Buy all your VW California Accessories at the Club Shop Visit Shop

Stand alone solar

WelshGas

WelshGas

Retired after 42 yrs and enjoying Life.
Top Poster
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
21,510
Location
United Kingdom
Vehicle
T5 SE 180 4Motion
Thank you for taking the time for this on such a lovely day
It's pouring with rain here.
So to your problem.
The Control Panel shows 12.7v without panel connected BUT 12.9v with panel connected.
It would appear the Leisure Batteries are fully charged and your Solar Panel is only producing 13v at present, so not a lot of headroom to push amps into an already charged Leisure Battery.
Using a 12v socket plug or crocodile clips adds extra resistance to the charging circuit.
Is it very sunny as I would expect a higher voltage from your solar panel.
My 7 yr old fixed 100w panel pushes out 19.8 volts on a sunny day and that's with the roof down and panel not perpendicular to the sun. If it is the volts rise to 20.8v.
When the batteries are fully charged , under those conditions the MPPT output is 13.4v and 0.5 amps.
 
M

marchugo

Messages
392
As WG said, the bat seems to be already topped up to the brim.

You could disconnect the solar, then put a 100 Watt light in the inverter, to suck some energy out of the battery. You should see the voltage going down a little bit. Then wait a couple of minutes to calm the batt down, and only then reconnect the solar to the batt. If the voltage in the screen of the central unit is rising again, you’re ok.

The Amperage (A) in the screen of the central unit shows zero, and that is correct: if you connect the solar directly to the plus and minus poles of the battery, the central unit does not see that you are loading ( at least in my T5, don’t know exactly how the unit behaves in your T6).

Regards from Amsterdam,

Marc.
 
Wesel

Wesel

Messages
517
Location
Belgium
Vehicle
T6 Coast 150 4Motion
...
The Amperage (A) in the screen of the central unit shows zero, and that is correct: if you connect the solar directly to the plus and minus poles of the battery, the central unit does not see that you are loading ( at least in my T5, don’t know exactly how the unit behaves in your T6).

Regards from Amsterdam,

Marc.
Same in my T6.
 
S

SamSara

Messages
60
Location
Southampton
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204
As WG said, the bat seems to be already topped up to the brim.

You could disconnect the solar, then put a 100 Watt light in the inverter, to suck some energy out of the battery. You should see the voltage going down a little bit. Then wait a couple of minutes to calm the batt down, and only then reconnect the solar to the batt. If the voltage in the screen of the central unit is rising again, you’re ok.

The Amperage (A) in the screen of the central unit shows zero, and that is correct: if you connect the solar directly to the plus and minus poles of the battery, the central unit does not see that you are loading ( at least in my T5, don’t know exactly how the unit behaves in your T6).

Regards from Amsterdam,

Marc.
Thank you I will try again tomorrow. It clouded over and started raining here, just as I got out on the water for a paddle
 
WelshGas

WelshGas

Retired after 42 yrs and enjoying Life.
Top Poster
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
21,510
Location
United Kingdom
Vehicle
T5 SE 180 4Motion
Thank you I will try again tomorrow. It clouded over and started raining here, just as I got out on the water for a paddle
When it’s sunny, run the fridge or Parking Heater to put a significant load on the Leisure Batteries and after 30 mins connect the Solar system.
Take a note of the Control Panel voltage =
Before switching on Fridge/heater.
After 30 minutes with fridge/heater running.
After 30 minutes with Solar connected, still running fridge/heater
Switch off fridge/heater and check voltage after 30 minutes with Solar still connected.
 
markheathcote

markheathcote

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
78
Location
Westerham, Kent
Vehicle
T6.1 Ocean 204 4 motion
Havent tried the crocodile clips yet,because it looked such a faff to get the cover off to the battery. kit the same as video
Cover just pulls off, it's easy... Just roll the passenger seat forward... It will take you seconds to get to the terminals.
 
markheathcote

markheathcote

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
78
Location
Westerham, Kent
Vehicle
T6.1 Ocean 204 4 motion
Cover just pulls off, it's easy... Just roll the passenger seat forward... It will take you seconds to get to the terminals.
I see I was late in that post... From your photos I can't see how you have connected up to the controller... From memory, the solar panel is the left socket, the battery is the middle socket... You can see the wiring in my video.. I'm sure that's how you have it but just checking.... My van display does show ampage when charging (at least via socket) but my display is different as I have a t6.1... I think you need to drain the battery a bit like others said, turn the fridge on max for a few hours. Then try it.. If you are near or coming near Westerham then I'm happy to have a look, you can contact me via markheathcote.com via the contact form.
 
