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Oops…. I am looking to do the 400 watt hook up, I understand how each component is to be placed but what I am having trouble with is the size of wire to use from the solar panels to the Battery bank, and then to the fuse block to run for the lighting and plugs to power some of the equipment like the cell phone and laptop. Go bigger if you can with this, unless you don’t have enough roof space or if you’re on a significant budget. Great site! Now because of this, my laptop is only plugged in and charging about 2 hours per day. Now your batteries need to be able to discharge this amount of watt hours throughout the day and then we will recharge those with solar. I understand possibly amortizing varying power usage over multiple days, but then you would need a larger battery system to support that. I am planning to use 2 100W panels. It’s mostly plug and play and it’s pretty fun doing it on your own not only because you save some money and you can have a system sized exactly to what you need it, but it also helps you diagnose issues later down the road if you know what’s going on. Solar Panels Voltage. Look back at your components. We use this a 4 generally for camper vans because if you’re flat mounting your solar panels on top of your van, in most cases they’re only going to see about 4 direct hours of sun. And that thing is running about 5 hours per day.  Wires and fuses*, Solar Panel Kits For example: a refrigerator might be running 8 hrs/day in the summer, but only 4 hrs/day in the winter. do you have any information for using three inputs? That’s a lot of the cooking elements that people try to run off inverters. Read our wiring post to determine the proper wire size for your build. Actual charging times will vary dependingon geographic location, time of year,  angle of the sun relative to the RV solar panel and, weather conditions. There’s a lot of little details. So once you get all of your components listed out, this is all of your electrical things.  WindyNation 200W Solar Kit (PWM charge controller and battery included), Solar Panels (300W) In hotter weather that compressor is going to be on a lot more because that internal temperature is going to raise up a lot. You show the loads directly tied to the battery.  Adjustable tilt mount (optional) 100Ah (x1) Battery (Lithium option). Silicon solar cells are currently available in three main types, which are known as monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film amorphous. We also have two phones, and our phones are I think 3 amps but at 5 volt USB so they’re each running about 15 watts and they’re plugged in 3 hours per day. You can go down here and, these are all for reference. You are welcome to play around with this number, and even combine it with your winter/summer total watts to see what a comfortable system size is for you. example: looking at a microwave that says it uses 720 watts. Thoughts? Estimated Watt Hours And those don’t even need to be charged up all the way at the end of each day. Recommended Inverter Size Solar panel power ratings are provided in Watts also, so in order to work out how many Watts of power a solar panel can supply to the battery, you will need to apply the following formula: Watts (Solar Panel Rating) x Hours (Daylight/Sunlight Exposure) = Total Watts per day Solar 260W (360W) “12V” solar panels typically output between 18-22V, which fluctuates based on external factors (sun, temperature, angle, etc). PWM charge controllers are much cheaper but less efficient than MPPT technology, so they take more minimum solar watts to charge the batteries. So the smaller you can go comfortably the better with this.  Renogy 100W Solar Kit (PWM charge controller) I’m looking now to drop $2,500 on lithium to solve my problems 8-D I’m thinking about 300 AH of lithium is enough to get me through several days of making no or little power. Also, is there a good way to get power use estiments for devices? Most new caravans, motorhomes and, to some extent, campers, have solar panels mounted on the roof or other flat surface. We see this common mistake pretty often. ... Caravan and motorhome solar panel top tips. We’ve done tests on it, we can see the average. Along the way, we've met with other van lifers, checked out their rigs, and learned a lot about adventure travel. For instance, if you need 150W of power, but your system is only 75% efficient, then you would need 200W of panels to get 150W into the batteries.  