What type of battery?
Caravans, Boats and many types of equipment will already have a battery fitted and this will be used ,
A suitable type is the Leisure battery freely available for caravan use, having good capacity and designed for repeated discharge / charge cycles. It is important to note that repeated deep discharging will damage the battery. For small systems, caravans static and touring, motor homes and boats this type is recommended and price is low due to the volume produced and sold.
The true motive power battery designed to be used in vehicles such as wheel chairs, golf carts also large sizes
used in milk floats & fork lift trucks. This type can withstand repeated very deed discharge the initial price is high but for use in a large solar / wind system are well worth consideration.
Sealed gel cells are expensive but being leak proof and maintenance free are useful where their characteristics are
needed such as inside equipment or when batteries are transported a great deal. At regular intervals we get supplies of this type usually taken from computer systems where they have been on stand and charged on a maintenance
NI-CAD's (nickel cadmium) Available in many sizes usually seen as standard sized cells such as "AA","C","D" etc. easily charged and freely available, they can be used in standard equipment and charged by the smaller sized panels. All batteries will have losses, a new Leisure type battery may lose up to 15% of its capacity per month this will increase with age and the amount of misuse it is subject to, Both over charging and deep discharging will shorten its life and increase losses.
Failures are usually due to water damage either to panel or connections. The angle the panel is set at & air gap
behind the panel will reduce the chance of failure. Over the long term checking and repairing the silicon seals as
required especially in a marine environment. Check battery connections periodically as you check battery levels, fuse
holder and connections should BE kept dry and clean. Panels having no moving parts are very reliable
Try not to use panels Horizontal as rain will not clear and clean panel resulting in a reduced output due to a build up
of air-born pollutants removing this can be very difficult without the use of abrasive materials also increasing the chance of failure a few degrees will help and be better than nothing .
Framed panels have slots built in the frame which accept the head of a bolt this should be used when ever
possible. A frame can be made up for permanent fixing with provision for angular adjustment over the seasons.
Using aluminium angle or dexion for side frames.
CARAVAN / MOTOR homes.
A simple and quick method of fixing consists of 2 x 2OOmm lengths of aluminium angle bolted to panel side frame
and drilled to take a lock each side, a chain or motorcycle lock passed through the A frame, around wheel or jacking
points locked tightly on to panel will prevent panel being blown over and stop the opportunist thief.
Panels can be permanently fixed to roof taking note of frame and fixing point strength, angle and windage.
Framed panels can be fitted on brackets above wheel house or on a hatch cover. A clip type of arrangement can be
made to attached while moored and removed when on board.
Beach hut / STATIC CARAVANS/ BUILDINGS.
Mounted on the roof, simple brackets allow easy fixing, charging a battery to allow the use of lighting and an alarm system .
REMEMBER. ALL PANELS ARE SEALED BUT FOR A LONGER LIFE TRY AND INSTALL BEHIND GLASS.