Electrickery for camping - Page 4




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  1. #61
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    Super post Chris
    I spent nearly an hr reading and now have a very basic knowledge of the set-up. I have some technical questions that I need answered. You really covered a hell of a lot.
    For the info or maybe help to everyone on this forum I'm going to ask a question that either you or Fluffy can please answer.

    I will need "bush power" probably 5% of the time as most places have electricity, so I was thinking of getting a single LEAD CRYSTAL battery. Will a 130w panel mounted on a roof be sufficient to charge this battery to power a 85 lt fridge/freezer plus an electric blanket, a couple of led lights etc Or must I go bigger??
    Another problem is that most people look for shade to set up their camp, so the panel will probably not always have full sun. Additional portable solar panel ??

    Please guys, your thoughts and invaluable advice will really be appreciated.

    Thanks in anticipation.!!

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Balljoint View Post
    Hi Chris
    Excellent information.
    Could you tell me where I could get that voltage/ amp meter in your illustrations.
    Regards
    this unit ?






    Bought it from 4x4Direct.

    They are commercial members on this forum, and have a physical store in Brackenfell where you can buy a LOT of the stuff in my photos ....

    http://www.4x4direct.co.za/shop/
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  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by cherokee235 View Post
    Super post Chris
    I spent nearly an hr reading and now have a very basic knowledge of the set-up. I have some technical questions that I need answered. You really covered a hell of a lot.
    For the info or maybe help to everyone on this forum I'm going to ask a question that either you or Fluffy can please answer.

    I will need "bush power" probably 5% of the time as most places have electricity, so I was thinking of getting a single LEAD CRYSTAL battery. Will a 130w panel mounted on a roof be sufficient to charge this battery to power a 85 lt fridge/freezer plus an electric blanket, a couple of led lights etc Or must I go bigger??
    Another problem is that most people look for shade to set up their camp, so the panel will probably not always have full sun. Additional portable solar panel ??

    Please guys, your thoughts and invaluable advice will really be appreciated.

    Thanks in anticipation.!!
    once your solar system works you will go to more replaces, more often.


    I have a 52 liter fridge/freezer. Charge the camera batteries, and the laptop batteries - thus pushing my system much harderthan just a fridge.

    I have 2 off 80W panels, and this provides enough power for us.


    The slide option is most handy if you plan on camping in the shade ...


    anything larger than an 80W panel becomes "cumebrsome" to man handle around a camp site ...




    In truth - IMPOSSOBLE to answer you accurately - the time spent parked vs the time spent driving, the ambient temperature where you camp, etc etc all impact heavily on your power consumption.



    that said, many members here use the "2x80W" approach and this works for them in places like Botswana and Namibia.

  4. #64
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    Thanks Chris for the reply, it just about answers my question.

    I have bought an off road caravan ( not delivered yet ) and it comes standard with a 130w panel mounted to the roof of the van.

    I intend to leave the van on its own and drive around in the vehicle, so the panel on the van should hopefully charge the battery whist I'm away ??

    I just needed to know if the standard setup from the factory will be enough?

    Thanks for your time and invaluable knowledge, it's really appreciated.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisF View Post
    this unit ?






    Bought it from 4x4Direct.

    They are commercial members on this forum, and have a physical store in Brackenfell where you can buy a LOT of the stuff in my photos ....

    http://www.4x4direct.co.za/shop/
    Thanks Chris for the info
    Regards

  6. #66
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    We'll done Chris, I'm impressed with what you have done.

  7. #67
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    We'll done Chris, I'm impressed with your article, and I learned a lot. Thanks.

  8. #68
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    Brilliant article, nicely done.

    Without getting into a post debate I need some advice.

    I have built a battery box that will be used in my Tundra and Land Cruiser on our desert and beach camping trips. The box has a 105 AHR batter with a Ctek D250S charger built in.

    The issue I have not been able to get clarity on is the cable runs from the front of the vehicles to the rear.

    1. The first issue is the size cable to use. I have read that I should use a 12 to 16mm cable. based on your info you suggest that due to the 20A limit on the charger a 6mm would be sufficient?

