging phones / laptops / etc

I do appreciate the advice!




LOL that's a huge amount of power!

We camp at no facility sites with no lekkie, we use petrol to cook on including a stove top coffee perculator, we also use a BBQ and use the leftover power in that to heat water to wash up, we use petrol/battery for lighting, gas for the fridge.

We only use electric for powering phones and running a TV for an hour or so at most (boo hiss...there you go, saved others doing it!).   We occasionally use a laptop but discovered that this decimated the battery at a huge rate so we use our phones instead.

We use an old 70 amp hour leisure batter and we ensure that this is fully charged before we go. We then have a 12w solar panel and this is enough to keep on top of the small amount of power that we use.

Our solar panel was a Maplins special - I don't like the suitcase panels as they say that they aren't waterproof and I couldn't be bothered to think about whether one was left in the rain or not!

-------------
Piglet


07/3/2011 at 12:25pm
 Location: Lincolnshire
 Outfit: 5 m zig bell force 10 trigano ridge
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As said above you going to have to:

Cook - with gas or petrol stove
Heat water - as above
Charge phones etc - inverter in car
Lighting - gas or battery powered
TV - forget it, your at a festival (plenty of entertainment!)

What your asking from your battery is too much, I'd be surprised if it even lasted an hour to be honest. Plus running lead acid (leisure battery's) completely flat will shorten their life enormously, it's best to keep those types of battery topped up full as much as possible.

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....gone wild camping....


07/3/2011 at 8:27pm
 Location: Spalding Lincs
 Outfit: Burstner Lux (roughly 1986?)
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Ok, I get the idea!

I am new to caravanning (have camped in tents loads) so forgive me for being so naive about this whole powering biz!

So, I can do gas for food (and BBQs go down well with me!)
TV I can go without
But I do want hot water, running preferably. That's the only problem I guess.

Could I get running hot water (just a tap - I'm not bothered about showers) any other way? What are my options? Doesn't have to be the in-line heater, but something I could possibly 'turn' and get some hot water - even if a limited supply. Anything available that heats a tank of water?

Appreciate the help, I really do!

x


Ooooh - just thought - what about a generator?


07/3/2011 at 8:46pm
 Location: Lincolnshire
 Outfit: 5 m zig bell force 10 trigano ridge
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You can buy water heaters that run on gas for about £140ish from Towsure I believe, I'll try find a link for you.

Yes a genny would prob suit you better if it's in a noisy place like a festival.

-------------
....gone wild camping....


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08/3/2011 at 10:09am
 Location: Letchworth Garden City
 Outfit: Conway Cruiser
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If you only want hot water for washing yourself and your pots and pans, in my opinion, you'd be best off putting a kettle on a gas (or other non electric) stove, to heat it as you need it.

If sunny enough, and you wont need it till late in the day, solar showers work rather well for heating water for washing with - at least in our experience.

as far as charging phones, DS's, camera batteries etc, I searched around the net sometime ago, and found you can get replacement charging leads that plug into a USB socket on a computer.  Couple those to a USB to car cigar lighter plug (some have 3 or 4 USB sockets in them) and hey presto, 'free' charging power while you drive.

using above methods, and with the fridge running off the gas,  we have camped for a week on a THS quite comfortably, just using the 85ah battery to power the light and the water pump - after making sure the battery was fully charged before we left home.

There will always be a compromise between 'all the comforts of home' or using an EHU, but with some thought (and an element of trial and error) it can be just as comfortable.



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Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional


08/3/2011 at 12:39pm
 Location: Middlesex
 Outfit: Iveco Motorhome + lotsa tents
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I use 12 volt only in my camper van (transit jumbo) I have a 170Ah leisure battery and run a 70Amp split charger from the vans own electrics. The two are totally separate, the split charger only works one way and that's to charge the auxiliary 170Ah leisure battery. I also run a 100 watt 6Ah solar panel that is flat on the roof. I have all LED lighting, three x 500 lumen dome lights wich is 60+ watt equiv  like this 12v AC/DC Warm White 6 x 1W Leds Dome Light (500) Lumen they only draw

170 ma 9 watts power consumption. from HERE not always 3 on together as they are very bright.

3 x  1 watt led spot lights above the bed and cooker = 0.16ma these LOOK

1 LCD tv/dvd and a Status S530/5 Directional Antenna (Digital and Analogue reception thats powered via 12v

1 scene light for outside above the door for an awning light that is 1000+ lumens and only 15 watt = 1.25 amps.  this one  LOOK 86

I charge a laptop and gps now and then via  12v cigarette sockets

I charge all our phones too inc iphone.

I charge the walkie talkies

Sometimes i run a cd boombox via the 12v cigarette sockets too for outside bbq's parties etc.

I also have ICE in the van too the tv/dvd runs through it also.

I also charge with USB sockets.

 

I never run out of power no matter how long i camp for and most of it is wild camping at the beach or Wales, or Scotland etc. All year round

If you get the balance right with the charging the leisure battery wich is your power storage you will not have any problems.

 

Use  a watts amps volts calculator it helps! HERES ONE free

 

Choose kit that is low on power consumption eg LCD and LED do your homework.

 

Split charger and a solar panel work well for me to keep my 170Ah topped up.

All cooking is gas

BBQ/Oven = Cobb

 

 

 

 



Post last edited on 08/03/2011 12:53:37

-------------
DELTA..
aka Paul








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