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Old 05-08-2013, 09:59 AM   #1
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Solar Trickle Charger

My RV is stored under a covered storage bay. Only the top of the unit is covered. My unit is on the end so the east side, south side and part of the west side is not covered.

We like to use the unit from time to time to eat lunch or watch TV while we eat lunch. We only have one battery and no room to add a second battery. I would like to add a solar trickle charger to keep the battery topped off while in storage. I am real careful to not let the battery voltage drop below 12v.

My question is what size solar charger should I get? Keep in mind the top of the RV is covered most of the day. I don't want a permanent mount. I was thinking I could mount a solar panel on the ladder facing south east.

We rarely boon dock so I don't need anything permanent. Would this work? http://www.campingworld.com/shopping...el/60088#qanda
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:37 AM   #2
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Depends if you shut your battery off when not in use then you have to wire directly in. If you can plug into a cigeratte lighter then just a portable one in the window should work
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Old 05-08-2013, 12:18 PM   #3
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12.0v in a battery is about 45% discharged. Your goal should be to keep it at 12.7 - 13v, or suffer an earlier death.

That said, a 15w panel would be minimum if you were in a very sunny part of the country and had access to the sun most of the day. I have a new 15w panel and it is useless in Mich for battery maintainance. I would go with a portable 30w and position it for the most sun. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 05-08-2013, 12:42 PM   #4
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With solar panels, bigger is better. A 15W panel only gives you 1.25Amp. A 45W panel gives you 3.75A. Better. Here's one: Solar Panel Kit - Save on this 45 Watt Solar Panel Kit
These go on sale occasionally for around $100.

You don't say what RV you have, but if you have a genset, it would be better for it, and better for your battery if you ran it while lunching in your rig.

BTW, that CW unit is wildly overpriced, IMO.
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Old 05-08-2013, 12:51 PM   #5
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That will work but you need to have the battery completely shut off from any drains except when in use. Maybe you could put it on the roof of the cover and run a wire down so you get the most sun. I like Hitek's suggestion. More bang for the buck and you can turn each one I believe to catch the sun more efficiently. Low voltage landscape wire is excellent for running the wires a bit longer.
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Old 05-08-2013, 02:53 PM   #6
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OK I have been convinced! What about a HQRP 50w mono panel and HQRP 10A solar charger? This is only to keep the battery charged while in storage. We store the RV with the battery disconnected.

Would I need to disconnect the solar charger to use the RV? Can I keep it connected all the time?


Amazon.com: HQRP 50W Mono-crystalline Solar Panel 50 Watt 12 Volt in Anodized Aluminum Frame 10 Years Limited Power Warranty: Patio, Lawn & Garden
Amazon.com: HQRP 10A Solar Panel Power Battery Charge Controller / Regulator 12V / 24V 10 Amp 150W with PWM Type of Charging plus HQRP UV Chain / UV Radiation Health Tester: Patio, Lawn & Garden
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Old 05-08-2013, 03:35 PM   #7
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If you have any solar panel charging your batteries, you NEED a solar Charge Controller . The main function of a solar charge controller is to prevent the solar panels from overcharging (boiling) the batteries. The algorithm or control strategy of a charge controller determines the effectiveness of battery charging and solar panel utilization, and ultimately the ability of the system to meet the load demands.
Charge Controllers for RVs
My RV Solar Charge Controller has:
30 Amp Charging Capabilities
(Regulates up to 600 watts of solar input)

Charges both the House and Engine Battery Banks Simultaneously
(Up to 30 amps heads to the House Battery while up to 5 amps head to the Engine Battery!)

Proven 3-Stage Charging Method
('Bulk', 'Taper', 'Float' charging assures complete and gentle charging)

External Voltage Sensing
(Measures actual battery voltage at the battery for the most accurate charging)

Current Limit On Output
(Eliminates nuisance fuse blowing)

Voltage Limit On Output
(Eliminates Over Voltage shut down of Inverters and protects sensitive RV Electronics)

Battery Temperature Compensation
(Automatically adjusts charge set point with respect to battery temperature to help prevent excess water loss in warmer temperatures and/or plate sulfation build-up in cooler temperatures)

Selectable Charge Set Points
(via potentiometers on the circit board)

Light Emitting Diodes
(Gives "at-a-glance" system status: "Bulk", "Taper", and "Float")
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Old 05-08-2013, 03:54 PM   #8
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To answer OPs question, the charge controllers I'm aware of are 'float chargers' which makes them inherently protected so they can be left attached to the batteries all the time. You don't have to disconnect it when you're using the RV.
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Old 05-08-2013, 04:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcase13 View Post
OK I have been convinced! What about a HQRP 50w mono panel and HQRP 10A solar charger? This is only to keep the battery charged while in storage. We store the RV with the battery disconnected.

Would I need to disconnect the solar charger to use the RV? Can I keep it connected all the time?
You can keep connected all the time if you permanently mount it. If is producing, your converter/charger will just produce less. Those 2 items would be fine. With that much wattage (and good sun) you may want to think about using it for the chassis battery also. That combo with decent sun should keep them both topped off.

Most solar experts will say you don't need a charge controller with any panel at 50w or less. This is considering nights, cloudly/rainy days and the size of your battery bank. However, depending on the area of the country you live and with just one battery, a controller wouldn't hurt.
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