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  1. #1
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    Default Camp fridge,105ah battery and solar?

    Hi Everyone

    Iím struggling to find clarity.

    If I have one 105ah deep cycle battery to run a camp fridge with how big a solar panel do I need to keep the battery charged and fridge running? Not charging the battery with the alternator at all.

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    Default Re: Camp fridge,105ah battery and solar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kudus View Post
    Hi Everyone

    Iím struggling to find clarity.

    If I have one 105ah deep cycle battery to run a camp fridge with how big a solar panel do I need to keep the battery charged and fridge running? Not charging the battery with the alternator at all.
    My call 100W minimum. 120W is better or 2 x80W which will allow if you get 1 day of partial sunshine like we get in summer time.

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    Default Re: Camp fridge,105ah battery and solar?

    I would not go less than 200w but some guys reckon they can manage with 80w

    PS If you are going for solid panels then first check their dimensions and compare it with your available packing space. 2 x 80w, as mentioned above, might be more practical. Solid panels are big and heavy.


    .
    Last edited by DC Polokwane; 2021/09/06 at 02:07 PM. Reason: PS
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    Default Re: Camp fridge,105ah battery and solar?

    I manage with a 80W, but I do move it around during the day to follow the sun.
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    Default Re: Camp fridge,105ah battery and solar?

    Quote Originally Posted by DC Polokwane View Post
    I would not go less than 200w but some guys reckon they can manage with 80w

    PS If you are going for solid panels then first check their dimensions and compare it with your available packing space. 2 x 80w, as mentioned above, might be more practical. Solid panels are big and heavy.


    .
    For the space I have on the canopy roof, I found for my setup 2 off 100 watt panels are the sweet spot for me, in terms of size and input. To try and get about 10A into battery with the smallest footprint is difficult. 670mm X 1000mm ea.

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    Default Re: Camp fridge,105ah battery and solar?

    Awesome thanks guys. This is really helpful. Which charge controller do you use then?

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    Default Re: Camp fridge,105ah battery and solar?

    Almost like asking how long is a piece of string What make is your fridge Snomaster'snewer units use 2.5A when they run others use 5.5A, how often do you open it? is it in a hot car or in the shade of a tree. In general and this is a real wide answer you can just get away with a 150W panel. this will be bare minimum and a few days of bad weather can leave you with a good deal os stress.

    My recommendation would be for at least 180w-200w, leaves you a little bit for bad weather and not much more expensive.
    Another point to remember is the type of panel, flexible sounds all great but I have had other experiences with them. You need a fairly big area to store once they are rolled up and tey tend to get fine cracks on the face side. I know all te flex owners are going o stone me and say that their panels have not done so but I see quite a few comming in that are delivering about 75% of their capacity if not less. Solid Glass ones are big flat sheets and need to be stored in a safe place like under a mattress and provided you dont sleep o them you will have them for quite a few years.

    A few years ago the 80w panel was more than adequate.......things evolve
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    Default Re: Camp fridge,105ah battery and solar?

    Look at your current draw from the fridge and do calculations from there. If you can supply more current than which the fridge draws, you should be fine. My opinion, I'm not an electrician.

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    Default Re: Camp fridge,105ah battery and solar?

    160W minimum ------preferably 200+W for bad weather.
    When there is some cloud around you will long for more solar power.
    Rather go big than try and economise.

    If you are considering camping in winter sunshine you will be surprised to see how little
    solar is available?
    Last edited by Paul Dold; 2021/09/06 at 02:35 PM.

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    Default Re: Camp fridge,105ah battery and solar?

    I have Waeco CF 50, always opening and closing and in freezer mode, I worked on about 3.5 amps/hour at bad case scenario but this is really a bad scenario.
    I easily got away with a solid 150w solid panel on sunny days, and could manage on cloudy days. Panel was huge though.
    This would quickly charge the battery while running the fridge during the day whilst moving the panel every few hours.

