Solar charging for vehicle battery.

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by savantuk, Nov 18, 2009.

  1. savantuk

    savantuk Read Only Funster

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    I decided to look into methods of 'tricle' charging the vehicle battery in my Hobby. The battery is very sound, and well maintained, but the alarm, whilst only using milliamps, and the forthcoming frost will take their toll, and I don't like disconnecting the battery to give it a conditioning charge, because it means re-setting the alarm.

    I rang several sources, ie Fiat, Lowndhams, and Viper alrams, and all said that a solar charger with an output of around 2 amps connected permanently to the battery would keep the batter in tip top condition through the winter. I don't expect an output of 2 amps, less than half is realistic, but given that they are apparently designed to work, even when cloudy, 1amp for 4 or 5 hours a day will keep the battery nicely topped up.

    They can be bought for around £20, so it seems like a no brainer. Does anybody have any real experience of these devices??

    Thanks.
     
  2. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    I experimented with one of These from Maplins 3 years ago. Apart from the fact that I and other members of another forum derived some amusement from my description of my antics I obtained no other benefit :Smile:

    The main problem was not being able to track the winter sun sufficiently to obtain anywhere near enough charge.

    Instead, I bought one of the three stage chargers which Aldi & Lidl sell, amongst others, and use that when necessary. Of course, that is only an option if you are able to take a mains power supply to the van where it is parked.

    Graham
     
  3. andyman

    andyman Read Only Funster

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    You will not get a 25watt / 2amp solar panel for £20. I have a 18watt panel,which is about 1amp at very best that I use for the cab battery and it cost £35. It keeps the battery topped up but on very dull days there is virtually no output.

    Andy
     
  4. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    my 50W panel at this time of the year is producing 3 to 500milli amps per hour.
    By ohms law and taking the figures as quoted, allowing for no losses or higher charge rate so that it is easy to compare panels.
    Amps = Watts divided by volts and panels are quoted at 12v (not what they produce but never mind) so 50 / 12 = 4.1666666666 amps and I am getting approx half an amp get the picture? ( a max of 1.75amp in the summer at midday, 50W cost me £120 two years ago, cheaper now)
    That keeps my leisure batteries up to scratch when not in use, only draw is from the solar controller and radio standby current. I have a 5Watt panel connected to the engine batteries direct no alarm, just imobiliser led and radio standby current. 5W keeps the engine batteries in good condition. so there give you something to go on.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2009
  5. stagman

    stagman Deleted User

     
  6. andyman

    andyman Read Only Funster

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    12v 1.5w , 0.5 amp
    Never was very good at maths but the above cannot be correct. Watts divided by volts gives amps. Or so I thought.

    Andy
     
  7. stagman

    stagman Deleted User

    Yes I thought that two , but two late already submitted it . But thats what it says on the label . 1.5w at 17.5v
     
  8. savantuk

    savantuk Read Only Funster

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    I assume that this sort of charger has a trickle mode?? Could this be used WITHOUT disconnecting the battery??
     
  9. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    Yes, that's how I use it. No problems at all.

    Graham
     
  10. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    are you sure its a 3 STAGE charger Graham.....the only ones i've seen in aldi are 3 FUNCTION

    12v high charge

    12v low charge

    6v charge
     
  11. derekfaeberwick

    derekfaeberwick Read Only Funster

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    You have obviously got access to electicity so why not leave the van hooked up and use one of those cigarette lighter socket to socket trickle charger thingies to take current from the leisure side to the engine side, I got one from Aldi or Lidl called 'Charge'n'Start.

    I'm surprised your van doesn't charge the engine battery on hook up, mine,also German, does. It has a Schaudt charger which puts a lesser charge to the engine battery, have you checked yours?
     
  12. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    I might well have the terminology wrong John, thanks for pointing it out.

    Looking at the manual for my charger (Tronic T4X as sold by Lidl) it says "A special design of the appliances (also named three-phase charging strategy) enables....................".

    Graham
     
  13. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    could well be a 3 stage then graham...i havent seen that one at aldi.

    the other one is aimed at relatively low ah batteries and motorbikes

    only about 4amp charge rate.
     
  14. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    From what I've read the Tronic T4X from Lidl and the Auto-XS badged product from Aldi are very similar (including specification) to the CTEK Multi XS 3600. The main differences seem to be that the CTEK is a heck of a lot more expensive and the Aldi & Lidl versions have a 3 year warranty instead of 2 years.

    Works for me anyhow :Smile:

    Graham
     
  15. walburga

    walburga Funster

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    I've got the same Lidl charger. Like Graham, I only went in for a few (lots of) cans of boddies, but this little thing winked at me ! And it's defo a 3 stage charger.

    regards
    Allen
     
  16. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    You'll get me into trouble Allen. I wish to make it quite clear that I do not go into Lidl for cans of Boddies, few or lots












    I get them from Tesco :Rofl1:

    Graham
     
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