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wesintl
07-05-2011, 10:34 AM
I had the ability to get a sunforce 1.8 watt battery maintainer for free. I figured I'd see how it worked with the camper and if not just keep it on the dash for one of the cruisers I don't drive that often.

I tried it for the first time camping this weekend and it turned out awesome for what it is. I camped in the same spot and same duration as last year for the 4th. It was arguably colder due to the massive piles of snow still in the campground and at that altitude. Last year the 3rd night I had to put the jumper cable on in the middle of the night for the heater fan to run and have heat.

This year I changed the usable interior lights to leds and told my wife to use any lights and plug in anything she wanted. I brought an extra deka 31 just in case. I ran the heat as usual, maybe even too high as my wife complained it was too hot one night. That doesn't happen very often. I didn't have to change out the battery and when I got home took a reading and had 11.8v. I might consider moving to a 5 or 15w but for my needs it doesn't look like i need to carry an extra battery or have a generator.:thumb:

http://www.sunforceproducts.com/product_details.php?PRODUCT_ID=65

Nice to see you Marco. Sorry we couldn't chat longer.

Hulk
07-05-2011, 11:10 AM
That's pretty cool. I have a solar battery maintainer that came with my 2004 VW Jetta. I wonder what kind of output it provides.

Rezarf
07-05-2011, 11:22 AM
So my only question is... where do I get one for free? ;)

Thats cool Wes, how big is it? Is it rigid?

baileyfj40
07-05-2011, 12:47 PM
My Lance pickup camper has like about 14 watt solar charger and I enjoy not having to start the generator. Well worth the money spent in an option.

wesintl
07-05-2011, 12:53 PM
So my only question is... where do I get one for free? ;)

Thats cool Wes, how big is it? Is it rigid?

You gotta work at my company for 5 years and you can get a $30 item:rolleyes:. It was either that or some small binoculars :cool: or other junk. It's a nice gesture though from a company

anyway. it's a 1.8w with built in overcharge/discharge protector. It's a little smaller length wise than a keyboard, hard abs plastic.

I might upgrade to the 5w or 15w since those are like $50 and $100-120. which is not much IMHO. These 2 are weatherproof which mine is not. The maintainer is meant to sit on a car dashboard and keep the battery from dying in the airport parking lot.

I was just super impressed and thought I would need to spend $400+ on a real solar panel for 4 days of camping. It's really the fan on the heater that sucks up the most juice. I didn't want to have to deal with 2 batteries or a generator even though i want a 1000w quiet generator. I'd chat with Tim and Farnham periodically about their battery consumption and ways to charge the battery and reduce consumption and figured others with popups/trailers might find it useful.

That's good to know mike.. I might just go with the 15w and be done.

Corbet
07-11-2011, 07:45 PM
Well you motivated me to get one to prevent my fridge from draining my battery over these hot weekend we have been having. I generally don't move my truck on weekends unless I go on a trip. It took a while to find one on a shelf here in Durango. But I got one. We will see how it works. Found it at O'Reilly Auto parts for anyone looking. $30 They also had the next larger one for $70?

Side note, the Hensley Battery store had a 23watt / 2amp unit on the self for $200 that looked pretty nice. The panel was probably about 14"x24" for anyone looking for something bigger. Ideal for a camper but too big for my dash:D

bomber22
07-17-2011, 12:18 PM
glad I found this post I just got rid of my popup , that didnot have a frig or heater, and bought a 18 foot hybred trail lite bantam 1999. it has a solor panel on top to charge the battery but iam unsure of the wattage because the sticker is on the bottom of the panel 1/2 inch above the roof[ need to get a mirror and try to read it]. I know i need to get a new battery , does not stay charged. any one reconmend a battery, i think it should be a deep cycle right? also in my new to me trailer i have a microwave,a/c fridge and a heater, should the battery power the heater i think it is 13500 btu and if it does, for how long before it drains the battery. any feed back would be cool, i dont know much about electricty and wattage but learning bit by bit. also thinking about a generator 3500-4000 watts to run the a/c and microwave when dry camping if needed. thanks LARS

Corbet
07-18-2011, 08:28 AM
I'd go with a Marine deep cycle type either a Sears DieHard Platinum or a Deka From Hensley battery.

As far as how many to power all that I'll wait for someone else to chime in.

