Power options for camping?

cam04

Well-Known Member
#22
Hi All,

I am looking for some advice on a power setup for my travels / camping.

I am based in Brisbane and most of our camping involves driving 2-3 hours to our destination, camping for 2-3 days, then driving home.

I have a 2007 Nissan patrol, which currently only has a single battery, however, there is space available under the bonnet for a 2nd battery.

We currently have a 50-56l eskey, which seems to do the job ok, however, its not very space efficient (inside and out)and usually only keeps things cold for 2 days before becoming a watery mess.

Given my situation, does it actually justify getting a fridge and dual battery?

I also like the idea of using solar to power a portable battery which can run a fridge (and other things i.e. lighting, charging phone ), but not sure of the cost of a very basic setup.

Interested to hear your thoughts?

Cheers,
Robbie
I would also recommend looking at a 3 way fridge. The cost of setting up a whole 12v system doesn’t compare to gas using the parameters you gave. If you did other forms of touring etc it would be 12v all the way but for a single static camp there’s a lot to like about a 3 way fridge. I haven’t used one in years but for a couple of weeks in a single camp on masthead or Fraser Island back when we did it, it was all gas fridges and still is.
 
#23
Hi All,

Thanks for the all advice, much appreciated.

As some suggested, although a dual battery setup would be ideal, I’m probably looking at well over $2000, which is probably a little bit of an overkill for my current needs. In the future when im doing longer trips. this is definitely the way to go.

I also explored a cheaper option at the 4x4 supercentre, which was a solar sheet, portable battery and fridge, which was about $1000.

A couple of you have recommended a 3 way gas fridge, which I might actually explore.

I will let you know how I go.

Cheers,
Robbie
 

itlldoo

Well-Known Member
#24
used a 3way fridge, all good until we got north of the tropic of Capricorn, with the hot humid it was problematic at best but still workable !
 
#25
Besides that, any concerns, dangers or things to consider when choosing a 3 way over any other setup?

A 3 way is def going to be an upgrade from an esky and ice and will only cost around $250. The dual setup is going to cost 10x the price
 

unko84

Active Member
#26
If on the cheap i personally get a biggest solar panel, greater then 10 amp solar pannel, and just hook it up to the starter battery. If not driving the next day. On an overcast day my 180 w solar pannel fixed to my roof puts a min of 2 amps from sun up to sun down to my battery. And on a good sunny midday can pull about 8 amps for only a cupple of hrs at best. That should be under the grand for solar plus fridge of from supacentre
 

Petunia

Well-Known Member
#27
Besides that, any concerns, dangers or things to consider when choosing a 3 way over any other setup?

A 3 way is def going to be an upgrade from an esky and ice and will only cost around $250. The dual setup is going to cost 10x the price
Considerations : A 3 way likes to be level, a 10$ caravan level a tube of silly cone, a level to level your level bubble bobs ya auntie.

Running on 12volts, they can/do draw 8 to 10 amps, decent wiring and decent plugs both ends. Before anderson plugs were all the gee oh, I grafted a 1/2 inch cb coaxial cable end on a lump of copper wire that could power Southeast Queesnsland, the opposing part from a cb radio in the back of the fridge, screw fitting has never fallen out and after 20ish years it is still there. The other business end is hard wired [no plug] with tricky dick wiring through a relay and console mounted switch.

Warning : left run on 12volts they will flatten a battery in as little as 3 to 5 hours without engine running.

I've used one for 20+ years as a treck fridge, and a static camp fridge, not had a compressor fridge yet.

Cheers:D
 

Petunia

Well-Known Member
#28
If on the cheap i personally get a biggest solar panel, greater then 10 amp solar pannel, and just hook it up to the starter battery. If not driving the next day. On an overcast day my 180 w solar pannel fixed to my roof puts a min of 2 amps from sun up to sun down to my battery. And on a good sunny midday can pull about 8 amps for only a cupple of hrs at best. That should be under the grand for solar plus fridge of from supacentre
Theoretical vs Reality
Volts/Amps/Watts
10amp panel @ 12volts would equate to a 120watt panel theoretically
in reality I get 7amps from a 120watt panel at peak sunlight, and the same as you 2amps across the day.
To cope with computer camera lights electric jug[whoops] I soon doubled to 240watts of panels

I can't remember it, so i have wrote it down in more than one place
Volts = Watts divided by Amps
Watts = Volts x Amps
Amps = Watts divide by Volts
this comes in handy when calculating what you are taking out of your battery system, and what you are trying to put back, theoretically
As you have said 180watt panel puts back max 8amp? yet 180watt divide by 12volt = 15amps
for simplicity i have omitted the term AmpHours and kept to 12 volts theoretically.

