Iona already has a solar panel and two leisure batteries and to be honest we have never run out on battery power.
However with the lack of sun recently we were having to decide what to watch on TV at night and what lights to put on. The TV and the water pump use the most power so I thought another solar panel would help.
Many hours of research later and listening to other Motorhomers I needed a new solar controller and more panels. More research and the basic charge would be £600. That was a big NO then.
I decided to do it myself, I watched YouTube and read articles. Firstly I needed a controller to cope with the extra wattage. I bought one that charges two batteries, is the latest for solar management and it has an app for your phone or iPad to see what each battery is doing.
I bought a branded solar Panel @100w for £69.00 off eBay plus the cable and all the bits I needed to Mount a panel on the motorhome roof and wire it all up.
The postman delivered 7 packages after only two days so I could get on with wiring the vehicle battery into the new controller. This meant taking out the cab internal mouldings which was fairly easy.
Once that was done I could route the cable to the vehicle battery. Once all connected the cab was returned to it’s original condition. So now I have a solar controller that will charge the leisure batteries and when they are 70% full it will add in the vehicle battery and charge them until they are all are fully charged.
The controller was wired using the existing cables and switch so that I could charge all batteries and to test it. Then once the cab had been taken to bits I could route a cable directly to the vehicle battery and use the controller terminals to automatically charge all the batteries.
The new controller is far more efficient than the old one and the batteries have never shown such a consistent max charge.
The next step is to Mount the solar panel, link it into the existing panel and join them to the controller. However there are a few packages awaited including the solar panel.
Everything is here except a couple of extension cables for the roof of the motorhome and some stainless steel bolts to hold the solar panel to the mounts. The mounts are ‘glued’ to the roof so there are no holes to drill there. The only hole required is to get the cable inside the motorhome but that has a waterproof gland to go through.
While we were waiting for the parts to arrive the existing TV signal booster died on us. I did a quick bit of research and found a Vision plus unit that others were using with our type of aerial and TV setup. Apart from rewiring and soldering the new power plug it was a straight forward swap.