Welcome to Indiefairne! I opted for a mobile solar pack and a mobile solar panel for my mini camper conversion . Such systems are a good alternative for all people who either have little space when converting their camper or who somehow want to think about something with electrics and electricity in the garden and for all those who have no idea about electrics, simply do not dare to go there – like me! Or have no one who can do it for you – like me! And with this part you basically get a bucket to take power with you.
Today I'll show you how my system is set up, how expensive it was, how it can be charged, how long it lasts, what my conclusion looks like after six months, whether I'm satisfied with it and who it might be for. Which system do you use and what is it made of? On the one hand, I use a mobile solar pack, namely the Suaoki G500. This is a lithium battery with 40 amp hours, i.e. 400 watt hours and approximately 500 charging cycles. This means that it is always a little less after each cycle comparable with a cell phone and the second element is the solar panel. This is a 50 watt offgridtec solar panel and with this package there were still a lot of accessories: First there is a power supply unit, so you can plug it into the socket and the other one to the solar pack and then you can charge it wherever are sockets and electricity there.
The second part is a plug that fits into the 12-volt cigarette lighter, for example in a car. The third is an adapter for a solar panel and that can then be connected to the plug on the solar panel. This does not work with every solar panel, but with the one here from Offgridtec, for example. Because I always have an electrical bag somewhere , but I put it somewhere different every time.
There it is. The fourth part is a connection for the battery, in case you have to jump start the car yourself. Yes, user manual and twelve month guarantee … You know, no. The part weighs 5.6 kilograms and the dimensions are 22 centimeters wide, 14 centimeters deep and 25 cm high. It also has a great handle here so that you can carry it. In the end it's a mobile solar pack. What does the system offer and what is it suitable for? First of all, the part has three important nicely shaped buttons. Once the on button, once the button for direct current and once the button for alternating current. Then there is a socket for 12 volts here. Among other things, you can connect such a mobile … such an air compressor if you ever have a flat tire or somehow want to add a little more air and you are completely in the pampas. Then there is an LCD display here. You can then see what the charge level is, the status. Afterwards you can also see how much electricity is coming in and how much is being withdrawn. Then we have four USB ports where you can charge lamps, for example, charge a camera and everything that works via USB plugs.
There are also two DC connections, i.e. direct current connections for lamps, for example. Here is the connection for the jump starter, for the jump starter plug. If you ever want to jump start your car yourself or your battery because you got stuck. Here is the plug, the button place for the solar panel and here is the power supply if you want to charge the thing via the socket. There are two sockets on the other side. You also get real 230-volt electricity from there. All connections are only for devices up to 300 watts.
So please leave the large mixer and the TIG welding machine at home if you want to use such a part. It has a CE mark, which means you have at least certified security. When the part flares up like that, you sit at home with your certificate: Yes … The part is also protected against deep discharge. Before it is deeply discharged, it switches itself off automatically, even if your consumers are not drawing any electricity for a while, for example, then it also switches off automatically. How can it be charged? There are three ways in which you can charge it: On the one hand, via the power supply unit directly at the socket, via the 12-volt plug for the cigarette lighter in the car, while driving. You can't get it up to 100 percent full, so you can only ever get up to 90, 95 percent. And the third option is through a solar panel. How long does it take for the thing to charge? Via the power supply: I usually do this overnight, but I always see that it is full beforehand.
So experience has shown me between 5 and a maximum of 8 hours. And I also tried it via the cigarette lighter while driving. It was very, very slow. So I don't know. I didn't finish it because it just took too long. Then via the solar panel. Of course, it depends on how many watts, how much capacity your solar panels have, mine has 50 watts, as I said, and depending on how many hours of sunshine you have, how much energy comes in. For me it was two days roughly, if you calculate that you have five hours of sunshine at a time, so with a small solar panel with 50 watts it takes about two days. How and where do you charge the thing? I usually do it at home, before I go on a tour anyway, I charge the pack at home. And of course it depends on which consumers you have, how long it lasts, but for most of the trips I take, it's enough to do it that way.
If I'm on the road for a longer time, then you can use the electricity on a parking space, you can use the electricity, shore power on a campsite, you can stop in a café or restaurant, fast food snack bar, something and see if there is a socket where you can plug it in. Of course, if you have longer journeys, you can somehow charge the cigarette lighter via the socket there, but I usually don't do it. I charge it either beforehand or somewhere where I have access to electricity and every now and then for a few hours. And otherwise the best way for me, when it's sunny, is really through the solar panel.
That works pretty well. What can you charge with one charge from such a solar pack and how long does such a charge last on average? So once the thing is charged, it depends, of course, on what capacity does your solar pack have? As I said, mine has 400 watt hours and then it depends on the consumer. I have a couple of lights, a cell phone, maybe a laptop and nothing else big, now no compressor cooler or, somehow, I don't charge a laptop often, I don't need it that often. Just to give you an idea: You could charge a compressor cooler with it for about 3 hours rather than 8 hours. And you can charge a laptop with it about three times and if I only use it for the set of consumers that I have designed for myself here, the part will last up to two weeks. What do you have to pay attention to? Cold, heat, tremors. Lithium batteries like this no longer work quite as effectively when it is particularly cold. So if you get towards zero degrees Celsius or something, you won't get that much power out of there.
