Solar panel to charge battery and other misc ?'s - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 08-08-2013, 08:50 AM
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Solar panel to charge battery and other misc ?'s

So right now I borrow my parents Jayco Jay Flight 23' hybrid trailer on occasion. It sits most of the time but is about the perfect size and we all love it. It only has one battery and it seems hard to keep it charged. I have considered converting it to a two battery system but wanted to see about other options as well. Where we typically camp there are no services.We do have a Honda generator that we run for a few hours around dinner time to try and get enough juice to keep the lights going when its dark.

Looking through the other threads here it seems like lots of guys are running solar panels and I thought I saw someone say they can be had for less than $100. What or where would you guys recommend looking for these? How do we figure out what will do the trick to top off the batteries during the day while we are out playing?

Camping world had them starting at like $400 which isn't worth it for the little use the trailer gets now.
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Old 08-08-2013, 09:08 AM
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If I'm not mistaken I saw in the camping world mag I get battery tenders for as cheap as $25.
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Old 08-08-2013, 03:31 PM
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I would test first if the converter is working correctly.
Second I would load test the battery.
If that's all good, one battery will still not last long. Two 12V batts in parrallel is the quickest, but two 6V batteries in series will work better and supply more power when weak.
Solar is a good idea, but you'll probably need a decent sized solar panel to keep it charged after being discharged.
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:22 PM
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To just keep it charged while parked, this will do fine. BATTERY MAINTAINER

To keep up with drain while camping will take more.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jesilvas View Post
I would test first if the converter is working correctly
So, how do you test the converter?


Thanks,
Mark
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:30 PM
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Im kinda in the same boat with you. Recently on a week long camping trip I got to watch how my in laws batt's held up over mine. We all had about the same size solar panels but the father in law has a 2 battery set up and the brother in law a 3 batt set up. As for I only have one. And let me tell ya, size does matter. I fought the low batt demons all week. I don't think they recharged once.
My solar panel I got it from Orielly's for $68 a couple years ago and it does a great job of keeping it charged up and ready to go. But it was just too much to ask out of it to charge it back up in 1 day.
Also check Big R they got some nice panels at a nice price!
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Old 08-09-2013, 03:41 AM
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If you are hooked to 120V shore power, the converter should be putting out 13.5V. Just need a meter.
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Old 09-25-2013, 03:25 PM
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I know nothing at all about solar panels other then basic premise of they work. Anyone care to comment on what kind of a job this setup might do?

It seemed decently priced with a controller.

18W Solar Panel with 7A Charge Controller | Princess Auto
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:35 PM
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1.2A is how much current the panel can produce. 1.2A is a slow, slow charge to a battery.
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Old 09-26-2013, 03:56 AM
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The 18w is under perfect conditions and that's assuming the panel is actually 18w and not rounded off. For the panel to work perfectly it needs to be pointed at the sun with no obstructions. Laying it flat on the roof, behind a window, clouds, dirt, bird crap will all make the output go down.

Then you have the voltage issue. Many panels put out full power at a voltage above what you charge your batteries at. For instance, that panel may put out 18w at 18v which is 1a. If your charging at 14v with a PWM style charge controller you are essentially just flipping a switch off and on rapidly to regulate voltage. For simplicity let's say that's .8a, couple that with non optimal conditions and you will be lucky to keep your battery charged. For larger setups, there are charge controllers that use MPPT or Maximum Power Point Tracking which helps make up for the loss and allows you to use higher voltage charging sources to reduce the size of wire you have to use.

If your roof is somewhat flat, there are
adhesive panels adhesive panels
that would provide some more power.
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Old 09-26-2013, 06:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSchuricht View Post
The 18w is under perfect conditions and that's assuming the panel is actually 18w and not rounded off. For the panel to work perfectly it needs to be pointed at the sun with no obstructions. Laying it flat on the roof, behind a window, clouds, dirt, bird crap will all make the output go down.

Then you have the voltage issue. Many panels put out full power at a voltage above what you charge your batteries at. For instance, that panel may put out 18w at 18v which is 1a. If your charging at 14v with a PWM style charge controller you are essentially just flipping a switch off and on rapidly to regulate voltage. For simplicity let's say that's .8a, couple that with non optimal conditions and you will be lucky to keep your battery charged. For larger setups, there are charge controllers that use MPPT or Maximum Power Point Tracking which helps make up for the loss and allows you to use higher voltage charging sources to reduce the size of wire you have to use.

If your roof is somewhat flat, there are adhesive panels that would provide some more power.
Hrm, I guess I was hoping this would be an easier thing to understand, but it doesn't look that way *scratches non-existent chin hair*.

I will have to do some more reading up to get a better grasp on the whole charging situation, but your post was very informative. Thanks!
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