Solar panel, page 2Well, We went camping weekend after this install-Wow was I very pleasantly surprised!
But 1st I gotta mention, I finished the install late bout an hour before sundown, but were in a shadow line, so there was no sun on the panel . Meter read 0 amps from panel, battery @12.2volts. Oh well , guess Ill wait till tomorrow to test.
Next morning we were socked in with fog, I eagerly waited for the fog to burn off. Finally gave up, went out bout 10:00, opened camper -didn't bother to remove camper cover cause it was wet. I wanted to see if the controller showed any drain on the battery overnight. Its minimal self-usage-but just making sure. I open the door, glance at the meter-says battery @12.9 volts. What the heck? next read output from solar, 0.4 amps! Camper is covered & its foggy and the panel is charging the battery! Wow! Ran in the hose -excitedly told Margaret-Ran back out un covered camper-up to 0.6 amps, 0.9. Got up on the roof -tilted panel toward sun, 1.6 amps, in the fog. As the sky brightened the output increased. It got to about 3.5 amps, I was able to turn on 3 lights and the battery still showed an increase. Only when I turned on the range fan did the battery volts slowly start to drop. This is a good sign. Means if the sky's bright in inclement weather, were in some shade, Ill still might get something out of the panel..Yes!
Well we did. Our 1st campsite with panel was of course not optimum for solar. We pulled in late in the eve-picked our site cause it was the nicest. Ran some lights, watched a movie, battery was @12.1v by the time we went to sleep. The panel next morning I pointed right at the rising sun, Thru trees. Oh well -was about at 1.5 amps tilted due to partial sunlight thru trees (0.6 not tilted)-but the battery's charging! and its a really nice campsite. It did get up to about 6 amps at noon. Again due to darn trees it never reached its max of 7.5 amps. But I'm tickled pink. I really didn't think Id get that much from the panel when In the forest. As the sun arced thru the trees, amps output varied due to shading. But at the end of the day the battery was fully charged.
Truck nose facing south+/-, Panels tilted on North/South axis toward morning sun. Ac is an issue when truck facing south.
I reset panel bout noon. Mainly because due panel facing right at morn sun by noon it was facing wrong way. That and I wanted to play with tilting mounts. Though still in tree shadow it was charging 0.7 to 4 amps most of the day, hitting 7amps for brief periods. I realized as winter nears and the sun drops in the horizon, if the truck is positioned front facing south the air conditioner will seriously shade the panel-even tilted. However I also realized after some thought I cant remember where we weren't parked front of truck facing northerly and this site a first. I'm sure as time goes on tilting wont be happening-unless we really need it but the option is nice. Actually we spent 3 days at this location and never fired up generator except for about 15 mins to cook dinner second day.
Truck nose facing south+/-, Panels tilted on East/West axis toward afternoon sun.
Our next camp site in Grant Grove we were positioned better (truck nose north/east) but the panel was in a shadow and never got above about 0.5 amps till 11:00 then 6.5 to 7.5 the rest of the day. I position panel facing south and never moved. Again we didn't use gen except for 1/2 hr second day so Margaret could dry her hair. (My inverter is only 400 watts drier is 1200).
Update: 2014- added a portable folding 100 watt 'suitcase' solar panel to camper. Original plan was always another roof mounted panle (and I may yet add). However over the years shade has proved to be the biggest obstacle. Added portable for the ability to reach sun
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