Camping and caravanning for us represents freedom. A complete “get away from it all” experience as an escape from the limitations of city living. Do we remember to go through the procedure of battery winterizing? We just want it to be ready in the best possible condition for the summer but we sometimes forget.
12v Solar Panels allows flexibility in our “getting away from it all” plans and a correctly specified system for us removes the need for an electric hook up, also representing an excellent saving in hook up costs over the course of a season. Bonus.
The benefits of solar panels compared with hook up or running a generator are clear to us…but then we would say that wouldn’t we? Except that we’d like to myth-bust – or if you prefer – demystify the idea that solar is somehow unreliable, requires maintenance and is expensive.
Hassel free battery winterizing
As a source of renewable energy, 12v solar is clean and quiet. It doesn’t need monitoring when charging as charge controllers take care of that process. A solar charge controller is used in all solar power systems that have a battery bank, unless you’re connecting a smaller 5w solar panel to trickle charge your battery during the winter months (more on that below).
A solar charge controller regulates the power going from the solar panels to the batteries. Overcharging batteries will at the least significantly reduce their life and at worst damage them to the point that they are no longer usable.
During the normal touring season (March – October) a solar system will generate useful amounts of power, especially through the summer months where the days are long, the sun is high in the sky and the weather is generally better.
Before laying your vehicle up for the winter, we’d advise battery winterizing by fully charging your batteries as this will help to prolong the life of your battery, keep your battery maintained and ensure that when you return to your vehicle for the next season your battery is charged and ready to go. Unlike us inside the cramped city limits where we live, you may have the luxury of a driveway to park your vehicle on at home and therefore making this recommendation a straightforward job.
If you keep your vehicle in storage like we do, a 12v solar system connected to a battery through winter will act as a trickle charger and maintain your battery at its float charge level. It is also advisable to disconnect any non-essential loads from the batteries if your vehicle is going to be static for a long period of time, this will remove any parasitic loads which you may be unaware of. This will make sure that your batteries are in the very best condition they can be before being unused for a prolonged period of time.
All is not lost in the absence of a fully installed 12v solar panel system on your caravan or motorhome as connecting a 5w or 10w solar panel to trickle charge during the winter months is a simple solution to maintaining your battery effectively. Solar. What’s not to like?