Solar panels for a van
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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; 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 ...

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  1. #1
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    Solar panels for a van

    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

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  2. #2
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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

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    Hi Jacky,
    We're totally off-grid solar up here on the mountain, but I'm guessing there's someone here who may have some ideas for you. If not, might I suggest searching systems designed for pleasure boats? There are a lot of solar marine set-ups that are designed more rugged, for the elements and motion. Good luck!
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    ~~~~~~~~~~~
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by MountainGirl View Post
    Hi Jacky,
    We're totally off-grid solar up here on the mountain, but I'm guessing there's someone here who may have some ideas for you. If not, might I suggest searching systems designed for pleasure boats? There are a lot of solar marine set-ups that are designed more rugged, for the elements and motion. Good luck!
    That's awesome. Sounds like your living the dream. Good idea I never thought of that!

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  5. #4
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    Check on the Expedition Forum. Lots of info and rigs being set up for off grid living.

    https://expeditionportal.com/
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  6. #5
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    Check on YouBoob for some of the bigger van dwellers channels.
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    I try not to make plans much. The word 'premeditated' would get tossed around in court.
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  7. #6
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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

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    Hey Jacky,

    Can't help with the Solar Panels, I've been researching them for years and just cannot seem to justify the cost etc.

    But on the Fridge, check out some of the LP Gas Refrigerators. Many RV's use them. Safe, Efficient and Economical.

    https://www.propaneproducts.com/gas-...tors-25-1.html

    Also a portable inverter generator might be a good option to fuel the other things that you need.

    https://www.bestgenerator.org/inverter-generators/
    Last edited by Slippy; 01-08-2020 at 06:08 PM.
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  8. #7
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    Ha, I asked a guy for a "cheap way" to use solar just to keep my chickens water from freezing.
    He said the battery, panel, recirc pump,,etc would be 1000 US Dollars..
    I will be putting warm water on the frozen chicky water till hell freezes over..
    Slippy, Inor and Old SF Guy like this.
    RIP Corporal BRADLEY COY 6/18/1992-10/24/2014

  9. #8
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    a fridge is not that hard on power... after it is cold it does not run 24/7.

    a tv however sucks power
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    Be a Berean

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deebo View Post
    Ha, I asked a guy for a "cheap way" to use solar just to keep my chickens water from freezing.
    He said the battery, panel, recirc pump,,etc would be 1000 US Dollars..
    I will be putting warm water on the frozen chicky water till hell freezes over..
    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.
    Last edited by Elvis; 01-08-2020 at 09:23 PM.
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  11. #10
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    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.
    Slippy, Prepared One and Jacky like 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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