    2. Do you need to run both pos and neg cables from the front or would you use a body/chassis earth?

    3. Would you fuze the pos at the front and at the rear battery, or would a single fuse on the line be sufficient, my logic tells me that a single 50A fuse at the front would be fine?

    4. The last question relates to temps, as we do get very hot days here between 45 and 52 degrees. How will this impact on the second battery and the maintenance/care required?

    Once again great post and thanks for the advice.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by atkinse View Post
    Brilliant article, nicely done.

    Without getting into a post debate I need some advice.

    I have built a battery box that will be used in my Tundra and Land Cruiser on our desert and beach camping trips. The box has a 105 AHR batter with a Ctek D250S charger built in.

    The issue I have not been able to get clarity on is the cable runs from the front of the vehicles to the rear.

    1. The first issue is the size cable to use. I have read that I should use a 12 to 16mm cable. based on your info you suggest that due to the 20A limit on the charger a 6mm would be sufficient?

    - I would standardize on 6mm throughout for the installation (based on a Ctek 250S)


    2. Do you need to run both pos and neg cables from the front or would you use a body/chassis earth?

    - I personally prefer to use a "twin flex" 6mm square cable. Now I KNOW the quality of the negative loop. with some "uni-body" vehicles the chassis makes a good return conductor - but only if you damage the paintwork at some point to ensure a decent connection ....

    3. Would you fuze the pos at the front and at the rear battery, or would a single fuse on the line be sufficient, my logic tells me that a single 50A fuse at the front would be fine?

    Fuse on the "supply side" only. You have three supply points in your circuit:
    - Thus place a fuse AT the 1st battery.
    - I place my Ctek NEXT to my 2nd battery, thus I dont use a fuse in that short line.
    Look practically at the line from your 2nd battery to your distribution box - is it possible for this line to short out to any metal ? If so, use a fuse, or better re-arrange the installation to avoid using a fuse if possible.

    Because you are using a Ctek, even a 30A fuse will be perfect. Fuses can, and should, be rated to the loads.



    4. The last question relates to temps, as we do get very hot days here between 45 and 52 degrees. How will this impact on the second battery and the maintenance/care required?

    sadly not much one can do about nature ....
    I would try to avoid placing the battery in the engine bay as this will be even hotter .... but this is not always possible. Sadly this is just a reality of your area, and will just add a bit to your maintenance costs.


    Once again great post and thanks for the advice.
    my replies above.

    The purists will note I am taking a conservative approach, without going overboard.

  10. #70
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    Man that was quick, thanks for the advice.

    I had a dual battery in my Prado in the engine compartment but the 5.7 V8 takes all the space up front and having 2 vehicle that we use I felt that a battery box would be perfect for use in whichever we use for the weekend.

    I will post some pics once the installation is completed. I am avoiding the job for the moment as it is a nice 46 degrees today with 80% humidity. (not nice)

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisF View Post
    my replies above.

    The purists will note I am taking a conservative approach, without going overboard.
    Chris, may I suggest to hell with the purists?

    One thing I have learned from dealing with different battery issues, is that you see and learn something new every day. There are so many different factors that influence battery behaviour, that you can only use guidelines (and then use them with care).

    Atkinse may realize (or find out) that a battery in his environment is slightly different to "the same" battery in our environment. The hot climate he lives in calls for manufacturers to fill his battery with a more dilute acid electrolyte than those designated for colder or more moderate climates. So the same curves and data tables do not always apply. There are so many variables involved that the mind cannot keep up.
    Eggie.

    What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.
    Especially those who claim they need R4 Billion planes for own use.
    - Edward Langley.

  12. #72
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    Thanks Chris, great info............. I am on the Forum and Swambo is watching Masterchef, she looked over at the laptop and said " I see, like you, there is another guy that started with a 2 man tent and now has an Eskom system".

    Gerrit.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by fordshark View Post
    Thanks Chris, great info............. I am on the Forum and Swambo is watching Masterchef, she looked over at the laptop and said " I see, like you, there is another guy that started with a 2 man tent and now has an Eskom system".

