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Solar Trickle Charger Suggestions

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Despite turning off my dual batteries they are constantly dead when I go out to run the motor during the winter. I ran into the same thing over the years with my garage Mustang and Harley despite taking off the leads. Eventually, the solution was to use a trickle charger which has worked great. The problem with my boat is that it is stored at one of my remote properties in a boat house that does not have power. I would rather not run power since it would only be for the purpose of the trickle charger. I've seen a few guys that have solar panel trickle chargers for their boat batteries. Has anyone had any experience with these? I've got two batteries so I would assume I need a fair amount of solar panel to keep it working. Where do you get them, how do you select the right one etc?

I appreciate any help you all can provide. Thanks in advance.


Stephen D.

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Hi,if you want only for batteries maintenance,and not for 12 volt electrical consumption support,you can buy a small and cheap one unit which has included in the unit the charger controller.This can be used very simple attached in the 12 volt plug on helm or straight to the battery.Has two adaprtors one is crocodiles.

If want to support 12 volt electrical boat's consumption when on hook ,then needs a bigger one ,minimun 100 watts - specially if you use a 12 volt refrigarator - (dims approx.1 mtr x 0.80 mtr) with external separate charger controller (size like two sigarette packets) and special cables for the system not to loose ampers due to distance from solar panel untill the batteries.

In both cases needs to calculate your consumptions,in order to buy the correct solar panel watts which covers your needs.

1st case if turning off the batteries switch, even the unit for 15 deers cost I believe is OK.This is for cars also.In the case connect straight to the battery.

2nd case if not turn off the batteries must calculate the consumption of radio memory ,auto bildge pump ,mercathode protection if the boat has and what else may be is permanent consuming the 12 volt even on ST-BY mode.

3rd case if want support electrical consumption on board and to have charged batteries,must add all the needs in watts ()hourly+daily) and to be taken into consideration how many hours daily exists sun light in the interesting area / season.

Helps,not to use simultanouesly many consumptions and if have electrical refrigarator to turn it off during the night approx from 22:00 hrs up to 07:00 morning time.Then turn it on again.Usually foods remain chill if not open many times refrig. door during the night and this helps to go with a smaller one in size ,as the night time no sun light=no charge.

Prices varies from maker to maker for the more than 25 watts solar panels.You can buy from all over the world.I bought mine 100 watts from German,solar charger controller from England and cables from Hong-Kong through ebay.There I found the better prices for the same things/makers/models.

If buy like this must calculate amps giving the solar panel and amps supporting by the charger controller to matches and some more to have/support the controller.

i wrote may be more than your questions,but may be somebody else is interesting and tried to cover the matter up to my knowledge.I search a lot last summer for the matter.It is interesting and very nice to have full electrical power on board without the noise of generator working when on hook or in the port if not shore current exists.You feel realy independent.

In Internet there is everything,just enter solar panels,or charge controllers and will find.Imporant check the amps giving the solar panels and the working volts of them.Also how the charge controller handles the same things.Must matches and cover it's other.Same watts solar panels, gives more or less amps,depending the maker.

100Watt Solarpanel Solarmodul 12V 12 Volt MONOKRISTALLIN is what I bought and Monocrystallin silicone is better than polycrystallin.All above up to my knowledge.With this I support only the one batterie ,the house batterie.If had more space on board should buy two solar panels.Hope it helps....:)

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Thanks everyone. I'll check out your suggestions. Another odd question, since the batteries are tied together can I run one set of leads to only one battery or do I need to rig up two leads, one set going to each battery. Thanks in advance.

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I changed over to AGM battiers. There more $$ say 2X, but you will not have that problem. Mine come with a 4yr replacement & 100 month prorated warrenty.

I leave them in all winter & the boat starts up ever spring. There now hitting 5yrs old, so far so good.

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50 years ago a car battery would hold a cranking charge ALL WINTER............October to June. Or even longer Had a Chrysler that was a reserve " breakdown car".

Fat chance of finding another one like that. Recycled means garbage most of the time. .

The Lead & insulator are so contaminated with impurities that they BLEED off the power with nothing connected to the battery..

I make my own trickle charger with 1 C circuit set to 13.6 vdc.

Parts cost $ 7 . I C has current limiting, overheat limiting, reverse voltage protection. Have them on everything with a 12 volt battery for years.

Nice to have generators, snow stuff, grass mowers, flood pumps. You name it. ready with full cranking power.

Electronic surplus places. The I C only has 2 small resistors. Cute

files were too big.

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  • 1 year later...

You might want to visit and ask one of the sailing forums. The cruising sailboats are equipped with solar panels

and wind power these days ... and they are really good in managing the power. You might want to start somewhere here: http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f14/solar-panels-one-big-one-or-two-small-ones-99332.html

Yes you are absolutely right.. I have seen many sailor boats with solar power.. Even I am looking to purchase one very soon:)

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You stated that your batteries are wired together. From my understanding, this is not a good situation for long term storage, as the batteries will always be attempting to equalize. Once you put the trickle charger on them, should be no problem, but for long term storage without a charge, you end up with weakened batteries.

It's as simple as removing the cross-tie lead from one of the batteries.

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