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Solar install on a T6.1 California Ocean ...

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California_Ocean

California_Ocean

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Any wild campers ever hooked up a wind turbine for off grid power? Some fairly small vertical ones available.

They are usually loud, need to be way above head height because they are lethal if you come into contact with the blades while they are spinning and they need to be well braced. Would take up more space in a van than a good mobile solar setup IMO. The best marine generator IMO comes from these people https://www.superwind.com/superwind-350-353/
 
kave

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Update .... after much messing around with panels, panel carriers etc. this is the way I have decided to go with a 310W setup ...

Parts List:

2 x Phaesun 310424 MARE FLEX 155 ETFE 155w Solar Panels
1 x Hess Campers 320W Solar mounting plate
1 x Scanstrut DS-H10-BLK cable seal
1 x Aluminium cable conduit 110mm x 50mm x 20mm
1 x 3M VHB Tape GPH-160GF, Grey, 25 mm x 33 m, 1,6 mm
1 x Victron SmartSolar 100/30
1 x 2 pole circuit breaker for isolating panels
1 x 40A waterproof circuit breaker (MPPT to Batteries)

Looks like this ...
View attachment 90225

Next question is where best to attach to the batteries for charging so that the CU continues to function properly ? ... any info would be gratefully received.
Just attach the charge cables directly to one of the batteries to avoid problems. When one of the panels fail can you remove and replace them?
Why not go to the washbox with your own bucket and sponge? That is what I do, even though we are required to use the brush/high pressure wash handle. My car, my money, I dont care what rules they have to force me into using huge amounts of their chemicals and dirty brush.
 
California_Ocean

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Just attach the charge cables directly to one of the batteries to avoid problems. When one of the panels fail can you remove and replace them?
Why not go to the washbox with your own bucket and sponge? That is what I do, even though we are required to use the brush/high pressure wash handle. My car, my money, I dont care what rules they have to force me into using huge amounts of their chemicals and dirty brush.
I haven't looked yet but I assume there is a shunt on the batteries so the CU can calculate the energy in / energy out for the state of charge - so the negative connection will have to be on the right side of the shunt?

I can remove and replace a panel if it fails, but with the speed of development my experience with panels on the boat was that when a panel eventually fails, a direct replacement is no longer in production so you end up replacing the whole array as the efficiency/voltage etc improves over time.

As for the car wash, a car wash takes a few minutes and there is a car wash 200 metres from my house which the Cali fits in, if there's a queue, I go home. Washing by hand takes 45 mins on average (I do my motorbike in the washbox) - the place is usually mobbed so maybe 20 mins washing and 25-30 mins waiting - and the washbox is 20 mins away. I live in a town where the water table is protected by law so washing on your driveway is illegal. By using the car wash I reckon I save around 80-90 mins a wash, over the expected life of the van that really adds up. I put my van through the car wash about 40 times in the year, that's 53-60 hours a year where I could be doing something more interesting than washing a van. :thumb
 
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yossarian

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I haven't looked yet but I assume there is a shunt on the batteries so the CU can calculate the energy in / energy out for the state of charge - so the negative connection will have to be on the right side of the shunt?
Exactly. The 6.1 Ocean has a dual IBS -- one on each leisure battery negative.

One solution is to drill a small hole in the IBS lead and attach the charge negative there with a small bolt, anti-shake washer etc. Otherwise find a decent chassis ground and use that.
 
flying banana

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You are mad if you drill through your roof to fit solar. Why Don't you just copy other installations and go through the boot grommet with a curly cable? For reference I don't have solar .
 
KGCali

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You are mad if you drill through your roof to fit solar. Why Don't you just copy other installations and go through the boot grommet with a curly cable? For reference I don't have solar .

IMG_20210909_115651977_HDR.jpg
 
B J G

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Nothing. But if you are really worried about paint damage then a strip of Helicopter Tape underneath. 7 yrs on no marking.
Looked like it would vibrate and wear paint. Just looked wrong aerodynamically.
 
California_Ocean

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You are mad if you drill through your roof to fit solar. Why Don't you just copy other installations and go through the boot grommet with a curly cable? For reference I don't have solar .

