SOLAR POWER 4×4 Overlander, tips advice


Hey Ronnie Dahl, four-wheeling in Western Australia, calm. This video is all about solar panels. So, as you can see here we got flexi panels. We got hard foldable panels, we got fixed panels, we got solar blankets, so this video is designed to help you make the right decision.

Where ever you want high quality stuff or if you just need low quality stuff, the cheap stuff and how many watts you actually need, and do you need a blanket or do you need a fixed panel? What do you actually need? A folding panel stay tuned and find out before we get into with solar panels and watts, and all that stuff that you need.

You need to sort out your battery bank first and I am a classic example of not having enough amp hours to run all my stuff. I have two fridges. You’re, probably here to humming. In the background with both these fridges going, they’re, pulling about six to eight amps of power or six or seven, that’s.

Quite a bit of current and out of a 100 amp hour battery. Well, a 100 amp hour battery that’s. Agm is only 50 amp hours. Any AGM battery or LED battery LED acid battery cut it in half of the amp house, and that is what you actually have it’s a hundred amp hour or I have 50 amp hours, because once you get down at 50 percent, the battery Is flat you can’t use beyond that? If you do try and use beyond that, and you don’t have a good electrical system that looks after things that shuts off at certain volts and stuff.

You could actually cause a vehicle fire. You could start melting wires, so keep in mind, sort your battery bank out first. I should really have at least 200 amp hours, because that’ll mean that I’

Ll have 100 amp hours and then I can actually run these two with the two panels. I have sort out your power before you start messing around with booth, blankets and panels, because you may buy stuff you don’t actually need hey check out.

My mono crystalline panels, what is a mono crystalline panel? Okay, there are three different types: mono crystalline, polycrystalline and then is amorphous amorphous. We’ll, get to soon you don’t really even have to worry about poly crystalline, because most tunnels that you will find for camping and for driving applications are mono crystalline.

It’s, just a different construction, different colors, slightly more efficient, more forgiving with angles to the Sun, and that’s, pretty much all you will find anyway. So if you really want to know more just do a bit of research, then we have amorphous come to overcast.

We have left a hairy fellow out in the outback. We will go back to them pretty soon. So what I want to explain here is amorphous. You already know the difference between poly crystalline and mono crystalline.

This is an amorphous. Blanket amorphous means shapeless, villi, potato mash play-doh, whatever you want to refer to its shapeless, the benefit of an amorphous blanket. Is these conditions right here, overcast situation? Let’s quickly.

Compare these two side-by-side! I just plug this one in to my BMS and it registered 4.1 amps. Then I swapped over and plug this one in the amorphous 3 to 3.1 amps 1 amp difference here’s. The thing that blanket there is 190 watts – this blanket here is only 112 watts, so this amorphous blanket is thriving in this overcast situation to make a choice between these blankets.

It’s, going to come down to where you live. If you live in an area far south of Western Australia, all over east or whatever Tasmania, this will be the blanket. If you’re going to go for a blanket, this will be the blanket it’s, going to give you more in overcast situations comparatively in size, the mono crystalline panels, all blankets, that’s, the stuff you want up North or where it’s sunny most at a time, this blanket here will still perform in those situations as well, but the bang for when it comes to amperage that’s.

What you’re, considering, because if you spend money on this, which I believe is close to the same price as that you’re, not going to get as many amps out of it. However, if you’re in overcast situations, you’re, going to be happy, your own inner amorphous and not a mono crystalline panel or blanket so there’s, something to weigh out there, so that’s.

The difference between the mono crystalline, poly, crystalline and amorphous the basic difference I’m not going to get into the scientific difference. As far as I’ll go. Is these panels here can take from the red spectrum of light all the way to the blue and that’s pretty much the whole color range of light, the fixed solar panel? Here we have the Flexi panel, and here we have some hard panels up on the roof.

Here they’re, both the types that you will fix to a surface. What I’m talking about now is vehicle mounted, so they stay on the vehicle. So, like I mentioned before, don’t fall into the trap like I have.

This is the incorrect way of setting them up. That is bolted flat down to the roof. They really need to have some kind of pivot, so you can pivot them towards the Sun, and you got to be careful how you pivot them as well, because if you pivot them both this way, this one might block the back one.

It’s. A thing a few things you got to think about there now with these: these are ultra lightweight. These red are panels up here, which are 80 watts each. They weigh about 8 kilos each these weigh about one and a half kilo.

Now the difference between these two, if I was to mount one of those onto a flat surface which they need to go on because they’re flexible, they’ve, got to be on a flat surface. There’s no way the heat can escape from here and heat is a current killer.

It’ll reduce the efficiency of your panel. In actual fact, if I poured a cup of water on my panel up here, I should see more amps coming out of it or more power, more juice, more current coming out of it.

