Solar charger with no normal charger

Jul 23, 2020
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Im looking at getting one of THESE - but the caravan doesnt already have a normal charger installed as the original owner for some reason removed it. I just want to check that these are ok to install on its own.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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For a previous caravan we purchased from them and found them to be quite helpful with replies etc. BTW get the MPPT controller as worth paying the extra.
 
Sep 26, 2018
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The panel needs to be sized roughly with the Watts of the panel greater than or equal to the AH of the battery, so if you have a 100AH battery, plan for a 100W panel. To be honest, the prices on that site look expensive watt for watt... I use Photonic Universe, and have been very pleased.
 
May 7, 2012
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It depends on what you want to run and when, as to if it is big enough. I think a bigger one would be better for most people, but if you do only want to run the basics it might be suitable. The claims for its use seem over the top for the items mentioned and most fitted by the caravan manufacturers are over 100 watts.
You do also need a regulator to make sure you do not cook the battery, as Buckman says.
 
Jul 23, 2020
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Thanks everyone.
I thought what I had purchased was the complete kit? Is it not then? Do I need buy something else?
We dont use much, I made the mistake of not realising that the battery was charging and we were away for 4 days and it only went flat on day 4 (Which was day 5 of use as i had been fixing the heater etc before we went away) So i dont think we use that much 12v juice.
I am now worried though that I have bought the wrong thing? Is the blue box in the image not the regulator?
I did look on Photonic universe but wasnt sure i could find a complete kit?
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Thanks everyone.
I thought what I had purchased was the complete kit? Is it not then? Do I need buy something else?
We dont use much, I made the mistake of not realising that the battery was charging and we were away for 4 days and it only went flat on day 4 (Which was day 5 of use as i had been fixing the heater etc before we went away) So i dont think we use that much 12v juice.
I am now worried though that I have bought the wrong thing? Is the blue box in the image not the regulator?
I did look on Photonic universe but wasnt sure i could find a complete kit?
When we bought from them we got the complete kit with a MPPT controller however we also added a monitor. Go for the panel with the MPPT controller. It costs a little extra but well worth the extra cost. This ONE may be a better option.
 
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Jul 23, 2020
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When we bought from them we got the complete kit with a MPPT controller however we also added a monitor. Go for the panel with the MPPT controller. It costs a little extra but well worth the extra cost. This ONE may be a better option.
Thank you, it arrives today so will see if i can send it back. Sorry for all the questions, so does the MPPT just help it charge? I like the Bluetooth option.
 
Sep 29, 2016
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McLosi,

(I am another member who rarely posts on here any longer because of the attitude of Moderator Damian.)

But I cannot see someone waste their money McLosi, don't waste your money on an MPPT controller for a 60w panel, there will be no discernible increase in performance.

It is generally accepted that MPPT controllers really only come into their own at around 200w and above panel systems.

If you want increased performance buy an additional panel instead.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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McLosi,

(I am another member who rarely posts on here any longer because of the attitude of Moderator Damian.)

But I cannot see someone waste their money McLosi, don't waste your money on an MPPT controller for a 60w panel, there will be no discernible increase in performance.

It is generally accepted that MPPT controllers really only come into their own at around 200w and above panel systems.

If you want increased performance buy an additional panel instead.
Our panel was 120w with the MPPT controller and seemed to work a lot better than our current 100w solar panel with a normal controller. Either way I think we can both agree that 60w is too low or small for a100ah battery. Panel should have been a minimum of 100w.
 
Jul 23, 2020
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Ok, so with or without the the MPPT... everyone's thoughts are that I need a 100W panel.
Even though our use is low, our 100ah battery lasted 4/5 days with me leaving a couple lights (LEDS) on throughout the day and the water heater was on for 3 solid days of those 4/5 days.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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When I fitted mine I read a lot about MPPT verses PWM. And it gets very technical with a lot of misleading info. But there are pros and cons. I have a 100 watt plus a 20 watt panel. I was going to get a PWM as they were considerably cheaper. Then I found my MPPT controller for about £8 delivered from Hong Kong. That was 4 years ago, it has worked ever since without a hick up.


Perhaps I have just been lucky.

If of any interest, this is my installation.


John
 
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Parksy

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Hi McLosi
Your water heater, fridge and cooker will run on lpg.
I have a roof mounted 12 volt 80 watt solar panel with a cheapo pulse width modulator shunt controller which will keep my 120 amp/hour leisure battery topped up enough to run led lighting, the water pump and toilet flush almost indefinitely during the brighter summer months if I don't use an inverter to power the TV.
An MPPT controller is a better buy, they can be bought separately if your solar panel doesn't come with one.
A shunt controller like mine is a simple on/ off device which shuts off solar energy when the battery is fully charged.
An MPPT controller will optimise the energy delivery by measuring the battery state and sending the appropriate amount of solar energy needed which is much more efficient and effective.
It's important that the leisure battery is in good condition for solar charging to work.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Ok, so with or without the the MPPT... everyone's thoughts are that I need a 100W panel.
Even though our use is low, our 100ah battery lasted 4/5 days with me leaving a couple lights (LEDS) on throughout the day and the water heater was on for 3 solid days of those 4/5 days.
BTW the water heater works off gas and not 12v. As per Parksey. I think the Morning star MPPT controller is supposed to be top rated, but you pay extra for it.
 
