What You Need To Develop A Solar Powered, Battery-Charging System For Your Camper

17 October 2015
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A camper allows you to exchange the tensions of daily life in the city for days of solitude in the wilderness while still having some of the comforts of home. Usually, you'll have to stay in a camp site with electrical service to power things like televisions and computers instead of draining your camper's house batteries. However, if you can generate your own electricity to recharge those batteries on a daily basis, you can take advantage of remote campgrounds without electrical service. Here is what you need to set up a solar powered system for your camper's batteries.

Determine Electrical Needs

The first thing you need to fully understand is the amount of electricity you are going to use on an average day before you can create a plan on how many solar panels you need to buy. The best way to determine your usage is to go to a campground, like Windemere Cove, and only rely on your house batteries in the camper for power.

Check the storage capacity of the batteries and make sure they are fully charged. If you have new batteries that have the storage capacity of 100 amp-hours for instance, and it takes 2 days to drain the batteries, you are using roughly 50 amp-hours per day. You will need enough solar panels to produce at least 50 amps per day to keep your batteries charged.

Find the Right Solar Panels

You can get mounted panels that you can tilt toward the sun, or you can use flexible panels that are glued down to the top of the camper that can't be tilted – the important thing is that the panels produce enough energy for your needs in the location where you are camping.

Geography affects the production capacity of the solar cells in the panels. Places that are cloudier will produce electricity at a different rate than a place with plenty of sunshine. You will need more solar panels in a cloudy area to make up the difference in production that you lose by not being in a sunny area.

If you have the space, you can also carry extra portable solar panels in the camper that you can connect to your system on cloudy days to generate extra electricity.

Buy a Charger Controller

A charger controller is needed to keep the solar panels' electricity from overcharging the battery and damaging it. The controller will turn off the flow of electricity once the battery is fully charged. There is a mechanism in the controller that will turn on the flow of electricity once it receives a message that the battery is running out of power.