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Solar panels for a van

This is a discussion on Solar panels for a van within the Alternative Energy (Wind, Solar, Hydro etc) forums, part of the Off-Grid Lifestyle category; Originally Posted by Elvis Ok, I'm rounding off numbers here and adding system inefficiencies here for fast and dirty numbers. Also for this example figuring ...

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Thread: Solar panels for a van

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elvis View Post
    Ok, I'm rounding off numbers here and adding system inefficiencies here for fast and dirty numbers. Also for this example figuring nights dropping into to about 15-20 and daytime highs running about 45 degrees with mostly sunny days. Using a 24v heater platform that you can set a 2 gallon water bucket on (designed to plug into a 120v outlet using a wall plug transformer like I use) I probably bought mine at Tractor Supply). $30 Plan to toss the 120v transformer and run the heater 24v direct DC.
    With more than 2 severely cloudy days in a row or super cold temps you'll need to add warm water with this sized power system.

    The primary limit is your batteries. Not going into the details but you need a 24v battery bank to run the 24v heater without an inverter. This means two 80 amp/hr (or larger) deep cycle 12v batteries hooked in series for 2 days of cloudy weather. (Google "hook up batteries in series") (deep cycle batteries from AutoZone, WalMart, ect.). This will make the two 12v batteries put out the required 24v. $200

    To properly charge the batteries you'll need enough solar panels. Since we'll be using a cheaper PMW (pulse width modulation) type charge controller the panel output voltage needs to be over 30v so panel selection is important. Fast searching around online I'm not seeing many solar panels in that exact voltage but by hooking 4 panels like this https://www.amazon.com/BougeRV-Monoc...538280&sr=8-10
    and hooking 2 sets in series of two panel strings you'll end up close enough to the desired voltage and watts. $320

    To avoid overcharging the batteries you'll need a 24v charge controller between the panels and the batteries like this. https://theinverterstore.com/product...All%20Products $60

    Roughly $610 total for a very basic solar setup to keep the chicken water thawed most of the winter. Electric heat is expensive.

    just my 2 cents.
    Elvis,

    One day I may have to get you out to Slippy Lodge and help me set up some Solar Power Stuffs! AS well as pick your brain on a total homestead assessment! You got it going on Sir!

    Slip
    Jacky and Elvis like this.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inor View Post
    I hope you are not planning on keeping chickens and chicken water warm in the van?!?

    Assuming not, the technical aspects of the solar do not seem too difficult to overcome, but keeping the solar panels taped to the top of your van while travelling at highway speeds (100+ KPH in your scale) might be a challenge.

    Beyond that, I suggest you look at @Slippy 's advice for an LP fridge or better yet, ace the T.V. T.V. sucks anyway.
    LOL Inor, methinks you've been partying with Hawg. It was Deebo that has the chickens, and Jacky can buy inexpensive flat mounts for the panels on the van roof. Thanks though for the great visual!!
    Inor, 0rocky and Jacky like this.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MountainGirl View Post
    LOL Inor, methinks you've been partying with Hawg. It was Deebo that has the chickens, and Jacky can buy inexpensive flat mounts for the panels on the van roof. Thanks though for the great visual!!
    Jus' checkin'. You know me. Always on the lookout for the unexpected.
    Jacky likes this.
    rest in peace Corporal Bradley Coy 06/08/92-10/24/14

    Rest in Peace Sgt Mackie. 10/19/19

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  5. #14
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    Does anyone remember the old gentleman who used to be on this site? He lived in Arizona, had just gone totally off-grid with solar, and then announced that he was dying and left the site?
    Jacky likes this.
    "Reality is almost always wrong."
    Dr. Gregory House

  6. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inor View Post
    Jus' checkin'. You know me. Always on the lookout for the unexpected.
    oops, sorry if I knocked your pins over before you got them all set up.
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  7. #16
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    Whoa! Heating chicken water is way more expensive that electrifying some fence.
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  8. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacky View Post
    Can someone give me some insight on what solar panels and leisure batteries might be suitable to be attached to a van to run a fridge , charge phones / laptop and maybe even run a TV for a couple hours a day ? I ideally want the batteries charged from solar panel and separate from alternator. Thanks in advance

    Sent from my EML-L09 using Tapatalk
    Well-- since you asked... .

    I am a big fan of Jackery products. Go to Jackery.com and check out their power banks, power stations and solar panels. All of their products are designed for outdoor-type use and would be perfect for van use. My second choice is RAVPower.com. They don't have quite the selection in terms of large capacity but they are awesome, too.

    That said, and excuse me if you already know this, but you'll have to determine what you need in terms of power. For example, small electronics like phones and tablet use about 5-8watts/hour. How big is your fridge? Consider input/output voltage as well. A 5V solar panel will not charge will not charge a 12V power station.

    Also, you're in the UK so there's that to consider.

    Solar panels for a van-img_5367.jpg

    That's the Jackery Solar Sega 60 on the floor. The 240W power station on the top and a smaller 160 on the left along with various power banks, etc.

    EDIT: Can someone please tell me how to flip pics?
    Last edited by Marica; 01-09-2020 at 08:47 AM.
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  9. #18
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    This is also a nice little solar charger/power bank. 25000mAh so pretty big. Very rugged. From RAVPower.

    Attachment 102583
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  10. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marica View Post
    ...

    EDIT: Can someone please tell me how to flip pics?

    Hold tight while I ring you on the rotary dial white princess phone over there!

    Just kidding! I'm pretty sure that's a prop to throw off anyone who might be spying on us...

    Anyway, if you are using a laptop, sometimes when you save your picture, select EDIT/CREATE on your Picture Saving App or program and adjust the picture just a tiny bit...move a border or something like that and it tends to "right" the picture after you post it on the forum. I have no idea why or how it does that because I am wearing my tinfoil hat as I type this...

    Solar panels for a van-img_5367-2-.jpg
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  11. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slippy View Post
    Hold tight while I ring you on the rotary dial white princess phone over there!

    Just kidding! I'm pretty sure that's a prop to throw off anyone who might be spying on us...

    Anyway, if you are using a laptop, sometimes when you save your picture, select EDIT/CREATE on your Picture Saving App or program and adjust the picture just a tiny bit...move a border or something like that and it tends to "right" the picture after you post it on the forum. I have no idea why or how it does that because I am wearing my tinfoil hat as I type this...

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_5367 (2).JPG 
Views:	29 
Size:	2.21 MB 
ID:	102585
    Slippy, that's exactly what I have to do when posting a pic from my phone... discovered it by accident lol.
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