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Hotcrossman

Coachman Solar Panel

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Only had the Coachman 460VIP since July (used 2017) and finding the 80w panel not up to the job. Anyone had experience of this setup and or sugestions/advise please

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In what way is it “not up to the job”. 

By my calculations, even if you only had five hours daylight,  that would be over 30Ah. More than enough for maintaining the battery in store, and enough for careful off grid use for several days

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1 hour ago, Hotcrossman said:

Only had the Coachman 460VIP since July (used 2017) and finding the 80w panel not up to the job. Anyone had experience of this setup and or sugestions/advise please

We have a 100w roof mounted rigid solar panel and it does keep up with our demand in the summer but I would not expect it to do so this time of year.

34 minutes ago, Lost in the wilderness said:

In what way is it “not up to the job”. 

By my calculations, even if you only had five hours daylight,  that would be over 30Ah. More than enough for maintaining the battery in store, and enough for careful off grid use for several days

You're not going to get that from a 80w solar panel.

 

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I think you need to explain exactly what it is you are wanting/expecting the solar panel to do. 

 

At this time of year any solar panel will produce very little power. That’s down to two things. Firstly there are much fewer daylight hours and secondly the sun is much lower in the sky so the light strikes your panel at a much shallower angle. 

 

To try and explain the difference between the height of summer and this time of year I have a solar panel array on my house roof. Back in June they would generate in the nearly 30 KWH a day. Today they generated just 8.6 KWH. Your caravans solar panel will perform in a similar manner. 

 

Andy 

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Just checked my Tracker history since it was returned to storage and it peaked at 14.227V  during daytime 16.10.19 and  and since then averaged at 12.768v from then until today, that is with a 100w panel on the roof.

 

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Thanks all, you may have assumed I was a newby to the fraternity however, I had before a Motorhome with 120w Solar and two leisure batteries. Winter or summer the Phantom Tracker recorded over 12.5v (Full Charge) and inputted 18.5v on a regular basis. I recently had the Solar checked and, although the regulator was changed it still struggles to register even 12.5v. Perhaps a larger panel is my only option - hence my heading "is it up to the job"

Edited by Hotcrossman

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How old is the leisure battery because if it’s getting on a bit it’s capacity will be reduced somewhat. 

 

Have you actually checked the battery readings with a decent multi-meter rather than the Phantom as that might be giving an inaccurate reading. A fully charged 12 volt battery will actually show about 12.5 volts. 

 

In addition an 80w solar panel will only deliver 66% of what a 120w panel will. That’s not too much of a problem if it’s summer time but at this time of year, with heavy overcast clouds no solar panel is going to generate much. My house roof panels only produced  3.4 KWh today (see my previous posts ref my house panels production) 

 

Andy

 

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Fit another 80 watt panel along side , then you will have no trouble. I have 1 x 160 watt on my Pegasus , works brilliantly.

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With Solar, all other things being equal bigger is always better.  This time of year a roof panel is going to struggle.  By chance. Last weekend I was at the centre for alternative energy in mid Wales. They have a small solar panel mounted on a frame that you can tilt and rotate.   In a flat plane, like it would be on a caravan roof, in bright sunlight the output  was half what it was with the panel tilted and pointed at the sun. Moral consider an aim-able panel as a supplementary panel.   That said I would of thought an 80w panel would charge and maintain a battery assuming no excessive load.   Even a slight current draw for example a 5w fridge light and you can struggle, I speak from experience.

My record is last December 150W panel  less than 4Ah into the battery in a 24hr period.   30Ah, don’t make me laugh. 

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Thanks Fred, I fitted my first Motorhome with a 120w Solar and later added a tilting frame (as we spent the winters in Portugal), the resultant charge was incredible - only wish it was/is a practical proposition for the Coachman - the Rapido had a proper roof and ladder so no prob tilting. Your experience at the Centre in Wales would have been the same. I seriously considered an RV some years back, which had a solar panel which (electrically) followed the sun - like an Oyster dish - horrendously expensive.

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In the winter I sometimes use my old 40W panel to supplement the roof panels.  What could possibly go wrong?

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