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  1. #1
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    Default Power off the beaten track.

    I have a 102Ah and want power off the beaten track. Mainly to run a Waeco 50L and some lights, possibly to charge them and camera batteries. Not to be plumbed in for now. Fridge to stand loose with cable from panel to the battery, and fridge running of cigarette lighter adapter connected to the battery.

    I'm going to Set Power in Epping to buy a 100W panel and controller, looking at R2.5k

    Am I going to be dissapointed in any way, by the performance of the panel/controller, or the company? Am I barking up the wrong tree..

    Comments and Crit please.
    Last edited by ZuluCowboy; 2021/02/04 at 09:53 AM.
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    Default Re: Power off the beaten track.

    Maybe just pop in at 4x4direct in Brackenfell 1st.

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    Default Re: Power off the beaten track.

    Quote Originally Posted by P Louw View Post
    Maybe just pop in at 4x4direct in Brackenfell 1st.
    Agree.

    https://4x4direct.co.za/regulators/9...242001209.html

    https://4x4direct.co.za/fixed-solar-...l-18-volt.html
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Power off the beaten track.

    Quote Originally Posted by ZuluCowboy View Post
    I have a 102Ah ... a 100W panel and controller ...
    Am I going to be disappointed in any way, by the performance of the panel/controller, or the company? Am I barking up the wrong tree.
    Comments and Crit please.
    How many solar panels does it take to charge a 100ah battery?
    Again we use the same calculation dividing power in watts by the voltage in volts to find amps.
    Charging your battery at 12 volts and 20 amps will take five hours to charge a 100 amp hour battery.
    By multiplying 20 amps by 12 volts = 240 watts is how big of a panel you would need, so we’d recommend using a 300w solar panel or 3 x 100 watt solar panels.


    From here: https://www.renogy.com/blog/what-siz...a-12v-battery/

    Another article:
    You can use amp-hours to figure out how fast your battery will charge as well. For a 100 watt solar panel, we already know that it produces 8.33 amps. In this case, 1 amp of current flowing for 1 hour charges the battery by 1 amp-hour. So 8.33 amps of current create 8.33 amp-hours of charge per hour.

    From here: https://autobossrv.com/solar-power/

    Rule of thumb I've used for years, having made sure the charge controller can charge at the amps I chose:
    8% of AH = 8.16amps - slow charge like for i.e. weekend use i.e. a Victron 75/10 MPPT.
    10% of AH = 10.2amps - daily use, not stressing the battery, heat buildup is controlled i.e. a Victron 75/15 MPPT.
    15% of AH = 15.3amps - Eskom failures i.e. fast recharge for Stage 2 and up, does heat up a bit more i.e. a Victron 100/20 MPPT.

    20% of ah = 20.4amps - Very fast recharging AND the battery would heat up a lot more. So in a hot vehicle the charged better lower the charge amps based on battery temp i.e. a Victron 100/30 MPPT.

    Not good to run a solar charge controller at max for extended periods of time, they also heat up.
    Last edited by the_terrible_triplett; 2021/02/04 at 11:23 AM.
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  6. #5
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    Default Re: Power off the beaten track.

    Quote Originally Posted by the_terrible_triplett View Post
    How many solar panels does it take to charge a 100ah battery?
    Again we use the same calculation dividing power in watts by the voltage in volts to find amps.
    Charging your battery at 12 volts and 20 amps will take five hours to charge a 100 amp hour battery.
    By multiplying 20 amps by 12 volts = 240 watts is how big of a panel you would need, so wed recommend using a 300w solar panel or 3 x 100 watt solar panels.


    From here: https://www.renogy.com/blog/what-siz...a-12v-battery/

    Another article:
    You can use amp-hours to figure out how fast your battery will charge as well. For a 100 watt solar panel, we already know that it produces 8.33 amps. In this case, 1 amp of current flowing for 1 hour charges the battery by 1 amp-hour. So 8.33 amps of current create 8.33 amp-hours of charge per hour.

    From here: https://autobossrv.com/solar-power/

    Rule of thumb I've used for years, having made sure the charge controller can charge at the amps I chose:
    8% of AH = 8.16amps - slow charge like for i.e. weekend use i.e. a Victron 75/10 MPPT.
    10% of AH = 10.2amps - daily use, not stressing the battery, heat buildup is controlled i.e. a Victron 75/15 MPPT.
    15% of AH = 15.3amps - Eskom failures i.e. fast recharge for Stage 2 and up, does heat up a bit more i.e. a Victron 100/20 MPPT.

    20% of ah = 20.4amps - Very fast recharging AND the battery would heat up a lot more. So in a hot vehicle the charged better lower the charge amps based on battery temp i.e. a Victron 100/30 MPPT.

