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Basic Solar Systems

Written by carolyn.

I have actually ended up with two solar systems. One is designed for my caravan and is the one I generally use. The other solar system came with my fridge/freezer which is not yet in use, so I am looking after that battery by keeping it charged.

PV panels

I have found that the little fridge I have draws a lot of current, and I can only run it a few hours a day unless I want to switch to gas (which I don’t want to do). So when the weather is dull and the battery is not charging much, I switch over to the other solar system, and that keeps things going. Both solar systems are wired completely separately, with a change-over switch between them.

I really like the charge controller on my main system. It is a ProStar model and constantly tells me the battery voltage, charge current and how much current I am drawing. This allows me to keep an eye on things, and switch everything off if I get down to the critical 50% discharge.

Charge controller

I can run heaps of things on 12 volts including lights, CD player/radio, phone charger, AA battery charger, TV, laptop (needs step-up voltage), internet, fridge (a few hours), gas hot water and diesel heater.  I have not yet found a toothbrush charger, and don’t really want to use an inverter to get the 230 volts.

It is an interesting journey to go solar, and makes me really aware of my power use and how the weather varies. And I would be happy to support anyone else setting up their system.

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