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Old 08-22-2008, 04:41 PM   #1
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solar panels

As I was upfitting our 72 Overlander, I thought about a solar panel for the batteries and maybe small 12 v uses. What type, size and should they be movable?
Let me know what ya'll think.
Take care
Jerry
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Old 08-22-2008, 05:00 PM   #2
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Jerry,

There are many sources now for solar equipment. And unfortunately, there are many shysters surfacing (like the guys who sell solar stuff from the back of their truck in Quartzite).

I will admit to being slightly biased in my opinions as I sell and install products from AM Solar (www.amsolar.com). You can go cheap or you can go quality. In the end, quality will rule every time!!!!

The heart of any solar charging system is the charge controller. AM Solar manufactures their own design controllers which are made right here in the USA! (imagine that!)

The next important piece of equipment is your battery bank. AGMs are the best for use in a solar charging system as they have the lowest internal resistance of any battery and will re-charge with the least effort from the solar panels.

Let me know if you need more info on a custom system....but definitely check out AM Solar's web site!
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Old 08-22-2008, 05:55 PM   #3
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That is great info lewster. I was wondering about that also. There are alot of cheap ones out there they even hook up to a cig lighter to charge.
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Old 08-22-2008, 07:46 PM   #4
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I inherited a couple pv panels, hinged and mounted on thin plywood, that I plug into a cigarette-lighter type of socket wired directly to my battery (with a fuse), but I understand you can also just use the 12V socket found inside some coaches. Mine are movable, with a 20' cord, but my friend with the Avion mounted his to his roof and says they have not blown off yet. My panels easily keep my one deep-cycle battery charged, using lights and water pump. I think these panels are a good fit for RVs, and encourage a conservative usage of electricity-using gadgets. Plus- they are soundless, which is my favorite part of them. Go for it!
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:48 PM   #5
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This works for us...

Have used this 30w array for two seasons now. Works just fine for us. Less than $400 invested

Of course we're Watt misers, batts rarely get below 12.5, so watt'a we know, others may disagree, butt we like it.
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Old 08-22-2008, 10:06 PM   #6
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You can generally get away with no charge controller when the wattage of your panel(s) is under 50. Once you go above that, a charge controller that reads the battery voltage and responds accordingly with the proper 3-stage charging voltage (or a minimum of 2-stage) is necessary to preserve the integrity of your batteries and not over-charge them.

Otherwise, you 're in a 'Univolt' type situation where you can overcharge your batteries with the unregulated voltage coming from solar panels.
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Old 08-22-2008, 10:56 PM   #7
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Good info Lew.

Iv'e also learned that if I'm on the Gen or plugged in I have to disconnect the panels, or the Parallax thinks the batts are fully charged, and nothing happens at all.
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Old 08-25-2008, 09:05 AM   #8
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I forgot to mention that I do use a charge controller, Lew makes a good point.
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