Solar panel and camping fridge





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  1. #1
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    Default Solar panel and camping fridge

    Question out of curiosity - say you are in the bush and find that your caravan's deep cycle battery stops working.

    I think one would say - it does not keep charge anymore from your solar panel.

    Can you run a fridge/freezer directly off the solar panel?
    "If you don't care where you are, you ain't lost"

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Solar panel and camping fridge

    Depends on the size of the panel and the soft startup current the fridge requires.

    But if your panel is able to produce 7-8 amps it should work. But the panel will need to be aligned with the sun constantly.

    Overcast days, not a chance.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Solar panel and camping fridge

    Experts to comment, but herewith my take:

    If you connect your panel directly to the fridge one of 2 things will happen

    - Low voltage panels (18-22V) - the fridge will be confused if it is a 12V or 24V supply and in all likelihood switch to 24V and then shut down due to sensing low voltage.
    - Higher voltage panles - depending on how well the fridge control panel is designed to deal with over voltage, serious damage may occur

    It is unlikely that you will suddenly experience a dead short battery while camping, just dwindling capacity (""ability to hold charge"")

    Therefore - keep the battery connected to the Solar controller and the fridge to either the battery or the load connection on the controller...

    When you do not have sun you wont have power to the fridge
    Last edited by Dungbeetle; 2020/03/17 at 04:30 PM. Reason: tihc fnigners tiny keybrod
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  5. #4
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    Default Re: Solar panel and camping fridge

    Quote Originally Posted by Dungbeetle View Post
    Experts to comment, but herewith my take:

    - depending on how well the fridge control panel is designed to deal with over voltage, serious damage may occur

    Just checked NL website! 'All National Luna Portable refrigerators can accept a DC voltage ranging from 9.6V to 31.5V, as well as an AC voltage range from 85V to 265V'
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  7. #5
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    Default Re: Solar panel and camping fridge

    Quote Originally Posted by JLK View Post
    Just checked NL website! 'All National Luna Portable refrigerators can accept a DC voltage ranging from 9.6V to 31.5V, as well as an AC voltage range from 85V to 265V'
    Correct - meaning a DC source (Panel) with higher voltage than 32V could let the smoke escape from the NL circuit boards
    Last edited by Dungbeetle; 2020/03/17 at 02:33 PM.
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  8. #6
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    Default Re: Solar panel and camping fridge

    A solar panel of 130 Watt produces about 7-8 amps under optimal conditions.

    If you have a panel of say 200 Watts and still utilize a solar charge controller in the mix I believe this could work given the NL figures quoted above.

    But the two solar charge controllers I have explicitly state to connect the battery to the controller first, for fear of shorts or high voltages that could damage the load circuitry.

    So yes, I think it best to rather also keep the battery in the mix.
    Last edited by Die SwartKat; 2020/03/17 at 04:59 PM.
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  10. #7
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    Default Re: Solar panel and camping fridge

    Thanks for the replies.

    We too thought that it would be best to keep the batteries in the scenario, whether they charge or not.

    Was just not sure if there is another way of getting around "dead" batteries, therefore the question.
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  11. #8
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    Default Re: Solar panel and camping fridge

    While on similar topic, and welcome to refer me to other posts. I bought a small RV with a voltage sensitive relay module installed. RV also had 2 old small solar panels on roof but scrapped. What is this and does the solar panels connect directly to this or what is needed. I see 125 amp on unit. What size solar panels can be used if any?
    Anybody in East Rand JHB that can help with advice?
    ThanksClick image for larger version. 

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  12. #9
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    Default Re: Solar panel and camping fridge

    Zoomed photo Click image for larger version. 

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  13. #10
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    Default Re: Solar panel and camping fridge

    Based on the pictures it is a relay that would charge a 2nd battery only while driving - ignition protected. The cut in is when the alternator is actually charging to charge the 2nd battery and cut out is when the engine is switched off. This more or less like how the NL solenoid is working.

  14. #11
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    Default Re: Solar panel and camping fridge

    Thanks. Any idea what the Solar at bottom then does ? Do you think it is fed from a controller or direct panels.

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    Default Re: Solar panel and camping fridge

    I see bepmarine.com is the supplier. Perhaps contact them for a manual?

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    Default Re: Solar panel and camping fridge

    On my last trip to the kgalagadi, my solar connecter to the battery shorted and basically fried my battery. For about 2 week I still managed to run my fridge via the controller and the solar panel whilst battery was still connected. The battery would be close to dead each morning but the system still managed to run the fridge

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  18. #14
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    Default Re: Solar panel and camping fridge

    Anybody know of a solution to OP's question if the fridge/freezer has a built in battery protector.

    I presume the safety feature will then become your enemy

  19. #15
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    Default Re: Solar panel and camping fridge

    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastiaan View Post
    Anybody know of a solution to OP's question if the fridge/freezer has a built in battery protector.

    I presume the safety feature will then become your enemy
    The fridge should see the voltage coming from the solar panels, not that of the battery.
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  20. #16
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    Default Re: Solar panel and camping fridge

    Quote Originally Posted by Dungbeetle View Post
    Experts to comment, but herewith my take:

    If you connect your panel directly to the fridge one of 2 things will happen

    - Low voltage panels (18-22V) - the fridge will be confused if it is a 12V or 24V supply and in all likelihood switch to 24V and then shut down due to sensing low voltage.
    - Higher voltage panles - depending on how well the fridge control panel is designed to deal with over voltage, serious damage may occur

    It is unlikely that you will suddenly experience a dead short battery while camping, just dwindling capacity (""ability to hold charge"")

    Therefore - keep the battery connected to the Solar controller and the fridge to either the battery or the load connection on the controller...

    When you do not have sun you wont have power to the fridge
    Technically speaking you are quite expert enough. This is the best comment on this thread.

    You can listen to this man !

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  22. #17
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    Default Re: Solar panel and camping fridge

    Sorry, I should have come back with additional info.

    First of all, the National Luna fridge/freezer does have battery protection built in. Secondly we use a 130 watt solar panel, but can add an additional 180 watt loose standing panel.
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  23. #18
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    Default Re: Solar panel and camping fridge

    Keep using the battery as a capacitor to smooth out any voltage fluctuations and enjoy your camping during daytime and nighttime switch the fridge off..Don't run the fridge direct from the solar panel...
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  25. #19
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    Default Re: Solar panel and camping fridge

    Quote Originally Posted by kadafi View Post
    Keep using the battery as a capacitor to smooth out any voltage fluctuations and enjoy your camping during daytime and nighttime switch the fridge off..Don't run the fridge direct from the solar panel...
    This is the best advice - the voltage from the panels will fluctuate with angle of sun, cloud cover etc. Can't be good for your fridge.

  26. #20
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    Default Re: Solar panel and camping fridge

    I have a 100W solar panel that shows MAXIMUM SERIES FUSE 10A. My charge controller is 20A. This will be plugged into my NL power boxes grey plug. Will this be ok?

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