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BryanPendleton

Stand-alone Trailer Battery w/ Solar Trickle Charging

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Was looking to just pick up the Harbor Freight special, but wanted to get some experience from others first. Basically i just want to mount a battery to on my open deck car hauler to power some lights and a winch, bit use a small solar panel to keep the battery topped off. I want to keep this on a HF type budget though.

 

Best type battery for the job?

Solar Panel trickle charger?

Other lessons learned?

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Lesson learned for me:  Don't use the HF solar panels.  they're crap and don't work for crap.

 

I bucked up and "bought" a proper 120W solar panel and a charge controller, then mounted it on the roof of my enclosed trailer and have two 100Ahr deep cycle batteries in a tongue box on the nose.   inside the trailer resides the charge controller and a 300W inverter so I can power small appliances like drill battery chargers, lights, radio, laptop, etc.

 

...and when I say "bought", I mean I dug it out of the back of the storage building at work when they were cleaning things out so my purchase price was my time to carry it to the truck instead of the dumpster. ;)

 

anyway, I tried those little 10W or so trickle charger solar panels for my lawnmowers several years ago.  they never worked worth a flip and were not waterproof like they advertised.   so I'd plug it into the mower and leave it sitting in the seat.  still had weak battery the next week when I went out to mow again, and after about the 3rd rain it sat through, the charge light wouldn't even come on anymore.  waste of money.

 

I also kept another on the dash of a car I didn't drive too much, and it didn't keep the battery topped up on it either.

 

again, that was several years ago and they may have better products out now, but I'm still skeptical of any of that crapola because of previous experience.

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I second Matt's opinion on the HF maintainers. I think my solar charger is only 10 watts, but it keeps the battery topped off. I think the brand is Schumacher; it's an actual battery maintainer. I wired it to a trailer plug receptacle so I just plug the trailer connector to it.

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You can wire a small 12v panel more or less directly to a lead-acid battery. The internal resistance of the battery will keep it at the right voltage level, more or less. Or jam a cheap buck converter from ebay on it to limit the charge voltage to 14V or so if you really want. I use a couple cheap 25W panels from Amazon on a couple of my cars when stored outdoors.

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I went a little more hard core.

 

Started with 100W Renolgy with 2 Marine Deep Cells and a Solar controller.  Ended up adding 2 more 150W for a total of 400W.

 

I have a 2KW inverter.  Handles most simple things I need at the track.  Lights, chargers, air compressor, and even a cutting wheel.

Probably run a microwave too if I really wanted.

 

I've actually been thinking of building a cable to run to my RV to use it both ways to either charge the RV house batteries or vis versa should I need to, but haven't done that yet.

 

Mike

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recommendations on a low-cost inverter that isn't crap?   I bought an "Amazon special" 400w inverter, and it's junk.  it'll power my drill chargers, but won't run my fluorescent lights and even a cheap electric fan makes nasty buzzing noises and I can tell it's not running full speed.

It spits out 120V and my multimeter says it's 60hz, but we all know that's only 5% of the equation. ;)

 

a 2KW unit is way more than I'd ever need since I bring my generator along for the big tasks, but not worrying about a cheap inverter blowing up my electronics is worth more than what I've put into it.

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I am looking at the following.  The Renogy brand name seems to be fairly reputable and the reviews are pretty solid:

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MVZ777D/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_68FACbEGDXV47

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LXLJJS4/?coliid=I5UNWM4MMUZID&colid=3VMKDM6821EO2&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it&th=1

 

I started with a 100W system I upgraded to 400W from Renogy -- 

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I am looking at the following.  The Renogy brand name seems to be fairly reputable and the reviews are pretty solid:

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MVZ777D/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_68FACbEGDXV47

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LXLJJS4/?coliid=I5UNWM4MMUZID&colid=3VMKDM6821EO2&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it&th=1

CAREFUL!!!

that controller is a positive ground.   almost all automotive stuff is neg ground, and you could very quickly make smoke if you have both systems grounded by accident.

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Thanks for the heads up, will definitely look for a negative-ground solution from Renogy.

 

CAREFUL!!!

that controller is a positive ground.   almost all automotive stuff is neg ground, and you could very quickly make smoke if you have both systems grounded by accident.

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