Anyone install solar trickle charger permanently?

BWB8771

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Like many others battling newer cars' start/stop tech + batteries, I'm looking for solutions as well as workarounds. Given our current work-from-home situation is not likely to change for quite a while, I'm researching how to permanently use a solar-powered trickle charger for the battery (example linked-to below).

Has anyone already done this? If so, have you any lessons you would share?

Solar Car Battery Trickle Charger, 12V 1.8W Solar Battery Charger​

https://www.amazon.com/gp/B07M8VSFKF
 

richx

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Wow this is interesting. I've got a spare car that's parked under the sun most of the time. Lemme see if I can source one and give it a try. Thinking if I can plug in via fuse tap since my cars kill the ciggie port when engine is off.
 

leeuniverse

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I was thinking the same thing...

Hardwire my new Dashcam, and then add a Solar Trickle Charger under the back window on the ledge behind the back seat connecting it to the battery or whatever.
That way I prevent my battery from going down too far, I can have Parking Mode on all the time, and the battery stays well charged.

Anyone have thoughts on this?
 

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I'm currently testing a 30w panel with 12v regulator / flooded battery charger. Planning on leaving it on the entire week and not driving the car, and then sampling the battery voltage at around 10pm each day. No dashcam load yet, just to see if it's enough to compensate for the battery's own natural decay.
 

leeuniverse

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I'm currently testing a 30w panel with 12v regulator / flooded battery charger. Planning on leaving it on the entire week and not driving the car, and then sampling the battery voltage at around 10pm each day. No dashcam load yet, just to see if it's enough to compensate for the battery's own natural decay.

Ya, found this thread on the forum and it looks like he's doing essentially the same...


I found this video on YouTube in which he's doing essentially the same thing also.


Then I found this video in which he's doing it a "simple" way for his van, and this might be the best/easiest way to do it for most people. He's had it on there for two years and he doesn't unplug it from the cig lighter either, nor does he use a regulator. He keeps it plugged in always directly to the cig lighter. I'm guessing it might be due to the actual "wattage" as to why he's fine. Also, the company for this particular solar panel said due to the charging being so low for "large" battery's a regulator isn't needed, it won't overcharge.


I'm trying to find out from him what "battery" he's using, standard lead or an AGM which I hear is the best for our application. That way I know if I need to change my battery or not. Though, I guess I should anyway since that's what's been reported on this forum as best when you're using a dashcam for parking mode, battery lasts longer, recharges faster, etc. I think I'm going to do this method. Some of these solar charger company's report that you should "unplug" the solar charger before starting the car cause power might destroy the charger, but he hasn't done so, and apparently, a lot of people don't. So, think I might take the chance too since the diodes are supposed to stop things like that and looks like it has for him. And this particular company on this ad at least hasn't said that needs to be done, only other ads for other chargers have said it.
Oh, and you need to have a cig lighter that's "always-on" for this to work, or run a line to the battery directly and then maybe you "should" use a regulator?

Anyway, I think I'm going to go this method since it's easy, hopefully it works fine. I'm going to get this:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/B08F2BT3N6
So I plug it in occassionally to see how my battery voltage is doing. What I'm going to do is put the solar charger behind my back seat, either attach it to the window or just attach it with velcro or whatever to the ledge whatever it's called, then run the cable to my middle thing between the front seats which has a cig lighter and plug it in perminantly there. Don't know if the cable is long enough yet, will get a "cig extension" if need to or just wire to extend it and splice it in.

So, that's what I'm thinking so far....
Don't know how much power it will generate but I figure it will be enough to at least prevent the battery from going down too far, and it's not too much wattage that it shouldn't cause any issues. Anyway, will find out lol... :)

Oh, here's the "length" of the wires for the solar charger above I want to buy...
"The extension cord behind the solar panel is 8.2FT, the length of the cigarette lighter cord is 1.6FT, and the length of the alligator clip cord is 1.6FT."
 
