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  #1  
Old 23 May 2013
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Fridge Observations

I have been running a Waeco CR50 for about a year, I have been running it from 4x 40w solar panels. When parked up for 5 nights with only lights and I pods they could not keep up both in hot sun and in this country (UK). I have tested the drain and it is 4,5amps. I have now put 4 more panels and hope that it will keep up.Based on the fact that the fridge does not run continuously.
The fridge works great including freezer. On a dull day in this country the 4 panels were producing 2amps, I have not got a tester myself and did not have any sun when my mate tested it.

just my observations

Graeme
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  #2  
Old 23 May 2013
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4 amps is not a lot of draw , what type of controller are you using and are your batteries in good order and how many

if you want to really know all about solar have a look on canal world forum there is a great deal of info and the subject tends to come up two or three times a day also take a look at this site
12V Packages
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  #3  
Old 23 May 2013
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you could also take a look at the Solar Electricity Handbook

Solar Electricity Handbook: A Simple Practical Guide to Solar Energy - Designing and Installing Photovoltaic Solar Electric Systems: Amazon.co.uk: Michael Boxwell: Books

4 panels should provide pretty much the entire requirement for a small motorhome!! To give you an idea I put a 190W panel on my uncles yacht and it is more than adequate for all his useage.

does sound like your batteries aren't holding the charge though as what you are producing should be plenty. You probably aren't producing enough to totally cover useage but as a top up should be fine. bear in mind the fridge is on a stat so doesn't run all the time.

How many AH is your battery?

I would also test the output of each panel. The output sounds quite low for 4 panels. What is the quoted Amps of the panels? You will never achieve it in reality but will give you a guide.
How have you connected them?. Assuming they are 12v or over each you should be connecting them in parallel. If you connect in series the volts will be added together while the amps is set at the lowest output of the worst performing panel. You voltage regulator will then of course reduce the voltage back down. BY connecting in parallel the amps of each panel are added together while the volts remains the same.

The amps you are getting is what I would expect from one panel or a set of series connected panels so I would check there first.
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  #4  
Old 24 May 2013
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Thanks for the tips and advice, the only thing I havn't tested is individual panels. I have 2x 110amp leisure batteries, flooded type, under a year old.

Graeme
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  #5  
Old 25 May 2013
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ok, your batteries should be ample as long as they are getting a decent top up during the day time. should be good for going on for 50 hours without top up!
post the results here, it'll give me a clue

also, check the voltage before the charge controller, i.e. the voltage actually coming off the panels. Be careful, if you have inadvertently connected them in series your starting to get into decent voltages and DC can arc rather well, don't ask me how I know!!
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  #6  
Old 27 May 2013
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What charge controller are you using ?

An MPPT controller seens to give 20-30% more charge from the same panels from the reading I've been doing

I think mine runs at about 150 watts of solar with 2 * 85 ah leisure and it copes fine with the fridge, led lighting and the radio on
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  #7  
Old 2 Jul 2013
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more info

My set up and what is happening

My leisure batteries appear not to be holding a charge. I have 8x40w panels a Morningstar Prostar 30a controller running into 2x 110ah Dynamic leisure batteries 01/10/2011(flooded). I also have a waeco perfectcharge MCA 1235 Battery charger (new) I am running a waeco CR50 fridge that draws 4.5amps when running. Most of my lighting is LED apart from 2 tube lights. I have a large amplifier which I am not sure of the draw but I have disconnected so as to test.

I have just been away for the weekend and the batteries died quickly with the fridge only then working when the sun shone! I am thinking the batteries must be knackered. I have contacted Bimble solar for advice and am awaiting reply, I have also contacted the battery company who suggest I bring them in for testing, they are of course out of guarantee! I have this fancy new waeco charger so the batteries are getting a proper mains charge.
I have put my multimeter on the batteries and turned on only the fridge the voltage drops very fast from about 13.5v down to 11v in about 5 minutes. solar is producing 13.2v.

I can get a pair of numax 110 a/h XV31CXV for £160

all your thoughts are welcome

Graeme
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  #8  
Old 16 Jul 2013
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I am using Numax 110ah batteries (3 of) and they seem fine. I have 2 solar panels that give me about 14 AMPS in the peak sun. If the batteries are full, the controller backs that off to almost nothing.

We use a compressor fridge and a Freezer (2 units) and the panels can keep up, in ideal conditions (i.e. air is cold so they do not have to do much cooling, and the sun is clear and shining). (and it is like that in Bolivia!).

Merv.
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  #9  
Old 17 Jul 2013
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Thanks Merv,

I had my batteries checked and they were faulty....I have just bought two Numax 120a so I will see what happens next! we are off for three weeks so that will be a good test.

Graeme
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  #10  
Old 12 Oct 2013
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We're using a Waeco CR110 - in temperatures greater than 40 deg C (in the shade) it's running all the time - be warned that you need to factor this into any power calculations if you're going somewhere hot!
You will also need to make sure that the ventilation behind it is AT LEAST what the manufacturers recommend, we have also built-in a ventilation fan that pumps the hot air from the fridge out of the truck when it all starts to get too much!

Ian
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  #11  
Old 12 Oct 2013
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I'm running an Engel MT45 fridge in my Defender. I have a GB-Sol 70W semi flexible panel glued to the roof. I also have a Morningstar Sunsaver MPPT regulator with a pair of Optima batteries (one Red Top and one Yellow Top). You can see more information about the set-up using this link

I have found that the current draw from the Engel is quite low. The aux battery was able to run the Engel for 60 hours whilst the Defender was parked under a large tree that blocked out any light for the panel. Subsequently, when parked up for five days on a Berlin street, the battery was still in a good level of charge. More info here

It seems that faulty batteries may the primary problem for the original post. However, there may also be some issues with equipment and the way it is connected. During my research, I found that an MPPT regulator is far superior to the cheaper regulators and provides more power from the same panels. However, to be effective, each panel should have its own MPPT regulator. I also found that there were a lot of e-bay sellers listing cheap Chinese panels with even cheaper regulators. A good 70-watt panel should be enough to keep the fridge running, so you would expect that four 40-watt panels would be twice as good. But a lot depends on the quality of the panels, the quality of the regulator and the way everything is connected.

I don't pretend to understand the complexities of this issue. I received excellent advice and customer service from Andy at Midsummer Energy and bought both the GB-Sol panel and the Morningstar MPPT regulator from him - Midsummer Energy - solar panels
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  #12  
Old 14 Jun 2014
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Fridge long term use review

Hi All,
I thought I would right a bit more on the subject....I have had no further problems and am now using 8x40w panels I know this sounds a lot to some people but they were free, and old, so maybe not so good, as they came from an old installation. That said I had the room on my roof and no money for new ones. I am also using a fancy charger when using mains power. Weaco PerfectCharge IU 252A. As far as the fridge goes it has been so far fantastic it has been on constantly for about two and half years and works very well. I think the freezer is a bit of a waste of time but we do make ice and have ice pops! my only other gripe is that the plastic top shelf cover on the door is easy to break by shutting the door with it left up by accident, so it went in the bin fairly quickly! I have not taken the van over lots of rough roads so cannot say if it will shake itself to bits but I don't thinks so. I would buy one again.

Graeme
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