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How practical are your solar panels during winter months?  

June 2, 2018   |   By Liam Arthur How practical are your solar panels during winter months?   - image 161025-Watagans-14-of-57 on https://www.4wdsupacentre.com.au/news

 

The cold months of the year are here! WOO HOO, if you are like us this means spending chilly nights around roaring campfires with good mates! Whilst there is quite a range of climates around Oz, you’ll find that no matter where you like to unroll your swag, the winter months are some of the best for getting away in!

 

If you’ve been spending a bit of time setting up your 4WD’s 12v system to let you run a portable car fridge and LED camping lights when you’re at camp, you may be wondering about adding portable solar panels to your setup to help maintain your battery voltage. A portable solar panel is a fantastic way to prevent your auxiliary deep cycle battery from going flat, and by bringing one with you, it lets you stay at that perfect campsite for longer.

 

However many campers who are relatively new to using a camping solar panel may ask the question whether it’s worth running a solar panel during winter, and our answer to that is clear – YES!

Of course, winter brings with it shorter days which means less sunlight but here’s the funny thing. Heat is the enemy of electrical circuits in general. The hotter the ambient temperature is, and the hotter the temperature of an electrical system component such as a camping solar panel gets, the less it is able to perform.

As heat creates resistance and prevents the flow of electrons within a wire or conductor the hot sunshine actually slows down the generation of 12v power!

 

Because of this phenomenon, the irony is that although winter days are shorter and often not as sunny, when the sun is out, your camping solar panel will actually perform at its peak during the winter!

However, because the days are so short, especially the further south you get, the angle of the sun changes quite quickly and tends to stay a lot lower in the sky too. This means you need to be very at tentative to moving your solar panel to face directly into the sun to maximize the power it can produce.

So in these southern latitudes you will have to do a few things to get the most out of your camping solar panel, do a good search for ‘Peak Sun Hours’ along with the location you’re going camping to. It’ll show you what the average daily sunshine amount is, which in Weipa’s case is 5.5 hours per day. You can then use that to calculate what sized portable solar panel you need. If you’re running a fridge that draws on average 2 amps per hour, plus some LED camp light and fans that’ll draw another 10A per day, you’re going to need to replenish 58A of power every 24 hours.

The Adventure Kings 160W Portable Solar Panel has a peak output of 8.75A, whereas the Adventure Kings 250W Portable Solar Panel has a peak output of 13.74A. If you’re getting 5.5 hours of peak sunlight and need to replenish 58A of power in that time, you’ll need a camping solar panel that can produce at least 10.5A of peak power. That means the Adventure Kings 250W portable solar panel is the one you want in this scenario.

 

It’s worth mentioning that this scenario focuses only on solar panel power production – you can still produce power to recharge your auxiliary deep-cycle battery by going for a drive as your alternator can crank a lot of amps back into the battery in a short period of time or alternatively you can kick over your camping generator for maximum output!

So, if you’re wondering whether winter’s a worthwhile time to invest in solar power for your campsite, the simple answer is yes! A high-quality camping solar panel is worth its weight in gold whenever you’re out camping, but they perform at their peak in cool, sunny conditions.

Add an Adventure Kings Portable Solar Panel to your 12v system and you’ll be able to forget about the worries and headaches of a flat auxiliary deep cycle battery.