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Rubicon Solar Power Experience

Discussion in 'Power Systems' started by Cruiserdrew, Jul 4, 2015.

  1. concretejungle

    concretejungle SILVER Star

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    Great info!!

    I probably mentioned to you guys on the Nevada trip that i started with just a 60W panel at first. When i was at a music festival for 4 days, parked and 90 degree heat, the fridge was running almost constantly and the 60W panel would not cut it. it was close, but by the end of the trip my battery was almost dead. I added another 60W panel for a total of 120W and now, it's more than adequate.
     
  2. george_tlc

    george_tlc SILVER Star

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    ^ from my experience in hot oz weather (100F stuff) an 80W panel adjusted a few times per day to stay pointed at the sun and an MPPT charge controller can keep up with an ARB 47 *IF* you keep the vehicle in the shade, use the transit bag, allow good air flow around the fridge's fan system, don't open the fridge all the time, keep it as full as possible etc.

    120W would take care of pretty well any hot weather, hot vehicle, non-optimal panel orientation etc.

    I wish 120W mono folding panels were as cheap in the US as in oz (they are about US$130) there with free shipping (within oz)... Not sure if in the US there are tariffs that bump the cost or whether it is what the market will support - along with likely less folk purchasing that kind of setup here.

    cheers,
    george.
     
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  3. Dragos80

    Dragos80

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    160W panel made in US is $1/1W here with free shipping. But not a folding one though.
     
  4. george_tlc

    george_tlc SILVER Star

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    Folding is what kicks the price up. Some kind of rip off going on there. The ones you get in oz are 2 x 60W with hinge, legs, charger (junk of course), cables and nice storage bag.

    160W non folding panels are rather large/bulky for portable deployment, but yes, they are cheaper.

    e.g.

    12V 160W Folding Solar Panel Kit Caravan Boat Camping Power Mono Charging | eBay

    AUD$180 delivered (within oz), so that's USD$140...

    cheers,
    george.
     
  5. concretejungle

    concretejungle SILVER Star

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    I ordered two and just put a set of hinges on mine. They fold up great and i keep the plug/cable inside them while folded up.
     
  6. LS1FJ40

    LS1FJ40 GOLD Star SILVER Star

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    I'm finally installing this today. Where exactly do I install it? Meaning, where do I connect it? Can't figure out the directions...

    IMG_1318.JPG
     
  7. opg4759a

    opg4759a KB6FJ /AE

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    I have a similar one. I attach it between the power supply/battery/Solar (source) and the device (load) I want to measure. I installed Anderson Poles on mine so I can quickly swap it in or out.

    I don't leave it connected full time as it will act as a parasitic draw.
     
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  8. LS1FJ40

    LS1FJ40 GOLD Star SILVER Star

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    Ok. I think that makes sense. I mainly want it for tracking solar input.

    I have a 65w Siemens panel that was a hand me down. I don't think it is producing very well. Not sure age of it but think it's probably 6-8 years old. Will end up replacing it with a Renogy 100w, most likely. But I got it and a Morningstar Sunsaver for free so thought I'd give it a shot.

    Not to mention that my Edgestar fridge is not the most efficient operator. It's better since a insulated it. May add another layer...
     
  9. thelal

    thelal

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    I've a 112W Redarc folding 'blanket' one. Works great on windscreen and sometimes will tie to RTT on top slanted in direction of sun. Also have 120W folding panel 'suitcase' style and another 180W fixed (quite large -- slides out from trailer). Those I put up on sticks and move around in direction of sun
     
  10. LS1FJ40

    LS1FJ40 GOLD Star SILVER Star

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    Are you launching the space shuttle from your 80?
     
  11. Dragos80

    Dragos80

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    I would keep my mouth shut when it comes to thelal.
    He is like the Godfather here.
    Nobody ever dares to question him, on any 80 related subject.


    I mean, I hope you don't want to sleep with the fishes.
     
  12. LS1FJ40

    LS1FJ40 GOLD Star SILVER Star

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    Not questioning, just curious what he is using all of the power for.
     
  13. Dragos80

    Dragos80

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  14. RFB

    RFB 97 FZJ80 LIFTED BLOWN DUAL BATTERIES,37s SILVER Star

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    ANY BODY GOT a diagram of all the wiring from panels to anderson plugs to batteries to invertor?/
     
  15. thelal

    thelal

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    ha! Ha! very funny.
    So the blanket and the fold out were for the 80 with twin batteries; these worked pretty well for the Engel 63L fridge+freezer. The large flat panel was for the trailer and it topped up the battery on that trailer (which the kids ran their gear off when stopped)
    However for next trip will likely keep the solar + fold-out (no kids and no trailer) but unlikely to bring the large flat panel as too big and not sure worth modifying my roof rack to move that up and slip that one ine.
    I will consider getting a solar (glued) onto the hood/bonnet (with clear coating over it) and that would take care of the don't care ; away from the truck scenario. Also maybe different battery 'types' (mine were straight Costco lead acids and I'm sure I 'damaged' and abused them more than I should have done -- need better cut-offs, watcher/logger mechanisms, more care+attention). May consider 3rd battery for Africa trip and will be putting in proper battery watcher etc.

    Main issue with the solar is the extended days off the grid where you are in the shade or poor sun/cloud cover and its hot and you're opening up the fridge a bit. Then need that extra solar 'oomph' ; maybe better controller and more efficent panels and better (de)opening fridge management. Didn't have real stats (nerdie like) that MPPT and others have from a logging perspective (like @george_tlc & Drew) so can only give my overall view. Also this was PanAm (Alaska to Argentina) and doesn't really jive for other conditions (ultra hot climates e.g. Sahara) and was family of 5. Two people on a less busy schedule would be far easier on the system

    My 2c

    Would
     
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  16. RFB

    RFB 97 FZJ80 LIFTED BLOWN DUAL BATTERIES,37s SILVER Star

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    Your my literal hero, this life is for living, not slaving away for the man only to pay the man from your slaving. Im going to try to do the same or similar soon.
     
  17. LS1FJ40

    LS1FJ40 GOLD Star SILVER Star

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    I originally planned to go with a flexible solar on my hood but was told there would be too much heat from the engine and it would lessen the efficiency of it.

    I still may try it because I think it would be cool. Plus my hood looks like sh!t so it would be an improvement.
     
  18. thelal

    thelal

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    seen one or two guys with solar on the bonnet and no reported issues. I'll have to find out who they are and ping them ; likely one of the FB overland groups that I follow

    Main learned lessons from PanAM 30K miles 1 yr with 2 adults 3 teenage kids + trailer was ....
    1) don't rush it --- 1 year was far too fast and missed so much
    2) learn the language -- would have been a big difference to engage more with the people you meet (which is the main 'joy')
    3) its much easier than you think. Spent 1-3yrs of reading, forums, research and having 10 'real' overlanders stay with us. Could have easily headed off much earlier -- lot of that R&D not needed. you learn along the way and others
    4) slowing down saves $$. Main cost will be fuel. If you're not driving you're saving
    5) lifes too short

    just working away for a few yrs (and get kids into college etc.) before head to Africa, Stans.. Russia etc.
     
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  19. concretejungle

    concretejungle SILVER Star

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    I'm not an expert but i can't see how putting a solar panel on your hood would be a negative because of hood temps. I mean, the panels are designed to sit directly in the sun which essentially creates heat.
     
  20. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew SILVER Star

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    All panels benefit and produce more power when cooler. If you mount on the hood, I'd make sure it has an air gap of some sort. But if you can deal with the heat issue, it's like any other flat surface and should work fine.
     
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