Choosing the Correct Battery Type for Solar Panels

In this blog I will break down the different battery types available to use with your Solar Panels. Lead acid batteries have large capacities and are often available in many places around Australia. A lot of people ask me "which lead acid battery should I use with solar panels?" I always recommend using sealed AGM lead acid batteries wherever possible and will describe in this blogs the benefits of using this type of battery with iTechworld portable solar panels.Starter vs. Deep-Cycle Batteries
Starter batteries are designed to deliver short, high-current bursts for starting a vehicle engine, and are designed to discharge only a very small part of their capacity. If you were to use a starter battery as a way of running your caravan/motor home/camper trailer it would corrode very quickly, the plates and the chemistry are designed to stay nearly 100% fully charged most of the time. They cannot handle the discharge and charge needed when running your RV on Solar Power.

For solar charging applications, I always recommend an iTechworld deep cycle battery. Cheap knock off batteries are available via eBay but come with very little warranty and you can never be sure you are getting the correct Amp Hour battery that you have paid for. Typical car batteries can be used but will not be suitable long term. ITechworld Deep cycle batteries are designed with larger plates and different chemistry to avoid the corrosive effect of frequently using the full capacity. They are designed to be charged and discharged by solar and can handle the strain of using most of its capacity.

Flooded, vs. Gel vs AGM
There are a different types of deep cycle batteries available in Australia: flooded, sealed gelled, or fully sealed AGM. For most situations a fully sealed AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) is the safest and best option. ITechworld fully sealed AGM batteries require absolutely no maintenance whatsoever. There is no need for ventilation and they will not spill. You can use flooded batteries and they will cost a lot less, but they require adequate ventilation, maintenance, and also have the potential liability of tipping or spilling. Not ideal when there are kids around and not ideal on bumpy roads.

If iTechworld AGM batteries are maintained properly, they will function at 80-90% efficiency for 7 - 10 years. Most people would agree that its a decent return for a $270 investment. The key to obtaining this life span is to maintain a full charge when ever possible. This simple rule of thumb will extend the battery life and maintain a higher efficiency.






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How to calculate your solar power requirements

How much solar power do you need?


So you want to set your rig up for Solar but you are not sure what size of set up you need? This blog is designed to give you the tools to be able to work out exactly what are you are drawing from your rig's batteries and what type of Solar set up you need. Knowledge is key when setting up your rig for Solar so the more information you have on each and every one of those home comforts devices you plan to take away with you the better. If anyone has a question pop it in the comment section below. I will answer each and everyone.



How to work out Watts, Amps and Volts

It stands to reason that a larger Solar Panel will collect more energy in less time, but just how big does the solar panel need to be?

The power consumption of appliances is given in Watts. To calculate the energy you will use over time, just multiply the power consumption by the hours of use. For example:

10 watt device used over 3 hours equals 10 x 3 = 30 Watt

How to convert Amps to Watts

The energy in Watts is equal to the electric charge in Amps times the voltage in volts:

Watts = Amps × Volts


If your device doesn’t have the Watts labelled on it, then it should at least have the input Volts i.e. 240V and the Amps AC it draws such as 240V – 1.5A. You can then use the equation Watts Volts x Amps so 240v x 1.5amps = 360 Watts.

How to convert Watts to Amps

The electric charge in Amps is equal to the energy in Watts divided by the voltage in volts (V):

Amps = Watts / Volts


Find the electric charge in Amps when the energy consumption is 300 watts and the voltage is 240 volts.

300 Watts / 240 volts = 1.25 Amps

Check out the iTechworld inline Watt meter which does all these calculations for you HERE

Do I need a battery?

Solar panels are commonly used to charge a battery – not to charge a device directly. There are a couple of reasons for having batteries. Solar panels might not generate enough wattage to directly power an appliance, but they can build up a higher wattage via a battery. Secondly a battery can regulate the power going in to the appliance at a constant rate. When solar panels are charging a battery it is usually at a varying rate which could harm an appliance if not regulated.

Battery capacity is measured in Amp Hours (e.g. 100Ah). You need to convert this to Watt Hours by multiplying the Ah figure by the battery voltage (e.g. 12V) – see calculations above.

AH refers to amp hours. This rating is usually found on deep cycle batteries. If a battery is rated at 100 amp hours it should deliver 5 amps of power for 20 hours or 20 amps of power for 5 hours.

When choosing a deep cycle battery, keep in mind the equipment you will be powering and the time in which they will be running. Theoretically a 100Ah battery can deliver 5 amps over a 20 hour period (and so on). Taking into account the average small campsite - with a small 45W fridge running for 6 hours, 3 hours of 15W lighting and 20W of other electronic equipment - the minimum consumption to be expected is 335W. Take this wattage and divide it by the voltage, 12V, gives 28Ah. With the aim of leaving 50% in the battery brings the requirement to 56 Ah per day.

Check out the only the battery that iTechworld recommends with Solar Power HERE

What size solar panel do I need? 

Solar Panels power generation is commonly given in Watts e.g. 120 Watts. To calculate the energy it can supply the battery with, divide the Watts by the Voltage of the Solar Panel.