Then heat: you have to make sure that you don't leave the thing in the blazing sun. It shouldn't get hotter than 50 degrees Celsius. Therefore, in midsummer, when the thing is in the car, it can happen quickly. So put it somewhere that is a little shady. Somewhere on the ground. And the last point: tremors. The pack shouldn't just fly through the car somewhere. It must have a secure footing when you drive, it should be somewhere where it has a safe place somewhere and cannot fly around.
Very important: You must never plug the part into the socket via the power supply unit and charge it and charge it via solar at the same time. You have to pay attention to this. Otherwise the thing will have too much energy input, i.e. watts. Then it can overheat. This can damage the cells and in the worst case scenario, there is a fire. However, if you find such videos helpful, give this video a thumbs up and subscribe to the channel. Because there is a lot more of it here.
What are the disadvantages of the solar pack? Point one: The starter function, to help you jump start, only works if your car does not have a displacement that is larger than four liters. Point 2: With the 12-volt charge via the cigarette lighter socket in the vehicle while driving, you do not get the 400 watt-hours 100 percent full. Point three: Something very practical (NOT): The light from the screen is annoying at night, it is relatively bright and if you use the part in your camper, for example, and it is dark inside in the evening, then you always have to somehow put something over it because that's pretty dazzling.
Why didn't you permanently install the solar panel on the roof, for example? This has two advantages: firstly, people don't see from a distance that this is a campervan and secondly, I can only take it with me when I really need it. For example on longer tours. I just said that the solar pack lasts for about two weeks and I don't have to carry the solar panel with me every time. There is one more point and that is, I didn't have to cut into the body of the car. Because if I had wanted to lay the cables here, I would have had to attach this solar panel somehow, so first I would have needed a roof rack or something like cross braces and would probably have had to somehow make a hole in here so that I can put the cables through here.
I didn't have to do that now. How do you transport the solar panel? Simply turned around in the front of the passenger seat so that you don't immediately see that it is a solar panel. Then it's out of the way and fine. If someone should sit in front now, I can simply move it backwards. It's only 50 watts. It's not that huge. I was also accused of: Yes, yes, you with your refrigerator in the passenger seat. This also signals that there is only room for one person here! How do I know whether such a solar pack is worthwhile for me? Ask yourself which consumers you will have, which ones are definitely fixed, which ones cannot be cut down. For example: For me it was the refrigerator. I thought I definitely have to take something that uses electricity. There are also solutions without.
The lamps, cell phone, camera batteries, laptop were definitely fixed. And what I could cut out, for example, was the pump for the water. Usually it also needs electricity. I found a solution for myself without electricity. Then you should ask yourself: What do I want to use this solar pack for? How do you travel? What are the usage scenarios? For me, I don't live in the camper, but just travel from time to time.
Sometimes a few weeks, sometimes several days and it was just not worth it for the purpose of fitting such a huge electrical system into the car and that's why it was definitely a good option for the purpose. Then you should ask yourself how often do you have access to electricity and solar energy? The solar panel is maybe not such a big thing for people traveling in Germany. Or maybe it doesn't make that much sense. But if you now say that you are mainly on the road in summer, something speaks for it again. Then the question: Do you often go to campsites? Do you always have access to shore power or are you only standing on parking spaces where there is electricity? Then you can ask yourself whether you absolutely need it. Then you can solve that differently and otherwise, if you want to be more self-sufficient, want to be away for a few days and be free and so on, then a solar pack is more for you. How much is it? How much did you pay? Where can you get such a solar pack? I bought my entire system second-hand/used, namely the solar pack, the panel and all the additional parts and still with two extension cables of 25 meters.
I bought this used as a complete set for 300 euros, but from someone I knew and who I knew had only tried the thing but no longer used it. Why is it important? If you are thinking of buying something used, you have to keep these 500 charge cycles in mind. Because if someone has been using this for a long time, it may be that many of these charging cycles are already gone and that the capacity drops accordingly. If you want to buy this new: I've seen everything between 250 and over 500 euros. The cheapest regular offer I come across is at Real for 369 euros. It's currently sold out again, but it keeps coming back. Same with Amazon. It's sold out at various retailers from time to time, but keeps coming back in. There are certainly alternatives to this system. It doesn't have to be the exact model. If you want something like that, if you would be interested in such a comparison with other solar packs, if such topics are interesting for you, then leave a comment for me.
What are alternatives to bridge? If the part is now sold out again or if that's too much money for you or something, then you can get ahead with power banks. 10,000s or 20,000s definitely help to charge lamps and cell phones a few times and could be an alternative. I am personally glad that I did not make a big sketch for the electrics and cabling of the mini camper and, if I should make the decision again, based on the experience of the last six months, I would definitely go for a mobile solar pack and in combination with a solar panel and I would not build it in permanently, but use it in the same way as I do now. Conclusion: Better to invest in a mobile solar pack than in a dream catcher and a "home" sign for the camper. I would be interested in how did you solve the issue of electricity for you? Have you made the big draft and laid the electrics in your camper or did you somehow find another solution? That would interest me especially with the mini campers.
Please write me in the comments. That was a video from Indiefairne. My name is Chantal Stauder. The man behind the camera is Henning Westerkamp. Thank you for watching, I wish you all a good trip and, if you like, we'll see you again next week..