Solar - Mountain Buzz

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Old 05-05-2009   #1
whip's Avatar
Salida, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 571

OK so I bought the 2 solar panels from Costco for $20. 1.8 watt trickle charger each. They have an alligator or cigarette lighter attachment for
a battery. I'm thinking I should buy a 12-volt deep charge marine battery
to recharge my I-pod on longer trips i.e. 3 weeks in the Grand. Any ideas on wiring them both in parallel. Think it'll keep the battery charged up?
Any cool ideas for containment? Should I be thinking marine or standard
battery? Would a motorcycle battery last 3 weeks with I-pod usage?

No amount of money is worth your free time!
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Old 05-05-2009   #2
bouldrmatty's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 137
What type of battery charger did you buy?

If you first bought a battery charger, then you need to see what type of battery it was intended to charge.

Lead Acid, Lithium, Nickel metal etc have different charging signatures. Some are current, voltage, temperatutre, and combinations of the three.

Start there....
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Old 05-05-2009   #3
Kooterville, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 50
wire them in parallel. did you get a charge controller to shut it off when the battery is full? That will produce 0.3 amps in full sun. Over a 10 hour day, about 3 Ah of charging.

watts = volts * amps

Batteries have a storage capacity rating in amp-hours. So, if you want to run a 12V 100W bilge pump for an hour on a charge, you need a 8.3 Ah battery. "Deep cycle" is a term for lead acid batteries that means they can be fully discharged without damaging the battery internally. Most car batters can only be cycled (completely discharged) a handful of times before the battery is ruined. Even if it is deep cycle, it's still better not to completely discharge a lead acid battery, in other words, buy some spare amp hours.

Here is a sealed lead acid battery (nothing can leak out): B&B 7 AH 12V SLA Battery: Toys & Games These weigh about 5.5 lbs. There are smaller and bigger batteries used in all sorts of toys. You don't need cranking amps, so don't get an automotive type battery.

I would suggest getting a waterproof box, a pelican box or the $7 wal-mart box. Drill a hole, put the battery in it, run the wires through, and seal the hole with silicone, glue, or anything else. If you not planning to be in saltwater, you don't have to worry to much about it. If your going to be in salt water, you need all marine grade wires and connections.

You can add a cigarette lighter and charge your cell phone, add a 4 battery tray and you can recharge AA and AAA rechargeable batteries for your GPS and flashlights.
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Old 05-05-2009   #4
Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 44
We have had little luck recharging batteries with solar panels on our river trips. Ours was not set up to use while floating so there just was not enough charge time in the early morning and late afternoon in camp. And boating in a canyon could really cut down on sun time while floating. We are still trying to work out something useable.
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