Archive for the ‘Solar’ Category

What appliances can I run from my motorhome or caravan solar power system?

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

In the last few months I have had a number of emails from people wanting to know if they can run this appliance or that appliance in their motorhome or caravan. Unfortunately, as is often the case, the answer is not just a simple “yes” or “no” – but a resounding “it depends”. You see […]

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Buying Solar Panels (without getting ripped off)

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

How to buy cheap solar panels without getting ripped off. For many years solar panels were very expensive to manufacture and were equally expensive to purchase. The price of panels was very stable at around the $10 per watt mark for a number of years. Manufacture of panels was limited to just a few well-known […]

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Building the shed house – shouse.

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

This is the story of how we built our shed house at Mt Perry, what we learned along the way and some tips for those considering something similar. (This first section was previously published in our travel blog – but is included her to give an overview of what and why) Firstly – what and […]

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Fridges for Motorhomes and Caravans

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

It is probably a reasonable assumption that nearly 100% of caravans and motorhomes have at least one refrigerator. Let’s face it, warm beer is only slightly more palatable than sour milk in your coffee. Refrigerators for motorhomes and caravans are available in two very different types – gas  fridges (often called 3-way),  and compressor fridges. […]

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Connecting Motorhome and Caravan Batteries

Friday, January 13th, 2012

As is often the case, the inspiration for this article came from talking with a fellow motorhomer. He was under the impression that connecting batteries in parallel would shorten their life. He even had a very good explanation for this … “As one battery discharges, it will drag the other battery down, then that second […]

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Why Battery Voltage Does NOT Indicate Battery Charge State

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

The most common phrase I repeat when talking to motorhome and caravan owners about their electrical system is “Battery voltage is NOT a good indicator of the battery charge state”.  The idea that there is a direct correlation between the voltage across the terminals of the battery and the amount of energy stored inside is […]

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Motorhome and Caravan Battery Life

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

Motorhome and Caravan Battery Life – how to select and manage motorhome and caravan batteries How to get the most out of your expensive deep cycle batteries. No question, good quality deep cycle batteries are very expensive – and I’m guessing that they are not going to get any cheaper any time soon. So how […]

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The ten unbreakable rules for motorhome and caravan electrics

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Here is a list of what I consider the 10 most important rules when designing, building and using a motorhome or caravan electrical system 1.SYSTEM VOLTAGE – Keep the vehicle system voltage and the house system voltage the same. If your vehicle is 12 volt – then make sure the house system is also 12 […]

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MPPT Solar Regulators for Motorhomes and Caravans

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

If you have read my article that discusses the function of a solar regulator, you will know that a standard solar regulator is a fairly simple device with a fairly simple job – to stop the batteries from being over charged. A new type of regulator called MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) is beginning to […]

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Calculating the cable size for wiring solar panels

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Solar panels are expensive – not as expensive as they used to be, but you are still going to need to budget a few thousand dollars if you plan to power motorhome or caravan from the sun. Given the cost of purchasing the panels, I am always amazed by the number of people that then […]

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Wiring a motorhome – 12 volts or 24 volts?

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

If you are building a motorhome or even buying one, have you considered what voltage the house system will run? Most people automatically assume that 12 volts is best – because … well cars use 12 volts and it never causes issues for them. If you are building or buying a motorhome, I urge you […]

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What is a Shunt and why do I need one?

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

A shunt is often listed as an optional extra when you buy your solar regulator. Plasmatronics sell theirs in two parts – the shunt and something called the shunt adapter.  In my experience very few people understand the function of this device and more importantly why it is an important part of your motorhome or […]

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Basic Electrics for Motorhome and Caravan Owners (Part 2)

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

This is the second (and final) part of my introduction to basic electrical theory – for owners of motorhomes and caravans.  In this section we will look at watts (and we all know that solar panels are rated in watts) and also the connection of batteries in both series and parallel. But before we launch […]

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Basic Electrics for Motorhome and Caravan Owners (Part 1)

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Presented here, in a very easy to understand format, is basic electrical theory. This is the stuff that I learned in my first year as an apprentice electrician (and that was just after they invented digital watches). This basic knowledge is an absolutely essential grounding if you are to have any hope of installing, repairing […]

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Installing Solar Panels on a Motorhome or Caravan

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Installing Solar Panels Correctly on your Motorhome or Caravan So you have decided to install solar panels onto your caravan or motorhome – great! Here are some important tips that will help you to get the most out of your expensive solar panels. Wiring size Take care with the size of the wiring. Using cable […]

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240v vs 12v fridge in a motorhome or caravan

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

240v fridge or a low voltage fridge for your  motorhome or caravan. Yesterday I was asked for my advice on the purchase of a refrigerator for a motorhome. Under consideration were a 240v 220ltr household fridge and a 12/24v 220ltr Danfoss compressor based unit (Waeco). I was asked to comment on the economics of each […]

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Shade Tolerant Solar Panels?

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Shade Tolerant Solar Panels? I have heard a number of travelers repeat the great “shade tolerant” sales pitch given them, when selecting solar panels for their motorhome or caravan. Much of this is just that – sales pitch. Firstly, nobody in their right mind is going to intentionally locate their expensive solar panel in the […]

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How to test your motorhome/caravan solar power system

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Not sure if your expensive solar panels are doing their job?  Here is some simple tests that you can do to determine how your solar panels are performing. A solar panels currency is current (measured in amps) – so you are going to need some method of measuring current. Some solar regulators have a display […]

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How Charged are my Motorhome/Caravan Batteries?

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

No matter whether you are a “The glass is half full” kind of person or a “The glass is half empty” type, you will agree that one advantage of drinking from a glass is that you can see just how much of the liquid remains. Sadly our motorhome and caravan batteries are not like that […]

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Why is my solar not working properly?

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

This is a question we get asked often. Once fellow travellers discover that I have an electrical background and training, I am regularly asked to examine their solar installation to determine why it is not working. Here is a list of the top 5 causes for Solar that does not perform on caravans and motorhomes […]

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