Money to burn!

Dominic

New Member
Been in my job 25years soon! And company is giving me about £700 to buy myself something.
Now, do I get a solar panel? Are they worth getting?
Hoping to start full timing in a couple of years.
 

vwalan

Well-Known Member
yes they are eorth it . i would buy 4 80watt panels and a 30amp reg . then start thinking of where you will keep 400 amp of batteries .
i have 6 80wt on the roof at the moment its powering my fridge in the house .through a 2 kw inverter . when i,m away in the truck it powers a 240v fridge in the trailer and washing machine etc .
solar is useful .not the ultimate source of power but there is always a downside to most things . generators are also usefull if you like camping alone . even the quiet ones are irritating if your parked next to someone with one buzzing all day in the peace and quiet of the country side. but at the moment solar as never been so cheap. look ate bay. about 120 quid a panel.
 

BigMomma

Well-Known Member
Been in my job 25years soon! And company is giving me about £700 to buy myself something.
Now, do I get a solar panel? Are they worth getting?
Hoping to start full timing in a couple of years.
If you are not going to fulltime for another 2 years I would "suggest" that you do not purchase any electronic or technology products just yet. Things do not stand still in these areas and improvements are being made at such an alarming rate of knots. Some new technology today is quite pricey, in 12 months time it will be even cheaper. New technology today will be old technology in 2 years time !! What sort of vehicle have you got ? What other kit have you got ? (EHU Cables and adaptoers, Hose reel, Levelling Blocks etc) Sort of stuff that is unlikely to change too much but you may need to replace before hitting the full time trail :thumb:
 

Wandering Star

Well-Known Member
If you are not going to fulltime for another 2 years I would "suggest" that you do not purchase any electronic or technology products just yet. :thumb:
I can only agree with this sensible bit of advice!, what you buy for £700 today, you can probably get for £200 in 2 years time!
 

vwalan

Well-Known Member
yes but used wisely the solar and a inverter can be used to power things at the moment at home .
i power my 240v fridge as much as i can with a lead from the trailer into the house. makes a saving on the meter.
cant really see panels getting much cheaper .i could be wrong .
 

vwalan

Well-Known Member
4 80wt panels and a reg cost at the moment less than 500 quid . i cant see them dropping much more .
forget the high prices some are charging there are good deals out there.
 

pelmetman & pelmetlady

Well-Known Member
Is it possible to be self sufficient with solar?:confused:...............If so how many batteries and what size panels do you need?.........as the price of leccy on sites is only going one way......I'm starting to wonder if its possible to get enough from the sun to run the telly, satellite, lights etc...........and has anyone done the payback = costs sums?

I expect the payback would be a lot quicker if we're long terming:cautious:
 

vwalan

Well-Known Member
hard to say as solar as dropped alot. at the moment 80wt panels are very often on ebay at about 110 quid a piece .i have 6 on my trailer .i started using the power again a while ago to run the fridge in the house, it works all summer and the deepfreeze untill about half way through sept.
in winter i normally run the 240v fridge from an inverter in the trailer whilst abroad. also all the other leccy things . in spain and portugal sometimes it gets low in the night and the inverter alarm screams i just turn it off . put it back on again in the morning . i have 6oo amp of batteries in the trailer and either 1-200 in the truck just for leisure . i do have a battery to battery charger on whilst driving .
i dont use sites so cant do a comparison.
at the moment the trailer is between two houses so doesnt get full sun .gets better as the sun gets higher in the sky.
as i dont use campsites its nice to have leccy . but can manage with out for day to day living .gas heater,cooker ,lights . i havent always had solar . used to just charge when travelling and avoid leccy use.
regulators can be fairly cheap. most want all dancing regs but simple light showing ones work fine . bit like computers simple works for me .
 

dicktracey

Active Member
on a lighter (weight) note, of the 20 odd vans parked here on the beach, the majority make do with two panels . . leds and netbooks use significantly less power so that the giant array of panels now look silly. the occasional van with one panel propped up on the ground is now rare. with no rain all winter and cloudless skies its been a freecampers paradise . . another week here and we will be off to the french sun. i wonder what the poor folks are doing?
 