Fridges? Interestingly one may then introduce which fridge? and power consumption, you take out those amp hours, you got to put them back
Engel 0.5amp to 2.5amp max
OppositeLock 5.5amps [yuck]
Waeco 0.86amps average @12volt
Kickass 3degC 1.5amp -18degC 3amp[yes thats minus 18] and this one being a dual zone fridge/freezer i like the sound of it.

Cold food for thought.:D
 

unko84

Active Member
#29
Theoretical vs Reality
Volts/Amps/Watts
10amp panel @ 12volts would equate to a 120watt panel theoretically
in reality I get 7amps from a 120watt panel at peak sunlight, and the same as you 2amps across the day.
To cope with computer camera lights electric jug[whoops] I soon doubled to 240watts of panels

I can't remember it, so i have wrote it down in more than one place
Volts = Watts divided by Amps
Watts = Volts x Amps
Amps = Watts divide by Volts
this comes in handy when calculating what you are taking out of your battery system, and what you are trying to put back, theoretically
As you have said 180watt panel puts back max 8amp? yet 180watt divide by 12volt = 15amps
for simplicity i have omitted the term AmpHours and kept to 12 volts theoretically.

Fridges? Interestingly one may then introduce which fridge? and power consumption, you take out those amp hours, you got to put them back
Engel 0.5amp to 2.5amp max
OppositeLock 5.5amps [yuck]
Waeco 0.86amps average @12volt
Kickass 3degC 1.5amp -18degC 3amp[yes thats minus 18] and this one being a dual zone fridge/freezer i like the sound of it.

Cold food for thought.:D
Ture, i like to play it safe nowdays. My 180w solar is hard mounted. With my 150w sloar blanket ive got a max of 9amps and that was following the sun. The max i have seen is 12 amps with the two pannel from the research i have done when combining 2 different solar panels you have to take the reading from the lowest solar panel and dubble it, not add them both up together. btw my solar goes through 1 solar regulator with duel battery isolator for less clutter.
 

Petunia

Well-Known Member
#30
btw my solar goes through 1 solar regulator with duel battery isolator for less clutter.
As most panel/kits come with a controller GLUED to the back with silly cone that i wish i could get hold of a tube of that to glue the guards back on after they fall off in the scrub, but i digress.

it is not a good idea to just buy 2 and expect they will work, one will read the state of the other and vice versa, instead of reading the charge of the battery, actually logical Dr Spok, when you think about it.

:D
 

barcher

Well-Known Member
#31
Fridges? Interestingly one may then introduce which fridge? and power consumption, you take out those amp hours, you got to put them back
Engel 0.5amp to 2.5amp max
OppositeLock 5.5amps [yuck]
Waeco 0.86amps average @12volt
Kickass 3degC 1.5amp -18degC 3amp[yes thats minus 18] and this one being a dual zone fridge/freezer i like the sound of it.
Wouldn't take too much notice of power consumption for fridges. Would have bought one of those Opposite Lock fridges, just a bit to expensive. settled for an Engel after years of frustration with 2 supposedly power friendly Waecos.
I have 200 watt solar panel on the roof rack, we're in the Kimberley, put a dozen hot tins in the Waeco at 6am and that bloody thing would run non stop till 10pm getting them cold. There is plenty of power on offer from solar panel for most of the day and when driving but Waeco says I want to be power efficient because that makes my specs look good. At least the OL fridge has the ability to get those dozen tins cool quick, start cycling early and get some power into the aux battery before the sun goes down.
Let's face it if we all believed in spec sheets we would all be driving little Kia's.
 

boobook

Well-Known Member
#33
Theoretical vs Reality
Volts/Amps/Watts
10amp panel @ 12volts would equate to a 120watt panel theoretically
in reality I get 7amps from a 120watt panel at peak sunlight, and the same as you 2amps across the day.
To cope with computer camera lights electric jug[whoops] I soon doubled to 240watts of panels
.....SNIP:D
You only get 7 Amps because you Have a PWM regulator. You will get 10A if you throw that in the bim and get a true MPPT regulator.

As to the fridge ratings you quote, one is average, one is a one is the rating when ON only, and the last is at different temperatures. You are comparing apples to oranges to bananas and grapes with those specs.
 

Petunia

Well-Known Member
#34
Theoretical vs Reality < <

Oh yes, bummer, I have a 30Amp MPPT charge controller !! < That allows me to input up to and including 360Watts.

120 watt divide by 12 volt .... = hot damn 10amp
now unless you have o guage cable say 2 foot long, the sun at its Zenith on the 29th of February, I'd eat me old moldy leather hat if you can get a perfect 10amps from a 120 watt panel at 12volts

But wait, a solar panel puts out 17 volts, now this is interesting 120Watt divide 17volts, ouch 7.05amps !
Volts Watts Amps, all interrelated, and if you make 1 or 21 amps, no controller will suddenly increase the amperage you are not making in the first place! Unobtanium controller or otherwise.