Jul 23, 2020
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Hi McLosi
Your water heater, fridge and cooker will run on lpg.
I have a roof mounted 12 volt 80 watt solar panel with a cheapo pulse width modulator shunt controller which will keep my 120 amp/hour leisure battery topped up enough to run led lighting, the water pump and toilet flush almost indefinitely during the brighter summer months if I don't use an inverter to power the TV.
An MPPT controller is a better buy, they can be bought separately if your solar panel doesn't come with one.
A shunt controller like mine is a simple on/ off device which shuts off solar energy when the battery is fully charged.
An MPPT controller will optimise the energy delivery by measuring the battery state and sending the appropriate amount of solar energy needed which is much more efficient and effective.
It's important that the leisure battery is in good condition for solar charging to work.

Thank you, that clears up a few queries then. I think for the use I will see if I can upgrade our panel to at least 80w or more and maybe get the MPPT controller as well. Hopefully they will let me send it all back.
Battery is brand new although was flattened over the weekend by mistake.
 
Jul 23, 2020
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BTW the water heater works off gas and not 12v. As per Parksey. I think the Morning star MPPT controller is supposed to be top rated, but you pay extra for it.
Thanks, I wasnt aware of this, I assumed it ran on the 12v system. Do they ignite on their own then when turning on at the panel? I had no water when the battery went so just assumed I lost the water heater as well.
 
Jul 23, 2020
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When I fitted mine I read a lot about MPPT verses PWM. And it gets very technical with a lot of misleading info. But there are pros and cons. I have a 100 watt plus a 20 watt panel. I was going to get a PWM as they were considerably cheaper. Then I found my MPPT controller for about £8 delivered from Hong Kong. That was 4 years ago, it has worked ever since without a hick up.


Perhaps I have just been lucky.

If of any interest, this is my installation.


John
Love the Onions used as a weight!
 
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Jun 16, 2020
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Love the Onions used as a weight!

The brown sack was potatoes.

Thanks, I wasnt aware of this, I assumed it ran on the 12v system. Do they ignite on their own then when turning on at the panel? I had no water when the battery went so just assumed I lost the water heater as well.

The water heater will not work of the battery. Be lucky to get get shower with if it did. But you are correct, it will need a battery for the gas ignition.

John
 
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Sep 29, 2016
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When I fitted mine I read a lot about MPPT verses PWM. And it gets very technical with a lot of misleading info. But there are pros and cons. I have a 100 watt plus a 20 watt panel. I was going to get a PWM as they were considerably cheaper. Then I found my MPPT controller for about £8 delivered from Hong Kong. That was 4 years ago, it has worked ever since without a hick up.


Perhaps I have just been lucky.

If of any interest, this is my installation.


John
Sorry Jcloughie but that controller shown in your Dropbox pics is a PWM not MPPT.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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Sorry Jcloughie but that controller shown in your Dropbox pics is a PWM not MPPT.

Interesting. Thanks for the info. It was sold to me as an MPPT controller, and I had no reason to disbelieve that. But after reading your post I Googled the number on the front. CMPT 02 and some are calling it a MPPT. but most agree with you that it’s a PWM. So thats odd.

The more respectable looking web sites say PWM so guess that’s what it is. I certainly don’t have the expertise to know the difference.

I may well have been duped, but I am not too disappointed at it was dirt cheap and works well.

My van is in storage and has not been used for 9 plus months. except to bring it home for service the day of the lock down. This is the Phantom read out tonight.

DB379BC4-B317-4793-B9E1-BF6E046E7AD2.png

John
 
Jul 23, 2020
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BTW the water heater works off gas and not 12v. As per Parksey. I think the Morning star MPPT controller is supposed to be top rated, but you pay extra for it.

Im assuming the heater works off 230v as well as ive had it on and heating with no gas attached. When I serviced the heater I had to remove all 3 sources, 12v 230v and Gas. I assumed the 12v was to ignite the gas if needed but would also heat but am I right in saying the heater will only heat on 230v and Gas.
How do I get it started on Gas then?
 
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My caravan is fitted with a 80watt charger and I never need to use the charger when its laid up, and I do know Bailey fit a 100watt, so agree with others that 60w is a little small, in fact off mains I would want a lot more when the caravan is being used.

My 80 watt panel performs faultlessly with the factory cheap unit.
 
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