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-Pizdys-

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Read this before you will install any solar panels in your car to support power to your dash camera:
About 6years ago I have bought quite a large solar module (15watts) for the car to get extra electricity for the dash camera during parking mode, and unfortunately, that is more complicated and problematic than you think:

I have installed 15watt "Flexi" solar panel under the sunroof, which looks really nice, and a 15Watt panel fil well as on the picture, but things get more complicated with time, here is why:
- car sunroof glass has an invisible UV cut filter, and because that UV light is mandatory to convert light to electricity solar panel works extremely poorly (if was giving me just around 0.5W from 2Watt which typical dashcam needs). This UV filter is probably there to reduce heating car interior during summer and cut light which can cause damages to the car leather interiors.
- DC-DC step-down converter also generates some electricity losses which means that already very low power also is even poorer.
- with the time Flexi solar panel gets micro-cracks inside the structure due to car vibrations, which caused power drop to almost 0.1W (from 15W),

common_solar_panel_defects.JPG


All project was a big failure, but here is some hope for others:
- make sure that your car glasses have no UV filter
- some car rear windscreens have no UV filter coat (and there you can place a solar panel if you really want).
- don't buy Flexi solar pannel types like mine, is poor and it will get cracks with time, some people recommended below Flexi type solar panels (this is different technology Flexi solar panel type, is stronger and shouldn't get cracks in cars),
but still, it needs a full light spectrum to provide good power, especially high energy light spectrum which is IR and UV.

Sun-Soaker-10W-1__20628.1510940133.1280.1280.jpg


- the best and the only one way to support dashcam by the solar panel is to convert power from solar by DC-DC step-down converter and connect to the same power line which going to your dash camera, just avoid charging batteries, power banks...that really doesn't make any sens sue to huge power losses, and a small amount of power to really charge anything apart support power line to the dash camera. the best DC-DC converter and the most efficient is that one:


buck%20module-550x550.jpg
 
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richx

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Anyway, this is my $15 setup that I'm testing out now (without dashcam load). Just monitoring to see if it's enough to sustain the battery voltage on a small car parked, and not being driven for 2-3 weeks at a time. Controller is set to float ast 13.7v, to turn off the load if voltage falls below 11.6v (that's the highest it can go), and to turn the load back on when battery is at 12.6v. At this point the load settings are irrelevant because there is nothing connected to its load terminals. The car battery fuse tap is connected to battery terminal of the controller. Technically when the car is not running, all the controller sees is the battery. Desulphication voltage is set to 14.6v, but I don't know what that really does because the manual does not describe any sort of routine for this purpose.

photo_2021-04-07_15-58-42.jpg

Fuse tap and ground are connected to fusebox as if powering a dashcam with parking mode. The quick connector is tucked away into the glovebox for easy storage and access.

photo_2021-04-07_15-58-32.jpg

So when the car is parked, I take the panel + controller glued behind it out and put it against the windscreen with the sunshade holding them up. The quick connector snaps to the other end from the glovebox, and away we go. I've left the car like this for 5 days so far, and I read the battery voltage via whatever being reported by the insurance company's telemetry device which gets updated about twice a day when the car isn't moving.

The car's battery is a paltry 34B19L, and the panel is rated at 30w (no-load voltage under direct sunlight at the hottest time of the day is 20.7v). On the first day, the voltage started out at 12.5v. 3 days later it's down to 12.2v (it had been raining every day from about 2~3 pm onwards, so there's only really hot sun from about 9:30am to 1:30pm). Let's see how long more the voltage can hang on at 12.2v.

At the rate it's going, I don't think this can sustain any sort of motion detection parking mode, or time lapse / low bitrate parking mode. Perhaps the sleep --> G sensor --> wake up --> record --> sleep sort of parking mode is possible to keep going for weeks/months on end. Perhaps a 50w panel would be able to do better, but the controller didn't regulate current and I didn't want the panel to be dumping a large current onto the battery, therefore I figured 2.1A maximum was pretty safe. Maybe 3.6A x ~40-50% efficiency might have been able to keep the battery's voltage higher.