120 Watts / 18v = 6.6 Amps

Please note that Solar Panels are not 12v, I repeat Solar Panels are not 12v. Any one who works out the Amps of a solar panels using 12v as the voltage calculation does not understand solar or has been misinformed. All solar panel voltages should be marked in the item description of our website or on the unit itself.

Check out the iTechworld Solar Panel range HERE


The power inverter converts your storage battery power into the 240 volts AC that runs your appliances. Unless you only run 12 volt DC appliances you will need a power inverter to supply your AC.

There are 2 types of Inverters

Pure sine wave and Modified sine wave.

The Pure Sine Wave matches the power to that of which you get from your Electricity Supplier, its clean and you can run any appliances safely even sensitive equipment.

The Modified sine wave used to be considered a dirty power but some aren't as bad as they used to be, you can use this inverter type for  things that don't have sensitive electronics for example fridges, cookers, pumps, You may have to be careful with some appliances such as laptops and TVs so check first.

Check out the iTechworld range of inverters HERE

Charge Controllers/Regulators

All Solar Panels 30 watts and above need a Solar Charge Controller/Regulator. A Charge Controller/Regulator is necessary to protect the batteries from over charging and supply them with the proper amount of energy to promote long battery life. If the charge isn’t regulated it can have a damaging effect on the battery being charged.

Check out the iTechworld range of Charge Controllers/Regulators HERE

 Read our easy Solar installation guide HERE

Read how Generator Inverters work HERE

Read iTechworld Generator Reviews HERE

Read how to use a Generator Inverter HERE

Read how to avoid a drained battery HERE

Read about light weight Solar Panels HERE

Read 5 great tips to get the most out of your Solar Panels HERE

Read our comprehensive guide on Inverters HERE

Read about the benefits of travelling with Solar Power HERE


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iTechworld Generator Pure Sine Wave Inverter

Determine which items you consider essential to have access to when you are the road. Consider such items as fridges, microwaves, air con units or fans, lights and other small appliances as well as medical devices such as oxygen machines.
  • Determine the wattage you will need to power the items you wish to access simultaneously. This is the continuous watts. This will determine the size of generator needed. For example, a 3000 continuous wattage generator will power a fridge, small air con units, microwaves and household items.

Place your generator outside in an open area. It should be located away from doors or windows to prevent carbon monoxide from entering your living area. Make sure the area is dry. If using during rainy weather, place it under a canopy or other covering.
  • Consider that generators will make noise. You may want to experiment with different locations. 7-10 meters away is usually a good starting point.

Follow manufacturers' instructions for recommended fuel and oil and for starting and running instructions. A typical 3000-watt generator will hold 6-7L of fuel and will run for approximately 6 hours.

Plug appliances and other items into the generator using a heavy-duty outdoor extension cord that is grounded. You can then plug power boards into the extension cord indoors. Charge your caravan batteries using generator power via the battery charging cables provided.


  • Shut generator down and let cool before refuelling.
  • Use only the oil listed in the instructions.
  • Store fuel in an approved container in a locked shed or another safe area.
  • Seek advice from iTechworld if you are unsure of wattage needs.
  • Consider starting wattage as well as running wattage when purchasing a generator. Appliances require greater power on initial startup. Check appliances for wattage info.
  • Note that Watts/KiloWatts is different from KVA.
  • To prevent theft, consider running a metal ring into the ground and secure the generator with a chain.
  • Make sure fuel is clean and no water or other liquids have been kept in the jerrycan.



Read iTechworld Generator Reviews HERE

Read how to avoid a drained battery HERE

Read about light weight Solar Panels HERE

Read 5 great tips to get the most out of your Solar Panels HERE

Read our comprehensive guide on Inverters HERE

Read about the benefits of travelling with Solar Power HERE

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Avoid a Drained Battery

From the Kimberly to Fraser Island, it doesn't matter if you're long range touring, or taking a weekend break, a flat or deeply discharged battery will ruin your plans and hit your back pocket.

By monitoring your power use you can easily avoid the hassle of a drained battery. From simple and inexpensive DC 12V Meters to Volt/Amp Meters or a battery monitor with all the bells and whistles, there's plenty of options to suit your needs and price tag.

iTechworld has an Amp Meter that is multi functional in the sense that it can tell you how much power you are putting into your battery from your solar panel and it can also tell you how much power you are taking out of your battery from your load.

The iTechworld Amp Meter will give you an accurate reading of the current voltage on your battery. If you want an inexpensive, easy-to-install option, this is the one to choose. The iTechworld Amp Meter offers a big and easy-to-read LED display. This means you will have no dramas monitoring how much your load is pulling out of your battery and also how much your Solar Panel is putting in.

There are a lot of regulators on the market, most of them do the same thing. If you are looking to run a smooth operation with your power then the iTechworld intelligent regulator is the controller that will help you achieve your goals.

With one touch of a button the iTechworld intelligent regulator can tell you how many amps your solar panel is putting in, how much amps you are taking out, temperature, amp hours and voltage. You can run your load directly through the controller and it will show you exactly what you are drawing from your battery right down to .0 of an amp. In the past this time of controller would cost hundreds of dollars but it is now available for just $99 via the iTechworld website.


