Solar Top Up

Comments and questions about commercial and self-built conversions, awnings and the Granvia as a motorcaravan
DrJekyll
Posts: 33
Joined: 03 Jan 2012, 21:49
Location: York

Solar Top Up

Postby DrJekyll » 24 Sep 2014, 20:59

I want to keep my leisure battery topped up with a solar panel whilst the campervan is not used very often through the winter. Am thinking I could lay one on the back 'seat' in full sun and it would probably work fine, but I don't know how to connect one to the battery and am not very confident electrically (I did swap the leisure battery for a new one OK recently, so not a complete numpty). Leisure battery is under the pull out bed accessed through the rear door.

Anyone had experience of doing this?
Easy to fit flying leads to connect a panel to?
Recommendations for type and size of panel?

Thanks!
3.4 Petrol 4WD LPG

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72degrees
Posts: 19
Joined: 19 Jan 2012, 20:52

Re: Solar Top Up

Postby 72degrees » 07 Oct 2014, 12:46

Most solar chargers come with crocodile clips and/or a cigarette lighter (accessory) plug. You can get an accessory socket ready wired to crocodile clips off Ebay. I use one of these to provide 240v via an inverter when not hooked up to mains. My leisure battery is behind the driver's door so fairly accessible though.

In your case I'd wire up a quick connector permanently to the leisure battery that you can plug in to. Some battery terminals are easier to do this with than others. Motorcycle ones are really easy and usually just need a largish crimp on round terminal. The larger ones on a leisure battery may be trickier but so long as you securely attach the correct colour coded wires to give the right polarity it would be fine. The important thing is that the connector should ensure you can't get the polarity wrong. An accessory socket will do the job or you can use the sort of low voltage power/battery connector that Maplins sell.

The panel I use is about 50 cms by 10 cms. I put mine inside the windscreen.

BEWARE - do not connect up two, even in parallel, as they are unregulated. I'm fairly sure I melted the diodes in my alternator doing this one weekend in very bright sun in mid June. That was when hooked up to the vehicle battery though and I think the charging system relay for the leisure battery should prevent that, but not worth taking the risk.
Granvia 3.0TD 4WD Camper
"Do not adjust your mind there is a fault in the reality"

DrJekyll
Posts: 33
Joined: 03 Jan 2012, 21:49
Location: York

Re: Solar Top Up

Postby DrJekyll » 07 Oct 2014, 19:37

Thanks for the info. I'll go hunting a suitable solar panel and then sort out the connectors. What is the panel make you use and where did you buy it from?

Cheers.

Paul
3.4 Petrol 4WD LPG

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72degrees
Posts: 19
Joined: 19 Jan 2012, 20:52

Re: Solar Top Up

Postby 72degrees » 10 Oct 2014, 11:11

Mine is a TPS-946. Maplins do them for about £40 but I'm sure you could find the same unit on Ebay for less.
Granvia 3.0TD 4WD Camper
"Do not adjust your mind there is a fault in the reality"


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