By the time we get to 100w panels, it's taking up too much space already, and clumsy to move in and out. Will continue to keep watch and update if anything interesting happens.
 

kamkar

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Probably will not be too long before new electric vehicles will have a solar panel roof we might be able to tab into for things like this.
For sure personally i would have a roof that was one big solar cell than having one of those glass roofs or a old fashioned sun roof.
 

SawMaster

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The technology is already there for solar-covered cars. The problem is that manufacturers don't want to have that kind of thing added to possible warranty claims. It will happen in time, especially if they can find a way to make it look less 'geeky' and more like a painted panel.

Like custom-fitted dashmats, maybe someone will do something like that with solar panels- it might sell or it might not.

Phil
 

Outbacknomad

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My first post, hello everyone. Look at nomad setups, auxiliary & solar for ideas. They have auxiliary batteries & solar charging to charge their batteries for fridges. The large setups will run air conditioning. Anything small will be powered indefinitely, well at least for 5 or so years as the batteries age.
 

SawMaster

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Welcome to DCT @Outbacknomad :)

What kind of batteries/cells are you using?

I keep up with "DIY Solar with Will Prowse" on youtube, tons of good info there by someone who knows his stuff. Just that he concentrates more on larger and portable systems while I think most of us here would prefer something we can put on the dash or parcel shelf (back window). I'd love to top my old van with PV panels and some serious LiFePO4 batteries but they don't give the stuff away and I can't afford it.

Phil
 

Outbacknomad

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Welcome to DCT @Outbacknomad :)

What kind of batteries/cells are you using?

I keep up with "DIY Solar with Will Prowse" on youtube, tons of good info there by someone who knows his stuff. Just that he concentrates more on larger and portable systems while I think most of us here would prefer something we can put on the dash or parcel shelf (back window). I'd love to top my old van with PV panels and some serious LiFePO4 batteries but they don't give the stuff away and I can't afford it.

Phil
Welcome to DCT @Outbacknomad :)

What kind of batteries/cells are you using?

I keep up with "DIY Solar with Will Prowse" on youtube, tons of good info there by someone who knows his stuff. Just that he concentrates more on larger and portable systems while I think most of us here would prefer something we can put on the dash or parcel shelf (back window). I'd love to top my old van with PV panels and some serious LiFePO4 batteries but they don't give the stuff away and I can't afford it.

Phil
Welcome to DCT @Outbacknomad :)

What kind of batteries/cells are you using?

I keep up with "DIY Solar with Will Prowse" on youtube, tons of good info there by someone who knows his stuff. Just that he concentrates more on larger and portable systems while I think most of us here would prefer something we can put on the dash or parcel shelf (back window). I'd love to top my old van with PV panels and some serious LiFePO4 batteries but they don't give the stuff away and I can't afford it.

Phil
Most people use AGM batteries, I have used 4 x 26Ah gel batteries as these were the only size I could fit around the car. They are mostly for a small fridge & secondly charging phones etc. The fridge needs 15Ah per 24 hour. I have got a DC-DC charger to charge up when driving & use solar panels when camping longer. My Garmin 56 cameras just plug into the supplied 5 volt adaptor & that is supplied by the car or auxiliary batteries.

I really do recommend one gets information on the systems people have set up in motorhomes & caravans & do a scaled down version for the car. They is a wealth of information on battery setups, including lithium setups.

2 of the 4 batteries under a seat.
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Solar controller (with additional heatsinks front & back) & two 9amp DC-DC chargers.
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One 26Ah battery which is used in the car with the fridge or can be taken out if I take the fridge out. Or plug the phone in with adaptor for that matter.
26Ah-battery.jpg
 

SawMaster

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Nice (y) And thanks for the pics. AGM is good, and less of a gamble than "B" grade LiFePO4 which is what is usually what the lower-cost ones are. With AGM you're getting new "A" grade for certain.

Phil
 
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