portable_kitTravel bug or just relaxing in your weekender?

Solar for Recreational Vehicles, camping and weekenders

For this application there may be a requirement for two voltages, 12V and/or 240V. 12V power can come directly from a battery and is typical for some lighting and perhaps a small 12V camping refrigerator and 12V television and radio/stereo.

If you also need to run 240V equipment, you will need an inverter to convert the battery voltage (12Vdc) to 240Vac, and probably a larger battery to support the inverter. This will add to the cost.  The size of the inverter you need and the battery size to support it will depend on the size of the 240V equipment you wish to run. Items such as phone chargers, computers and televisions only require a small inverter, but if you want to operate a microwave oven, toaster or kettle for example, the inverter and the battery to support it become quite large and costly.

The critical consideration is to keep your batteries charged to ensure a long life. This is mostly done with some solar panels. However, if mobile, the car engine running can be charging a battery, or if you has access to a powered site when camping you can run a battery charger. A small camping size generator can be used to run a battery charger, but generators are often not allowed in National Parks camping areas.

When we design a small mobile or weekender system we consider two main aspects:
1. How many days in a row will you be at a non-powered site or occupying your weekender and depending on solar, and how frequently?
2. What loads do you need to run, and for how long each day?

If using solar in a mobile situation there are two options; permanently mount the panels on the vehicle/van/trailer, or have the panels in a portable, fold out pack with an extension cord.

The permanently mounted method is the least effective solution, as the tilt is generally incorrect for the sun direction and most people want to park their vehicle/van/trailer under a tree for shade. The only downside for the portable system is the potential for theft if left unattended.

We can take into account all the aspects of how you want to use the system and provide your ideal solution.