Solar Panel Installation
Having a solar panel on my roof will allow me to be off-grid while traveling around Europe without the worry of needing a mains hookup to charge my leisure batteries.
The two 230ah leisure batteries will charge off a split charge relay, mains hookup (if available) and a 200watt solar panel.
Solar panels are fairly cheap compared to what I was expecting. Mine cost me £180 off eBay.
The solar panel was bolted down to my roof rack but first I needed to drill a hole in the roof of the van for the wires to come through. The hole was drilled above my bedside cupboard next to the sliding door, this way the wires could go down inside the cupboard and into the electrics under the bed without being visible when sitting inside the van.
I glue the waterproof junction box down with glue and sealed it all around the edge with black silicon.
I spread the waterproof sealant around the junction box so no water would get underneath the box and seep inside the van.
I had to buy an extension cable as the cable on the solar panel is very short and I needed it to reach my electrics under the bed.
Next I connected the extension cables to solar panel. They simply clip together.
Now the wiring is done outside all I had to do was bolt the solar panel to the roof rack so it wouldn’t slide off while driving.
I did this by drilling 4 holes in the roof bars and solar panel, once done I lined up the holes and bolted them together tightly.
Everything is done outside. Now its time to wire it up to the charge controller.
The extension wire coming through the roof and in to the cupboard, then it will connect to the charge controller under the bed.
The charge controller is designed to control the amount of charge coming from the solar panels that flows into the leisure batteries in order to avoid the batteries being overcharged.
The charge controller I purchased was off eBay for cheap. But I mainly wanted this one as it has a nice screen that shows details of output, input, battery percentage etc. Other charge controllers don’t offer this unless you pay more money. Its worked great so far without any problems. It does the job.
wiring the solar panel to the charge controller was very simple.
For a wiring diagram check out my other post on Installing 12v electrics in my van conversion.