6 circuit fuse block + bus bar That basically is just saying hey, you can save a lot of money and efficiency by not running an inverter. You can put your location in a site like this: to find the average sun hours per day. Now one thing I forgot is the laptop and the Macbook are both running off of AC power. Awesome write up. This is a very convenient way to transport and use solar panels, but it doesn’t help them to face directly into the sun at all times. So in my application, I have a 12V motor that will use 12 amps (144 watts) for 8-10 hours a day. This is the maximum power you will expect to use on any given day. has substantially upgraded its solar savings calculator to provide more accurate cost and savings estimates with solar. Each system has several battery options and everything is sized proportionally, so the solar panels, inverter and battery all work optimally together. Hello! For a 12V battery bank, this will be between 13.5V and 14.8V depending on where the batteries are at in the charge cycle. Or a refrigerator that cycles during the day. The Solar Cable Gauge Calculator is designed to provide estimates for wire gauge size to determine your need for cables. Some days I might not be running my laptop, some days I might be running a little more. Why should it be as high as 1.2 for a PWM controller or 1.3 for an MPPT controller? this is awesome and very helpful. Remember to check the requirements of your specific charge controller to make sure it will work with your panels before buying it. Yes, you can wire the fuse block directly to the “load” terminals on your controller. to working out what size solar panel you'll need for your campervan, caravan or motorhome. Again, we go through all of this on our charge controller post if you want to know details.  WindyNation 100W Solar Kit (PWM charge controller and battery included), Solar Panels So in this case were using 1127 watt hours per day. AGM batteries wear out quickly if you use more than 50% of their charge, so they require a larger battery bank to compensate. See the FAQ for further reading on running a larger inverter. Which Size: The most popular motorhome solar panel kit we sell is the 120w MPPT kit.This kit is currently a good compromise in power, price and size. This really helped me calculate what setup would be needed. A PWM controller uses less complicated and less efficient technology. The solar sizing calculator will then be able to tell you the minimum and recommended system size, as well as the recommended battery output. Enter the total Amps that your Solar Panels will produce all together. The problem with that is then you also need to make sure you have enough panels to run that once is does drop for two days worth of use. Say you’re going to travel around sunny climates somehow, maybe you’ll see 7 or 8 hours. The input depends on many variables but is generally always higher. Usually 12, 24, or 48 volts. So say we have this fuse box here, you’ll be able to jump in this list of all of the components.  Flexible polycrystalline, Solar Panel Kits On-grid solar system involves solar panels and inverter. So grab a piece of paper and a pencil and create a table. This calculator may also come in handy.  B2B charger (solar CC included, compatible with lithium), Solar Panel Kits If you run an AC powered object like my laptop, then that efficiency is going to be reduced so you’re going to have to use more energy to charge the laptop than you would if it were DC powered. Hey Ross, good catch! has a number of ways to help you find the right system for your RV, boat or work truck. If I use this to calculate, would I just halve the Ah needed for the battery for a 24v setup? This is nice to print off to show people. 12 volt electricity in general is relatively safe, but there are a lot of things that you can miss if it’s your first time. Now our charge controller, this is determined by our solar panel size. I meant to post it here. This is kind of our general advised minimum.  200Ah (x1) Battery (AGM option)  Rigid Monocrystalline Different fridges run a little different. But in general, if you’re going to go significantly larger, you’re going to want to double check your battery bank size.  Solar panel roof mounting z-rack (optional) I would like to know how I add alternator charging as I drive as well as shore power charging at RV parks. Optimizing Your RV Battery Investment Most savvy RVers use checklists to prepare for their road trips and camping adventures. Im guessing thats for the durration of use? You can enter it as one component line.  Solar panel roof mounting z-rack (optional) You kind of get a size difference there so you can either go with a 185 amp hour lead acid style or a 115 amp hour lithium battery. Sometimes in some cases there are much more expensive but only slightly better components that we don’t find necessary. It is difficult to predict how much wiring each different van build will have and the lengths needed, and we don’t want to have you ordering things that you don’t need. Use on any given day component can benefit from wiring in parallel with a bit more expensive, they... Other flat surface size based on a lot of different components that we don ’ t really matter sizing. Directly related to cost ll just take some effort on my part wiring be... At getting solar and electricity guide batteries will last the total amps that your panels... Here, you have to do is everything that uses electricity, you can discharge them to only say 20... 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