Amp Meter Here

Intelligent Regulator Here

Learn about which Generator to choose HERE

5 tips to get the most out of your Solar Panels HERE

Learn about light weight Solar Panels HERE

Full comprehensive guide on Inverters HERE

Detailed explanation on the benefits of tavelling with Solar Power HERE


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Travelling with Solar Power

The benefits of Travelling with solar power

Solar power is a clean form of energy that’s natural, renewable, and best of all free. Using the correct portable solar system allows you to free camp at remote locations without sacrificing luxury items such as fridges, LED camping lights, mobile devices and more. Using the correct solar system in these locations will generally mean you can avoid paying heftier fees for powered sites. Additionally, adding some portable solar panels means you don’t have to detract from the peace and quiet you went outdoors to find.


What you need to travel with solar power

A self-sufficient solar setup requires fit for purpose solar panels that combine compactness, portability and functionality. All iTechworld Solar Panels will come with a solar regulator. Other important equipment you need will be a deep-cycle auxiliary battery and an inverter if you’re planning to charge 240v appliances such as a laptop or television. The way these products fit together is simple: solar panels gather power from the sun, which then flows into the battery via the solar regulator. Also known as a charge controller, solar regulators are important because they prevent damage to your battery from fluctuating charge or overcharging.

Solar panels come in different forms: mono-crystalline, poly-crystalline and thin film amorphous. Mono-crystalline panels lead the way because they are more affordable but also more efficient than poly-crystalline, meaning out of two panels the same size, a mono-crystalline solar panel will gather more solar power. Amorphous panels need greater surface area compared to mono and poly crystalline panels. Amorphous panels are generally 5 - 6 time more expensive than poly and mono panels for the equivalent wattage and do not represent good value for money. On going reports of connectors in amorphous panels becoming damaged due to extensive folding also can not be ignored. All iTechworld solar panels are high quality, Mono-crystalline, German Certified, hail proof solar cells. The best cells available in the Australian market today. These cells come with full performance guarantee.



What are your solar power requirements

Calculating your equipment’s power usage is key to creating a solar power system that’s tailored to you. Without a basic understanding of how much power your equipment is using, you could end up purchasing the incorrect battery, solar regulator or wrong-sized solar panel. If any one of these products is too small you could end up with a flat battery earlier than expected, or worse, a damaged solar regulator or battery. To calculate your usage, keep in mind most devices will have its power draw on the label that’s on the product, after which you need to work out how long per day you will operate the equipment to calculate it’s overall power draw. A handy tool to use if the power consumption is not marked on the label is the iTechworld in line Amp Meter.

Here’s an example of a basic setup: to run a medium-sized fridge that draws 4amps and some LED camping lights that draw 0.25amps each, a 120W folding solar panel kit coupled with a 100amp deep cycle battery  would cover your needs and then some. To find out what products you require to fit your needs call iTechworld on 08 9472 7200 or send an email.


What bearing does my position have on Solar Power?

How much power your panels gather depends on their size, how they’re used and the amount of sunlight hours in a day. To start off with, the biggest misconception of solar power is that ‘all sunlight is created equal’. While the output of a solar panel is dictated by sunlight, other factors including geographic location, ambient temperature and time of year have an influence over how much power is on offer for your solar panels to gather. Check out iTechworld's handy sun tool below.


Solar power do's and don'ts

The most common equipment to power with a solar setup include 12v fridges (which can account for upwards of 60% of your total power draw), camping lights, satellite TV systems and inverters, which would then be responsible for charging 12v appliances such as laptops and televisions. When it comes to lighting, LED lights are preferable as their light patterns are highly focused and their power draw is minimal in comparison to fluorescent and halogen lights. Additionally, avoid powering major heating appliances like hair dryers from your power inverter, as these are energy-intensive and will waste your battery’s hard-earned power.



Using solar panels when travelling

Getting the most from your solar panel set up is the main aim of the game. For people who are on long distance trips, roof-mounting Semi Flexible solar panels on your camper trailer or caravan is ideal, as this allows you to gather power as you travel. Meanwhile for shorter trips, a folding panel is the best option to save space.

Keep your solar panels clean, dust that gathers on solar panels will obstruct sunlight and detract from the panel’s performance. This is a greater problem for mounted panels, as they are constantly exposed and have to contend with any dust kicked up from travelling off-road. To remedy this, regularly wipe them down with a microfiber cloth, as using a more abrasive material will potentially scratch and damage a panel.

Understanding solar power terminology

The relationship between Watts, Volts and Amps can be confusing when misunderstood, though basically:



Watts (Power) = Volts x Amps


Watts, volts and amps form the basis of most solar power jargon, though on their own or even in a formula probably won't make much sense to most campers. To get a better understanding of what these terms mean and how they fit into your understanding of solar power call iTechworld on 08 9472 7200 or send us an email




Learn how to choose the correct Generator HERE

Learn how to avoid a drained battery HERE

Learn about light weight Solar Panels HERE

5 tips to get the most out of your Solar Panels HERE

Comprehensive guide on Inverters HERE



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