    Now run a 200w Solar blanket, I can set up on the tent roof and forget about it, even on cloudy days.
    Dont take anything I say as actual advice or fact. I dont.

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    Default Re: Camp fridge,105ah battery and solar?

    I have found depending on amp draw of the fridge 5A to be the minimum amount required to A.) Keep fridge powered and B.) Battery above 13.2V.

    So a 100w panel is the minimum you're going to achieve that with.

    I have 2 solar setups, a very basic one and a much more advanced one.

    The basic one is a rigid glass 100w panel, a victron 75/10 mppt controller and a 105ah deep cycle. This runs my national luna Weekender without draining the battery provided it has full sun.

    Total cost, under R7k.

    It works, the deep cycle I have is decent and handles a good discharge, you will notice drain more on cheaper deep cycles.
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    Default Re: Camp fridge,105ah battery and solar?

    I really like the idea of three 80W panels.

    This gives you the freedom to optimize placement, ie slightly different angles so you arenít running around chasing the sun all day.

    Easier to pack and store, and if you find 2 panels work most of the time, keep number three for a rainy day.

    Also you can start with 2, if it work, fine, if it doesnít, buy another one.

    Connect them in parallel so you are fault tolerant.
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    Default Re: Camp fridge,105ah battery and solar?

    if you eat bully beef and drink coffee 0W and 0ah

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    Default Re: Camp fridge,105ah battery and solar?

    I see there has been mentioned placing the panels on the roof rack. This means that the vehicle will have to be parked in the full sun when in camp which puts the fridge in a hot environment and thus needs more energy. Not withstanding that your tent (if rooftop) will also be in the sun

    From my experience....
    High level calculations to give an idea (dont slate me, but just trying to give perspective and get the thought process flowing)

    Take the maximum current draw of the fridge and multiply by 24 hours then divide by 2 as the compressor does not run permanently
    so 5 amp x 24 hours = 120 Ah / 2 = 60 Ah per day
    Solar panel and solar regulator is about 75% efficient so say you have a 100W panel, you will only have 75W available in full sun
    Next take your battery. A 105ah deep cycle cannot be discharged to more than 50% (and that is low) so you will only have 52Ah available for use
    With this set up you will run on the edge and end up having warm beers and costing you a new battery

    Remember also Summer time the fridge runs more than in winter so the 50% on / off time will vary
    Solar only 100% effective for about 8 hours of the day... Bit more in summer but you have to move your panels to face the sun
    MPPT vs PWM regulators, where the MPPT performs better in cloudy conditions
    Battery type Deep cycle (Traditional, AGM, Silver calcium / cadmium, Gel) or expensive Lithium
    Connect Panels in Parallel or Series (Partly shaded Parallel - Full Sun series)

    Lots of variables that you need to take into account

    Rather over spec to cover the losses and variables. This will save in the long run
    Last edited by Defender TAZ; 2021/09/06 at 03:07 PM.
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    Default Re: Camp fridge,105ah battery and solar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffy View Post
    I really like the idea of three 80W panels.

    This gives you the freedom to optimize placement, ie slightly different angles so you arenít running around chasing the sun all day.

    Easier to pack and store, and if you find 2 panels work most of the time, keep number three for a rainy day.

    Also you can start with 2, if it work, fine, if it doesnít, buy another one.

    Connect them in parallel so you are fault tolerant.
    This

    After many many T-shirts I run 5 x 80W panels for 2 fridges......so yes 2x80W minimum per fridge and a 3rd for that inevitable bad weather stretch
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  21. #16
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    Default Re: Camp fridge,105ah battery and solar?

    Thank you gents.

    I have a 60L duel National Luna fridge. I already have a 100w solar panel bought from bushpower. So if I buy a proper charge controller with another 100w solar panel I should be ok then? Then I have 200w. I know it is going to be bulky but it is cheapo at the moment. Planning on putting the 2 together with hinges like a suitcase.