I'm not new to the game. To straight up assume I have a shit controller? I do my Maths, and cross reference that with measured values in Reality

Thanx :D
 

peterfermtech

Well-Known Member
#35
Theoretical vs Reality < <

.................
But wait, a solar panel puts out 17 volts, now this is interesting 120Watt divide 17volts, ouch 7.05amps !
Volts Watts Amps, all interrelated, and if you make 1 or 21 amps, no controller will suddenly increase the amperage you are not making in the first place! Unobtanium controller or otherwise.

I'm not new to the game. To straight up assume I have a shit controller? I do my Maths, and cross reference that with measured values in Reality

Thanx :D
Power = energy/time. You can't destroy energy. Energy in to controller = Energy out = Energy losses + Energy for charging
More correctly should be (120-losses)/14.1(charging Voltage) = amperage
regards
 

boobook

Well-Known Member
#36
Theoretical vs Reality < <


Volts Watts Amps, all interrelated, and if you make 1 or 21 amps, no controller will suddenly increase the amperage you are not making in the first place! Unobtanium controller or otherwise.

I'm not new to the game. To straight up assume I have a shit controller? I do my Maths, and cross reference that with measured values in Reality

Thanx :D
A MPPT controller WILL increase the amps on the input compared to the input.

You should read up about how it works.
 

2002GU3

Well-Known Member
#38
Don't forget that once you set up the dual batteries it is done and you'll be able to run your fridge (and camp lights) free, with gas you'll be paying every time you go camping and eventually it will end up costing you more in the long run, not only that, but you can also run your fridge whilst driving, you can't with gas...........just to give you an idea on the real cost (as on my patrol) -- battery tray $130 --- 105AH deep cycle battery $180 --- Narva battery isolater around $100 --- wiring, Anderson plug, twin cig socket $50-$70 - all up under $500.
 

Petunia

Well-Known Member
#39
Don't forget that once you set up the dual batteries it is done and you'll be able to run your fridge (and camp lights) free, with gas you'll be paying every time you go camping and eventually it will end up costing you more in the long run, not only that, but you can also run your fridge whilst driving, you can't with gas...........just to give you an idea on the real cost (as on my patrol) -- battery tray $130 --- 105AH deep cycle battery $180 --- Narva battery isolater around $100 --- wiring, Anderson plug, twin cig socket $50-$70 - all up under $500.
Most, but not all gas fridges are ''3 way'' 12volt, 240volt, Gas. So yes you can run a 3way on 12volt whilst driving, admittedly they are hungry on the juice @ up to 10amps. I can quote the first time out, within 1 hours driving ice crystals were forming in a 2lt of milk, and thereafter the stacking/orientation was reformed.

Said fridge was mounted in the rear of the tub of a LN106, wiring was from start battery in a less than suitable size wire, but doubled up to make up the shortfall in size, which obviously worked. Ahem, yes one forgot to shut the gas down on the run home at one stage, whoops, so by error, yes you can run them on gas and 12volt concurrently but I would not recommend it. Even if everything was B C Efing colder than when hell froze over. [Lucky I can laugh at myself]

I tend to flatten calculator batteries like you would not believe, 500$ for your set up I have no problem with. I just use a calculator way to often. A 8.5kg Gas bottle lasts me 21days, so 500$ divide 25$ = 20 gas bottles. 20 gas bottles times 21 days =420days.

Having read and then read some more, and read lots more, when starting to build the current system I now have. I bought what I thought was a good VSR, and puffed my chest out when telling the sales assistant "NO I want the D model it has D for dual sensing from either end" He looked a bit astounded grabbed a D model opened the box read the instructions, then conceded that he did not know the difference between the two models . . . but I digress.

Due to my demands on my system, said VSR, was binned after it faulted, its own checking brain checks for more than 0.5volt drop across the terminals and opens the solenoid, two hungee in the bin replaced with a more reliable bog stock solenoid, and a good ole donkey switch on or off or on when you forget, less finicky than an electronic numb nut juss blinking away saying I'm not letting power through because it got a headache.

An example of a VSR that needed replacing [yes it was rated at cranking capacity] as well as Batteries. If they are punished or live a long fruitful life they do indeed need replacing. Therefore you need envision that up to 280$ out of the 500$ initial set up cost may need replacing at some time? My battery is a hybrid that has performed for over 4 years, so far, how long will it last? I don't know? Yet again gas @ 420 days = 4 weeks a year for 15 years.[assumption is not indexed to the CPI] in 15 years I would expect 2 batteries, no?

I don't intend to say one or the other is better or worse than the other, if you really crunch the numbers is either or? more costly in setup or run cost.
 
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