These are actually perfect for those rooftop tents that flip open like this, but you could fix these onto one as all these you can glue on these. You have to bolt on so it all comes down to what you want to do, but I would recommend a hard panel like this, because it has a gap underneath it and that can disperse some heat, so these will be more efficient.

Now, here’s, the worst thing about a fixed panel, apart from not being able to angle it – and that is when you go to camp – you’re going to Park and shade. We always go for shade because we don’t want to be sitting in the Sun.

You’re going to cook. So if you go for shade well, if you go close to a tree and you put your vehicle in partial shade will at some point of time during a day that tree is going to cast a shadow over your panel and your panels basically doing nothing.

Now the foldable panels versus fixed panels a foldable panel. The whole purpose of this is you can take it. You can put it out in the Sun like we have here, Suns right there, let’s, adjust it maximum performance out of that panel.

There are cheap follower panels and there are high-quality foldable panels. The main difference on high quality and cheap will be the regulator on the back more on that a bit later. But what you don’t want.

Well, you prefer to have the regulator closer to the battery than in the panel, because the heat from the panel can of can affect the performance of your regulator. But the main good thing about these is imagine if I had that a foldable panel on quick-release clamps up here, I could get to camp or I’m – not getting Sun here, because I’m gonna shade unclamp.

It face the Sun or just like these – are in a bag, pull it out of your tray out of your wagon off your roof. Rack set it up wherever the Sun is. You just need a long cable. This is a long cable and the thickness matters too.

This one here is definitely overkill, but you want something pretty thick, so you, don’t lose current over the course of the cable. So this is where cables you got to keep in mind the cable length, so you can bring it away from the vehicle to the Sun, but not too far.

Solar, blankets, with solar, blankets, you don’t, usually get a regulator with it. These are meant to be plugged into a regulator, Maugham regulators later with blankets. They fold up into nothing and they can be stowed away.

They are quite weighty for what they are now. This prodding thing is with the amorphous and the mono crystalline here. This one is a hundred and ninety watt panel. This one here is 112 look at the size.

Difference amorphous, blankets are a lot bigger and produce less wattages and less amps compared to a mono crystal on. However, these, like I said these, are good, feel if you live in seven regions where you know it’s overcast and there’s in high Sun.

You need cables for this kind of blanket, so you can’t a spy blanket. You need to buy cables or some blankets may come with cables, blankets. You can lay over a bush, some blankets. You can actually walk on what the amorphous I wouldn’t recommend doing it, but this one can handle it.

Mono crystalline, I’ll, be a bit more carefully. I wouldn’t, walk on this one, so blankets yeah. You can throw it anywhere it’s. You can put it over your windscreen. That is a great way to do it, because you can angle to the Sun.

I wouldn’t recommend putting it on the bonnet because it will scratch your rule scratch the hood and you can pack them up to nothing. They take up a lot less room. Then these big panels do keeping your solar panels clean.

This will help with efficiency so driving with a vehicle they get dusty right, so wear cloth run over it. Look this one’s, not too bad, because I think I’ve done this just the other day, however, after a big long drive say, give me the road down and just a general gravel road.

Even you get to camp. You’re, relying on your solar. There’s, a lot of dust on it by cleaning your panels, the most off game. From doing this has been about 2.5 amps just from cleaning the panels and not only that with a wet rag.

You’re, taking the heat out of the panel and for a brief moment, until they get hot again, they are producing more current. So pouring a glass of water over your panels and cooling them down will actually make it more.

Efficient heat is a killer when it comes to solar panels, but it’s quite ironic, because they’re, relying on a hot Sun to get the power in also your blankets, clean, your blankets. Now, quite often you can get leaves and stuff on blankets and look.

This leads me on to the other thing: what is the difference between a higher-quality blanket annual, cheap, low-quality, blanket or solar cells dot panel itself? Let’s, get into that. The shadow factor this is where high quality versus cheap comes into play.

I’m casting a shadow over his blanket. This is a high quality blanket. I’m covering a third of the cells. It’ll still operate on those cells. Here it’ll still operate. If I have over go to a cheap, inferior one or you know your cheaper brands that will shut down the whole panel, in most cases, not all cases, but in most cases these panels with a design.

If you, if I so much as do that in the middle, that can shut the whole panel off or a big portion of it over here, I’ve, just cut out one or two cells shadow factor with a twist amorphous. If I put my hand on this put on this cell here, most other panels will shut down that cell.

I’m office works around my fingers. It’ll, still operate even from this cell that I’m, covering including all all these here, it’ll still operate on the edges. It’ll still pick up light. That’s. The advantage of this corner panel here, however, they take up a lot more room, high quality panels versus cheap panels.

That is the difference high-quality versus your chief stuff. So I’ve spoke to a CEO of a particular company and an electronics guru, and I asked him both about you know: why does a lot of stuff come from China and how do you differentiate high quality versus low quality? They both gave me a similar story, and the story goes when something is assembly assembled at the factory or made will come down the conveyor belt or assembly line, and someone or a robot will sit there and sort of that.

