Hello! Log in or Register   |  Help  |  Donate  |  Buy Shirts  See all banner ads | Advertise on TheSamba.com  
TheSamba.com
 
Solar Panel Size Question?
Page: Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
Forum Index -> Vanagon Share: Facebook Twitter
Reply to topic
Print View
Quick sort: Show newest posts on top | Show oldest posts on top View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
thatvwbusguy
Samba Member


Joined: April 18, 2007
Posts: 1706
Location: Newmarket, New Hampshire
thatvwbusguy is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep in mind that every foot of wire from the panel to the battery will lead to increased voltage drop. Patrick did a great job of making an easy to use extension cord for his setup, but with 16AWG wire, the voltage drop from 50' of extension cable will be considerable.

If frame color is a major deciding factor when choosing panels, stop by the auto parts store and get some high quality masking tape, primer and spray paint. Aluminum is easy to paint and the whole job should only take a couple hours.

The voltage that the charge controller will put out has no relation to its maximum amperage capacity. Most PWM chargers put out 12-15V depending on temperature and sun exposure. For more efficient charging, an MPPT charge controller is the way to go for most people. Prices range from $50.00 for no-name brands on Ebay to well over $500.00 for well known brands like Morningstar.

Size your charge controller based on the wattage of your panel. Since Amps = Watts x Voltage, take the wattage of the panel you purchase and divide it by 12 to come up with a ballpark figure for the controller you will need. If you think you might want to add another panel at some point, plan ahead and go bigger on your controller now.
_________________
Jay Brown
'85 Zetec Westfalia
Newmarket, NH
VANAGON HEADLIGHT RELAYS & HARD START RELAYS

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website Gallery Classifieds Feedback
PDXWesty
Samba Member


Joined: April 11, 2006
Posts: 5740
Location: Portland OR
PDXWesty is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WestyDreamer wrote:
Ohooooo you guys are driving me insane. Guess my brainfart of trying to go small say 50 watt panel just ain't going to be practicable.

So looks like I have to take your advice Luke and look into the larger 100 gig-a-watt Panels. Problem now becomes transporting and storage of the larger panel the one I'm looking at is est size 47"x21" which should just fit across westy cargo box. Wish I could find one slightly smaller say est 46x19 as it would drop down inside of the Cargo box.


The 75-80 watt panels fit the size you need and provide adequate power. You can figure out a removable mounting system and make yourself happy by having it on the van or remote in the sun. All the below are good options.

75 watt - 38x23 $93 - 4.28 amps

http://www.solarblvd.com/Solar-Panels-&-System..._info.html

80 watt - 34x26 $116 - 4.65 amps

http://www.solarblvd.com/Solar-Panels-&-System..._info.html

85 watt - 47x21 $125 - 4.78 amps

http://www.amazon.com/HQRP-Solar-Panel-Monocrystal...olar+panel

100 watt - 47x21 $149 - 5.29 amps

http://www.amazon.com/RENOGY-Monocrystalline-Photo...olar+panel
_________________
89 Westy 2.1 Auto
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Surferboy120
Samba Member


Joined: April 13, 2014
Posts: 59
Location: Dallas
Surferboy120 is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Checkout the below link. 2 50w removable panels on 50 foot cords so you can chase the sun while the van stays in the shade. I am the new owner of the van and love the solar panel setup. He did a great idea for mounting the panels and locking them yet making it easy to take off.

http://patrickbrown.org/2013/02/18/solar-panels-on-a-westfalia-luggage-rack/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
madspaniard
Samba Member


Joined: August 18, 2008
Posts: 3795
Location: Alameda, CA
madspaniard is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't understand your rationale. You said at the beginning that you don't want to mount the panel on the roof. Then you say you don't want foldable because it might get damaged by kids etc on the ground. How are you planning to use your non-foldable 100w panel and why you couldn't do the same with a foldable one?