    Not good to run a solar charge controller at max for extended periods of time, they also heat up.

    In theory yes, but in practice for the typical leisure application I don't quite agree.
    Firstly you'll only use that 100Ah lead acid battery of yours down to 50% if you want it to last.
    This cuts your calculation in half, in other words work on putting 50Ah or 600Wh back in to the battery.
    A 100W solar panel charging at 5.5A for 5 hours will put 495 Wh back in to your battery.

    My rule of thumb has always been a 100W panel per 100Ah battery, if you track the sun you'll get more than 5 hours, more than the 495 Wh and closer to the 600 Wh which you need in theory if you are down to 50%, but remember you most likely won't even go down to 50% before recharging since you have your solar panel out.

    If you permanently mount your panels flat, then my rule of thumb is to oversize by at least 20 to 30% to compensate for no sun tracking, this leaves you with a 120 to 130W panel for your 100Ah battery.

    Yes having 300W of solar will be awesome and it will work no doubt, but for a small setup with only a 100Ah battery it's not very practical not to even mention the cost.

    Of course if you have a day or 2 with no or bad sun the entire picture changes, but then solar is the least of your worries, for that you need more storage capacity, more battery capacity.
    "The problems we have today is because the guys who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living." - Magnus Heystek

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  8. #6
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    Default Re: Power off the beaten track.

    Quote Originally Posted by ZuluCowboy View Post
    I have a 102Ah and want power off the beaten track. Mainly to run a Waeco 50L and some lights, possibly to charge them and camera batteries. Not to be plumbed in for now. Fridge to stand loose with cable from panel to the battery, and fridge running of cigarette lighter adapter connected to the battery.

    I'm going to Set Power in Epping to buy a 100W panel and controller, looking at R2.5k

    Am I going to be dissapointed in any way, by the performance of the panel/controller, or the company? Am I barking up the wrong tree..

    Comments and Crit please.

    As others already said look at 4x4 Direct.
    You won't be disappointed with a 100W panel, but for future expantion I would get a controller which can handle at least 200W in case your plans change in future, maybe you get another battery or decide to mount your panels, then you can easily get a second 100W panel.
    Look at something like the Victron 75/10 or 75/15 MPPT controller.
    "The problems we have today is because the guys who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living." - Magnus Heystek

  9. #7
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    Default Re: Power off the beaten track.

    I agree, the 300w articles are quite high in their requirements, for there is one point one must not forget about ... to avert disappointment, frustrations and disillusionment in solar.

    Quote Originally Posted by bigboy529 View Post
    ... 600Wh back in to the battery.
    A 100W solar panel charging at 5.5A for 5 hours will put 495 Wh back in to your battery.
    ... if you track the sun you'll get more than 5 hours, ...
    I we work on +-600Wh to put back and we say 5 peak hours, anything more is a bonus, one would get 495Wh back, right?
    So ever so slightly on that bare bones calc alone, you are already a bit short every day, theoretically speaking, right?

    Which brings me to the point one must NOT forget: When the 100w panel is recharging the batteries, are their loads that need powering too?

    Normally the loads are on for 24h and with +-5 hours peak sun hours, theoretically the battery must supply power for +-19h?

    The articles I posted, this point I'm now adding to them, is to avert disappointment, frustrations and disillusions in solar.

    It is prudent to:
    1) make the effort to calculate the loads over 24h
    2) ensure that battery can take it, if you are brave, make it so that the battery can supply the loads for 2 days
    3) and then to make sure the panel/s can recharge the battery AND power the loads at the same time

    Because if one does not get the numbers right, the battery will slowly drain over a period of days, never reaching 100% SOC, which with lead acid, should be done minimum once a week, using Trojan literature.
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    Default Re: Power off the beaten track.

    Ok, so my 50L Waeco, will it run for the 12 dark hours on a 102 battery, a Varta out of a Touareg, and will the 155w fold up panel I bought with a 20w controller charge it, or will I eventually sit with no power. Just said screw it and do it, Epping was closer than Brackenfell.

    I will eventually go ravel for many days, but for now it is leave on a Thursday afternoon and return on a Monday.... that type of thing. Usually places with limited power.
    Mercedes W123 300D, runs on Mother Natures Goodness.
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    Have now covered 270 000Km on veg oil.
    Oh, and an Isuzu 280DT, 40 000Km on Bio Diesel
    Rand for Rand gets 33Km/L

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    Default Re: Power off the beaten track.

    Quote Originally Posted by ZuluCowboy View Post
    Ok, so my 50L Waeco, will it run for the 12 dark hours on a 102 battery, a Varta out of a Touareg, and will the 155w fold up panel I bought with a 20w controller charge it, or will I eventually sit with no power. Just said screw it and do it, Epping was closer than Brackenfell.