Had this discussion already .... in Germany where I live, I use autobahns. I also use car washes and carry things on the roof.
  1. There is no such thing as an aerodynamic "dead zone" on a vehicle roof when you start using a roof rack loaded with canoes, or other odd-shaped stuff.
  2. Autobahns are fast ... cruising at 180 km/h is normal - for hours, 200 km/h is not impossible. I simply don't want a curly cable on my roof at those speeds. (I try not to go over 120 with a laden roof-rack).

  3. I live in a Wasserschutzgebiet (where the groundwater is protected by law) I have to use either a washbox - which is miles away, or a car-wash which is 200m from my front door. It is illegal to wash a car on your driveway - big fines. I don't want to take a curly cable into a car wash.
If I lived in the U.K. and tootled around at 60-70 all the time, didn't use a roof-rack and was prepared to wash the bus by hand, then I'd consider a curly cable - but my requirements are for something a bit more robust. I'm happy for those who choose curly cables, I just don't want one thank-you.

Everyone has different requirements, and what suits one person may not suit another - it doesn't make anyone "mad" IMHO.
 
GrumpyGranddad

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Nothing. But if you are really worried about paint damage then a strip of Helicopter Tape underneath. 7 yrs on no marking.
18 months in and no problems with the curly cable solution. No noise and no paint wear after many months (after about 9 months I did retrofit some spare helicopter tape I had as a precaution).

E74AB9A9-2A59-4275-9ECA-BB0A62EC5900.jpeg
 
flying banana

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Had this discussion already .... in Germany where I live, I use autobahns. I also use car washes and carry things on the roof.
  1. There is no such thing as an aerodynamic "dead zone" on a vehicle roof when you start using a roof rack loaded with canoes, or other odd-shaped stuff.
  2. Autobahns are fast ... cruising at 180 km/h is normal - for hours, 200 km/h is not impossible. I simply don't want a curly cable on my roof at those speeds. (I try not to go over 120 with a laden roof-rack).

  3. I live in a Wasserschutzgebiet (where the groundwater is protected by law) I have to use either a washbox - which is miles away, or a car-wash which is 200m from my front door. It is illegal to wash a car on your driveway - big fines. I don't want to take a curly cable into a car wash.
If I lived in the U.K. and tootled around at 60-70 all the time, didn't use a roof-rack and was prepared to wash the bus by hand, then I'd consider a curly cable - but my requirements are for something a bit more robust. I'm happy for those who choose curly cables, I just don't want one thank-you.

Everyone has different requirements, and what suits one person may not suit another - it doesn't make anyone "mad" IMHO.
If I could drill a hole in my roof that meant I could do a 125mph everywhere I'd drill the bugger. You are right. Have you thought about a stand alone system that you set up when camped?
 
Multi1100

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To me
If I could drill a hole in my roof that meant I could do a 125mph everywhere I'd drill the bugger. You are right. Have you thought about a stand alone system that you set up when camped?
To me this is one of the most sensible tips/answers. Lot's of members here are fitting "permanent" solar panels, and I am questioning why...when in drive the household batteries will load according the standard Cali setup and equipment. If one (like me) wants to use batteries without using a hookup, you can charge your household batteries with (sun)light solar panels. That is the reason why I am looking for a fold-up kit incl. controller which I can store easily in the van during driving from one campsite to another. Really don't understand the permanent set-up or am I missing something?
 
Ch1pbutty

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Really don't understand the permanent set-up or am I missing something?
Advantages to us are that it saves space, requires no setup on arrival, charges the batteries when parked on the drive at home & keeps a full history of your batteries charge stage.

Personally I don’t see the point of a portable setup but we all have different needs, so just get what works for you.
 
California_Ocean

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If I could drill a hole in my roof that meant I could do a 125mph everywhere I'd drill the bugger. You are right. Have you thought about a stand alone system that you set up when camped?
I have thought about portable, but permanent solar is a source of energy that is always on when the sun is out - it even produces enough to keep the vehicle batteries full in the depths of winter - so long as the van is outside, the electrickery flows into the fridge, batteries, and anything else I have plugged in. I like to leave the fridge on permanently, just like on my boat, we always have cold drinks, and I don't need to even think about the battery state - they are just always full. I need no storage for folded panels in the van, or a power-station, and the electrical hook-up becomes optional. Day trips, camping, or just a run to the shops, the solar just keeps pumping energy into the batteries until they are full. With 310W on the roof, I will get 0.7-1.0 kWh a day if I need it ... the vehicle will never run flat.

