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Hi I'm Trev and I'm delighted to get on this forum for a bit of advice...Q.If I install solar panel to boost my leisure batt and use an inverter to use microwave and tv...do I plug tv/microwave into the inverter as a permanent fixture..obviously those appliances are on the 240v circuit,so how does the inverter supply them?..you may think"what a plonker".. But we've only had this Hymer 2weeks and its a steep learning curve *-) *-) cheers. Trev
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I'm guessing you are Jayne (e-mail address!)? So, for a start, welcome Jayne.

You will need to give a few details before you will get a clear answer.

First, is the Hymer new, and if not, how old and what model?

Second, what is the capacity and type (flooded lead-acid, AGM, or gel) of your leisure battery in Ampere hours (usually abbreviated to Ah)? It may be nice and simple to find if it is written on the battery. If not, can you give the make and if possible any other letters/numbers on its label. Someone should then be able to tell you what its capacity is.

Third, if the van isn't new, do you know how old the battery is? Important as, even if treated with great care, they deteriorate with age.

Fourth, do you know the Wattage of the microwave? Usually two values, one for when it starts and then a lower figure for when running normally. Should be on a rating plate on (usually back of) the item. Then the same info for the TV.

Fifth, I assume you intend using your van mostly away from mains power, but for roughly how long at a time?

Regarding solar power, remember that the quoted output is only available for a couple of hours either side of a sunny mid-day in summer. Outside these times, and under other weather conditions, the output will be lower, down obviously to nil at night.

Why? Because microwaves take to big chunk of current, and you have (it seems) but one battery, possibly somewhere between 75Ah and 90Ah. It is generally inadvisable to draw more than 50% of that capacity from the battery (there are exceptions to his rule, but they depend on your answer on battery type, and even then are unlikely to exceed 60% on a regular basis).

Once depleted a battery needs to be fully re-charged as quickly as possible or damage is liable to result. You would need a lot of bright days, and a very large solar panel, to put back what the microwave will consume if it is regularly used. Consider that 5 Amps at 240 Volts converts to 100 Amps at 12 Volts - with no allowance for losses within the inverter.

Get it right and you should be OK, but get it wrong and you'll spend a lot on batteries and suffer quite a few cold meals as well! :-D

Don't be put off: it is a bit complex and needs some answers from you to get things moving in the right way. You'll be learning as you go, and we've done that - even some of those who will respond to your answers with useful information! It's just that batteries, solar panels, and inverters are real minefields in their own right, but in combination is where the fun really starts!

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