    Gerrit.
    hehehehe ..... jip, most campers go this route ....


    you must see some of the "larger" stuff Blinkgatproducts makes !!

    Those are better than Eskom systems !!

  14. #74
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    Thanks for the great job Chris. You have saved a lot of folks a lot of school fees with this experience.

    Fred stuck
    Henk
    Adventure is out there go find it

    Fitment and trailer service. Agent for Metalian & Tentco
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  15. #75
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    Default wonderful info

    Fantastic info Chris, many thanks
    If we weren't supposed to eat meat why did God make animals taste so good?

  16. #76
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    Thank you so much Chris, this is a great thread. Much needed and very easy to understand.
    I know you said this is not a DIY thing to do, but I'm about to try this.
    LC battery and Ctek Dual is in and done, now for the rest.
    I've planned the layout and the proposed wiring diagram with the fuse and cable sized.
    Was about to go and start buying of the different size cables of the lengths I need, but...

    Would you mind if I send you my wiring diagram with cable and fuse sheet for critique?

  17. #77
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    Hi Chris,
    Baie goeie werk en dankie.
    My e-pos adres is gerhard@wiggill.co.za
    Kna jy moontlik die stuk vir my stuur asb.
    Gerhard

  18. #78
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    Default Solar Panel Sizing

    Hi Chris

    Thank you for an excellent series. Without in any way detracting from the merits, I think it may be worthwhile to expand a bit on solar panel sizing (and why) – these are expensive items and its is an area where many people lack the necessary background and insight as to exactly how much power they need (and what size panels to use).

    To use your quote regarding fridge consumption: “…At 5Amps per hour you suddenly need 100Amps per day….”

    Of course, 5x24 = 120Amps, but lets indeed assume you need 100Amps (or one battery!) per day. Now, whilst this may be a worse case scenario, lets assume this is actually the case and model around it.

    How many solar panels do you need to cater for this eventuality?

    The first thing to remember is that the sun does not shine at night and state the obvious that the panels do not work at night. So we firstly need to determine how many hours of usable sunlight we have in a day. Lets use Maun, Botswana, as an example:

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    (Apologies for the small size)

    From this interesting graph the average sunlight hours vary depending on the time of year (yellow line) with obviously less sunshine during rainy months. Lets assume when we go camping we have an average of some 8 hours of usable sunlight per day. So, now we need to generate 100 Amps in 8 hours, or 12.5 Amps per hour, to keep the beer cold.

    Recalling some high school maths, the equation for power is P = VxI, where P = power in watts, V = voltage and I= Amps, so 12 Volts x 12.5 Amps = 150 Watts, right? So, a 150W panel (or two 80 Watt panels) should be just fine!

    Well, no. PV panels are often not conveniently 12V – a common mistake many people make. They vary, lets use the Flexopower 90 Watt panel as an example (I don't have any association with them, this is just to use as an example):

    Flexopower stats (off their website)

    Max. Power: 90 Watts*
    Voltage at Maximum Power (Vmp): 15.4V
    Current at Maximum Power (Imp): 5.4 A

    (*Panel ratings in W (eg 80W, 100W etc) means the output of the panel per hour, i.e. an 80W panel has an output of 80W in one hour in ideal conditions)

    As can be seen, the maximum voltage is 15.4V, so if we use P=VxI, 15.4V x 12.5A, we need 192W of panels, not 150W as we previously calculated, to meet our demand. Depending on what panels you are using, the actual panel voltages could give you even a higher required number, for example if you use 18V panels you need 18Vx12.5Amps = 225W of panels.

    Fortunately, Flexopower also gives us the current at maximum power, so we see that at 5.4 Amps we can get 5.4 Amps x 8 hours usable sunlight = 43.2 amps per day – out of a 90 Watt panel. Note that this does not take into account that we are talking maximums, i.e. we have not discounted for positioning, shade and temperature which curtail output.

