Camping without power

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Re: Camping without power

Postby Hissy » Thu Mar 13, 2008 7:45 am

Yippy, I have figured out how to add these photos.

This is our trailer setup before adding the camper top, back when we camped in a tent.

As you can see we had two 60 watt solar panels mounted on the trailer lid and there were power sockets mounted under the trailer.

There is also a spotty for reversing into the camp site at night.

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Re: Camping without power

Postby JM1375 » Thu Mar 13, 2008 2:11 pm

Great set up Hissy.

Thanks everyone, have decided to save up for a Honda gennie and then talk my electrician BIL into helping me get battery set up into action.

Will be taking the Waeco and CT for their first outing at Easter time and decided to stick to a powered site until I get more sorted.
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Re: Camping without power

Postby will_deness » Thu Mar 13, 2008 2:17 pm

Nice photos hissy! just one more thing to learn ;) you just need to resize them down a little. this link may help viewtopic.php?f=47&t=2332. Atm its like looking out of a mailbox :***
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Re: Camping without power

Postby Komodo » Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:19 pm

embi wrote:
Ozzycamperboy wrote:....I do want to set up a bit of LED lighting somewhere on my car, so I can light up the area around it if I need to unpack in the dark. ....


This is my lighting setup....Its my "street light" and its great for overall lighting around the campsite at night.

Its a versa light with very little power consumption.


far out - got light? man thats huge! whats it constructed out of and how do you get it up that high - I LOVE it!

Hissy Great setup! Trailer looks like its got a bit of cancer though :?

AGM (absorbed glass mat) deep cycle batteries are about the best you can get value for money wise
Wet cell (lead acid) deep cycles are better - BUT require more maintenance and have higher risk of issues and can spill
gell cell batteries like the oddessey and spiral cell like the optima or orbital batteries are the bee knees but cost prohibitive for a decent sized setup.

For a 50L waeco camping for 4 days youd want 200ah worth or capacity or some way of renewing the batteries (solar or dual battery setup or generator)

Dont use cranking batteries you'll only spend half your life replacing them.

Speak to a battery specialist and explain your needs - they have experiance in this field and should be able to set you on the right path. Be warned of auto elecs there are alot of auto elecs out there who arent upto date and dont have the experiance with continuous draw applications. be sure the auto elec you speak with has experiance with remote applications
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Re: Camping without power

Postby embi » Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:28 pm

Komodo wrote:....far out - got light? man thats huge! whats it constructed out of and how do you get it up that high - I LOVE it!.....


I made up a bracket and then just bought tent pole pieces to get it to the height I needed.

It really works well and I run it right throughout the night. Great for getting up in the middle of the night and not needing a torch or falling over tent ropes.
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Re: Camping without power

Postby Komodo » Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:44 am

Cool!

Looks good embi I might rig up something similar myself. I was actually going to use one of the alluminium retractable paint roller handles (about $10 from bunnings) for mine - but I like the hight your able to achive with your setup!
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Re: Camping without power

Postby JM1375 » Wed Mar 19, 2008 1:49 pm

Komodo wrote:AGM (absorbed glass mat) deep cycle batteries are about the best you can get value for money wise
Wet cell (lead acid) deep cycles are better - BUT require more maintenance and have higher risk of issues and can spill
gell cell batteries like the oddessey and spiral cell like the optima or orbital batteries are the bee knees but cost prohibitive for a decent sized setup.

For a 50L waeco camping for 4 days youd want 200ah worth or capacity or some way of renewing the batteries (solar or dual battery setup or generator)

Dont use cranking batteries you'll only spend half your life replacing them.

Speak to a battery specialist and explain your needs - they have experiance in this field and should be able to set you on the right path. Be warned of auto elecs there are alot of auto elecs out there who arent upto date and dont have the experiance with continuous draw applications. be sure the auto elec you speak with has experiance with remote applications


Thanks Komodo,

I had a (very!) long chat with a rep from Battery World on the weekend at the Gold Coast Camping Show - he has given me a lot of good information on deep cell batteries / solar, etc.

Cheers,
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Re: Camping without power

Postby ben... » Thu Jul 31, 2008 3:11 pm

sorry, love digging up old threads. does anyone any suggestions on a solar panel setup to trickle charge a 100amp/h battery. Now that i have more space to carry grear, i can stay a little longer, but would like to be able to charge one of our dual batteries should get get low from the 70ltr fridge freezer. I have a 2kv honda gen set, but i can really only use that in remote places, most of the places around here don't seem to allow you to use them. Suggestions?
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Re: Camping without power

Postby ScottyB » Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:34 pm

I've got an 80W panel keeping the charge up to my camper battery setup. I am running a fridge/freezer around that size and it seems to be enough.

Some things I have learnt and you might want to consider -

1. Solar panels are expensive, unfortunately this also makes them the target of theft, so get something you can secure easily.
2. When you do the wiring, use the best (thickest) stuff you can afford to avoid voltage drop.
3. Solar panels aren't great in overcast or shady conditions, so have some backup lights etc.
4. Run your freezer on 240V power until you are ready to go, so that it is freezing when you leave. Then, make sure the items going into the freezer are also frozen. This saves your freezer doing all the work with the batteries.
5. You need to find the "sweet spot" on your fridge temp dial that keeps stuff frozen. You will be surprised that things will stay frozen on comparatively low settings. This saves you heaps of amps.
6. Experiment at home with how much you can run on what amount of power and for how long. That way when you go bush, you know what to expect and minimise those little surprises.
7. It seems these days you can get just about anything electric in a 12v version, but unless you want to buy a dozen 100W panels and a few more batteries, you need to be wary of how many amps each appliance draws.

And finally, these forums are a wealth of information so either ask or search and you will find plenty to set yourself up really well and perhaps even avoid the costly mistakes of others.
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Re: Camping without power

Postby Redback » Fri Aug 01, 2008 10:16 am

Scott is pretty much spot on, not knowing how your dual batteries are setup, i'm only assuming you don't have a dual battery controller in your car, if you don't and don't want to spend big dollars on solar panels, i'd suggest getting a dual battery system installed in your vehicle.

The new generation of dual battery controllers are very good at keeping both the starting battery and all auxillery batteries charged up when out in the bush, most will fully charge your batteries with a 15min to 30min drive every other day, perfect if you like exploring in the car by day.

Most dual battery controllers are a fraction the cost of one 40watt solar panel.

We have a small 20 watt solar panel to trickle charge our camper battery, but we don't have a 12v fridge in the camper, we have a 3 way and run it on gas when camped, so a small panel like ours would not suit you.

Just another option to look at.

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Re: Camping without power

Postby Komodo » Mon Aug 04, 2008 4:36 pm

Got an idea on what type of current your drawing?

My suggestion is get as big a solar array as you can afford and fit and use a PWM solar regulator.

Smaller folding panels are a good idea but 3 x 40 watt panels are more expencive than 1 x 120 watt panel

I personally like the unisolar panels because of how well they work in the shade
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Re: Camping without power

Postby Beagle » Wed Aug 06, 2008 3:33 pm

I have a 100 amphr battery and 20 watt solar panel. I run a 60 litre compressor frig and some 12 volt rechargable lights and can stay bush for 4 nights with no problems and still have heaps of power
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