    I will eventually go ravel for many days, but for now it is leave on a Thursday afternoon and return on a Monday.... that type of thing. Usually places with limited power.
    I camp wiith 2 x 80w panels suitcase type and 105ah deltec battery and run either my 40l engel or 66l snomaster and 2 or 3 led lights.
    I can easily stand for 4 nights as long as I have decent sunshine and I track the sun.

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  13. #10
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    Default Re: Power off the beaten track.

    If you are going to drive around a bit consider a solenoid type device to charge from your alternator when you are driving.
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  14. #11
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    Default Re: Power off the beaten track.

    I have the cTek system in my truck to help charge my batteries when I'm driving and also camping. Have a look.

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    I use a Mastervolt inverter for the AC side.

    I hope this helps.
    Last edited by Marius De Kock; 2021/02/06 at 03:34 PM.
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    Default Re: Power off the beaten track.

    OK, so coming back to this, my 155W portable panel connect to the controller to the battery, ran my 50L Waeco superbly. Fridge happily ran through the night, and battery charged up in the day.

    Now, I'd like to know, if I add an Inverter to the mix, to run one of those Nespresso machines, what size inverter should I be looking at. 2000W?

    You only use the inverter when you need it, or do you let it run, no real point if I think about it.
    Mercedes W123 300D, runs on Mother Natures Goodness.
    Powered by the Sun, the Rain and the Earth.
    Have now covered 270 000Km on veg oil.
    Oh, and an Isuzu 280DT, 40 000Km on Bio Diesel
    Rand for Rand gets 33Km/L

  16. #13
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    Default Re: Power off the beaten track.

    Quote Originally Posted by ZuluCowboy View Post

    Now, I'd like to know, if I add an Inverter to the mix, to run one of those Nespresso machines, what size inverter should I be looking at. 2000W?

    You only use the inverter when you need it, or do you let it run, no real point if I think about it.
    2000W is quite a lot to use from a 12V system but can be done with a few batteries. If you had a 24V system I would have chosen the 2400W/3000VA Axpert. The problem I found with a small 155W panel is that the electronics use quite a bit of power. Up to 50W. This is quite a loss and over 24hrs it is more than 1kWh. Thus it would be better to charge batteries with another MPPT and only switch on when needed. Even an induction plate of 2000W is happy to work from an Axpert 2400/3000.

  17. #14
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    Default Re: Power off the beaten track.

    Quote Originally Posted by ZuluCowboy View Post
    OK, so coming back to this, my 155W portable panel connect to the controller to the battery, ran my 50L Waeco superbly. Fridge happily ran through the night, and battery charged up in the day.

    Now, I'd like to know, if I add an Inverter to the mix, to run one of those Nespresso machines, what size inverter should I be looking at. 2000W?

    You only use the inverter when you need it, or do you let it run, no real point if I think about it.

    I believe the nespresso machines do operate with a little motor for the pressure part as well so it will have to be a pure sine wave inverter.

    But why not get one of those Wacaco Nanopressos?
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    Default Re: Power off the beaten track.

    Just me saying ....

    Anything with a heating element of any kind is a NO-NO on a portable, camping type Solar system.
    Do NOT plug in your usual electric kettle to your 1 000W Inverter (12 v System) - even with 2x 100+ Amp hour batteries.
    If you need a higher rated inverter then you need more batteries and more power input from wherever.

    Keep to the basics, LED lighting, a small fridge (NL or similar) and maybe a 12 V fan or similar ... running 24/7.
    Then with even a small solar panel (80 or 90 W) and some alternator charging during daily drives, you should be OK for a few days.
    Even then with that set up you would need a decent charge from mains power via a smart (or even stupid) charger for a good many hours to get back up to full charged.

    Two or (Eish) three cloudy days and you may well be in trouble.
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    Default Re: Power off the beaten track.

    You should not need to make use of anything with an element, that is why propane / LP gas is your best friend.

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  21. #17
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    Default Re: Power off the beaten track.

    Old school Nespresso
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  23. #18
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    Default Re: Power off the beaten track.

    One of the dangers with these systems as that one quickly becomes a slave to the technology, for technologies sake, and we forget what we are actually trying to do -- Have fun InDaBush.

    Somehow we seem to quickly progress (if that's the correct word) from a simple system to help extend the life of perishables and cool a few beverages to a complex behemoth that weighs a ton, prone to reliability issues and leaves us in dire straights if it doesn't perform as it should.

    There is still a lot to be said for a simple solenoid with PWM charger, and a quality LARGE lead acid cranking battery, and a few ounces of common sense.
    Cheers

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