By the way, the reason I got rid of my 135w panel is because I got tired of moving it in and out of the van or around camp, too heavy. I used to have it on the roof but more than once I found out my camping spot was in full shade for most of the day. The foldable panel is so much easier to handle and it fits in many places inside the van.
_________________
1991 Westy auto w/ Peloquin TBD

"The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad” - Salvador Dali
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
WestyDreamer
Samba Member


Joined: December 22, 2011
Posts: 156

WestyDreamer is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ohooooo you guys are driving me insane. Guess my brainfart of trying to go small say 50 watt panel just ain't going to be practicable.

So looks like I have to take your advice Luke and look into the larger 100 gig-a-watt Panels. Problem now becomes transporting and storage of the larger panel the one I'm looking at is est size 47"x21" which should just fit across westy cargo box. Wish I could find one slightly smaller say est 46x19 as it would drop down inside of the Cargo box. Also wish I could find the larger Panels with the Blackened anodized Frames like the smaller units have just hate that bright alum frames saying hey look at me..

This is the Blackened Frame 50 Watt Panel I was considering, just wish I could find one similar in a larger panel. Renogy uses 2 of these Panels in there 100 watt portable kits.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/161277881429?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649

But I don't want a potable foldup panel that I would set out on the ground and might go missing or damaged by kids playing ball etc in the camp grounds.

Guess I'll have to get creative and make the 100 watt Panel tiltable to capture sun angle. Or even removable / extendable with a length of jumper wire to capture the best sun.

One reason I liked the 50 Watt Panel was because it has the Black Frame which I can not find in anything larger like 100 watt..

Also gots another confusing question about Charge Controllers.
Example what charge voltage would the typical 10amp PWN provide?
Are they are equal or are some better then others.
What's good, what should I stay away from?
.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
Timwhy
Samba Member


Joined: January 01, 2009
Posts: 3646
Location: Maine
Timwhy is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think everything plays into what your needs are and have much sun shine you can receive, not mention your battery capacity.
My set up includes 135 watt panel on the roof and a 100 watt foldable panel. Recently added 100 ah battery to the
battery bank to get to 234 ah's. The sun is not cooperating with us here in the NE so more capacity is needed.
_________________
'15 Audi A3 Quattro
'09 VW Tiguan (dead)
'87 VW Westy
'91 Tin Top
'90 Cabby
What the Westy wants the Westy GETS


http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/album_search.php?search_author=Timwhy&show_results=summary

http://www.youtube.com/user/TIMWHY2?feature=mhee
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Facebook Gallery Classifieds Feedback
richardm82
Samba Member


Joined: June 26, 2013
Posts: 16
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
richardm82 is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm picking up one of these this week.

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/ele/4504791405.html
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Instagram Gallery Classifieds Feedback
PDXWesty
Samba Member


Joined: April 11, 2006
Posts: 5740
Location: Portland OR
PDXWesty is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can also store the panel flat in the upper bunk. I take a 125w panel with me for use and can move it around in the sun. or mount it on top when convenient. Don't make your cord longer than 25' or you start getting too much voltage drop. The folding 100w panel is only $169 when Solarblvd has them in stock. If I were to do it again, I would get an 80-85w panel that would lat flat across the bunk with the bed either folder up or down.

You can have the bunk folded down with the pop top closed and you get quite a bit of flat storage up there. I think 50w will be too small for you.

Here's some inexpensive 60w-80w panels for about $90: http://www.solarblvd.com/Solar-Panels-&-Systems-12-Volt-Solar-Panels/c1_269/index.html
_________________
89 Westy 2.1 Auto


Last edited by PDXWesty on Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
kourt
Samba Member


Joined: August 13, 2013
Posts: 1267
Location: Austin, TX
kourt is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got a Renogy 100 watt panel mounted on the pop top roof:

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=582511&highlight=

Look through the post for more info about the special mounting hinges used on this panel to make it dismountable, with extension cord, for placement in the sun while the van is in the shade.

