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MAXIMISING YOUR SOLAR POWER - 12Volt RV Solar Panels vs 'Household' 36Volt Household Panels.

Our Tests and experience with Running Solar panelshave shown that using "Household" panels that run at higher voltage delivers up to 3 times the power to your batteries  of the similar size and weight 12 volt 'RV' panels.

THE EXPLANATION

Low Voltage is Like Low pressure in Water Systems. Low pressure/Voltage or 'Potential Difference' Means that the further the Power has to go through the cells and wires - the less power ends up getting to the battery. (Resistance) . 

 

THE RECCOMMENDATION

To Reduce Resistance and thus increase performance - Run 12 volt Solar panels in 'Series' to increase their voltage - or run Household (36 Volt and above) panels. Increased Voltage also increases risk of electric shock - consult your electrician if you don't know what your doing.

 

THE PROBLEM:
 

Common RV 12 Volt systems such as Redarc, Projecta, and BM Pro have limited Solar Voltage inputs - (Under28Volts on all three) - which forces use of 12Volt panels ONLY> 
You cannot add a high voltage solar regulator (like a victron one)  into The Above Battery Management Systems to fix this as they Confilct and keep shutting down.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO RUN HOUSEHOLD VOLTAGE SOLAR PANELS
Victron, DCS and Enerdrive offer Solar regulators that run at higher voltages to accept Household panels. Victron is the cheapest and offers an 'advanced' settings panel via Bluetooth on your phone - giving ultimate adjustability of your system. Victrons Suite of Chargers also allow all Chargers to run simultaniously (Smart) meaning your Dc/Dc and Solar all charge AT ONCE. Big Power. Cheaper. Putting them way ahead of the Off Grid Competitors for now.

 

My Own preference is to run household Solar panels, combined  with Victron components -

Tough Touring Builds its Custom Dual battery systems are using Victron components... 
We Like the  The Victron Gear above the rest because :
 

1.  its plug and play
2. You can keep adding chargers and components over time for EVEN more power - they allow SIMULTANIOUS charging over multiple chargers. (NONE of the others do that). 

3. Their Interface design is as simple as it can be without limiting the equipments function.
 

4. Settings  are Bluetooth connected to your (Iphone) so you dont have to buy and install seperate displays. Victron Website Victron here  

WHATS THE BEST WAY TO FIT UP MY VEHICLE TO RUN SOLAR EFFECTIVELY OFF GRID... 
 

You can't just stick a solar panel  to your vehicles roof. (there is no base to fix too.)  Slimline glue down panels get too hot to quickly to be any use at all - They also tend to be 12 VOLT panels - (See Above) , DO NOT USE plastic block mounts you can buy  - These point load roof tents roof structure and can cause major leaks and damage. So we built stronger, lighter mounts that spread the wind load of panels over a large area.

Tough Touring Solar Kits - why are they the go for caravans and rooftop tents?


While we experimented with 2meter long  50x50 aluminium angle - we needed a wider footprint to get a good bond surface for adhesives to connect - so we laser cut 3mm Alumiumium x 2m long x 70mm wide base providing a great adhesive surface. 

 

We started to make them commercially, in volumes that make them affordable :)  Our Solar mounting Kits are available to purchase here - "Tough Touring Solar Kit"

Tough Touring builds pre fabricated Dual battery systems- We called them "Renewable power stations "
Off grid Lithium power  , 4wd and vans that recharge fast on the road using mulitiple chargers all at once using  victron components / built here in melbourne more info here 

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HEAD TO HEAD TEST RESULTS:
DETAILS:
 

CONTROL:
Solar Regulator USed, VICTRON 100/20 MPPT
TEMP 25 Degrees Celcius
Testing time 10mins each.  (Same day, 10 mins apart)
Cable Length on both panels 8mm Twin Core and same cable used on both .
Length  of cable -  approx 2m Long. 



12 VOLT Panels Wired together in Series - 9.3amp

operating voltage 20.5volts 
Claimed Wattage - 300w
Actual Max Watts during test - 126w
Charging current 9.3amp at 13.2  VOLT
weight 19 Kgs Fitted with our Solar mount


36 VOLT Panel (Single panel) - 19.8Amp

Operating Voltage 44.2 Volts
Claimed Wattage - 390w
Actual Max Watts during test - 275w
Charging current 19.8Amps at 13.49 Volt -
Weight 21 Kgs fitted with our solar kit


 
36 Volt Panel Installed on a Bundutop.jpg

TEST  1 - 36 VOLT PANEL

Picture above is of a 390w Household solar Panel. This panel runs at 44 Volts -   In testing here on the same day as the below twin 12 Volt panels The 36Volt panel delivered a massive 19.8 AMPS per hour at 13.49 Volts - Around DOUBLE the figures achievable with Any 12Volt RV panels weve seen.

36 Volt Household Panel figures 25 degrees celcius.jpg
12 Volt Twin Panel set up to suit RV Solar regulators like Redarc.jpg

TEST 2 - Twin 12  VOLT PANELS

Picture above is 2 x 150w RV Panels -  These Panels wil have an operating VOltage of approx 20 Volts - Suitable for CTEC, Redarc, Projecta and many other RV style of Solar Regulators and Battery Management Systems. 
. In testing here on the same day  (10mins apart) The twin 12 Volt panels delivered a 9.3 AMPS per hour at 13.2 Volts - Around HALF the figures achievable with  36Volt Household panels.

12 Volt Twin Panel Max Figures during testing.jpg

The Top three  BMS systems rated by us are : 
DCS - Great Aussie Company - Excellent components and new innovators at underbonnet DCDC and batteries combined. 

VICTRON - Market Leader - Build the only components that work simultaniously and independently that we know of... Excellent gear. Tough Touring's favorite for now.
Advanced settings via Bluetooth (iphone) allow exact charging parameters to be set so chargers can work simultaniously and independently. (I run 7 chargers on my set up delivering a massive 260 AMPS an hour)

ENERDRIVE.  - Aussie Company? Unknown components origin but does not look to be built here. Accepts High voltage solar but does not allow Simultanious charging or have advanced settings required for running of multiple chargers.

FOREVER POWERED AUSTRALIA -  Building incredible Connectors / plug hardware and Bus bars for Dual battery builds here in australia - Game changer for all Dual battery system builders. Allow Ganging of Multiple chargers and Batteries for improved power and flexibility
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