Originally Posted by Herowe
I bought a cheap little clip on solar panel on eBay for $15.00. It has done the job for 3 years now and we go 6 months between trips at times.
Small panels (less than 40-50 watts may work well in Florida but in areas where sun is more scarce, not so much.
Originally Posted by A32Deuce
Some panels have a built in controller. Suitcase type I seem to have read on here.
Controllers for simple battery maintenance are plentiful at low prices. For battery maintenance one doesn't necessarily have to buy a "suitcase type" which are typically more for charging batteries while actually camping.
My old, "pre-Lithium" batteries had an internal discharge rate around 1/2 amp or so when disconnected. .5 X 13.25 volt (float voltage of Lead Acid battery) is 6.6 watts. Allow for the fact that "Solar" is only effective around 1/3 of the day and you want to keep up with the internal discharge, then panels of 20 watts or more would work OK.
Just remember, all those small "Battery Maintainer" solar panels in the 5-10 watt range are more for maintaining small batteries, not a bank of deep cycle batteries.
And yes, either turn off existing battery switch or add one so you can disconnect batteries for storage.