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Discussion Starter #1
Hi...
I own a T5 Caravelle, with obviously an engine Battery, but also a Leisure Battery.
I would like to be able to place a 200W Portable Solar Panel on the Dashboard, to allow trickle charging of the "Batteries", while the Van, is parked securely, in the drive.
I understand I cannot charge the batteries via the 12v Cigarette socket, is there any other way of doing this from inside the Van, securely, while still being portable"?
Also, when the Engine Battery is fully charged, does the charge then continue onto the Leisure Battery?
Please be aware, I am totally ignorant wrt electrics!!
Thank you,
Regards.
 

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A 200 watt panel wouldn't be a trickle charge - it could give you about 16 amps which would need a charge controller. Are you sure its a 200 watt panel?
 

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If you mean 20W rather than 200W, then many of these come with a choice of ways to connect to you vehicle, including a hardwired option to connect directly to the battery with a plug to connect at the solar panel end.
It wouldn't cost a great deal for a garage or auto-electrician to run a cable directly from the battery to the interior of the van so you could plug it in when needed. (It's a pretty simple job, but given you say you have little electrical knowledge I guess you might not want to have a go yourself?)
A word of warning - I tried a similar set-up and found that the solar panel didn't produce enough power to keep my battery topped up over winter when left in the windscreen, facing North.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you...
I was looking at a Portable Solar Panel from a Chandler, not too big size wise and should fit in the storage pouch behind the Driver or Passenger seats.
I understand I will lose a percentage of the charge, due to the windscreen and the parking positioning of the van, for maximum sunshine (charge)
I also investigated the California Forum and discovered an owner who rigged up a 'system', (like Hillhead suggested) using a Charge Controller and Anderson Connectors, I had to Google these items to see what they were!
His system was for charging his Leisure Battery only.
Thanks again for all of your help and input, it's certainly given me something to think about, now I know it's doable.
Regards.
 

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As above - a 120W folding panel will probably weigh about 8 kilos and it won't fit in a typical storage pouch behind a seat (unless you have a very big, very strong storage pouch). You need to actually see what you are looking to buy, because I think you underestimated just how big a 120W panel is...

The thing that put me off the idea of a portable panel is the need to put them somewhere when not in use - that's why most people end up with one permanently fitted to the roof (well, that and the fact that a permanently fitted panel sits there working all the time, and not just when you can be bothered to put it out).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you Timster, Triffic...
I see what you mean wrt the stowage and size, even with a folding Panel.
I'm reluctant to go down the Permanant Fix route.
Back to the Drawing Board!
Thanks again.
Regards.
 

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This is a 40w array (2 x 20w bimble solar panels with separate charge controller)

Not what I bought them for but I have them so put them to use!



(Note you do loose a lot through windscreen, I can get close to the 40w outside, not seem more than 20 on the dash. As previous poster, these will run by battery down in winter from my small testing)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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As above - a 120W folding panel will probably weigh about 8 kilos and it won't fit in a typical storage pouch behind a seat (unless you have a very big, very strong storage pouch). You need to actually see what you are looking to buy, because I think you underestimated just how big a 120W panel is...

The thing that put me off the idea of a portable panel is the need to put them somewhere when not in use - that's why most people end up with one permanently fitted to the roof (well, that and the fact that a permanently fitted panel sits there working all the time, and not just when you can be bothered to put it out).
Mine is strapped to the rear of driver‘s seat when folded in its case and fits quite nicely there. I didn’t go for a permanent roof fit as I’ve often got a kayak on top
 
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