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geoffbeaumont

Running an Electric Cool Box in Camp

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Just a wee pointer re controllers. I looked around and picked up a MorningStar off ebay on serious discount (after a lot of research and seeing them get good reviews). Not sure if all of them have this but it has a 'load' circuit to which you attach eg a fridge,  as well as a battery circuit. What happens when you're driving (with a 2-battery split-charge system) is the alternator charges the main battery and the aux battery, and the solar controller diverts current directly from the roof to the fridge, with any surplus energy going to the aux battery (if thats the one connected to the controller circuit). If the solar input drops the controller 'hands over' to the aux battery which then runs the fridge. However if the demand on the aux battery becomes too great and the battery will be dragged too far down, the controller isolates the fridge until you either start the vehiocle (and allternator takes over) or the solar power comes back in.

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A lot of them do that, though my understanding is that it is designed so that a fridge (say) connected to the 'load' output could never fully discharge the battery and therefore damage it. It doesn't need solar for it to be running something.

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Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, Bowie69 said:

A lot of them do that, though my understanding is that it is designed so that a fridge (say) connected to the 'load' output could never fully discharge the battery and therefore damage it. It doesn't need solar for it to be running something.

Yes thats right. Thats what I was mentioning in my last post. It works quite cleverly with the IBS split charge in that it (the IBS) prioritises the starter battery and solar controller prioritises the aux battery so its a bit of a double safety net for the batteries.

Edited by Jocklandjohn

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One of the lads in the Land Rover club I’m in brought a box off these guys 

http://www.greenboxlighting.co.uk/products  it’s the one in the tool box it’s got various ways to charge the battery up inside , from the truck , charger , solar panel you can also plug an inverter into it . One of the other lads was going to have a go at knocking one up himself, which is doable , and handy for camping .

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Most controllers have a switched "load" output, it's no different to running the load directly off the Aux battery in effect. All it's giving you is a low-voltage cutoff / timer (in some cases) and a slight grounding issue as the controllers are almost always common-positive. Also makes picking a fuse size a bit of an odd one as it's putting panel-current one way down the wire but can draw load current the other. It means your controller needs to be rated for the full load current (EG 20A) even if your panel will never generate more than 5A.

In the ambulance I've left both controllers' load-side disconnected, each one has one panel feeding in and then its own cable back to the aux battery, then everything (fridge etc.) runs direct from the aux battery via a proper fusebox.

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Yup, same setup here, fridge , just left the load terminal disconnected.

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