Charging engine battery

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by buffallobill, Jan 15, 2015.

  1. buffallobill

    buffallobill

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    I am in need of advice please,
    I am going to purchase a cigarette lighter plug in small solar panel to sit in cab of m/home To keep trickle charging engine battery when not being used.
    I have noticed that these vary in size of wattage, from 1.5 watts up to 20 watts.Could a funster please advise of which wattage I need, I am thinking if I buy small watts it's not up to job, but if I buy high watts I might over do it.
    Thank you in anticipation of your reply. Cheers bill.
     
  2. Indy259

    Indy259 Funster

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    H, Today I received a 1.5 12 vol solar powered charger, I put it on the dashboard and plugged into the cigarette lighter. Problem is there is no way of knowing if it's working unless the battery goes flat! Watch this space.
     
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  3. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    Most cab 12 volt sockets are dead with the ignition off
     
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  4. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    Dont waste your money...
    Even if they generated 100% power (lucky if you get that in high summer) it's 0.12amps per hour...

    Something many people overlook is to make sure their cigarette socket is actually live !! Most are not when the key is out.. So no connection and it's doing bugger all.....

    edit.... (note to self.. Must beat Techno to a post )...
     
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  5. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    ditto the above.
     
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  6. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    I've seen a caravan at storage with an 80 watt panel in the front window. Anytime of day it has shadow lines across it from the window frames such that even in perfect light it will only deliver a fraction of it's potential output. A case of too big
     
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  7. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    At this time of year Bill, keep your money in your pocket.
    a 20watt panel will be hard pushed to see 1/2 an amp in the low winter sun and parasitic loads (alarm, self discharge etc) over 24hrs could easily exceed that 1/2 amp charge while the sun shines....and that isnt every day.

    In summer a 20 watt panel will KEEP YOUR BATTERY TOPPED UP, but it wont charge it from flat.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2015
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  8. eddievanbitz

    eddievanbitz Trader - Funster

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    I sell them! And I agree their crap! We tell people this, we explain that their rubbish, but the power of "My mate said" overrides us so people buy them

    Save your money

    Eddie
     
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  9. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    Wont make any difference if its working or not.
    the most current it will give will be around 10 milliamps (1/100th amp)..to keep the battery charged will need maybe 2000milliamps (2 amps)
     
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  10. wizzer59

    wizzer59 Funster

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    I have a 20w one and it's been working fine, but only if connected to the battery direct(y)
     
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  11. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    I agree with the earlier comments. See a summary of my experience Here.
     
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  12. buffallobill

    buffallobill

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    Thank you for your replies funsters.
    You have enlightened me on what a inferior product I was going to buy,
    So I will buy a power pack jump starter in case my alarm as drained battery when it is not being used. Thanks for your quick replies cheers bill..
     
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  13. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    it is more important to keep the battery charged, why not look at a larger solar panel and regulator, if you don't want to put it on the roof stand it in the front windscreen when in storage and make sure it is facing south
     
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  14. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    If you want a means to support your starter battery without solar then the only suitable device is a Vanbitz battery master. This device was designed specifically for your situation. It connects your leisure batteries to the starter battery and will transfer 1 amp charge whenever the starter battery is half a volt less than the leisures. If left indefinately it will flatten all the batteries but it should hold up for weeks while supporting your alarm. Do not confuse the device with other incorrectly termed battery masters as they work very differently.
    You can find it in Jim's shop at a good price.
    http://shop.motorhomefun.co.uk/product/battery-master/

    If you later fit solar it is still good but your batteries will of course fair longer.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2015
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  15. wizzer59

    wizzer59 Funster

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    I hasten to add that this is in a car I have stored on my Dads drive, the 200w on the roof of my Hymer keep it's batteries topped up(y)
     
  16. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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  17. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    Don't dismiss the idea out of hand. You just need to know what current the battery is discharging when everything is switched off. Assuming there are no faults this is likely to be an alarm if you have one.

    As whizzer says, if you have one of a reasonable size it will work, 15W - 20W would be my guess, but you want one designed for the purpose, don't just wire a panel across the battery terminals. Purpose made chargers should be smart enough to keep the battery in good condition. The cleverest use special waveforms to prevent sulphation. The MOD has hundred of these fitted to vehicles in long term storage.
     
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  18. ludo

    ludo Funster Life Member

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    I have fitted a 12v socket, with LED meter and push button to the bottom covers to the rear of each of my Ducato cab seats. One is wired directly with an in line fuse to the habitation battery supply, the other to the vehicle/starter battery. I can take power directly from either socket and can accurately read the voltage state of either battery by pressing the respective button.

    In addition, because my Electroblock charging system is set to GEL for the habitation batts, the starter battery, lead acid, seems not to get a full charge from the EHU. I have fitted a cigarette lighter plug to a Lidl/Aldi charger and I can charge the vehicle battery from this socket too to ensure that it is fully charged.



    Metered Socket (3).JPG
     
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