100W solar panel

TrevandJenny

Full Member

Messages
74
Can I join a further 100w solar panel in conjunction with the 80w fitted to our Autosleeper into the 80w connection.

Maybe a stupid question but!!!
 

Minisorella

Moderator

Messages
1,543
I'm sure someone with actual knowledge and expertise will come along soon but for what it's worth, I know you can join various solar panels together but I believe you have to be sure the solar controller can cope with the combined input. I'll stop there because my ignorance about electrickery knows no bounds :ROFLMAO:
 

trevskoda

Full Member

Messages
2,087
Yes if the regulator can handle the output, are you running a independent reg or through a factory fitted unit like sargent etc
 

TrevandJenny

Full Member

Messages
74
Just discovered the regulator is good to 100w, now makes sense its fitted with 80w panel, new problem, how do I fit a new 100w panel together with a controller.
.
Problem seems to be if I buy and fit the 100w panel plus suitable controller, do I now have to join the 80 with the 100 to a 200w controller??
 

wildebus

Full Member

Messages
3,745
can you see underneath the existing panel - maybe with a mirror - and see any label info? or would Autosleeper be aable to provide the specs of the panel - you want to know the Current and Voltage numbers (not all 80W panels are created equal)

Depending on the specs of the panels, you may need to connect them in parallel OR in Series to get maximum results. If you can get the specs of the original, you can find the most suitable panel to add.
 

Pudsey Bear

Full Member

Messages
2,173
By the sounds of it you will need a new controller, go for MPPT type as this is better than PWM and similar price for a decent one, and connect both panels in parallel either on the roof or inside the van then into the controller, you may need to buy a connector block to make your life easier.

For safety always pull fuses, and site the controller as near to the batteries as possible, connect the batteries to the controller first and then the panel, and if you have to disconnect the old panel, disconnect the panel first.


there are lots of youtube videos if like me you prefer the monkey see monkey do approach.
 

TrevandJenny

Full Member

Messages
74
By the sounds of it you will need a new controller, go for MPPT type as this is better than PWM and similar price for a decent one, and connect both panels in parallel either on the roof or inside the van then into the controller, you may need to buy a connector block to make your life easier.

For safety always pull fuses, and site the controller as near to the batteries as possible, connect the batteries to the controller first and then the panel, and if you have to disconnect the old panel, disconnect the panel first.


there are lots of youtube videos if like me you prefer the monkey see monkey do approach.
I have huge amount of mechanical experience, not so electrical, So understanding the issue fully, allows me proceed. To wire for the leisure batteries no problem, Autosleepers system charges engine and leisure, looking at MPPT controllers,correct me if Im wrong would it not be foolish to have a 100% charge going into the engine battery from a alternative supply ie new controller. I understand the leisure is a drain and charge situation but not so a engine battery when static.
 

Pudsey Bear

Full Member

Messages
2,173
I'd just fit a B2B system and let that keep an eye on the starter battery T&J, it normally only has to do one job now and then whereas the leisure battery is called on to do everything else, a decent panel/controller should also negate the need for EHU at home if the roof gets plenty of sun, bearing in mind it arrives on the drive fully charged so is only keeping it topped up with little or no drain.

I am no expert by the way, I've just fitted a few basic systems to the vans I have owned, I also much prefer to keep the whole system separate from whatever the vans come with, there is no need to connect them IMHO.
 

Minisorella

Moderator

Messages
1,543
I have huge amount of mechanical experience, not so electrical, So understanding the issue fully, allows me proceed. To wire for the leisure batteries no problem, Autosleepers system charges engine and leisure, looking at MPPT controllers,correct me if Im wrong would it not be foolish to have a 100% charge going into the engine battery from a alternative supply ie new controller. I understand the leisure is a drain and charge situation but not so a engine battery when static.
If you're just changing one controller for another, it shouldn't make any difference to however your engine battery gets charged... I don't think. As I said before, my knowledge is basic but I'm pretty sure it's normally a separate gizmo to control and divert solar power to the engine battery, not the solar controller itself. My first 130W solar had an old pmw controller to deal with the power coming down from the roof and a separate "battery master" that diverted a bit of power to the engine battery when needed. My new system has a 245W solar panel and a lovely MPPT controller that can cope with up to 440W of solar power if I ever wanted to add another panel. Again, there's a separate gizmo to serve the engine battery - this time a Victron Cyrix battery combiner that lives under the bonnet.

In short, if your Autosleeper system already has a separate gizmo to serve the engine battery, then wiring it in to a replacement solar controller shouldn't make any difference to its continued function...

