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Old 06-05-2014, 10:28 AM   #11
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@HappyVibe... 60 watt solar panels are capable of outputting at most 20 amp hours a day in sunny weather. You must be a very frugal user of amps.
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As to the question raised by Clark...RPAspey has it exactly right +1.
The only thing you might want to do is to bring along a clamp meter that can measure DC amps on your next trip...then at night....measure the amp draw on your positive battery cable with various stuff you typically use turned on. Then by figuring the # of hours a day you will have that draw...you will know your amp hour needs. Obviously...if you have refrigeration you'll need to account for that draw on an intermittent basis....usually 25% of actual draw when on (i.e. 6 hours times actual draw) is sufficient.
Assuming your have a group 27 or 31 battery delivering around 100amp hours of capacity...you have 50 amp hours of use before you need to recharge. (50% rule prevents paying for batteries frequently!) . If your amp hours IN from the sun...don't equal your calculated amp hours OUT from use.. you now know how long those 50 amps will last you. Alternatives are bigger panels...or more batteries or a generator to let you camp longer.
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Old 06-05-2014, 11:55 AM   #12
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Yes we are frugal. we don't watch TV or play the radio much, all the interior lights are LED. The main draw is the fridge control panel and Co detector.
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Old 06-05-2014, 12:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Vibe View Post
Yes we are frugal. we don't watch TV or play the radio much, all the interior lights are LED. The main draw is the fridge control panel and Co detector.
Yup...frugal enough to make a Scotsman blush!
Just a thought...an MPPT controller isn't gonna get you too many more amp hours a day off that set up...probably THREE on average. Alternatively...A tripod or similar mount for those panels that you could adjust 3-4 times a day to face perpendicular to the sun could significantly increase your amphours.
Panel output for flat panels is generally quoted as the EQUIVALENT of 6 hours of direct 90 degree angle sunlight per day. In the summer...you can see how much loss of available power this represents. If you're generally around the site ...you can pick up a lot of the missing daylight by making the occasional positioning adjustment.
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Old 06-05-2014, 12:58 PM   #14
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MPPT is more for playing with than real gain. The panels I have are on stands and as I said they are on a long wire so I can move them around the site. I plan on running them in series so they will run at 24 volts and see what I get. This is as much a science experiment, not just for keep they battery charged.
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Old 06-05-2014, 01:46 PM   #15
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Yeah but .......... Most frig circuit boards draw at least 1 amp and run 24 hours a day. So you need 24 amps per day just to run the frig (on propane). With a 45 watt panel you will be lucky to get that much daily. (2amps avg. X 10hours = 20amps). In addition the CO detector draws another 1 amp 24 hours a day. So the guess-estimate is your 45 watt solar panel will not keep up with the frig and CO detector.

LEDs work fine - I run a string of 18 LEDS that draw 160milliamps. I use a 4amp hour battery and a 5 watt panel no controller. Works good as long as the sun shines.

If you are going to run an inverter for 110VAC then you don't have a chance with a 45 watt panel.
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Old 06-05-2014, 02:38 PM   #16
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MY panels do keep up because I have camped a few time for over 1 week and the batteries were still charged. My fridge does not take that much current, my draw is less then half an amp. I do not use an inverter because they are power hogs. Also I have 60w of panels, unless you were referring to the OP's setup. Sorry to the OP I seem to have high jacked your thread.
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Old 06-05-2014, 04:18 PM   #17
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Jjst from what I've read elsewhere, better panels can be had.....
Appearently these HF panels work but aren't very good (as expected)....
I think I remember maybe something about not putting out well in less than optimal conditions, etc....
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