Quick! Need help with solar charger!

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Quick! Need help with solar charger!

Postby kamperdog72 » Fri Oct 07, 2016 10:56 am

Hi all . I'm camping right now and just picked up a 6W solar panel trickle charger. The manual isn't very specific, so i'm wondering, can I connected the solar charger to the battery while it's still hooked to the r v. The only thing that's being used is the refrigerator. Which currently is only using the battery for the spark because I have it set to gas. Or do I have to disconnect the battery from the vehicle completely to hook up the solar charger?
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Re: Quick! Need help with solar charger!

Postby tony.latham » Fri Oct 07, 2016 11:05 am

I'm going to vote for the "hook it up"––assuming it produces something along 12-14 volts.

6 watts is just about nothing. That panel is probably putting out less than a half amp and won't have much of a positive effect on your battery. Most battery "tenders" will put out 2-10 amps I think.

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Re: Quick! Need help with solar charger!

Postby kamperdog72 » Fri Oct 07, 2016 11:28 am

Well I hope it's better than that, but I digress. I just need to know if it's safe to hook up while the battery is still connected to the rv.

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Re: Quick! Need help with solar charger!

Postby MtnDon » Fri Oct 07, 2016 12:43 pm

IF it puts out a compatible voltage, 14 to 19 volts, it is completely safe. However, at 6 watts that is a half ampere and only if the sun is shining brightly on the panel. Maybe, maybe usable as a trickle, maintenance charge while sitting idle in storage. 6 watts will have virtually no ability to actually replace power used by lights, etc.

Do you know if the specs state that it has diodes to block current from draining the battery when the sun does not shine? Hopefully it does. If you have a multimeter you can confirm that it does not discharge the battery when the sun is gone.
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Re: Quick! Need help with solar charger!

Postby kamperdog72 » Fri Oct 07, 2016 12:55 pm

Yes, it has a maximum output of 15v and has built in "blocking diode" to prevent discharge.

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Re: Quick! Need help with solar charger!

Postby kamperdog72 » Fri Oct 07, 2016 1:10 pm

I'm kind of disappointed to hear that it won't really charge that much. So basically when I put the RV away for the winter it could be used as a battery maintainer to keep the battery from dying while sitting correct? Next season I should just invest in a dual battery setup and a larger solar array, or just break down and get an inverter generator.

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Re: Quick! Need help with solar charger!

Postby MtnDon » Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:51 pm

kamperdog72 wrote:Yes, it has a maximum output of 15v and has built in "blocking diode" to prevent discharge.

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When the sun does not hit it directly enough the voltage will drop from the 15 volt maximum. A 12 volt battery needs more than 12 volts to charge. In a solar charge system using a 12 volt nominal battery and a solar charge controller, the charge controller is programmed to charge at 14.4 or so volts. A 12 volt battery will charge at lower volts, say 13.8 but the charge will be slower. 13.2 to 13.6 volts is often used as a float or maintenance voltage.
Our 6x12 deep vee nose cargo trailer camper conversion... viewtopic.php?f=42&t=58336

We have a small off grid cabin we built ourselves in the NM mountains; small PV solar system; 624 watts PV, Outback CC & inverter/charger ... http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?topic=2335.0
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Re: Quick! Need help with solar charger!

Postby Shadow Catcher » Fri Oct 07, 2016 6:35 pm

I have our solar hooked so it will feed the tow vehicle battery. Our refrigerator rides in the back of our Subaru and in serious bad weather I leave it there. We do have a solar controller and voltage to the TV is at most 14.2V during boost. 6 years doing this with no problems.
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