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Old 08-23-2018, 05:44 PM   #1
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Cool Do you use a solar trickle charger?

Hi all!

I came across a solar trickle charger on Harbor Freight for $13. I don't think it's strong enough but it gave me the idea that maybe a bigger one would work to keep the battery charged up when we dry camp. We only use the lights for the most part. What do you think? Does anybody successfully use a cheap $25 or less solar trickle charger?

Liz
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Old 08-24-2018, 01:56 AM   #2
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Well the avarage deep cycle battery has between 75 and 100 amp hours. A 5 watt solar trickle charger puts in around 0.4 amps per hour. So a good 10 hous of direct sun might get you 4 amps into the battery. You could never use it to charge a battery but it might be enough to keep a fully charged battery topped off. Better bet would be to buy a 15 or 25 watt charger. And if you want something that will charge at around 4 amp per hour, you will need about 50 watts.
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Old 08-24-2018, 10:16 AM   #3
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For whatever it's worth, we use a 120 watt portable solar panel -- it replenishes our battery completely, every day. But we travel in sunny places and are minimal users of electricity.
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Old 08-24-2018, 10:43 AM   #4
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Thanks guys! Pretty much what I thought. I am just not knowledgeable enough about solar, and would love to get into it. Thought maybe this would be a painless way. Lol

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Old 08-24-2018, 01:06 PM   #5
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A portable suitcase model is so easy -- plug and play. Set the panel in the sun. Use the clips to clip it to your battery. That's it.

We transport our panel on the bed, laying down. When we get to the campsite, we take it out and set it up.
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Old 08-25-2018, 05:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by profdant139 View Post
A portable suitcase model is so easy -- plug and play. Set the panel in the sun. Use the clips to clip it to your battery. That's it.

We transport our panel on the bed, laying down. When we get to the campsite, we take it out and set it up.
Would you mind telling me what kind you have?

Liz
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Old 08-25-2018, 09:31 PM   #7
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It's a no-name (literally) knock-off of a Renogy suitcase model. If you are willing to gamble on quality, you can get imitation panels for a lot cheaper than the name brands. I took a chance on this one, and it paid off. I got it used from a private party.
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Old 08-26-2018, 08:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaintyLiz View Post
Hi all!

I came across a solar trickle charger on Harbor Freight for $13. I don't think it's strong enough but it gave me the idea that maybe a bigger one would work to keep the battery charged up when we dry camp. We only use the lights for the most part. What do you think? Does anybody successfully use a cheap $25 or less solar trickle charger?

Liz
If this is what you are referring to ~ don't waste your $$ as they are useless.

Don't ask how I know.
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Old 08-26-2018, 03:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
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If this is what you are referring to ~ don't waste your $$ as they are useless.

Don't ask how I know.
Lol... Sounds like some of my experience.

Anyone have a recommendation? This is why I don't have solar, I get too confused.

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Old 08-26-2018, 05:04 PM   #10
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Liz, if you want a 120 watt portable solar panel, you have a few choices. You can go to Amazon and buy from a reputable manufacturer, which will cost you several hundred dollars. (Based on what I now know, I wish I had done that several years ago, instead of waiting for a bargain to fall into my lap.)

Or you can buy a no-name unit on Amazon -- much cheaper, but what if it does not work well?

Or you can buy from a private party on Craigslist or ebay. With Craigslist, you can meet the seller and see if the panel really works -- just hook it up to a battery and put the leads of your multi-meter on the terminals. It should read 13 volts or more.

That is what I did. I saved a few hundred bucks; but as I said above, I should have gotten the panel several years earlier, for full price. If you are careful with electricity, a 120 watt panel might be plenty -- it is for us. It has given us a lot of freedom. We almost never run our generator these days, and that is enormously valuable -- we go camping in order to enjoy the silence, a big contrast to our noisy home in suburban Orange County, Calif.

Here is a link to a good unit -- not cheap, though:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...d_i=2236628011
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