What’s the purpose of Solar Panels?
Solar panels collect the sun’s energy and store it in your auxiliary battery/batteries.
Auxiliary batteries are standard with Sportsmobile’s Standard Equipment Package. The energy stored from solar panels is the same as when you run your van’s engine to have the van’s alternator charge your batteries. Or, when you are connected to a 110V hook-up or generator, your power converter/battery charger will keep your auxiliary batteries charged.
Do You Need Solar Panels?
The question is, “Will you be camping for a long period of time, three to four days or longer, without starting the van’s engine or plugging into a 110V hook-up to charge the batteries?” If yes, figure out amp usage per day and the time parked in the sun. Then we can install the right size system for your needs. See amp usage below.
Keep in mind
When driving or plugged into a 110-volt hook-up or running generator, your solar panels are not charging the batteries. However, your van’s alternator or power converter/battery charger is. The panels are for recharging when you do not have a 110-volt hook-up or generator. In shade, panels are not producing much power, if any.
Solar Panel technology is changing rapidly. Photos show examples. Please contact Sportsmobile for latest wattage, dimensions, weights and colors.
“We sometimes camp for a week or so without a hookup. Our two panels take care of our needs very well.
— David and Julia Olsen
Digital 3 Stage PWM Charge Controller
12 Volt / 30 Amp Solar Controller / Regulator suits Gel, AGM, Conventional lead-acid and Calcium Batteries.
It contains a built in regulator to prevent your battery from being overcharged. (Overcharging occurs when the charge voltage is unregulated. This can result in premature battery failure.)
The controller will stop charging when the battery is full and will automatically start charging the battery as required.
Protects your battery from discharge at night. Under low light or no light conditions the solar panel voltage could be less than the battery voltage. The unit contains a special circuit which prevents current flowing back from the battery and into the solar panel.
- Colored LED’s to indicate the operational status and the charging progress for when a solar panel is connected.
- PWM & 3 Stage Charging Technology
- Digital LCD to Indicate Battery Voltage or Current. (Switch Selectable)
- Surface Mount or Flush Panel Mount Options
- For use with 12 Volt Systems Only. Suitable for Solar Panels up to 500 Watts.
Product Specifications subject to change without notice.
Pre-Wiring for Solar Panels
We can also pre-wire with a solar controller for customers who want to use a portable solar panel. We install a marine exterior 12 volt, 15 amp connection wired to a solar controller, then to the battery system. The panel can be mounted to the van’s roof or keep it portable so you can place it in the sun when you park in the shade.
How Many Amp hr Do I Need? This is a difficult question to answer without knowing your typical daily 12-volt needs. See our typical 12/110V requirement examples below. Knowing how many amp hours you will be using in a 24 hour period is critical in knowing how large a solar system is needed.
- One panel will produce about (depending on variables) 5 amps of 12 volt power.
- If you have 8 hours of sunlight, you will be able to put a max of 40 amp hours into your battery system.
- A 4 CF refrigerator uses 2.8 amps when it’s running. Most refrigerators will run for about 16 hours (or 65%) in a 24 hour period. 16 hrs x 2.8 amps = 49 amp hr. This is average daily amp consumption of the refrigerator.
- If you put in 40 amp hr per day in the auxiliary battery and the refrigerator uses about 49 amp hr, you will have a negative battery charge of about 9 amp hr over 24 hours.
- Most customers like the security of a second solar panel, which will provide additional amps for 12V lights, water pump, TV, etc. Some order four panels.
Keep in mind: When driving or plugged into a 110 volt hook-up, your solar panels are not charging the auxiliary batteries. The panels are for recharging when you do not have a 110 volt hook-up or generator. If you park in the shade, the panels are not producing much power if any.
Also, solar panel output will vary with location, time and date as the sun’s angle changes. Note — product design can change. The specifications below can also change.
To view more information on typical requirements for solar panels please view on a wider screen.
Typical 12/110V Requirements
|12 & 110V||12V AMPS||110V AMPS||RUNNING WATTS||REMARKS|
|Refrig. 3E – 2.7CF, Elect||3.6 (1)||0||30||–|
|Refrig. 4E – 3.6CF, Elect||5.4 (1)||.7||34||–|
|Refrig. 7E – 7CF, Elect||5.9 (1)||.8||132/1560||N/A Chevy Van.|
|Refrig. 6EP – 6CF, Elect/Prop||12 (1)||13||38.5||12/110V & Propane Refr. use lots of battery power. N/A Chevy Van.|
|TV – 22″ Flat Screen||4.2||–||50||TV can use .2 amps even when switched “OFF.” Unplug TV to eliminate drain.|
|12V||12V AMPS||110V AMPS||RUNNING WATTS||REMARKS|
|Water Pump||4 (1)||–||48||–|
|Attic Fan – On Low||1.9||–||23||–|
|Attic Fan – On Medium||2.3||–||28||–|
|Attic Fan – On High||3||–||36||–|
|Detectors: LP, CO, or Propane||.2||–||2.4||–|
|110V||12V AMPS||110V AMPS||RUNNING WATTS||REMARKS|
|A/C Danhard (ON HIGH) (S)||24 (1)||8.4||1,008||–|
|A/C Danhard w/Gen. (O) (S)||24 (1) (2)||6.8||816||(2) For 12V Blower Fan and Condenser Fan|
|Roof A/C 12,500 BTU||(1)||12.9||1,425||–|
|Water Heater, 110V||(1)||12.9||1,500||–|
|Computer||–||.5||30-50||Depending on 12 volt load|
Note: some items shown are options. (S) not available for Sprinters
(1) These items will cycle on and off as power is required. Amp x Volts = Watts
Please keep in mind we offer over 20 different chassis sizes and models. All options are not available for all chassis. For details on compatibility please contact Sportsmobile.