markheathcote

markheathcote

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
78
Location
Westerham, Kent
Vehicle
T6.1 Ocean 204 4 motion
I see I was late in that post... From your photos I can't see how you have connected up to the controller... From memory, the solar panel is the left socket, the battery is the middle socket... You can see the wiring in my video.. I'm sure that's how you have it but just checking.... My van display does show ampage when charging (at least via socket) but my display is different as I have a t6.1... I think you need to drain the battery a bit like others said, turn the fridge on max for a few hours. Then try it.. If you are near or coming near Westerham then I'm happy to have a look, you can contact me via markheathcote.com via the contact form.
Also, sits a phone charge using the USB socket on the side of the controller box? If it charges the phone then you know it is working, at least out of the 5v usb
 
markheathcote

markheathcote

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
78
Location
Westerham, Kent
Vehicle
T6.1 Ocean 204 4 motion
Same in my T6.
Hmm, my 6.1 display does show ampage coming in, though that's by the 12-volt cigarette socket which I would have thought would be the same as connecting directly to the battery... Not tested the display via crocodile clips but don't see why it would differ. Maybe the 6.1 has some upgraded system.
 
orbital

orbital

Messages
77
Location
Bristol
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
I now use a RidgeMonkey fold-up 80w solar panel that charges the leisure batteries via a victory charge controller. It was happily pumping out 55w in full sun last Friday (250wh over about 6 hours). https://ridgemonkey.co.uk/product/vault-c-smart-pd-80w-solar-panel

Charging via the cigarette lighter sounds like an expensive and potentially dangerous accident waiting to happen.

I’ve also tried a roof mounted panel but that failed after about 18 months and damaged the roof too (to my mind it wasn’t fitted properly- even though I paid to get it done ‘professionally’). I have a replacement panel kit from Solar Camper Solutions but I’ve decided not to fit it. If you want it, pm me with a sensible offer and it’s yours!
 
Wesel

Wesel

Messages
517
Location
Belgium
Vehicle
T6 Coast 150 4Motion
Hmm, my 6.1 display does show ampage coming in, though that's by the 12-volt cigarette socket which I would have thought would be the same as connecting directly to the battery... Not tested the display via crocodile clips but don't see why it would differ. Maybe the 6.1 has some upgraded system.
The current measurement is made via a shunt which is placed between the negative pole of the leisure battery and the chassis.
As all the negative connections of the uses (fridge, cigarette lighter sockets, etc...) are made directly to the chassis, the shunt measures all the currents, including that of a solar panel connected to one of these sockets.
But if the panel is connected directly to the negative pole of the battery, the shunt does not see the current passing.

PS: I hope my technical terms are correct, as English is not my native language.
 
campandfly

campandfly

.....
VIP Member
Messages
765
Location
Sunny Cornwall
Vehicle
T5 SE 180 4Motion
Hi, i want a solar panel to extend or life for a few more days. So ,any to choose from i would appreciate guidance. I do not want one on the van and i would like ease of setting up.
thanks
I have found this one to perform really well. Super easy to set up, fits upright on the back shelf of the Cali. Its much lighter than those folding suitcase type panels. It produces what the advertising says and the quality is spot on. https://amzn.to/3OomKqa
 
markheathcote

markheathcote

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
78
Location
Westerham, Kent
Vehicle
T6.1 Ocean 204 4 motion
I now use a RidgeMonkey fold-up 80w solar panel that charges the leisure batteries via a victory charge controller. It was happily pumping out 55w in full sun last Friday (250wh over about 6 hours). https://ridgemonkey.co.uk/product/vault-c-smart-pd-80w-solar-panel

Charging via the cigarette lighter sounds like an expensive and potentially dangerous accident waiting to happen.

I’ve also tried a roof mounted panel but that failed after about 18 months and damaged the roof too (to my mind it wasn’t fitted properly- even though I paid to get it done ‘professionally’). I have a replacement panel kit from Solar Camper Solutions but I’ve decided not to fit it. If you want it, pm me with a sensible offer and it’s yours!
Using the cig lighter socket is no different to wiring direct to the battery except the cig lighter has a10amp fuse inline, hence you need to make sure the controller doesn't exceed 10 amp out. Caveat, not to be done by someone that isn't sure of what they are doing, but it's not dangerous you'll just blow a fuse if you exceed 10amps. You must always use a charge controller though.
 