On my boat I have 400 Ah of batteries and 300W of solar. Overnight, with normal use, the batteries drop by about 10-15% ... by mid-day they are full again. I can sit at anchor indefinitely (in summer) without running the engine, generator, or visiting a marina to hook up to shore power. I want the same flexibility with my van and my power budget pointed to 300W of solar again.

The other point which is very important to me is the time required to set-up and pack-up .... on the boat it's just a case of starting the engine and hauling up the anchor. Portable solar is just one more thing to pack-up and store, with the added problem of having to choose between staying by the van while the batteries recharge or leave it and risk it all being nicked.

Everyone has different needs and usage patterns for their vans, mine are best served by permanent solar ... whatever works best for you is always the right solution. We can discuss pros and cons, but opinions are like a$$holes, everyone has one.
 
California_Ocean

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Quick update .... pretty much finalised my solar install plan .... it's got a few weird components in there but it should do what I want ... everything to the left of the blue dotted line is VW system diagrams for my 22MY California Ocean taken from erwin.

1650881069386.png
Pairing panels to Solar Controller ...

1650881313048.png

Power Budget ...
1650881532852.png

Predicted solar yield in Bavaria ....

1650881778907.png
 
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It looks pretty well thought out. In my opinion the isolation relay on path 1 is unnecessary and potentially robs you of a small fuel saving.

There logic goes something like this:

Fuel saving is achieved by not running the alternator where battery state of charge permits. If your solar increases battery state of charge or even powers some electrical loads the alternator will idle for longer periods. The longer the alternator idles the more power and fuel saved.

A quick perusal of the argofet docs suggests that the device will current limit -- important if during start.

It would also be nice to have some way to determine if s339 was intact. Typically a solar installation will charge the rear battery and a voltage discrepancy between the mppt and control panel will suggest a fault.
 
California_Ocean

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It looks pretty well thought out. In my opinion the isolation relay on path 1 is unnecessary and potentially robs you of a small fuel saving.

There logic goes something like this:

Fuel saving is achieved by not running the alternator where battery state of charge permits. If your solar increases battery state of charge or even powers some electrical loads the alternator will idle for longer periods. The longer the alternator idles the more power and fuel saved.

A quick perusal of the argofet docs suggests that the device will current limit -- important if during start.

It would also be nice to have some way to determine if s339 was intact. Typically a solar installation will charge the rear battery and a voltage discrepancy between the mppt and control panel will suggest a fault.

I have been struggling with the effect of adding solar to this system - which as you mention is a permanent parallel energy source. What effect this will have on the regen system in my VW is a mystery at the moment as it will not be behaving as it was intended.

The additional relay was put there to disconnect the charge circuitry from the starter battery so as not to interfere with the regen system ... but I have since discovered that the VW relay closes regularly anyway during normal driving, disconnecting only when start-stop kicks in. So my charge wire to the leisure batteries will affect the starter.

So .... I think the install will be without the relay, I'll charge both batteries through the Argofet and I hope the extra energy source doesn't create a bundle of fault codes on the van. :thumb

The charging connections will be made to both sides of the VW isolation relay with the MPPT and Argofet under the front seats rather than at the back in the cupboards. I can tweak the MPPT charge voltages and wiring length to remove the drop created by the Argofet and produce exactly the right charge voltages at the connection points. The solar disconnect will be in the cupboard at the back, with the higher voltage/lower current solar wires running to the MPPT under the seats. If s339 blows, then I hopefully just drop a battery rather than create a voltage difference and faults.
 
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I'll charge both batteries through the Argofet and I hope the extra energy source doesn't create a bundle of fault codes on the van. :thumb

I've run my MY22 in a similar configuration without faults. The high current on engine start is a problem hopefully solved by your ideal diode device.
 
California_Ocean

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I've run my MY22 in a similar configuration without faults. The high current on engine start is a problem hopefully solved by your ideal diode device.
Thanks for that, good to know you're not seeing any problems. :thumb
 

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