Using portable solar panel to keep vehicle battery topped up

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by Jerrymjj, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. Jerrymjj

    Jerrymjj Funster

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    I have inherited a small solar panel from my son... It plugs directly into the cigarette lighter socket and as far as I can see, that is it... I know that the socket is only energised when the ignition is turned on. Does this mean therefore that there is no direct connection to the battery when the ignition is off and hence no point in plugging in said solar panel? I'm not going to leave the ignition on and I know the solar panel has diode protection to prevent current flowing the wrong way. It's more curiosity really as I can't see it making a noticeable contribution measuring about 18" by 10".

    I'd appreciate any advice and apologies if this has been raised before.

    Many thanks
    Jerry
     
  2. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    If the socket is not live then the panel will do nothing.. As you suspect the power has nowhere to go to. !!!

    Also most of those small panels are so low rated its just not worth the effort...... Have a look it should have a wattage rating somewhere, bet it's next to nothing...
     
  3. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    useful as a tea tray .. not much else..
     
  4. Old Soldier

    Old Soldier Funster

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    Hi Jerry. As you have said, I doubt if there is a connection if it is not a permantly live socket. As for making a difference, I guess it would be minimal, does it say what the Watt value is?
    It may be worth considering connecting up if you leave the van unused for a period of time but I would use it on your habitation battery rather than the vehicle one.
     
  5. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    18 x 10 possibly 10W a fraction of an amp most of the time why not connect it to a USB socket and use it to charge your phone, tablet etc.
     
  6. Jerrymjj

    Jerrymjj Funster

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    All good advice. Many thanks everyone. I shall donate it back to my son....

    Jerry
     
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  7. LaMB

    LaMB Funster

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    I fitted one with the expectation it would keep the vehicle battery charged up, following a flat battery. As said above it is more use as a tea tray. I even went to the trouble of wiring it to the battery. It now sits on a shelf collecting dust, which it is more suitable for! There are things which draw power from your vehicle battery even when you think everything is turned off, such as the ECU and the alarm.

    In the end I fitted a batter master from Van Bitz, which keeps the vehicle battery charged up either when connected to mains, or via our solar panel.

    Martin
     
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