Posts Tagged ‘Energy’

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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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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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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Low Cost Inverters for sale on eBay – a good investment?

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

My brother-in-law recently purchased a pure sine wave inverter via eBay. In the supplied information the inverter looked like the perfect replacement for his modified sine wave “Xantrex” brand inverter (that has performed flawlessly for a number of years). The inverter purchased is currently selling (on ebay) for $579 plus $135 shipping When the inverter […]

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Charging from vehicle alternators

Monday, September 28th, 2009

 Every vehicle has an alternator, we know that it is responsible for keeping the starting battery from going flat.  But can we use the alternator to charger our motorhome house batteries too?  What is the best way to do this?   Before we look at the options, let’s look at the issues: Crank batteries differ […]

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Cooking with Gas (or not)

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

I was browsing some motorhome websites yesterday and I came across the Ozbus site (http://www.ozbus.com – Note 29/09 – this site has now gone!) an interesting site that features a lot of information about building you own motorhome. I was very interested to read that they had decided not to use LPG gas in their […]

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Why are my motorhome / caravan batteries going flat?

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

As we travel, we often meet people who are in caravans and mobile homes. It always surprises me how many people continue to have issues with the electrical systems. In most cases the conversation starts with “why does my fridge cut-out during the night” or perhaps “my caravan lights go very dim by about 10pm”. […]

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How Many Solar Panels Do I need?

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

We often get asked “how many solar panels do I need?”. The person asking the question normally expects me to look at the size of their caravan/motorhome then immediately offer a valid technical opinion. To offer any kind of meaningful answer a number of factors must be known:  Average daily power consumption (normally measured in […]

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