Caravanning – for those of us that know it is great fun. Road trip, travel, seeing the country, the world even.
For many people nowadays, however, using gasoline for this purpose is becoming less popular due to cost, noise and of course pollution. The cost of running a generator can be high as it needs frequent re-fuelling and, if you are in the middle of nowwhere, enjoying the wide open spaces and the peaceful, quiet then, the last thing that you want to hear is a generator rattling away in the background and, you probably don’t want the smell either.
The modern solution for many caravan users is a portable solar power system which can be used to great effect to generate power.
If you do decide to use solar power for your caravan then you’ll need to do some research and get your system operational before you embark on your adventures.
A portable solar panel system is pretty easy to install and setup, but you will need some basic DIY skills and some understanding of electrical power.
The best portable solar panel for caravan kits will come with everything that you need to go solar and this will include instructions to help you with the installation.
The main components of the system are the solar panels, the charge controller, the batteries and a power inverter.
The panels are manufactured from thin silicone based sheets, these will normally be encased in either a hard case ( that looks like a picture frame ) or in the case of some portable solar panels you may find that the panel is flexible and more resilient than the ‘hard ones’.
The solar panels are the items that produce the electricity that you will use in your caravan.
The panels connect to a charge controller by two cables. It is important that these are connected the correct way round. The positive output from the panel connects to the positive input of the charge controller.
The same is true for the negative output of the panel which connects to the negative input of the controller.
The charge controller manages the amount of power going into your expensive caravan batteries. The controller is an important piece of equipment, it protects your batteries from becoming over charged and also over discharged – either one of these two conditions can damage your battery.
The size of your batteries is dependent on your power needs and the size of your caravan. Generally 2 deep cycle batteries, charged by solar will provide enough power for a family overnight – unless you decide to use things that are power hungry such as hairdryers and heaters. Normal use and your power needs will be met.
If you need more power then you’ll need to invest in more batteries and a large solar array.
Batteries only hold direct current and, to operate mains powered devices you’ll need a power inverter. The inverter connects to the battery bank and converts the direct voltage into mains level power that can be used, as normal, for your household devices – such as TV, radio, lights etc.
If your caravan is already wired up with outlets then you can hardwire the inverter output into the outlet main fusebox and enjoy the free power.
If not wired up then a simple and quick solution would be to use a mains extension cord that you can connect into.
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