Free Power

Wild and free camping. I know it’s not that simple and Solar Power can be hit and miss, but I want the van to be as self sufficient as possible so we don’t have to stop in campsites all the time. I will fit a mains supply for when its available, but other than that it would be nice to have other options.

The vehicle alternator will do quite a lot through the split charging system I’ve fitted,


the mains battery charger and our 300w solar panels should keep things ticketyboo. Well time will tell. I bought a kit from Sunstore who I chose after much searching. My main worry was that despite the advertising eBay seemed to be full of cheap Chinese copies and adverts with no real information. I hopefully want to fit these only once.

Sunstore said all the right things, went to a lot of trouble explaining the whats and wherefores and designed a system for what I wanted it to do, given the space I had. (I want the option to fit roof mounted Aircon in the future)

The system is very simple to fit on the roof, with 1 hole drilled for the cable and the rest glued down with Sikaflex. Connecting it all up required a bit of reading, but I found it simple. It basically comes from the roof to a charge controller, which Sunstore stock and then to the leisure battery. I opted for a digital meter with an LCD to show what was happening. Instantly on a cloudy day in the shade from the house I started to get 14v and 2+ amps. 🙂


You can see the charge controller in the picture below (grey) next to the leisure battery and split charger. I’ve bought a single passenger seat and mats and have now moved the twin passenger seat behind the drivers seat. All the electrics are going to be in the seat base.




Incidentally, when I moved the twin passenger seat I had to unplug the airbag sensor. All sorts of warning messages and lights came on on the dash with no way of turning them off and the van telling me to go straight to Mercedes.

Bugger that everytime a light comes on, so I bought a £70 fault code reader and resetter from iCarsoft. Plug it in, it shows the faults and you can reset the computers. Great!

3 thoughts on “Free Power

  1. Looks very nice now it’s finished, amazed at the problems you had with Mercedes. What was that I read about Frank having a passport ? Have they scrapped the old 6 month quarantine rules ?
    After our long trip around the US in 86 and all the years I spent building and selling rv’s , I vowed I never wanted to see the inside of another trailer, but we decided a few months ago to get one and do a bit of traveling again ! Found a 17ft 2012 Casita fiberglass trailer and bought it for $16,000. We have a full bed, dinette and bathroom inside and it has all the options. My Toyota Highlander has a towing package on it and it pulls well. Only option it is missing is solar power and by reading your work you did I am looking into it, Amazon sells 100 watt panel, controller etc for $250, but didn’t realize you need more than 100.
    There must be gypsy blood in our genes ! Hope all is going well, you seem to be very busy still with the cycling events and Gs rowing, hope she does well and gets selected for the team. Well we are all well here, grandkids growing fast and adults slowing down. Take care and keeping bloggin’


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