steve and sue

New Member
4 80wt panels and a reg cost at the moment less than 500 quid . i cant see them dropping much more .
forget the high prices some are charging there are good deals out there.
hi vwalan
you seem to know quite a bit about solars, ready to order mine was thinking on 3 x 80 watt panels with 3 110 amp batteries, would this be enough, we are fulltiming in our hymer b544 off to portugal for eight months on 22nd april so need to get them soon. Also would like to know what other parts i would need. May be 30 amp reg connecters,sikaflex,brackets,how do you connect 3 pannels to go into one, only ever seen double connection and last does the sikaflex really secure the pannels to the roof without screwing them in.If i have missed anything out let me know because i am going to try and fit them myself.
cheers
 

vwalan

Well-Known Member
hi yes in summer that will cover you i should think.
for brackets i use aluminium angle .speak to a ;local metal fabricator . i like to put it either the full length or width . i dont like small brackets as over the years have seen panels fall apart . think small brackets arent stiff enough. a 30 amp reg is ott but i use them .better spare capacity i believe.
make sure you have enough room for the panels .
i,m lucky on my trailer i fix them length wise 3 abreast .put angle right across at the front and back . pop rivet the panels to the angle .
you should get a gland nut for entry in to the van .
personally i havent .i entered on a corner at the side about 6 inches below the roof line . making a small loop to allow water to fall away below the entry point . sikaflex as a seal. any water that makes it through falls down the corner post on mine and doesnt seem to cause a problem .thats if its got through .
i connect the panels positive to positve . -minus to minus .from one to the other then just one cable going into the vehicle to the reg. i use the largest cable that will go into the reg fixings .
sikaflex does fix the panels or brackets . i personally might use some big peeling rivets on the angle as well but hardly anyone does . i do go off road and want security. i really do go far off road.
give a pm for tel number if you want . cheers alan
 
My solar set up runs all my RV summer or winter and batteries are always charged.
cost me about £950 all from ebay.
Left Side bank 1
with 30 amp controler plus sammy solar 3 X 80 watt 240 amp 20
To power all the van from 2500 watt inverter 1 X 120 watt 120 amp 10
410 aph batteries sammy solar
watts 50 amp 4.166667

Total 410 34.16667
Right side bank 2
20 amp controler running at total watts 3 X 80 watt 240 amp 20
right side plus extra to engine battery
Running internet & computers on own ring Total 240 amp 20
from 2000 watt inverter
418 aph batteries

total watts at 240 volts is 4500 watts Total 682 56.83333
 
i would say pay back in 12 months if on site fees for electric a lot quicker if useing genny (fuel cost) on wild camping.
i recon 3.50 a night on hookup X 365 nights =£1277.50 or genny fuel about £8.00 a day X 365 = £2920
 

vwalan

Well-Known Member
hi thats the way to do it. i can never understand how some say they only have one panel and it is enough. they cant actually use much leccy. a couple of years ago in winter portugal got very short dark days io was short of power but only way into the night. in maroc always beebn ok . even with just the 3 x80wt panels .
think the washing machine gives it a good clobber on the dark days . but well worth it.
have a good one .
 

vwalan

Well-Known Member
i couldnt give site charges hardly ever use them. i do know that if you are way into the wilds its nice to watch things working and know theres no hook up for miles . and sit in ther sun having an icecream etc all being powered by ther sun.
i reckon with carefull e baying and fitting your self 750 -800 will see 6 80wt panels two regs and cable plus aluminium brackets . the batteries well shop hard .i use normal truck batteries . always have a couple the same as the truck ones so if the truck went flat i can chuck two on from the leisure bank.
 

vwalan

Well-Known Member
thats what they will tell you but i,m using my experiance and friends experiances . i know what i prefer.
i think there is alot of selling things that dont work going on . bit like a well known leccy bat they do replace them under warranty but they go wrong and arent cheap. so are they worth it. ?
 

pelmetman & pelmetlady

Well-Known Member
Solar certainly seem's like a good idea for when we start long terming.......but the problem we have is our roof is not flat, so not sure I could get 2 panels on:confused:........plus no point fitting at the moment as the van is garaged so won't get much of the benefit:cautious:
 
you said the problem we have is our roof is not flat, so not sure I could get 2 panels on - you can set them on a frame to leavel then.
what van do you have ?
 

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