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Choosing the perfect camping portable solar panel

April 19, 2018   |   By Liam Arthur Choosing the perfect camping portable solar panel - image Capture-136 on https://www.4wdsupacentre.com.au/news

When you head out into remote areas, providing your campsite with much needed power is a lot simpler than many people assume, with the advent of affordable solar panels and easy to setup dual battery systems, there is next to no excuse for running out of power in the bush!

With a massive range of portable solar panels available on the market, you can easily be overwhelmed by the selection process, with listings quoting Wattage outputs, peak amps, open circuit voltage, photovoltaic cell style eg, monocrystalline, polycrystalline, flexible, and the list goes on!

So we are going to break down the 4 most important things to check for when you are shopping for a camping solar panel;


When assessing the possible performance, quality and value of a solar panel there are a handful of factors that affect the output that is possible for a given size of panel. With modern technology there are 2 main competing styles of photovoltaic cell used in the production of camping solar panels.

Polycrystalline cell

These are the initial style of solar panel available on the mass market and were developed to be much more cost effective to manufacture, using a lesser grade of silicone material, whilst still outputting sufficient useful power for campsite usage.

Monocrystalline cell

Since the availability of higher grade silicone has become much more affordable, the ease of manufacture of higher performance solar panels means the surface area of a photovoltaic cell allows the size of camping solar panels to be much smaller than the styles previously available without increasing the cost, or size, means that it is now possible to power a whole campsite off one simple panel design, like the Adventure Kings 250W Solar Panel.




The output of a solar panel is calculated into watts, watts are a scientific unit of measurement to measure total power. To figure out what this means involves a quick maths lesson, and the wattage of a solar panel is calculated with the formula below;



The wattage of a solar panel is calculated using the unregulated circuit voltage and the total possible amperage output, this calculation applied to the Adventure Kings 250W Solar Panel is as follows.


13.8 Amps x 18.2 Volts = 250.068 Watts


This means your solar regulator has a total of 250 Watts of power to play with to keep your battery topped up and your campsite appliances running.




As mentioned above, the voltage output of the Adventure Kings 250W Solar Panel outputs an average of 18.2 volts, anyone who knows about 12v systems know that a 12v system is usually floating around 12.8 volts and a healthy charging voltage floats around 13.8 – 14 volts

This means that you have an excess voltage of around 4.2 volts, that needs to be reduced to prevent the dangerous “overcharging” which can release dangerous Hydrogen gas, and boil the acid inside your 12v batteries

There are 2 main types of voltage regulation circuits commonly in use today, that adjust the output voltage to a healthy level for your vehicles battery setup.


PWM (Pulse Width Modulator) Solar voltage regulators emit constantly varying pulses of DC power of varying durations to control the current flowing into a battery, and efficiently provide the most available power to a battery system.

PWM regulators are one of the most popular styles of voltage regulation and is one of the most commonly included voltage regulators on many modern solar panel systems within the Adventure Kings portable camping solar panel range.


Maximum Power Point Tracking(MPPT), is an up and coming addition to the solar voltage regulator arsenal. The MPPT Regulators are considered cutting edge when it comes to extracting maximum potential wattage from a photo voltaic cell.

The MPPT regulators monitor the output voltage of the solar cell, and the ability of your battery to take a charge, and converts the output to the maximum potential current, to increase the speed of charge and efficiency of your solar panel. The MPPT style voltage regulators can improve performance up to 30% during overcast days!



When choosing a camping solar panel setup, you need to consider your average power consumption at camp. By calculating your average amperage usage per hour of all of your camping accessories, you can figure out your usual amp hour requirements.

For an example;

Appliance Amps per hour Amps over 24hrs
60L Fridge Freezer 0.83A (32 °C set to 5 °C) 19.92 Amp/hours
Illuminator 4 bar camp Light 5 A Max (6*hrs running) 30.00 Amp/hours
  TOTAL 49.92 Amp/hours

With these figures, we need our solar panel system to generate approximately 50amp hours of charge, So when looking at the Adventure Kings 120W Solar Blanket you have the a minimum daylight of 9 hours with a maximum charge potential of 7.41 Amps resulting in up to 66.69 amp hours of charge. Making it perfect for this simple camping solar setup!

Armed with this knowledge you should be able to select the perfect 12v portable solar panel setup for your setup, whether its weekend trips away, or school holiday breaks!