So they will. They’ll, look at a certain bit of solar cell or an LED light chip, and they will determine if it’s, the perfect a grade or a really good B grade. We’ll, see great or the others, and that’s, how it’s, the term advice.

So all the high brand’s. All the well-known brands where the expensive stuff is high quality stuff. They all use a stuff, they’re, not going to use BC or the others, and then he got the competitors, and then he got the bottom end guys.

So that’s, pretty much the best way or I’ve. Had this explained to me and that’s the best way, I can explain it to you now. How do you choose? Why should you buy a? Why can’t you just buy B, see all the others.

Okay, I’ll. Give you my point of view and then you can decide. Now I’m gonna take my lights and solar panels. As an example, I’ Ll use my lights a lot. I do rely. My solar panels now, because if I that’s, the only way I can charge stuff, we’re in Australia.

You’d, be mad not to use solar. So for someone who uses solar a lot say travelling around Australia or your long expedition trip canning stock route and bit of Highway Cape York somewhere. Where you need to rely on power real remote, I would only go for a my opinion at least go for B, but I would go for a now.

If you’re a weekend warrior fisherman, you just need to make sure that your battery is not going to go flat. You’ve got the radio one. You’re a weekend. Warrior just go out every now and then you go camping three or four times a year that’s.

It and you just need a bit of solar power. I’ll, go for see all the others maybe be few. You ain’t got a bit of money you want to get rid of, but I will go for the Lauren. If you don’t need it, you don’t need to rely on it.

Don’t. Go for a or B, if you need to rely on it, go for a or go for B. If you can’t afford the high quality soft that’s. The best way I can put it to you. I’m back here again. We’re. Now talking about different types of charges.

I’m running two charges right now off both these blankets. Now, blankets, you don’t, get a regulator with, so you must install your own regulator so to clean run through what I had here on the front, we have the 190 panel hooked up to my BCD C, so this is a b c d C 1225 d: the d means it’s, solo ready.

However, you still have to wire it to be solo ready. So if you do get a b c d c, whatever brand, that is just make sure that it’s all already, but also that it’s all already wired. It has to be wired soul already.

Otherwise, you’re gonna have to do that yourself. Moving on to the back, we have a BMS, so this is what i use to basically control all my power, but also does solar so for people who don’t need these extravagant things here.

You just want a solid regulator. Just get a solar regulator just make sure that it’s, not a pwm controller. Mppt is what you want. Mppt will give you more performance more on this a bit later. So the difference between the blankets and a panel that doesn’t have a controller to a panel that does have a control alot this one, you can get crocodile clamps and there’s.

No stuffing about you. Put it straight onto your battery and then it will charge your battery that’s, pretty much the difference there, but just be careful if you do get a solar panel, that has the controller on the back of it make sure that it’s, not a PWM, make sure it’s.

An MPPT i’m, not going to go into the full difference on him because it’s very technical. You can research that yourself, but if you want to take my word for word and maybe research it afterwards, MPPT is the way to go.

The basic difference is without getting into it is an MPPT controller. Will give you much more bang out of your blanket or your panel? It will give you more energy out of a more amps a pwm will actually all my have the efficiency of the panel of the power coming out of it.

So here’s. The reason why I don’t want to control it on on the back of your panel like this one here it has one here, and this is a Czech controller result. Now. The problem with that is, the heat heat, kills the efficiency of your panels, so there’ll, be a lot of heat right here and it’s, dried on the controller, also with cable length.

You want the long cable to be between the solar panel and your controller and then the shorter cable to be between the controller and your battery, not the other way around. In other words, you want the controller to be as close as possible to the actual battery.

Not the panel the battery now the thing about solar panels and the controllers on them. If they don’t state on the website that the controller is a PWM or an MPPT, then more than likely it’s a PWM. So just be aware of that, but a guys are looking at doing the cheaper option want to get the most cheapest way possible.

Then I would suggest getting a really good regulator, slash controller it’s, a really good, solid controller and then go cheap on the panels. Don’t. Do it the other way around if you go cheap in the controller, and you get some mid to high quality panels, it’s not going to work well that way, the other way around will work much better.

If you want to save money and when you solo us to a needy, how do I work that out? Well, this would be in another video, with even more tips and advice, comment below more questions and some tips. So a lot of people have requested this video and I hope it’s answered mostly a question.

Look. I could have gone way more into detail and technical stuff with all this information that I’ve researched and I’ve even said a bit of a sort of like a one-on-one seminar with a technical guru. Just it make sure, get all the facts and everything right.

So look if you want more specific information, comment down below any questions, comment down below to what do you use? You use a blanket fixed panel or follow a panel comment down below and subscribe somewhere in the screen.

You want to support creation like this patreon.com slash, Ronnie Dahl and I’ll, see you guys in the next video Cheers.