Depending on how powerful the existing solar panel is make sure you have a charge controller between the battery/s and panel.

bomber22
07-18-2011, 11:23 AM
thanks corbet , ill get a deep cycle battery or two for sure. I would think there would be a charge limiter between the panel and the battery the controler has 3 lights 2 red 1 green. green says it is charging 1 red says low and the other red iam not sure letters are hard to read.

wesintl
07-18-2011, 11:31 AM
My popup came with an interstate group 27 marine deep cycle. It Seems like a good battery so far. I'm a fan of deka's too.

Snowrun
07-18-2011, 11:32 AM
This is what I use. I am happy with the panel. I need to build a better charge controller than the one they provide.
http://www.sierraexpeditions.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=2249

nakman
01-12-2012, 02:48 PM
This is what I use. I am happy with the panel. I need to build a better charge controller than the one they provide.
http://www.sierraexpeditions.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=2249

John, any feedback on how that's working? I was researching solar setups the other night, I'm sorta leaning towards a rigid panel though as I can incorporate that into a roof rack.


Also I just bought a new charger, a CTEK 7002 (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000FRLO9Y/ref=asc_df_B000FRLO9Y1856795?smid=AEUPJCL2APUCX&tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=asn&creative=395105&creativeASIN=B000FRLO9Y). Will be using on both truck batteries, both camper batteries, motorcycles, and whatever else I can find that needs a chargin'.

rover67
01-12-2012, 03:08 PM
that's a lot of money for a solar panel if you don't need a foldable one... Why not do something like this:

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&q=solar+panel&cid=6833845318122628172&ei=TlYPT67ZMaTtsgfemcHLBA&ved=0CAwQrRI

or:

http://www.pvpower.com/trina-185w-solar-panel-monocrystalline-.aspx

and one of these:

http://www.pvpower.com/phocos-cxn20-solar-charge-controller-20a-12-24v-negative-ground.aspx


Especially if it's going on a pop up top or something. 190-250w and much less cashola.

Snowrun
01-12-2012, 03:30 PM
John, any feedback on how that's working? I was researching solar setups the other night, I'm sorta leaning towards a rigid panel though as I can incorporate that into a roof rack.


Also I just bought a new charger, a CTEK 7002 (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000FRLO9Y/ref=asc_df_B000FRLO9Y1856795?smid=AEUPJCL2APUCX&tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=asn&creative=395105&creativeASIN=B000FRLO9Y). Will be using on both truck batteries, both camper batteries, motorcycles, and whatever else I can find that needs a chargin'.

I am incredibly happy with it. I like that I can park the truck for a few days with the refrigerator running and not have to waste gas charging the batteries. It also is useful as an emergency battery charger. (I have experimented with this and typically I can fully charge a near dead battery in about 8-10 hours of full summer sun). One other advantage I like about the fold up panel is I can put it on any truck in a matter of minutes.
On the flip side I think I will likely end up going with a smaller permanent hard panel mounted on a RTT or Roof rack for more daily use.

nakman
01-12-2012, 04:01 PM
Well the other night I was looking at some of the Goal 0 stuff from Expedition Offroad. http://expeditionoffroad.com/expedition_gear/auxiliary_solar_power in a thread over on Expo he was mentioned a fairly turnkey setup for $650, 60 watts of solar on a roof rack. would be this post here: http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/28712-Solar-power-for-camping-overlanding-trips-installed-6-27-2009?p=870272#post870272

Edit: I'm thinking those Goal Zero 30x panels could drop into a roof rack quite nicely. http://www.solarchargeroutlet.com/p26-Goal-Zero-Boulder-30m-30-Watt-Portable-Solar-Panel.html
http://www.solarchargeroutlet.com/images/goalzero-boulder-30m-solar-panel-1.jpg

Corbet
01-12-2012, 04:08 PM
There was a solar panel comparison in Overland Journal a few issues back. The GoalZero stuff did OK. Honestly the review was not great as they reviewed so many different types and sizes it was not real useful IMO.

A pair of GoalZero boulder 30's should work great as a hard mount on a camper or roof rack though. I've though about the same.

wesintl
01-12-2012, 04:24 PM
You get what you pay for in solar panels.

I'm picking up a near new 1000is quiet generator for $500. That'll solve my backup problems and give me plenty of power :D

farnhamstj
01-13-2012, 10:01 AM
A Woodland Fairy loses it wings every time someone buys a generator.

wesintl
01-13-2012, 10:52 AM
Same thing happens when you drive you 10 mpg cruiser in the woods not to mention yer noisy ass dirt bike.

:meh:

Uncle Ben
01-13-2012, 01:44 PM
Same thing happens when you drive you 10 mpg cruiser in the woods not to mention yer noisy ass dirt bike.

