Use Your Solar Panels the Right Way
By Joe, Product and Customer Service Expert for KickAss
2 Minute Read
As offroaders, we’re all attracted to the remoteness and possible harshness of our environment. Some of us might even enjoy the lack of modern technology available which otherwise would manifest itself with some little punters staring at a screen all day. “Get off that thing and play in the bloody river!” is a phrase that comes to mind.
If you don’t want to run your car for hours on end to provide electricity, you’ve got two options. You could use a stationary generator which will work whenever you want but it will require petrol and can be quite noisy.There is also the worthwhile investment to obtain some portable solar panels. These will provide you with free electricity throughout the day, but you will need to have a plan for overcast days and night time. A lot of us consider the alternation between both options.
Taking advantage of our sun-abundant island is certainly a smart idea, especially considering when camping we are not running a lot of appliances. As long as we can keep the fridge running, power some energy efficient lights, and charge up some extra entertainment devices for the littlies.
If you are keen to set up your system for optimum power, there are a few things to consider;
First; we’ll assume you invested in some quality monocrystalline solar panels for your dual battery system. Polycrystalline have some advantages but they won’t charge your battery as good as a monocrystalline panel will.
Second; important consideration is choice of regulator. You could use the standard PWM regulator that usually comes attached to your solar panels or you could upgrade your regulator to MPPT to enjoy an increase of 30% of charging capacity amongst many other advantages.
Third; consideration is the fit out. There is some merit in ease of use if you have your panels attached to your roof or caravan. However, this will not always give you the optimum setup. You could instead have your portable and foldable panels set up next to your campsite on the perfect angle to the sun. The downside to this setup is that your solar panels are not working whilst travelling but you can easily connect your system back to your alternator to keep your system charged.
Fourth; and final consideration is monitoring. Might sound irrelevant but having the ability to monitor your charging and consumption will assist you in how to get most out of your dual battery system.
As much as we would like to say we can go without modern luxuries while in the great outdoors- it is nice to be able to have well kept food, cold beers and a good amount of light. After all, we’re not as lucky as our Scandinavian peers who can use their environment as a natural esky. Enjoy your travels and your cold well-earned beers.
As usual, we care about what you guys do so send us a clip of your KickAss set up. Alternately, just drop us a line or review on Facebook we would love to hear your thoughts.
Happy caravaning, camping and 4X4 from the KickAss Team!