Here's my rig, charging on the beach this past weekend:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


We basically ran the stereo, lights, Truckfridge on its highest setting, phone chargers, iPad, wifi, LED christmas lights, ham radios, and anything else we wanted for three days with no fear of depleting the 165ah house battery bank. The bank was recharged each day with ambient sunlight. In this photo the van tailgate is pointing south. We probably could have oriented the panel for more efficiency, but it wasn't necessary.

The panel mount is solid and doesn't rattle. It appears permanently installed to the casual observer, but can be removed with a little effort and knowledge.

kourt
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
crazyvwvanman
Samba Member


Joined: January 28, 2008
Posts: 8413
Location: Orbiting San Diego
crazyvwvanman is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A 50 watt panel aimed during the day should provide about half the power needed by the fridge for a whole day. That would double the run time of the storage battery.

This assumes a 6 hour sun charging time and you would likely have to re-aim the panel once or twice during the day, after the morning start position.

This also assumes the fridge cycles on about half the time. This will vary depending on how warm it is inside the van itself.

So during the 6 hours of sun the panel would spend 3 hours running the fridge and 3 hours charging the battery. That 3 hours of charge would become 6 more hours of fridge operation at the same 50/50 running rate. So 6 hours of sun would take care of about 12 hours of fridge. The next 12 hours would have to come from the battery. Then the sun would be back. So 6 hours of sun gives 12 hours of fridge time out of every 24 hour day.

These are rough numbers but they imply that 100 watts aimed for best sun in 6 hours would meet the 24 hour needs of the fridge.

Mark

WestyDreamer wrote:
Maybe I should have been more clear about me Question.

My thoughts and Question was asking more about the smaller Wattage Panels.

My Hope was going with the Smaller size 50 Watt Solar Panel. They are only about 2'x2' square and thought that I could use it in multiple locations, luggage rack, poptop, etc ways once onsite and move it about into sunny areas etc by use of a interchangeable longer power cord.

But my question is would it add enough ah's back into my battery to supplement my needs. Which are manual.

If enough sunlight I don't see why not. Besides with this approach I have control over the panel Location / position..

Besides my friends who have the larger panels often don't have the portability of moving just there Panels to gather sunlight angle without re-positioning there campers once or twice and sometimes they don't have that opportunity so those huge panels are only performing like a much smaller panel anyway.. Also have seen many Panels hard mounted that once the Top is Popped the Panel was facing everything but the Sun. Embarassed

Think I'll give the smaller Panel a try, going to mount the charge controller in the Van so heck I can always swap out the Panel if under performing. I'll let you know how it works out..
.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
WestyDreamer
Samba Member


Joined: December 22, 2011
Posts: 156

WestyDreamer is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Howesight wrote:
I thought about getting a smaller panel, but the storage problem is worse (how do you protect it?) and the cost savings, after getting your hardware, controller, wiring, etc, is minimal. You will want more watts later, guaranteed.


I kind of agree with you about the larger Panels. But don't want to Hard mount one and don't want the price of hassle of storing or setup of the expensive 100 watt potable Panels. Also fear of losing the expensive store bought one when away from the camp site..

So my thoughts of transport or storage of the 50 watt panel would be..

I measured and thought about storing the 2x2' 50 watt panel on the underside of my Rear AC Unit. Kind of maybe making a slide to slide it into or maybe even a pair sling straps to fasten it to the underside of the AC Unit. Thus protecting it and utilizing un-used space.
It also measures less then 1 1/2" thick so it could also store or transport in in the upper bunk to protect it..

Hey who knows maybe it's a bad Brainfart but I'm stinking it just might server me needs.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
Howesight
Samba Member


Joined: July 02, 2008
Posts: 2429
Location: Vancouver, B.C.
Howesight is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Westydreamer:

I think you ought to go for more than 50W. Remember that the greater power you have, the faster your re-charge will take place.

