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Old 10-25-2007, 11:27 AM   #1
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Location: Cookstown, Ontario Canada
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solar panel to keep battery charged

Has anyone added a solar panel to keep their battery charged?

Im thinking of doing this but am not sure what size panel to use. I would like to add one that will keep the battery charged all the time whether im using the TT or not.

Thanks.........
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Old 10-25-2007, 12:41 PM   #2
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I'm using solar panels at home, so have a little experience in this arena.

Your location will have an impact on how well a solar panel works, as well as its view of the Southern sky, time of year, angle of the panel, etc.

Also things like detectors eat battery power day & night, whether on or off (never really off). Suggest installing a battery disconnect switch.

If your batteries are already charged, you can get away with a smaller panel. Some claim they do fine with a 5 Watt panel ($39 on sale at Harbor Freight), but I'd recommend a 15 Watt panel ($79 on sale at Northern Tool).

Power (Watts) = I (Current in Amps) x E (Volts). I=P/E, current for the 5 Watt panel is 5/12, or 0.42 Amps during the peak of the day in ideal conditions. That's not much! The 15 Watt panel is 15/12, or 1.25 Amps, a safe trickle charge amount.

You only get usuable sun during a 4-5 hour stretch, depending on your location. A 15 Watt panel will keep your battery topped up. If you decide to add more panels to recharge, not just maintain your battery(s), you should invest in a solar controller too. Also available at Northern Tool for a few more sheckles.

Here's what the 15 Watt panel looks like:



Note, the store price for this panel is $99. Print out the online price of $79, and they will honor it in the store.

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Old 10-25-2007, 04:55 PM   #3
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Disconnect switch? Could you describe how to install and what it looks like. We have a new TT and I just unscrewed the ground to keep from discharging. It has a wingnut so its pretty easy but a disconnect switch would be sweet!

Steve
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Old 10-26-2007, 10:17 AM   #4
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You can find these in various flavors, but here's a cheap style you can find at places like Walmart:



Rotate the knob, it disconnects the battery. No tools needed. Turn the knob the other way to reconnect the battery.
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