Understanding Pop Up Camper Solar Panels In Relation To Power Needs
Pop up camper solar panels are a must-have for those who plan to go on long-term camping for days. Long-term camping requires more power, and the more portable the power is, the more convenient it becomes. However, before we get all excited about generating our own power, we should ask yourself whether we need these accessories or not.
The camper van community is currently discussing whether or not going solar is a viable option. It's just a matter of connecting batteries with the panel and you enjoy the power. But it also depends on the location and the season in which you'll be going camping. You see, driving around in the sun will justify the use of solar panels on recreational vehicles. However, going for skiing holidays in the winter will make it difficult to reap the natural power benefits of the sun.
To benefit from a solar panel, you will need plenty of sunlight when the panel is correctly mounted. Solar panels that aren't effective are ones that have been fixed flat on the rooftop of the vehicle. Apparently, this is the most popular position in many camper van conversions.
If you're careful enough, you must have noticed that most households or solar farms install panels at 45 degrees, facing southwards so the unit can receive more sunlight intensity. That's how solar panels perform at their best. So any solar installation guide that tells you otherwise is not effect.
How to boost the efficiency of your solar panel
You'll need basic equipments such as a long extension cord, a tripod stand, and a quick-release mounting bracket. What this means is that you can park your pop up camper in the shade, remove the panel from the roof, and mount it on a tripod stand facing south so you can receive the most sunlight for your power needs.
The extension cord will be plugged into the panel and charge controller. As a result, you'll be able to enjoy the power of the sun under the shade.
Types of solar panels and numbers
Solar panels come in varieties. The smallest panels have the capability of charging small appliances like your PC, cell phone or rechargeable spotlights. If you buy an 18W solar panel, this will channel out energy sufficient enough to charge your car's battery when you're not using it for a longer period.
The size of what you go for will depend on your daily power needs. So to estimate how much power you need, you should do a simple math that will help you know just how much of power you'll consume.
Let's assume you operate the following appliances in your pop up camper:
- A small 8W light running for 2 hours = 16wh - 40W screen running for 2hours = 80wh - 30W Water pump running for 1hour = 30wh - 20w Halogen lamps running for 2 hours = 40wh - 15w radio working for 2hours = 30wh
Total power consumption is 196Wh
This is the total amount of power you'll need in one day. Divide it by 12V to get the Ah numbers. This should get you 16.34Ah, so your average power consumption for the day is approximately 16Ah per day. This also means that 100Ah auxiliary battery will provide enough power for the next 4 or 5 days before the battery can be recharged.
Panels and batteries
The standard battery, when not in use, will lose up to 30% of its power in one month. The panel's job is to charge the battery, which in most cases, is a deep cycle battery. A charge controller is installed between the panel and the battery so it can be saved from the effects of overcharging.
Deep cycle recreational vehicle batteries keep you happy for between 8-10 years. However, their cost, plus that of power hookups at campsites can send you insanely bankrupt. So using a solar panel for this purpose makes sense. If your trip involves setting up tent in a sunny base camp for 5 days, you can go solar.
Mono-crystalline panels are manufactured of silicon crystals and are costly but efficient. But at the same time, cost-effective units like polycrystalline panels are made up of multiple crystals to serve the same purpose at a cheaper cost. You can also find portable solar panels that are light in weight, ultra-thin, and highly efficient. For instance, you can buy the Renogy solar panel bundle or the adjustable solar panel that cost $324 and $58 respectively. The former is quite expensive but highly efficient, so you'll be getting value mostly because of the features. On the other hand, the $58-worth unit is cheaper, yet endowed with features sufficient enough to cover your basic needs. Check these links for more info: http://is.gd/D9cbLg or http://is.gd/rZTqXg.
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