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Charging the ArkPak with Solar Power

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Posted: 3 years ago Quote #412
Hi -

I recently purchased the ArkPak system and really like it.  We are using it as an auxiliary battery to power lights in the evening, charge our laptops/phones, and various other minimal electrical needs in our VW Vanagon while camping.  

We will not be using our ArkPak for about five weeks.  The ArkPak is now fully charged and in our Vanagon with our 13w Goal Zero solar panels hooked up to the ArkPak's two external battery terminals.  We have the battery isolator switch on (vertical), but everything else on the ArkPak is turned off, including the LED monitor.  We have a Goal Zero charge controller connecting the Goal Zero solar panels and the ArkPak to top off the battery as necessary.  Do you see any problems leaving a fully charged ArkPak connected to a 13w solar panel with the battery isolator switch on for an extended period of time?  

Thanks very much for your input.  Best Regards,
Karen.
Posted: 3 years ago Quote #413
HI Karen

i see no problem with the above set up as you are using the correct equipment ( charge controller) to protect your battery when charging up via solar.

if you have any more questions please ask.

Regards

Brett from Ark
http://www.arkcorp.com.au/
Posted: 3 years ago Quote #414
Thanks Brett.  I thought we were okay, but wanted to double check.  

Karen.
Posted: 3 years ago Quote #638
Hi I thought I'd just tack on to this thread based on it's title - when I talked to one of your guys at the Melbourne 4WD Show stand, I was told I wouldn't need a regulator for my solar panels cos I could run them through the smart charger.

This doesn't seem to be case based on reading the instructions (which take a bit of reading I have to say!). So categorically - which inputs will make use of the smart charger, and if it's only the DC/DC or AC/DC power supplies, can I run the solar panels into the DC/DC power supply via a cigarette lighter socket?

Thanks,

Dean
Posted: 3 years ago Quote #639
dseverino:
Hi I thought I'd just tack on to this thread based on it's title - when I talked to one of your guys at the Melbourne 4WD Show stand, I was told I wouldn't need a regulator for my solar panels cos I could run them through the smart charger.

This doesn't seem to be case based on reading the instructions (which take a bit of reading I have to say!). So categorically - which inputs will make use of the smart charger, and if it's only the DC/DC or AC/DC power supplies, can I run the solar panels into the DC/DC power supply via a cigarette lighter socket?

Thanks,

Dean



Hi Dean, I actually asked a similar question a few hours ago here http://www.arkcorp.com.au/boards/topic/40/charging/page/4

I understand that only the DC-DC and AC-DC power supplies utilise the smart charger, Id also like to know if its possible to wire a cigerette socket onto the solar panels and use that to charge.

Thanks also
Posted: 3 years ago Quote #645
Hi Dean

i can assure you that when charging the Ark Pak by solar you MUST have a charge controller or voltage regulator this is to protect your battery from overcharging.

Regards

Brett from Ark
http://www.arkcorp.com.au/
Posted: 3 years ago Quote #649
Hi ARK,

Following on from this string, can you advise whether the WAECO PS120W solar panel (with a 12 volt, 10 amp heavy duty regulator) will combine well with the ArkPak and a 80-100 amp battery?

regards,
Ron
Posted: 3 years ago Quote #650
Hi Ron

your above suggestion is suitable and will combine well with the ark pak.

Regards

Brett from Ark
http://www.arkcorp.com.au/
Posted: 2 months ago Quote #1362
Hi!

I want to use a folding 100w solar panel with my ArkPak 730, but I don't know EXACTLY what I need to buy. Right, I got it, that I need to but a folding 100w solar panel (duh), and that it will be attached to the ArkPak through the red/black terminals on the ArkPak box. But ... is there something else I need, some kind of regulator or charger and if so, specs of such a "thing". I only want to use that if we get a camping space without power and want to run our fridge and water pump.

A sketch of how to how it all together would be helpful.

Thanks muchly in advance!
Posted: 2 months ago Quote #1364
Hi musicofnote

you have asked a great question and i am happy to help you with the information.

what ever solar panel brand you are looking at buying or you may already have you must make sure it has its own charge controller or voltage regulator, this is very important as it protects your battery from being over charged.

any reputable solar panel brand will always include a charge controller or voltage regulator that matches the solar panel.

if you have any more questions please ask.

Regards

Brett
http://www.arkcorp.com.au/
Posted: 2 months ago Quote #1365
Hi musicofnote

you have asked a great question and i am happy to help you with the information.

what ever solar panel brand you are looking at buying or you may already have you must make sure it has its own charge controller or voltage regulator, this is very important as it protects your battery from being over charged.

any reputable solar panel brand will always include a charge controller or voltage regulator that matches the solar panel.

if you have any more questions please ask.

Regards

Brett
http://www.arkcorp.com.au/
Posted: one month ago Quote #1369
Hi Brett!

Thanks for getting back to me. s

Ok, now if I understand, I get a portable solar panel. There is probably a cable running from it to a charge regulator or some such. The must be some cable running from that to the ArkPak.

Have I got it so far?

Now, what would be better, more efficient and still allow me to run things off the ArkPak while charging via solar?
1) use the red/black poles to hook the charge regulator to?
2) somehow hook the charge regulator to the Anderson plugs - HOW?