    Needless to say actual consumption may be lower, but then we also need to take into account that we may also need to power lights, the water pump, and various other toys, so we would be wise to over-specify a bit. Ok, lets look at the Flexopower 120 Watt panel specs as an example -

    Max. Power: 120 Watts
    Voltage at Maximum Power (Vmp): 15.4 V
    Current at Maximum Power (Imp): 7.2 A

    Two of these panels would give us 14.4 Amps per hour at maximum, a bit more than what we need for our required 12.5 Amps per hour. So in essence it should be fine, all things considered. (And not taking into account that under these circumstances 2x105Ah batteries would possibly be preferable to ensure that a single one does not discharge too much overnight & both accept maximum charge during the day)

    I of course know these are only examples, and purely relies on the assumption that we need 100 Amps per day of power, but I think it illustrates that one would be surprised at how much solar you need to actually have a fully self contained system, especially if you have high ambient temperatures, lots of extras and the need to run a fridge almost full time.

    We are also now getting into seriously costly terrain (for me at least!) – and not even going into issues such as proper space utilisation - but I think it clearly illustrates the need to carefully calculate power consumption prior to jumping in and simply buying any solar panel – to buy that 80W 21V panel from the guy that promises you that it will power everything from your fridge right through to your 1500W inverter may perhaps just be stretching reality a bit too much and reward you with a warm beer or two
    Last edited by Lesk; 2014/06/09 at 01:36 PM. Reason: Fonts

  19. #79
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    Thanks for all the feedback.

    I have had an absolute flood of PM's regarding this thread. Some I will deal with later, as I would have to take my time to prepare a proper reply.

    Here is one of the PM's I received (name with held, afterall it was a private message). I am answering here as I believe the answer relates to more people -

    1. Can you please send me the updated PDF document of your article. - the pdf is attached to the first post of this thread
    2. I bought my Prado and think the setup is done the OLD way, without the dc2dc . I am quite ignorant so please help. I bought an NL Portable Power Pack and an Deltec 105Ah deep cycle battery during 2012, which is fitted in the Offroad trailer. Does this NL-system now do the same as the dc2dc CTEK ?? Or would you advise I add an dc2dc unit?
    I keep this NL b0x with the battery connected to electricity via an CTEK Pro Battery charger MXS10 on a constant basis when not in use. In spite of this I found that the battery now only can run my fridge( only) for about 30hours versus 48 hours when new?? Am I doing something wrong??
    We are doing a single vehicle trip through Kaokoland in August and do not want to be stranded with no fridge/ or battery problems.


    Regarding the battery in the trailer - due to the long cable runs it is highly unlikely that the alternator can charge it. A dc2dc system is recommended. In fact, for those that dont have the skills for this, look at the trailer kits sold by HcDP ....


    You PM also talks of a 2nd battery and NL kit for the Prado. Battery in the front of the Prado ? In this case the NL kit could work - bearing in mind it is just a solenoid with a timer function, ie NOT a dc2dc charger. IF the battery is in the back of the Prado, I would recommend a dc2dc charger.

    The battery is now only 2 years old and only delivers for 30 hours compared to its original 48 hours .... Sadly for most of us a 2nd battery is an item that only WORKS 2 or 3 weeks per year. Batteries dont like standing idle.


    I just dont know enough about batteries to comment on your battery question - lost my previous battery in a very similar manner.

  20. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lesk View Post
    We are also now getting into seriously costly terrain (for me at least!) – and not even going into issues such as proper space utilisation - but I think it clearly illustrates the need to carefully calculate power consumption prior to jumping in and simply buying any solar panel – to buy that 80W 21V panel from the guy that promises you that it will power everything from your fridge right through to your 1500W inverter may perhaps just be stretching reality a bit too much and reward you with a warm beer or two
    Thank you for the tables and calculations.


    It confirms just how easy one can "run away" with the panel sizing and costs of this.


    The lesson to be learnt from this:
    - 2x80W panels seems to be norm now, for various practicals and financial reasons.
    - this WORKS for a fridge and a "bit" more ....
    - if you are going to go "bos" then you will need more solar panels than what you have roof space for !!

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