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Old 01-23-2023, 10:58 AM   #1
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12v solar panel

Harbor freight has a 1.5W 12V solar trickle charger ($14.99) that plugs into the cigarette lighter. Has anyone used one of the to keep the chassis battery charged when stored for a long period of time. I do drive my 2015 Winnebago Vista 31KE about every three weeks. Sometimes I have to use the house batteries to supplement the starting.

Thanks
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Old 01-23-2023, 11:30 AM   #2
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If your starter battery drains in 3 weeks I'd look for the cause of that before adding a trickle charger. The drain on your battery is probably more than the 100 MilliAmps this device would provide. Just my 2Ę.
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Old 01-23-2023, 11:33 AM   #3
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1.5W isn't enough to charge a cell phone, much less a truck battery especially when you factor the parasitic loads that are ultimately the cause of discharging chassis batteries. One of these "wouldn't hurt" but it won't help either. Bump that up to a 25W panel, and between limited insolation sitting on a dashboard during the winter season you're getting close to what you might need.

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Old 01-23-2023, 12:50 PM   #4
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My Itasca's chassis battery will last about 2 weeks before running down. First thing I tried was a 5 watt solar charger panel plugged into the cigarette lighter. I may have gotten a couple more days but that was about it. A 1.5 watt panel ain't gonna cut it.

I never did put an amp meter on it to see what the draw was. Connected to power now but if it wasn't, that would be the first thing I'd do to get an idea of how much solar is needed.
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Old 01-23-2023, 01:18 PM   #5
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To make matters worse, you're going to get that 1.5 watts for about one hour of each day around noon on days when the sun is directly overhead. Somewhere on the equator, I think. For most of us in North America, that panel isn't going to do much at all.
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Old 01-23-2023, 02:50 PM   #6
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However Costco has a good battery maintenance panel for $100 right now.
https://www.costco.com/.product.1003..._Mailer_Starts
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Old 01-23-2023, 04:00 PM   #7
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I purchased a 7 watt panel from harbor freight for around $35 for our old motorhome. This seemed to work for us. But I utilized the factory battery disconnect. So there was no parasitic drain, just the natural battery discharge over time.
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Old 01-23-2023, 05:54 PM   #8
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If your looking to maintain 500 amp HR worth of battery you need a charger that puts out someplace over 8 amps for at least 4 hours a day . Anything less then this and your long term storage will result in needing new batterys.
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Old 01-24-2023, 09:11 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone for the info. I do not have a chassis battery disconnect. I will probably put one on.
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Old 01-24-2023, 09:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paulie G View Post
Thanks everyone for the info. I do not have a chassis battery disconnect. I will probably put one on.

Here is one of the simplest ones for just $15...
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07SBFKM5Y


If you happen to already have solar on your RV for your coach batteries, you can add a Trik-L-Start device and it will also keep your chassis battery charged.


Good luck!
Chris
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