Kemper-van

Kemper-van

Messages
140
Location
Belgium
Vehicle
T6.1 Beach camper 150
Thank you I will try again tomorrow. It clouded over and started raining here, just as I got out on the water for a paddle
You mentionned you have a damaged panel waiting to be picked-up. Maybe you can try using the charge controller of this damaged panel to rule out an issue with the charge controller?
 
S

SamSara

Messages
60
Location
Southampton
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204
Thank for all advice. I had a go yesterday, but it was too cloudy and rained. I think it is working. Showed 12.5v after fridge on full then 12.6 when solar went on via cig lighter then after 20 minutes (rain started) 12.7v
 
kave

kave

Messages
1,494
Location
Boras Sweden
Vehicle
T6 Beach 4Motion
I have found this one to perform really well. Super easy to set up, fits upright on the back shelf of the Cali. Its much lighter than those folding suitcase type panels. It produces what the advertising says and the quality is spot on. https://amzn.to/3OomKqa
I would say that is mostly made to charge Jackerys own batteries? Its a bit expensive and overkill to just connect a usb-a device and a ”non pd” usb-c device?
 
4x4 joker

4x4 joker

VW T6.1 Westfalia Club Joker 4motion
Top Poster
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
1,974
Location
Southampton/Perthshire
Vehicle
N/A
Thank for all advice. I had a go yesterday, but it was too cloudy and rained. I think it is working. Showed 12.5v after fridge on full then 12.6 when solar went on via cig lighter then after 20 minutes (rain started) 12.7v
You can use the solar without connecting to van, as the charge controller has built in usbs. Just plug a phone or iPad in and you will then prove the panel is working
 
campandfly

campandfly

.....
VIP Member
Messages
765
Location
Sunny Cornwall
Vehicle
T5 SE 180 4Motion
I would say that is mostly made to charge Jackerys own batteries? Its a bit expensive an8d overkill to just connect a usb-a device and a ”non pd” usb-c device?
The USB is just a bonus feature that we dont really need.
We mainly use it to double our leisure battery charging power and for charging our solar suitcase battery works well for us.
 
bob_summers

bob_summers

Messages
808
Location
Donosti
Vehicle
T6.1 Ocean 150
Happy so far with my 100w Dokio set up. I haven’t got around to making a lighter plug lead for it yet, just clipped it onto the underseat battery for now. It’s hot here so the fridge is working pretty hard, and it’s nice not worrying about turning lights off etc, although I’m still charging devices off a Jackery.

Of the claimed 100w I’m seeing around 60 at noon and 20 now the sun is on the other side of the van, but I’m not going to sweat it - the charge indicator in the van hasn’t dropped from full all day. I’ve got some wee hooks to hang the panel from the awning rails if needed.

Winter use might be a different story with less light and running the heater, but that time of year we’re generally not away for more than a long weekend.

Not sure it’s worth making the lighter plug connectors - I’ll maybe just connect to the battery with ring terminals and velcro the controller to the seat base.

nc8BFec.jpg


KRAqdBh.jpg
 
markheathcote

markheathcote

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
78
Location
Westerham, Kent
Vehicle
T6.1 Ocean 204 4 motion
Happy so far with my 100w Dokio set up. I haven’t got around to making a lighter plug lead for it yet, just clipped it onto the underseat battery for now. It’s hot here so the fridge is working pretty hard, and it’s nice not worrying about turning lights off etc, although I’m still charging devices off a Jackery.

Of the claimed 100w I’m seeing around 60 at noon and 20 now the sun is on the other side of the van, but I’m not going to sweat it - the charge indicator in the van hasn’t dropped from full all day. I’ve got some wee hooks to hang the panel from the awning rails if needed.

Winter use might be a different story with less light and running the heater, but that time of year we’re generally not away for more than a long weekend.

Not sure it’s worth making the lighter plug connectors - I’ll maybe just connect to the battery with ring terminals and velcro the controller to the seat base.

nc8BFec.jpg


KRAqdBh.jpg
Very nice, you don't have to make the 12v lead... There is a link to one from the US via amazon that took v3 days tobarrive and was cheap. You can find the link on the video I posted, here again, or at thehuntercrew.com... We don't get any commission on that lead, but I can recommend it...
 
Top