A TV is one of many devices that allow us to escape and still give us a different form of entertainment that we can’t find anywhere else. There’s still a reason for people to flock to their televisions even camping, vacations, or after a long day at work.
Perhaps you are considering using solar to power your TV. If this is the case, you need to first determine how much power the TV consumes. This will guide you into determining your system requirements. This article will guide you on all the solar system requirements from the battery, solar panel, inverter to the charge controller.
How much power does a TV use?
How much power a TV uses will depend on its size, age, and technology. On the back of your TV should be a model number that begins with “AN” or “AW.” The Label will also contain the power consumption information for your TV at the bottom left-hand side of the label.
So how much power will it take to run a TV? A modern slim flat 32-inch screen LED TV is rated at around 30 watts. Older models use to be up to 80 watts. These days manufacturers are reducing the power consumption of devices to reduce the cost. Some TVs could be as low as 20 watts.
So how much energy is this?
Electrical energy is measured in Watt-Hours. Basically, you will be running your device or appliance over a period of time. Watt-hours takes into consideration the number of hours you will be running your TV. To calculate Watt-Hours you multiply the Wattage of the device or appliance and multiply by the number of hours you use the device.
Watt-Hours = Watts X Hours
If for example, you want to run a 30 Watt TV for 5 hours you will need 150 Wh of energy. If you were to use this TV for 30 days consecutively running it for 5 hours every day you will consume 4.5 Kwh.
How much Solar Power Would I need to Run a Tv
From the example above we’ve seen, we’ll need around 150 Wh in order to run a TV for 5 hours in a day. In order to get the size of the battery, you would need to run the TV you will need to convert the Watt-hours to Amp-hours. This is how most batteries are rated. Amp-hours is 1-amp of power expended over one hour.
To calculate Amp-hours you divide the Watt-hours by the voltage. The voltage in a battery bank is usually between 12v and 24v depending on how you wire the system.
150Wh/12v = 12.5 Ah
Therefore a battery with a 12.5 Ah rating and higher can run a 30W TV comfortably for 5 hours.
But in order to create enough reserve capacity, you should size the battery at least three times this size. Therefore the recommendation would be for a 36 Ah battery. And this only applies to a lithium battery that has a 90% depth of discharge. If you using a lead-acid battery that can only be discharged up to 50% then you’ll again have to double the size to 72 ah.
Sizing your inverter
An inverter is a device that converts DC power to AC power. An Inverter main function is to deliver the current and voltage to your load that is the same as that from the wall outlet in your home. This can be either 110/220V.
You will need an inverter since you can’t power a TV directly off the battery(with some exceptions which we’ll cover later). When choosing an inverter you match the wattage of your device to your inverter. It is also important to factor in the surge watts of the device i.e the amount of power required to start the device – this could be more than the running watts.
For a 30 watt Tv yo can choose any inverter from 30 watts onwards as it does not require any surge power. It is recommended again to go bigger so choose a 100-watt inverter that will allow you to add other devices.
How many Solar Panels to Run the Tv?
The size of the solar array is dependent on the area, altitude, and how far you are from the equator. If you are in an area that receives around 4 hours of sunlight a day you will divide the total Watt-hour requirement by this number.
150Wh/4 = 32.5 Watts
So will a 32.5 Watts Solar Panel power a TV? No, Solar panels have a conversion rate of around 20% so you will need up to 3 times this solar panel size in order to produce the amps needed to charge the battery and power the TV.
So, to power a TV you will need a 100 Watt solar panel. This will be sufficient to recharge a 12 V 100 Ah battery in around 5 hours.
Do not forget the charge controller
A charge controller will regulate the power coming from the solar panel to the battery not to overcharge the battery. A standard 20 amp charge controller is more than enough to offer protection for this system.
Running a TV on a Solar Generator
A solar generator is a device that combines all these components into one. Also known as a power station, it combines the battery, inverter,BMS, and charge controllers into one unit and saves you the hassle of doing this yourself.
A standard size solar generator is around 250Wh and rated at 2000 watts. It has DC and AC outputs meaning you can plug your TV right in. Solar panels are optional as you can recharge it with a wall socket or using a car socket.
Can a TV run on DC power?
Yes, a TV can run on DC power. A 12 Volt TV is a Television that runs on DC power at 12v voltage found in most batteries. It can run on 10-15 watts of power lower than the standard LED TVs
A 12 volt TV does not have all of the features of more expensive televisions but is perfect for situations where they need to be placed in remote areas with limited electricity or transmission frequencies. This type of device has small speakers and is usually only able to receive signals on VHF or UHF channels which can vary based on your region so keep this in mind when traveling.
The most common use case for 12 volt TVs is with camping trips as they are battery powered and do not require any hard wiring connections which saves time during setup and breakdown at the end of your trip. One thing to note is that 12 volt TVs will only be able to run for a limited amount of time on battery power so it may be best to purchase additional rechargeable batteries and replace them as you use the TV.
The Bottom Line
A TV these days can run with a small electrical power supply hence you do not need to have a complicated solar system in order to run it if you plan on camping or tinkering with your RV. You’ll just need a simple, outdoor-rated, energy-efficient TV.
The solar panel size required to run this TV can be decided by the area you live in, weather conditions, and how many daylight hours you receive every day.
And a battery that is between 100 Ah and 200 Ah will do just fine. This means that a 12v or 24v battery bank will do