... I could be wrong but it seems logical to me! :ROFLMAO: C'mon all you experts... let's have a simple explanation.
 

nabsim

Full Member

Messages
2,542
One of my controllers is a Votronic Duo. These put the majority of the harvested power to the habitation bank but also send a 1amp trickle charge to the starter battery. Most if not all things in the habitation area should be running from the leisure battery bank so that’s where you need most power to go, you should only have a small drain on the starter battery if any at all.
 

Pudsey Bear

Full Member

Messages
2,173
I've never used the load terminal, but would that be useful to send to the starter battery?
 

Molly 3

Full Member

Messages
1,163
My autosleeper sargent control system has a max solar input of 120 watts ,any more you will have to cut out the sargent and fit a suitable size controller , my sargent splits the charge to engine and leisure battery ,very handy ,you could add a 40w but some say the correct method is to have 2 x matching 60 w panels?? , my personal choice was to buy 100 w portable panel with its own controller ether wired or crocodile clip to the
L battery ,if you have a sargent system the manual is easily down.loaded on line .
 
Last edited:

Molly 3

Full Member

Messages
1,163
If you're just changing one controller for another, it shouldn't make any difference to however your engine battery gets charged... I don't think. As I said before, my knowledge is basic but I'm pretty sure it's normally a separate gizmo to control and divert solar power to the engine battery, not the solar controller itself. My first 130W solar had an old pmw controller to deal with the power coming down from the roof and a separate "battery master" that diverted a bit of power to the engine battery when needed. My new system has a 245W solar panel and a lovely MPPT controller that can cope with up to 440W of solar power if I ever wanted to add another panel. Again, there's a separate gizmo to serve the engine battery - this time a Victron Cyrix battery combiner that lives under the bonnet.

In short, if your Autosleeper system already has a separate gizmo to serve the engine battery, then wiring it in to a replacement solar controller shouldn't make any difference to its continued function...

... I could be wrong but it seems logical to me! :ROFLMAO: C'mon all you experts... let's have a simple explanation.

can you see underneath the existing panel - maybe with a mirror - and see any label info? or would Autosleeper be aable to provide the specs of the panel - you want to know the Current and Voltage numbers (not all 80W panels are created equal)

Depending on the specs of the panels, you may need to connect them in parallel OR in Series to get maximum results. If you can get the specs of the original, you can find the most suitable panel to add.
80 w was the factory fit on autosleeper , replacing the earlier 30 w
 

Markd

Full Member

Messages
1,078
One of my controllers is a Votronic Duo. These put the majority of the harvested power to the habitation bank but also send a 1amp trickle charge to the starter battery. Most if not all things in the habitation area should be running from the leisure battery bank so that’s where you need most power to go, you should only have a small drain on the starter battery if any at all.
I'm a fan of the Votronic MPPT controllers withe separate trickle charge for starter battery.
I thought it was 1A max so used a 2A fuse and that's been fine for a few years.
However last week after having had the starter battery out to weld up the suspension turret I noticed that it wasn't charging.
I checked the fuse and it was broken - didn't look blown but it might have done because when I put my multimeter in line instead of a fuse it was charging at 1.5A rather than 1A 'max'
I put in a 5A fuse and now the battery has stabilised the trickle charge is about 0.4A.
 

nabsim

Full Member

Messages
2,542
I'm a fan of the Votronic MPPT controllers withe separate trickle charge for starter battery.
I thought it was 1A max so used a 2A fuse and that's been fine for a few years.
However last week after having had the starter battery out to weld up the suspension turret I noticed that it wasn't charging.
I checked the fuse and it was broken - didn't look blown but it might have done because when I put my multimeter in line instead of a fuse it was charging at 1.5A rather than 1A 'max'
I put in a 5A fuse and now the battery has stabilised the trickle charge is about 0.4A.
Never checked what mine puts out, I ‘thought’ I had read it was 1 amp in the manual but will have a check thank you 👍
 

Markd

Full Member

Messages
1,078
It seems to put out fixed 13.3V so the current is determined by the state of charge of battery.
Obviously as the charge builds up the battery voltage increases and the current drops.
I suppose the internal resistance may well change at the same time?
Anyway it would seem that when my battery is 'fully charged' at c12.6V the trickle is c0.4A which is just enough to run the alarm and keep it nicely topped up.
I suppose other batteries of different construction and health will settle at different voltages and currents.
But the peace of mind gained by having the facility is great.
Before I got my Votronic not realising that my charger was leisure only (doh!) The starter battery went right down to 3V - amazingly after a jump start (no external charger would touch it) and the Votronic installed it's never let me down in 5 years!!
 

bartman

Full Member

Messages
72
it is not the fact it is 80W. it is the voltage and current specs which are the key.
How close do the specs have to be? Does it have to be an exact match? Is it the open circuit voltage we need to look at?
 

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