Portable solar panel charger

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by Clever Claire, Apr 24, 2016.

  1. Clever Claire

    Clever Claire Funster

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    We have a tracker and alarm fitted which does drain the engine battery somewhat when the van is parked up. Can anyone recommend a make/model of solar charger that we can fit to inside of the windscreen (van is parked south facing) that will do the job of keeping the engine battery topped up. We have solar on the roof for the leisure batteries. Ideally to plug into the 12v socket but with ignition turned off I'm not sure if this will work. We can use crocodile clips directly to the battery as this is located under the floor and easily accessible from the cab. Thanks.
     
  2. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    Solar less than 50watts is pretty much useless laid on a dashboard.
    Even 50w will only give around 2.5amps in good sun....and the sun doesn't always shine.
    Many windscreens now block a lot of uv light so that figure may be optimistic.
     
  3. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    Im going to disagree with John whilst conceding they are pretty well useless as a "charger." However they will do the job of topping up
    what is after all only a parasitic drain on the battery
    I have a couple of 20 watt panels one on our recovery that rarely moves and one on the Smart four two (Toad) that stands around most of the time
    both will start on the button when required, both will go flat if left standing without the little panels
    spend as little as possible, they all work to a greater or lesser extent, certainly at 20/30 Watts you wont get more power the more you spend
    Geo
     
  4. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    Double post
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2016
  5. Clever Claire

    Clever Claire Funster

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    Interesting, thanks for that information.
     
  6. Clever Claire

    Clever Claire Funster

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    Geo, have you got the panels inside our outside the vehicles.
     
  7. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    Panels are on the dashboards of both vehicles as both stand on a pretty public garage four court and charge (term used lightly) via a cig lighter socket
    that does not require ignition to be on, both my battery's are both buried but in your case croc clips will work just as well and of course no charge controler is require at all due to low output from the panel
    I must stress batteries need to be in tip top condition, do not expect 20/30 watts to hold up a poor battery
    Geo
     
  8. Clever Claire

    Clever Claire Funster

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    Thanks Geo, useful information. I am beginning to think the unit we have may be faulty, it was given to us as working but who knows. The van battery is new, as in January this year, and last weekend we left the solar panel attached showing 100% capacity on the battery according to the vans control panel. We were somewhat surprised to find only 40% charge in the battery today which led us to think that maybe the charger was faulty. The van still started without a problem.
     
  9. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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  10. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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  11. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    GIS A JOB.. (y)
     
  12. Langtoftlad

    Langtoftlad Funster Life Member

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    In recent years I've been lucky enough to visit Australia 4-6 weeks from the end of February.
    The only negative has been coming back to a car with a flat battery.
    So this year, I got one of those AA dashboard solar panels knowing it probably wouldn't make a difference but worth the £20 on the off chance. Plugged into OBD port.

    Result: car started first time, turnover wasn't even sluggish.
    So as @Geo suggests. I doubt these small panels could charge a drained battery, but it seems they can counter the parasitic drain from your alarm or radio.
     
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