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An Easy D.I.Y. Guide to Hard mounting your 12v Camping Solar Panel!

July 16, 2018   |   By Liam Arthur An Easy D.I.Y. Guide to Hard mounting your 12v Camping Solar Panel! - image Capture-2 on https://www.4wdsupacentre.com.au/news

Ever run out of battery power when camping, had your beers go hot and couldn’t run your lights at night? Yep – it sucks. The answer to the problem is pretty easy – add solar to your battery setup.

 

While there’s some cracking portable solar panels on the market – mainly the Adventure Kings 120W Portable Solar Blanket with PWM Regulator, Adventure Kings 160w Solar Panel with PWM Regulator and Adventure Kings 250w Solar Panel – a cracking way to keep your batteries top almost full time is to hard mount solar panels. You can hard mount the Adventure Kings 110w Fixed Solar Panel on your 4WD, Camper Trailer, Boat, or caravan – and the benefit of doing this is whenever your panel is in the sun – you’re charging your battery – how good is that!

 

These days 12v systems have progressed to the point where it really is possible to run your fridge permanently, almost regardless of how often or how far you drive. The secret is all in solar power! While most solar panels are designed to be portable and setup when you rock up at camp, this permanently-mounted solution means your batteries literally charge every second the panel gets a bit of sun.

 

Even if you’re not regularly draining power from your deep-cycle battery in between camping trips, the nature of 12v electronics means that a stale battery that doesn’t receive regular charge can go flat by itself. That’s a problem if you don’t drive your 4WD every day. It means when it does come time to go camping, you could be faced with a battery that’s so flat, that you can’t recharge it properly. Here’s a scary thought – a deep-cycle AGM battery that’s discharged below about 11.4v is close to being permanently damaged and unable to be recharged. The solution? Don’t make it harder than it needs to be, rely on solar power to constantly recharge your batteries!

 

You’ve probably seen plenty of hard mounted solar panels – but did you know just how easy it is to hard mount the Adventure Kings 110w Fixed Solar Panel? You can actually do it in a weekend comfortably. If you have an existing battery bank – all you need is the Adventure Kings 110w Fixed Solar Panel, the Adventure Kings PWM Solar Regulator or Adventure Kings MPPT Solar Regulator, and some basic 12 volt tools.

 

First step is mount the Adventure Kings 110w Fixed Solar Panel. Unlike most solar panels you’ll see on the market – the Adventure Kings 110w Fixed Solar Panel comes with a mounting kit so you can mount it on several different surfaces. Make sure you mount the Adventure Kings 110w Fixed Solar Panel something where it won’t get any shade – the smallest amount of shade on most solar panels will reduce it’s ability to charge batteries incredibly. If you can – mount the panel on a slight angle – it’s very rare the sun is right above you – only at midday in summer – so it’s important to point the panel as direct to the sunlight as you can. Angling it could increase it’s efficiency by over 40%! Also try and have a gap under your Adventure Kings 110w Fixed Solar Panel to keep it cool. Solar panels are more efficient when they are kept a little cooler.

 

The perfect place to mount a solar panel is, of course, on your roofrack. U-bolts that grab underneath the roof rack rails are a fantastic option. Avoid tek-screws, as while they’re easy to install, they rust and snap off when you do a lot of off-road driving. If you can’t get ahold of u-bolts, drill through the rack (put an old towel underneath to catch the metal shavings) and use bolts and nuts with both flat washers and spring washers to make sure it’s held tight.

 

Once your Adventure Kings 110w Fixed Solar Panel mounted – it’s time to run power back to your regulator and battery. Make sure you use waterproof connectors and use split tubing on any cabling to protect it from the elements. When you run it into your 4WD – use grommets to ensure the cable doesn’t rub on metal and cause any short circuiting. We recommend fusing the positive cable for safety.

 

The key to getting the most out of your Adventure Kings 110w Fixed Solar Panel is to place your regulator as close to the battery as possible. This will stop voltage drop from turning that 8amps your panel is creating into just 6 amps into your battery. Once you’ve wired in your regulator to your Adventure Kings 110w Fixed Solar Panel – wire the regulator to your battery bank. We recommend getting yourself a decent volt meter that doesn’t just show the amps of your battery, but the amount of amps your Adventure Kings 110w Fixed Solar Panel is harvesting from the sun and putting into your battery. From here you can do some simple maths to know just how many more days you can camp before packing up, and heading home or getting to a caravan park to plug into some power.

 

If you are free camping away from power for weeks – you might consider running two Adventure Kings 110w Fixed Solar Panel – they can be simply connected together – which will be giving you around 12 amps every hour of good sun – that’ll keep you self-sufficient for just about ever – the ultimate dream for big time adventurers.

 

The best thing about choosing to hard wire a Adventure Kings 110w Fixed Solar Panel? The price. You can pick up the high quality Adventure Kings 110w Fixed Solar Panel and a solar regulator for about $200 – proving again that 4WD Supacentre are the kings at providing high quality gear at absolute bargain prices. 4WD Supacentre can offer such high quality gear at such low prices because they buy in huge volumes, cut out the middle men, and work on razor thing margins – and they pass all these savings onto you