Those panels I referred to in my post above are all portable folding panels. Even the Renogy 100W panel that I strongly recommend uses the same footprint as the Renogy 50W panel since it is made up of two 50W panels.

It is really hard to protect a panel without some kind of "briefcase" cover. Just yesterday, I was transporting some heavy items in the back of my Westy, and I stupidly had the Renogy panel laying flat in the back, and, while I was turning a corner, a metal tool box tipped over right onto the panel. No damage resulted, but I won't chance that again. Without the "briefcase", the panel would have been ruined.

The beauty of all the panels I listed is that they will fit nicely in the luggage rack - - for storage, not for operation. You still have to take them down and put them in the sun and, if there is shade, park your van in the shade. Once I make my "luggage rack cover" (so many projects . . . ), I will leave the Renogy panel in the luggage rack all the time. As things are now, it is a theft risk to leave the panel there.

I thought about getting a smaller panel, but the storage problem is worse (how do you protect it?) and the cost savings, after getting your hardware, controller, wiring, etc, is minimal. You will want more watts later, guaranteed.
_________________
'86 Syncro Westy SVX
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Syncro Jael
Samba Member


Joined: December 19, 2013
Posts: 2091
Location: Utah
Syncro Jael is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too wanted to add a small panel on top of the Westy.

Since I carry a kayak on my rack and have a Rocket Box on the other side I really needed to find a solution without taking my storage spot above the cab.

So I went this route and attached it to the top of the Thule Box. It is only 28W but during the day it can put a few AH into the house bank. It will also run my ARB Fridge/Freezer during the day.

http://www.selectsolar.co.uk/prod/404/powerfilm-r28-28w-rollable-solar-panel

I have a portable that I use when camping. But this way even when I am just parked hiking or biking, and do not want to set out the portable, I still have something going back into the batteries. Leaving your solar panel out on the ground might lead to someone borrowing it for a while? Shocked

It is pretty stealth up there on the Thule! Cool

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

_________________
1987 Syncro Westfalia Hightop - NAHT
Subaru EJ25 Forged Frankenmotor, Triple Knob.
Jael = (Mountain Goat)


Last edited by Syncro Jael on Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Gallery Classifieds Feedback
WestyDreamer
Samba Member


Joined: December 22, 2011
Posts: 156

WestyDreamer is offline 

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe I should have been more clear about me Question.

My thoughts and Question was asking more about the smaller Wattage Panels.

My Hope was going with the Smaller size 50 Watt Solar Panel. They are only about 2'x2' square and thought that I could use it in multiple locations, luggage rack, poptop, etc ways once onsite and move it about into sunny areas etc by use of a interchangeable longer power cord.

But my question is would it add enough ah's back into my battery to supplement my needs. Which are manual.

If enough sunlight I don't see why not. Besides with this approach I have control over the panel Location / position..

Besides my friends who have the larger panels often don't have the portability of moving just there Panels to gather sunlight angle without re-positioning there campers once or twice and sometimes they don't have that opportunity so those huge panels are only performing like a much smaller panel anyway.. Also have seen many Panels hard mounted that once the Top is Popped the Panel was facing everything but the Sun. Embarassed

Think I'll give the smaller Panel a try, going to mount the charge controller in the Van so heck I can always swap out the Panel if under performing. I'll let you know how it works out..
.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
Howesight
Samba Member


Joined: July 02, 2008
Posts: 2429
Location: Vancouver, B.C.
Howesight is offline 

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got the folding 100W panel from Renogy. When folded and in its case, it fits into the luggage rack on the pop top. I am impressed with the quality.

On Amazon, it sells for $270. For best results, I removed the charge controller and hard-mounted it into my Westy and had large-gauge wire cable made up as the cable it comes with (like almost all folding panels) is too small a gauge. It is best, by far, to mount the charge controller near the battery so that the temperature regulation of the charge controller can work appropriately and to reduce power loss. It is also very important to do the set up of your charge controller parameters (this takes some patience) to work with your specific battery(ies). My Trojan flooded lead-acid deep cycle battery must be charged at 14.8 volts. The charge controller factory pre-sets are at 14.2 volts (fine for Gel Cell, but not flooded), which slows down charging a lot if you don't take the time to do your set-up.

