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Going off grid & advice on power set up

Discussion in 'Defender 90 / 110 / 130' started by smudge1989, Jul 12, 2019.

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  1. smudge1989

    smudge1989 Member

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    I'm fairly new to all this overlanding and I'm currently kitting out my defender to take the family and I off on adventures (at times off grid) mainly in the UK and at sometimes Europe.

    If anyone can give advice on the best set up for mainly powering a 50-60ltr compressor fridge, off-grid for upto a week it would be greatly appreciated? There maybe the odd light but nothing else.

    I'm looking at getting a secondary deep cycle battery but also some sort of solar panel set up.

    The last thing I want is to turn the key and say the wife and kids, start pushing :)

    Can anyone point me in the right direction of a good solar panel brand and also any advice wuld be most welcome :)

    Cheers
     
  2. My Old Landy

    My Old Landy Well-Known Member

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    It's a huge subject and many different answers!! You will need to know the current draw or wattage of the fridge. The batteries can be of different chemistry lithium being the newest and most expensive!!
    I am on my phone atm but if no one else answers I will try and give links to setups etc
     
  3. Mcclegend

    Mcclegend Well-Known Member

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    That’s a huge question to ask.
    Current draw of fridge x number of hours it needs to run per day off the battery = amp hour from your aux battery.
    3 ish. x 17 hours. (Camp at 5pm set off at 10am). =. 51 amp hours used per day

    Deep cycle batteries depending on Make only usually be discharged to 60%. So 125 amp hour battery is needed to keep the fridge running overnight.
    (This all depends what your fridge actually draws tho)

    Battery management system. You could diy something together with a voltage sensing relay and a standard relay off the ignition for £40 or by some thing like a red arc system for £100’s.

    Solar panels are brilliant I’ve got two, on the caravan. but can’t be count on. On a hot sunny day the panels can pull in more power than I can use then other days nothing.

    I’ve probably confused you but if you come back to us with what fridge your thinking of getting we can try and help.
     
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  4. Mcclegend

    Mcclegend Well-Known Member

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    My Old Landy likes this.
  5. Scooby22

    Scooby22 Well-Known Member

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    A caravan 3way fridge would be another way to go, you can run it on gas, 12 volt battery or 240 mains, it would require a hole cutting in the landy side for an air vent and the flue but once installed it could run on propane or butane gas. And a 100 watt solar panel would keep a secondary battety topped up for lighting and a tv.
     
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  6. smudge1989

    smudge1989 Member

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    Thanks for everyone coming back to me, I thought it was a bit over my head hence the shout out, seems a bit of a minefield and not a straight forward question to ask.

    I was speaking to a guy at MPS yesterday and he advised "National Luna"(Couldn't afford one anyway) would be a bit over the top for my requirements. I'm looking at 2 months max a year of camping, mainly the UK and a couple of weeks Europe with a mix of off-grid and sites. I am about to set off early August with the family touring the Baltic states for a month mind, but this is a one off for my Wifes 50th. He advised looking at the Bearmach 52 Ltr with a cover, http://www.mps-trading.co.uk/bearmach-portable-52ltr-12/24v-&-230v-compressor-fridge/freezer---web-sales-only---stock-due-in-24-7-19-we-are-taking-backorders-for-these.~185 . (Come with a 3 yr warranty) The price is guiding me as at this stage I don't fancy forking out a fortune on a ARB or Engel in case the family don't like it.

    Good shout on the videos, I'll have a look at them this afternoon, what solar panel brand have you got?

    The caravan 3-way fridge sounds like a good idea but the hole in the side would bring a tear to my eye, she's a good looking thing....:p
     
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  7. smudge1989

    smudge1989 Member

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    is it courtesy on these forums to reply to each post individually or in one go?
     
  8. Mcclegend

    Mcclegend Well-Known Member

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    National lunar, South African fridge I believe I’ve nothing but good things about them.

    Solar panel and battery matching isn’t easy you need to know how much power you need. Half the time I think that’s why it costs so much for people to work it out for you.

    Solar panel brands, one of mine was a sun solar from a company in Penrith, hot £160 for 80watt panel. The other was a cheap in branded thing off eBay £65 for 80watts never had a problem with either of them.

    I would just go for cheaper ones if it was me. There are good suitcase ones that you set up when you camp.
     
  9. ogb

    ogb Active Member

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    FWIW we've eventually fitted 2 aux batteries that run the fridge (Engel) and lights etc when off grid. In France this year, with bright sunshine between, say, 10 and 4, the 100w solar panel was managing to keep the batteries up to coping with the loads placed on the fridge in 35 degree heat for 3 days. Minimal use of anything else. After that we needed to run the engine.
     
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  10. smudge1989

    smudge1989 Member

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    Cheers for all your help, I've got a good idea of what I need to do now.
     
  11. kermit_rr

    kermit_rr Well-Known Member

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    The biggest issue is panel location. A lot of folks put them on the roof, but this means they rarely point at the sun, especially in winter when the sun is lower which means they become less efficient.
    Regular cleaning is the next biggest thing even a big leaf on your panel can drastically reduce its efficiency
     
  12. smudge1989

    smudge1989 Member

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    I've going to have two howling moon tents sitting on the top so I think I may need to have a mobile one which I set up when at base. Top tip on keeping it clean.
     
  13. Shippers

    Shippers Well-Known Member

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    That's going to make it very top heavy when driving have you thought about that...
     
  14. smudge1989

    smudge1989 Member

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    yeah, we're not going to be doing anything silly, off-road tracks to find camp spots etc. nothing where I'm finding myself at a silly angle.
     
  15. kermit_rr

    kermit_rr Well-Known Member

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    its not just silly angles, adding over 100kg to your roof will significantly affect stability on road too
    before you go ahead, i would check the max permissible weight you're allowed to put on the roof, I think you'll be surprised
     
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  16. border

    border Well-Known Member

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    Ive got a 120 watt 12 volt solar panel here Brand New still in box., cost £100 you can have it for 50 quid, not to far from you.
    I got two for lights ect for my garage which is off grid but only needed 1, connected to good Leisure battery and it works great never let me down yet.
    I can post pics if your interested in it.
     
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