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Old 07-18-2014, 03:06 PM   #1
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Solar Trickle Charger?

Greetings:

Does anyone use or have thoughts regarding using a solar trickle charger to keep the batteries up durring storage? We are moving to Colorado and will have to store our coach outside without electric hook-ups. I plan on buying a cover for the coach and am thinking about adding a small solar panel for keeping the batteries maintained. I would probably have to modify the cover, unless I use a "portable" solar panel that could be placed on the roof above the cover. I have two house batteries and one chasis battery.

Any thoughts or comments?

Thanks,

Dave
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Old 07-18-2014, 03:10 PM   #2
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Dave,
Good way to do it. You'll run into two types:
1) A "dumb" trickle charger, relatively low watts. These basically charge directly from the solar panel at low rates. Not enough power to cook the battery.
2) A big enough setup that it requires a floating charger - or smart charger.

Are you charging both coach and house batteries? Likely they're isolated.

You've got a 2014, which is relatively new... Often RVs have "parasitic" draws at the batteries, so you'll want to know what your discharge rate is (measured by ampmeter) and make sure you can charge above that rate.

Another option - and I don't know how long your rig is sitting - is marine battery disconnect switches.
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Old 07-18-2014, 03:42 PM   #3
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I would go for a 50 to 100 watt panel with a charge controller. Having excess capacity will ensure the batteries stay fully charged even when there are cloudy, or overcast days, or snow on the panels. Obviously if the panels are completely covered In snow no charging takes place.....but when either you clear them, or it melts, you have enough watts to charge them back up again.
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Old 07-18-2014, 03:51 PM   #4
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Something like this is a good idea also, unless your coach already can do it.

http://www.lslproducts.net/TLSPage.html

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Old 07-18-2014, 04:03 PM   #5
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I do have a battery disconnect, I am not sure if my batteries are isolated but I suspect they are. We hope not to leave it much longer than 2 weeks at a time. It will be stored several miles from the house, but I could go there every other week if need be to run the generator and pull the batteries back up, which of course would be good for the generator but I am guessing not the best way to tend the batteries.
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Old 07-18-2014, 05:19 PM   #6
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I would recommend a 100w panel and a charge controller. If you do not have something to tie the batteries together, the Trickle Start or similar previously mentioned is a good way to go. Another option, Morningstar and others make charge controllers that will divvy up the solar power between two battery banks.
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Old 07-20-2014, 09:40 PM   #7
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For two weeks time, or even 4 weeks, just disconnect the batteries. They will stay up fine assuming the batteries are good. That is what I do on mine, and it is parked at my house, just inconvenient location to plug it in to a charger. In dead of winter I have gone up to 6 weeks and it still was fine once batteries reconnected and then it started up fine. Let it run a while and even go for 10-15 mile drive if weather is OK.

I do use the small 0.5 amp solar on a couple non MH vehicles that do not get driven regularly, and the solar chargers work fine on those.
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Old 07-21-2014, 08:36 AM   #8
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thanks!
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