See here for the Amazon deal:

http://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Foldable-Suitcase-Battery-Charger/dp/B00HR8YNK6

There is only one other folding panel on the market 100W or more that actually fits in the Westfalia luggage rack and it's made here in Canada, hence the higher price. Here it is:

http://www.amazon.com/Go-Power-GP-PSK-120-Portable-Controller/dp/B009MIPH4K

I like GoWesty's Vanagon parts, but the price on their re-sold Zamp solar 80W kit is scandalous - - not worth the price when Renogy and others have the same or better quality. Here is GoWesty's folding solar panel. The charge controller is inferior to the one on the Renogy unit.

http://www.gowesty.com/ec_view_details.php?id=23897&category_id=338&category_parent_id=
_________________
'86 Syncro Westy SVX
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
PDXWesty
Samba Member


Joined: April 11, 2006
Posts: 5740
Location: Portland OR
PDXWesty is offline 

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This looks similar if you can't wait for one from Solarblvd.

http://www.goldrayenergy.com/product/120w-folding-solar-panel-kit/
_________________
89 Westy 2.1 Auto
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
madspaniard
Samba Member


Joined: August 18, 2008
Posts: 3795
Location: Alameda, CA
madspaniard is offline 

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From another thread, this is what I did to the 120w foldable panel posted in link above to make it better

madspaniard wrote:

I have this same foldable 120w panel. Three things I did to it. Converted all connections to MC4, got rid of the 16 awg wire extension for remote deployment of panel (made my own marine grade 12 awg extension and also upgraded all other small wire runs to 12 awg) and removed controller from panel (it only takes two very small bolts) so that I can use my on-board controller which used to control my rooftop solar panel. I still keep the controller I removed just in case I want to use this foldable panel in another vehicle.

_________________
1991 Westy auto w/ Peloquin TBD

"The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad” - Salvador Dali
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
madspaniard
Samba Member


Joined: August 18, 2008
Posts: 3795
Location: Alameda, CA
madspaniard is offline 

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, I forgot, my panel is 120w. Only one 110 amps/hour aux battery for 12v fridge, Propex, radio and LED interior lights.

Info on the solar panel is here

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=573136&highlight=solar
_________________
1991 Westy auto w/ Peloquin TBD

"The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad” - Salvador Dali
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
PDXWesty
Samba Member


Joined: April 11, 2006
Posts: 5740
Location: Portland OR
PDXWesty is offline 

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=573136

The above thread has a good site listed for solar panels. Many of us bought their folding panels for less than $200. I got a 120 watt set up for $199. They seem to be out right now, but if you send them an email they will let you know when they are back in stock. I would highly recommend them. Pictures on page 2 of the thread.
_________________
89 Westy 2.1 Auto
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
ThankYouJerry
Samba Member


Joined: September 01, 2012
Posts: 2271
Location: Shakedown Street
ThankYouJerry is offline 

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

madspaniard wrote:
I got rid of my Yakima roof rack mounted 135w solar panel and now only carry a 100w foldable solar panel when needed. I have same aux battery and power needs as yours.


Mad - Where did you get your 100W folding panel? Brand? Also, do you only run one aux bat?
_________________
1990 Multivan - "Ohana"
1.8T, Auto w/3.27 R&P + Peloquin TBD
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Forum Index -> Vanagon All times are Mountain Standard Time/Pacific Daylight Savings Time
Page: Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
Page 2 of 3

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

About | Help! | Advertise | Donate | Premium Membership | Privacy/Terms of Use | Contact Us | Site Map
Copyright © 1996-2020, Everett Barnes. All Rights Reserved.
Not affiliated with or sponsored by Volkswagen of America | Forum powered by phpBB