Maximising Your Charge Sources

One of the most common comments we receive from users across the market is the statement “we run from a solar system”, but do not elaborate any further on what makes up their total “System”. Using the term “Solar System” is really a generic term for describing a self sustainable application, but it is amazing how many people do not truly understand on-board independent power and how important maximising charge sources in their system is. When looking for independent power, users must realise that they rely on power more than they can imagine, from fridges and lighting direct from the onboard battery, to running microwaves and televisions from the AC power inverter just as a basic example.

The independent power system relies on maximising as many battery recharging sources as possible. In brief, maximising charge sources can be from:

Solar panels

Feeding via a regulator into your batteries. This system is generally sized to power your main DC load (refrigeration), as well as provide some charge over and above this demand. It is important to remember that solar panels are ONLY a charging source for your batteries.

Smart Battery charger

The real heart of the independent power system is a smart battery charger, and is often overlooked by most people with the least amount of investment made in this area. Very rarely will a solar system fully charge your batteries, while a smart charge will do so nearly every time (if 240vac mains power is provided for sufficient periods and the battery charger is sized to your system properly).

Alternator Charge

Often overlooked, but is another major charge source while travelling. For advanced use of this charge, a smart regulator can be applied which turns your alternator into a three stage smart battery charger.

Wind Turbines

Often only used in Marine or Land based applications, but with power generated from the Wind.

Portable AC Generator

Often the most efficient means of recharging batteries. Running an AC generator provides the fastest, most accurate charging rate if used through a smart battery charger as previously described.

The main point we want to push to everyone is this, if you rely on your batteries to power your independent power system, be sure to look beyond just “putting on a few solar panels”, and look at other methods of charging. It is a good thing to remember the following:

You can never have too many charging sources!