Thanks again!!
Posted: one month ago Quote #1370
Hi Musciofnote  

you are 100% correct with your assumption about the cables running to the charge controller and then cables running from that to the ark pak depending on the brand of solar panel you get the cable that runs from the charger controller to the Ark pak may come in one of several configurations you would need to check with the solar panel company what configuration it comes with.

1- you get a connection that has standard alligator clips that can connect to the external terminals on the left hand side of the ark Pak

2- you get a connection with ring terminals again you can connect this to the left hand side of the ark pak external terminals.

3- you get a Anderson plug connection that will plug into the right hand side of the Ark paks Anderson connection port.


and there is no problem with you charging and discharging at the same time either.

if you have any more questions please ask.

Regards

Brett from Ark
http://www.arkcorp.com.au/
Posted: one month ago Quote #1379
Thanks for the info, but I still have a question.

If I were to attach my ArkPak directly with the Anderson plug to the alternator, I assume the built in charging regulator would work, correct?

Now, if I were to attach a 100w solar panel to the Anderson plugs on the ArkPak, would I still need a charging regulator or would the built in one in the ArkPak be enough?

thanks in advance.
Posted: one month ago Quote #1380
No the Anderson is a direct connection to the battery, not via the charger. You need a separate relay or dual battery system of some sort to charge via the Anderson without the risk of discharging the starter via the same connection.

The only way to charge from the car via the built in charger is using the 12V cigarette lighter power supply, which is only 6 or 7 amp, so much slower than directly from the alternator. I'll say too from experience if using the 12V cig lighter socket you need to be very careful it doesn't come loose on bumpy roads as there's a lot of power draw, and I actually melted one once. After that I converted to a merit 12 V plug.
Posted: one month ago Quote #1382
Hi Music of note

no this is not correct the only time the smart charging system is active is via 240 volt home charge and 12 volt DC car charge.

and as mentioned in the last post when ever you are using solar panels and connecting to the Ark Pak you MUST ALWAYS have a separate charge controller or voltage regulator to protect your battery.

also thank to dseverino for his correct answer it really is great to see other people provide the correct information and advice to help others.

Regards

Brett from Ark  
http://www.arkcorp.com.au/
Posted: one month ago Quote #1385
thanks for the answers guys! Bit help.

https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B01LF0VJ58/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=ATFJ3NMMG4JGL&psc=1

I found this on amazon.de (hope the text shows up on your computer in English). It looks good, but ... I'm running a Waeco CDF36 fridge which apparently needs 45w and have a water tap that needs 24w when being operated. Now and then charging a laptop or iPhone. That's it.

I usually stay at CP which offer external power hook up but occasionally not. So maybe it's an either-or thing. Would driving 2-3 hours a day with the ArkPak running off the 12v plug in the car be enough to off-set the other hours without external hook-up and if so, for how many days - about. If that's not enough for 3-4 days, then I can see getting the Aukey to bolster the ArkPak battery. If not necessary, if charging-while-driving is enough, then not..

What d'ya think? Thanks in advance.
Posted: one month ago Quote #1387
Hi Musicofnote

that is a 100 watt panel while in my opinion it is a little on the low side for your proposal something is better then nothing, in my opinion you want a minimum size panel of a 120 watt panel.

also just doing some calculations on your above figures you say 45w and 24w will be you main use this is a combined total of 69w.

lest say you select a 100A/h deep cycle AGM battery how many watts are stored in this battery ? a formula is listed below for your reference

12 volts X 100 A/h = 1200 watt hours

to work our how long your 69w would last with out charging your 100A/h battery you would simply do the below equation

1200 watt hours + 69w = 17.39 hours of continuous operation and your battery would be at 0%

you can select up to a 130 A/h battery which will increase your run time.

i hope this information has been helpful and if you have any more questions please ask.

Regards

Brett from Ark  
http://www.arkcorp.com.au/
Posted: one month ago Quote #1390
Ah ... if I could find a 130Ah battery here that would fit... The Varta, as it is, is VERY tight in it's height.

Ok, it may not look soo glum as
1) the 24w is only needed when I turn on the water pump. Whcih happens 4.5 times a day for a few seconds. if there is a residual drain, I can always unplug the 12v plug from the splitter (with the fridge on it to) which goes to the ArkPak So the only charge going is the fridge
2) I plan to be either driving (12v charging) or camping (external charging or solar). I -may- spend a night now and again in a hotel, but I can put the fridge on "eco" for the night.

So if I drive around, charging, stop at a hotel, spend the night, the battery will be "low", but will regain some juice until I reach a camp ground with external power or where a solar panel will find enough sun.

Posted: one month ago Quote #1391
I didn't see the answer to this question:

"I usually stay at CP which offer external power hook up but occasionally not. So maybe it's an either-or thing. Would driving 2-3 hours a day with the ArkPak running off the 12v plug in the car be enough to off-set the other hours without external hook-up and if so, for how many days"

So using that 85Ah battery which is powering constantly the fridge at for argument's sake 45w, can the 12v charging while driving charge the battery or just provide for the fridge? Or not even for the fridge?
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