Solar that Really Works – for boats, cabins and RVs globally.


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Updated July 2017

Solar That Really Works covers the purchase, design and installation of solar energy in boats, cabins, and all form of RVs. It is up to date and valid globally. 

* Cabins
* Camper Trailers
* Caravans
* Motor homes
* Fifth Wheelers
* Smaller homes

Solar That Really Works !

As with all of my books, Solar That Really Works is technically accurate. It is nevertheless written in plain English. It thus appeals those technically minded, and otherwise alike. This is enabled by my unusual careers.

I was originally an RAF ground radar engineer. I subsequently became a motor industry research engineer.

Following engineering, I became a technical magazine editor. In 1971, I then founded Electronics Today International (ETI) in Australia. I and my staff developed ETI into the world’s largest electronics magazine. It eventually had editions in Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, Indonesia and India. ( I subsequently founded my own technical writing and publishing business. And still do occasional consulting. 

Solar That Really Works – our solar RVs

Our first solar equipped RV was a 1971 VW Kombi. In 1992 we converted it for partial off-road use. We then drove it twice across Australia and back. It had a single (then A$750) 100 watt solar module and a basic solar regulator. It worked well for many years.

Our faithful 1971 VW Kombi Westphalian camper. It was probably the first ever to use solar. (My wife Maarit is in the foreground). Pic: 

Solar That Really Works – the OKA

The Kombi worked well. Its limited ground clearance, however, precluded some outback travel. We thus replaced it by a 1993 OKA. This is a rare Australian-built 100% off-road vehicle.

The OKA was fully converted for long term outback travelling. It had two by 100 watt solar modules and (initially) 400 amp hour battery storage. The solar drove all the (then) halogen globes. It also powered an early (huge) Westinghouse satellite phone. We subsequently travelled to and fro Australia via its centre mostly over dirt tracks. We did that over 24 times.

 Our solar-equipped OKA is seen here crossing the Wenlock River (far north Queensland.) (And yes – there are crocodiles in that water!_Pic: Maarit Rivers –

Solar That Really Works – Nissan Patrol & Tvan

The OKA was superb for its intended purpose. It was, however, too big and awkward for everyday use. We eventually replaced it by a 4.2 litre TD Nissan Patrol and Track Trailer Tvan.

 Nissan Patrol and Tvan in an outback camp. The 50 watt solar module is on the Tvan’s roof. Pic: 

Each part had its own self-standing solar system. The systems could also be interconnected if needed. This was, however, never needed. The Nissan’s (200-watt) system drove minor outside lighting, plus an 80 litre Engel fridge. The Tvan’s was only 50 watts and charged a 110 amp hour AGM battery. It nevertheless drove outside LED lights, the water pump, and pump for our diesel powered heater. In addition, it drove a laptop computer plus GPS system. And likewise charged our satellite phone.

This dual system is thus ideal for caravans and camper trailers. It enables one part to be in sunlight, the other equally in shade.

Solar That Really Works – our home systems

I and my Finnish-born wife (Maarit) lived for ten years in all solar powered home outside Broome. Moreover, we designed and physically built it ourselves. It is fully described in Solar Success. Also at: (

Our previous 10 acre property north of Broome. It fronts onto a tidal lagoon and Indian ocean. Pic:

In 2010, we moved back to Sydney. We rapidly converted our property to virtually all-solar. The 230 volt grid was however retained as a ‘virtual battery’. Grid power thus copes with rare peak loads. It does likewise when there’s little sun. 

Home is now equally all-solar – overlooking Pittwater (Sydney)

Solar That Really Works

In essence my approach is to show how to obtain just that. It is Solar That Really Works – not just may work!

 It thus maximises now cheap solar capacity, but never battery capacity. If energy is not there to store, it’s thus pointless adding useless storage.

Doing it my way – systems will work even in times of little sun. Moreover, it consequently costs less to do!

Our books not only assist you to plan your new system. They specifically help fix non-performing systems. There are countless such! 

In 2010, I wrote the RV electrics course for auto electricians. Teachers, solar installers and RV makers use it as their working guide. They likewise use my globally selling Caravan & Motorhome Electrics. 

Solar That Really Works’s hi-tech binding enables it to open almost flat without damage. Unlike most such, it withstands freezing and well over 800 C. 

Solar That Really Works – further information

Solar That Really Works (4th edition ) is stocked by several major distributors. These including Jaycar Electronics, Altronics stores nationwide plus Low Energy Developments.

It may also be purchased directly. See:

It can also be bought via mail or telephone from Successful Solar Books, PO Box 356, Church Point NSW 2105. Telephone 02 – 9997 1052). Library and trade sales are direct.

The ISBN is 978-0-9944952-3-5. It is 96 pages plus four-page cover in A4 format. The recommended retail selling price is $42.50 including GST.

Wholesale and retail enquiries are welcomed.  All enquiries please to the address above, or to 02 9997 1052. Email: [email protected]

For large home and property (and grid connect systems) see my companion book Solar Success.

See also our companion website It has over 80 constantly updated articles, including solar.


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