:meh:

Woodland Fairy has lost a few wings from large pistol bullets too I hear! :bowdown::bowdown::zilla:

CO Hunter
01-16-2012, 05:50 PM
Any feedback on the O'Reilly $30 panel?

corsair23
01-16-2012, 06:13 PM
Also I just bought a new charger, a CTEK 7002 (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000FRLO9Y/ref=asc_df_B000FRLO9Y1856795?smid=AEUPJCL2APUCX&tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=asn&creative=395105&creativeASIN=B000FRLO9Y). Will be using on both truck batteries, both camper batteries, motorcycles, and whatever else I can find that needs a chargin'.

What do you think of that charger Tim?

I've got a couple of the big bulky chargers that work ok but the once you linked to sounds interesting, especially for reconditioning older batteries :thumb: - expensive though

Corbet
01-16-2012, 07:20 PM
Any feedback on the O'Reilly $30 panel?

After having mine for 6 months I give it a thumbs down. I put it on the wife's convertible in hopes of it keeping the battery topped off while it sat in the garage all winter. No luck the battery was dead last week when I tried to move the car. The plastic housing also warped on mine sitting on the 80's dash board.

Uncle Ben
01-16-2012, 08:56 PM
After having mine for 6 months I give it a thumbs down. I put it on the wife's convertible in hopes of it keeping the battery topped off while it sat in the garage all winter. No luck the battery was dead last week when I tried to move the car. The plastic housing also warped on mine sitting on the 80's dash board.

ahhhh Corbet......solar panels probably just are not gonna give you the performance your looking for while used in the garage! :rolleyes::lmao::lmao::lmao:

Corbet
01-16-2012, 09:49 PM
ahhhh Corbet......solar panels probably just are not gonna give you the performance your looking for while used in the garage! :rolleyes::lmao::lmao::lmao:

But I left my 500w work light directly over the top of it.... Actually set it in a south facing window:rolleyes:

Uncle Ben
01-16-2012, 09:52 PM
But I left my 500w work light directly over the top of it.... Actually set it in a south facing window:rolleyes:

:lmao::thumb::hill:

CardinalFJ60
02-01-2012, 05:43 PM
What do you think of that charger Tim?

I've got a couple of the big bulky chargers that work ok but the once you linked to sounds interesting, especially for reconditioning older batteries :thumb: - expensive though

bump - what say ye....I have one of those big chargers, but not sure if the CTEK would be better for the optimas. and I have some ebay bucks to expire tomorrow.

corsair23
02-02-2012, 11:21 AM
bump - what say ye....I have one of those big chargers, but not sure if the CTEK would be better for the optimas. and I have some ebay bucks to expire tomorrow.

Down to under $113 on Amazon (see Tim's link) so I went ahead and bought one, mostly paid with using Amazon points :)

They have some cool accessories that are pretty inexpensive that i picked up as well - Figure I would put one of them on the 40 as a more permanent install that makes hooking up the charger even more simple:

CTEK 56-382 Comfort Indicator Eyelet (http://www.amazon.com/CTEK-56-382-Comfort-Indicator-Eyelet/dp/B002MT8S7E/ref=pd_sim_auto_5)

CTEK 56-380 Comfort Indicator Panel (http://www.amazon.com/CTEK-56-380-Comfort-Indicator-Panel/dp/B002OHXX60/ref=pd_sim_auto_4)

nakman
02-02-2012, 12:15 PM
This charger so far rocks, data point of 1: put it on one of my camper batteries overnight a couple weeks ago, last used on the Spooky Night Run and was run down to 11.9 or so. I think I measured 11.7 before I put it on the charger. Next day it indicated that it went through 4 charging cycles and was on maintenance so I took it off. Right off the charger I measured 12.8v, a day later 12.7, a day later 12.6, and two weeks later still 12.6- this is sitting on the garage floor, I'm calling that a happy battery.

I haven't done the other camper battery yet as it's under the bench seat inside, so I need to raise the camper to do that. I will toss it on a car battery next.. my main battery on the 100 kind of blows, 3 hours of listening to the radio and the IBS alarm is going off. So this would be a really good testament if I can get it restored somehow, will post up results.

Shawn you are welcome to borrow this if you want, just let me know. :)

Enigma
02-02-2012, 02:12 PM
I bought a 50 watt "12 volt RV package" from a local supplier last year:

http://www3.telus.net/public/tps.x/page_4.htm

Haven't used it too intensly yet, but with good sun it will keep my fridge running for a week when i was testing it in the drive way.