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By Aimii | 08 September 2021 | 0 Comments

7 Things To Know About Portable Solar Power In RV Camping

Nowadays the off-grid RV camping becomes popular. When you are on the trail, you may often see some RVers carry a solar panel beside them. Let it fully charge the devices when they chill in the shade, and then use it for making meals and coffee. Do you feel that is the life you long for? But there are also many questions about the portable solar power for outdoors, such as is it suitable for me? How to ensure that it can provide power for a week outdoors?... Here we list 7 things you need to know about portable solar power in your RV camping life.

 

How many watts do I need for camping?


When you go camping, you would also like to enjoy as much comfort and convenience as possible. You would take at least some of your favorite devices and appliances like iPads, DVD players, and portable fridges, etc. So, how many watts of power is enough when camping?

To determine this, you have to first determine what devices you plan to carry along, and then calculate the wattage for each device.

You can get the electronics information at the tag of each device. Let's take a portable fridge as an example. If this fridge has DC 12V 2.5A, and you plan to use it 24 hours, the total watts it will draw is 12V x 2.5A x 24H. The result is 720 watt-hours. That means this portable fridge will consume 720Wh in your camping. Of cause, you may not need it to work for such a long time.

Do the same calculation with each device, and plus them together. Then you will know how many watts you need in total.

 

How much power can your portable solar panel produce per day?


The basic measure of a solar panel's performance is "watts". According to the calculation:

Watts (power) = Volts (voltage) x Amps (current)

The watt means the pure solar power generated or consumed per hour. So you also need to take the working time into consideration. Thus, the watt-hour (Wh) is what we need in the end.

Watt-hour (energy) = Watts (power) x Hours (working time)

Let's say you have an XTAR 100W portable solar panel. This XTAR solar panel has a power voltage of 17.6V and a power current of 6.25A. Its peak power is 100W. If it works for 8 hours, it will theoretically generate 800Wh power without considering other factors. Someone tested it in direct California summer sunlight. He got a peak of 100 watts and consistent 90 watts for most of the day. It fully charged a 500Wh power generator in about 8.5 hours.

So, you can generally get 500Wh in one day. If you calculate you need 400Wh in your camping, then, that's great! With this energy, you will definitely have a comfortable camping life.

 

How to make the solar panel more efficient?


Foldable solar panels are best to use when you go for RV trips or holidays on off-grid cabins. They are portable, practical, and convenient.

But the amount of power generated by the foldable solar panel also depends on the weather conditions and the angle of the panel to the sun. To get more power, you need to do something right.

First, avoid shades, and find the best location which is under direct sunlight from 8 am to 4 pm. Any off-angle to the left or right will cause it receives less solar energy.

Second, find the best orientation. It means the tilt angle of the panel. Make your solar panel as close to a 90-degree angle to the sun as possible. It is difficult for us to adjust this angle. You need to learn about the latitude and seasons of your local cities. If you live in America, then you can find the best solar panel angle on the XTAR SP100 description.

Third, ensure there is no dust or leaves on the foldable solar panels to avoid the block of sunlight.

There are also many other ways. Choose Monocrystalline silicon solar cells. Use only one appliance when charging. And use a solar focusing device etc.

In these ways, you can spend the whole day outdoors without the worry about the run out of your electricity.

 

Can I charge my phone directly from a solar panel?


A 100W solar panel is one of the best common sizes of portable solar panels. When in good sunlight, this size panel can charge your iPhone 12 mini 12 times. But, running any appliance or device directly from a solar panel is not recommended.

Since the solar itself is inconsistent and causes voltage fluctuations, it may damage your devices if charging directly from an unregulated solar panel. You need to connect a regulator or a power generator to provide a wide range of output voltage. That brings reliable power juice for your devices.

For example, XTAR provides a charging adapter EU4S for its portable solar panel. This XTAR EU4S adapter adopts MPPT charging algorithm and built-in many protections. It charges 4 devices at the same time with proper voltage. One USB-A QC3.0 port of 18W, two USB-A ports of 5V 2.4A, and one USB Type-C PD3.0 port of 45W. When installed with it, you can charge your cell phones, tablets, and other devices safe and stable.

 

How do I know if a solar panel will charge my device?


Since the instability of sun rays and the consequent voltage fluctuation. It's better to avoid charging directly from solar panels. In off-grid camping, many campers carry along with a portable power station. They install solar panels with power stations and charge their devices from the power station. In this case, you only need to check the information of power station output and your device input. Let's take an XTAR portable power station for example. It has a USB output of 38W, and an AC power output of 500W. If your portable fridge needs input power of  48W. It can definitely charge your portable fridge.

Or they connect the foldable solar panel with an inverter. Then you need to find the tag information of the inverter output power and your devices. There is no problem in charging if the output through the inverter matches the voltage and current requirements for your devices.

 

How long do portable solar panels last?


If used properly, portable solar panels can last a very long time. The average lifespan of a solar panel is 15-25 years. But this doesn't mean your solar panels will stop producing energy after that point. It just means their energy production may decrease beyond their rated production output.

The exact number depends on several factors, such as the daily usage, the panel type, the local climate, and your maintenance method. Besides these, the most important thing is to choose a solar panel manufacturer that provides a good warranty.

XTAR supports a one-year free replacement for their SP100 portable solar panel excludes manmade damage. In that case, you can buy and use it without any hesitation.

 

What portable solar panel charger should I buy?


The first thing to consider when buying a solar panel is the size of the panel. Larger solar panels reduce your charging time. But all devices have their input power limit. Let's say a device of 50W input, a 100W portable solar panel is more suitable than one of 200W.  

take a look at your device’s specifications and figure how much power their charging cables allow in. This can help prevent you from buying a panel with a wattage that exceeds your devices’ limits.

Compared with polycrystalline silicon, portable solar panels made of monocrystalline silicon have better stability and a higher photoelectric conversion rate.

You'll also want to think about the energy conversion efficiency of the solar panel. This is the measurement of how much solar energy will turn into useable energy to power your devices. A good portable solar panel can reach up to 23% of conversion efficiency.

Finally, consider what ports you need for your solar panels. Some only have one or two USB output ports, while others have USB-A, USB-C, and DC ports. Also, there are some special solar panels like XTAR SP100 that have only one DC7909 output port, installed with a multiple charging hub (act as an inverter). It can avoid damage to your devices and solar panel output ports in charging.

Portable solar power is more beneficial for the outdoors and journeying experience of RVers and mobile homeowners. With good preparation for them, you would have convenient and comfortable RV camping.

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