We traveled around the country for over a year with only the single factory 150w fixed caravan panel and Topray pwn reg, and a 100w blanket for the Engel in the car. We had a generator, a lithium jump starter, and we also had the optimal partnership of a 120ah agm connected to a 100ah gel. We didnt have a dual battery in the car either, and I dont recall ever cleaning the vans fixed panel. Back then clearly we had not a single clue about solar, batteries, life, emotional distress, that fungus on my partners foot, nor what the hell my son did all day of the damn iPad. We were and still are sooper dooper power hungry pigs, everyone had multiple devices for no real reason and no-one ever has the foresight to charge any of them while we were driving. My son was homeschooled on a laptop and we love tv so the satellite stb was on constantly. We had virtually no issues at all and the measly 2 or 3 times we flattened the car battery was always my fault because of laziness, and it was always the car and the Engel, the van was always fine (as far as we knew, because mostly everything kept working). We used the generator a handful of times; remote Xbox challenges, and once when I was lazy with the 100w blanket and my Battery World mate who insisted that the lithium jump starter would hold a charge for 12 months ... he could not have been more wrong. Out of interest that 120ah agm from back then is still kicking around, is now 12 years old and was load tested at 90% last year.Thanks heaps for your reply @Macca_75
I am a bit worried about shade hitting the rooftop panels and making them basically redundant. I'm also a bit worried about having to clean the panels regularly as I don't carry a ladder with me so access is a bit tricky.
You reckon if I get 2 x panels on the roof and a decent regulator then I won't have to worry about that? I do have a portable blanket that could supplement it if needed.
I do like the idea of not having to lug around another portable panel and constantly stress about chasing the Sun with it.
Funny twist and tips for the uninitiated with lithium jump starters. Don't ever listen to your Battery World mates charge holding advice, and disconnect your caravan. Modern climate controls are electronic, are unresponsive with the ignition is off and remember their last setting. When you turn the car on the climate system will resume its last setting, and with the van connected when you turn that ignition key to jump start the car a portion of the avaibable energy from the jump starter is gobbled up elsewhere. A little aircon thanks, and little fridge cooling thanks, but not much car starting and in our case that was enough to render the jump starter useless. We now have the benefit of a retro LC70 with hands on cable slide controls and click turn manual knobs. I still cant break the habit of always turning off the climate control even though it doesnt matter for me in the current car.
Over the years Ive absorbed the incredible knowledge of many folk, in particular, @Boots in Action and @mikerezny (pssst, keep it to yourself but I do sometimes price checked them elsewhere ). Ive done a bit (read a lot) of reading so like any true red blooded male Im now way overcompensating and things have now morphed into a completely different power world for us, but once upon a time with no clue, in a less efficient time, and with very little we were blindly successful and managed to survive on a fraction of what we have now.
For what its worth I found the Kings 200w blanket good enough to buy a second one