    What thickness wire would you recommend and the length of wire? I hear things like voltage drop etc. Would like to minimise that of course.

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    Default Re: Camp fridge,105ah battery and solar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kudus View Post
    Thank you gents.

    I have a 60L duel National Luna fridge. I already have a 100w solar panel bought from bushpower. So if I buy a proper charge controller with another 100w solar panel I should be ok then? Then I have 200w. I know it is going to be bulky but it is cheapo at the moment. Planning on putting the 2 together with hinges like a suitcase.

    What thickness wire would you recommend and the length of wire? I hear things like voltage drop etc. Would like to minimise that of course.

    Yes with another 100W panel you'll be perfect.
    Look at MPPT controllers, something like a Victron Smartsolar 75/15, there are of course less expensive options as well.

    As for cabling, the cable between your controller and battery should be as short as possible, if you have a battery box then try mount the controller in or on the outside of the box with the cable only running that short distance, you can use 4mm2 cable.
    For between controller and panels I'd recommend you get a 10m extension depending what type of camping you do maybe a second 10m extension, this will give you plenty options in terms of panel placement. For this you can also use 4mm2 or 6mm2 cable, you can make them up using MC4 connectors or Anderson type connectors is also very popular. Bushpower will be able to help with all of this, even making up custom cables for you.
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    Default Re: Camp fridge,105ah battery and solar?

    Quote Originally Posted by bigboy529 View Post
    Yes with another 100W panel you'll be perfect.
    Look at MPPT controllers, something like a Victron Smartsolar 75/15, there are of course less expensive options as well.

    As for cabling, the cable between your controller and battery should be as short as possible, if you have a battery box then try mount the controller in or on the outside of the box with the cable only running that short distance, you can use 4mm2 cable.
    For between controller and panels I'd recommend you get a 10m extension depending what type of camping you do maybe a second 10m extension, this will give you plenty options in terms of panel placement. For this you can also use 4mm2 or 6mm2 cable, you can make them up using MC4 connectors or Anderson type connectors is also very popular. Bushpower will be able to help with all of this, even making up custom cables for you.
    Thank you very much. This is great info. Iíll go for this then. Will contact them in the morning

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    Default Re: Camp fridge,105ah battery and solar?

    Now we come to the cable size conundrum. The bigger the sq m size, the bigger the roll of wire.

    Many moons ago when I started my solar journey, THE then solar shop told me that a run of 10m on 2.5mm sq is max one should do up to 120W panels. I have used that over the years to good effect.
    My house secondary system has three 120W's running off 2.5mm sq. One array of my main system is 12 x 80W panels on 2.5mm sq of varying lengths. Both show no issues on supplying 'less' power.

    My camping unit is two 80W panels and has 10m 2.5mm sq cable...

    Now to the controller conundrum. A good quality PWM is super fine. But the new vogue is MPPT with bluetooth. My PWM has adequate readout on the LCD and I seriously do not need an app to show me what is going on...but then I am a 'less' phone guy
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    Default Re: Camp fridge,105ah battery and solar?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prof View Post
    Now we come to the cable size conundrum. The bigger the sq m size, the bigger the roll of wire.

    Many moons ago when I started my solar journey, THE then solar shop told me that a run of 10m on 2.5mm sq is max one should do up to 120W panels. I have used that over the years to good effect.
    My house secondary system has three 120W's running off 2.5mm sq. One array of my main system is 12 x 80W panels on 2.5mm sq of varying lengths. Both show no issues on supplying 'less' power.

    My camping unit is two 80W panels and has 10m 2.5mm sq cable...

    Now to the controller conundrum. A good quality PWM is super fine. But the new vogue is MPPT with bluetooth. My PWM has adequate readout on the LCD and I seriously do not need an app to show me what is going on...but then I am a 'less' phone guy
    You messing with me��

    Question: would it be a problem if the wires are thicker than necessary?
    Last edited by Kudus; 2021/09/07 at 07:18 AM. Reason: Spelling

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