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Ndawg12

Solar Panels for Trickle Charging and Maintaining

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Ndawg12

I have done numerous searches and have come up with basically nothing. I heard one guy say that he sold his RV and took the solar charger off of that and put it on his boat and it has worked great for 2 years. But that is all I've really found and it seems like this would be a very important topic and hopefully some people with experience can shed some light on the subject for the rest of us.

I will be keeping my boat either on the water or in a parking lot at work, either way, no power. I would keep it at the house and buy a battery tender but the HOA says that's a no-no Cry.gif I will only be able to use the boat on the weekends and would like a way to keep the battery full of power for many obvious reasons along with increasing the battery life by maintaining an adequate charge

I see that ebay has some for $24.95, they are weather resistant and will not drain down at night, but I'm a firm believer in "you get what you pay for", but sometimes I'm a hypocrit too. Whistling.gif

Ebay Solar Panel

So my question is this, who's got em', what do you got, and how well do they work?

Thanks to the crew for any and all info!!!

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68Slalom

I don't know where you get them, but would also be interested in this:

There is a real estate company in our area that uses them for their sale signs, they light up at night. I'm really surprised the unit hasn't been stolen yet, isn't too bright but I'm sure there is a better light that can be used. I can always call them up and find out where they got it and how much it was.

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Ndawg12
I don't know where you get them, but would also be interested in this:

There is a real estate company in our area that uses them for their sale signs, they light up at night. I'm really surprised the unit hasn't been stolen yet, isn't too bright but I'm sure there is a better light that can be used. I can always call them up and find out where they got it and how much it was.

Come to think of it, I see panels on traffic signs that have blinking lights and stuff like that. I guess that would be the same principal. If you could make that call I would be very interested. Thanks.

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Tao of Wake

I've got a couple 10W solar panels on my battery box for my hoist, and they keep the battery in tip top condition. I just got the panels with the hoist, but you can find similar ones online. I just got this one as a gift. I am planning on using it to keep the battery charged on our pedal boat (it has a small built-in trolling motor). I have 2 more of the VDC trickle chargers (not solar; AC), and they seem to do a great job.

My boat stays on the hoist with no use for up to 2 weeks in the summer, and I have never had any problems with the batteries keeping a charge, so I don't plan on using anything to trickle charge during the summer. Do others have a lot of problem with the batteries losing significant charge? Should I use this solar charger for the boat rather than the pedal boat?

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Ndawg12
I've got a couple 10W solar panels on my battery box for my hoist, and they keep the battery in tip top condition. I just got the panels with the hoist, but you can find similar ones online. I just got this one as a gift. I am planning on using it to keep the battery charged on our pedal boat (it has a small built-in trolling motor). I have 2 more of the VDC trickle chargers (not solar; AC), and they seem to do a great job.

My boat stays on the hoist with no use for up to 2 weeks in the summer, and I have never had any problems with the batteries keeping a charge, so I don't plan on using anything to trickle charge during the summer. Do others have a lot of problem with the batteries losing significant charge? Should I use this solar charger for the boat rather than the pedal boat?

I'm not trying to scare anyone and I'm not suggesting that anyone has had problems losing charge. I would probably be fine between outings by just turning my perko switch to off. But it would be a nice peace of mind, for me personally, to leave the perko on with a solar trickle charge. That's if it's even feasible.

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CedarLakeSkier

I would use care when you buy (or build) something to charge your battery. There should be a chip or "black box" that shuts off the current to keep the battery from over charging. You do not want to over charge your battery.... that's bad.

Here are some examples

http://www.batterystuff.com/solar-chargers/SCC15.html

http://www.batterystuff.com/solar-chargers/GS12V7A.html

and can be used with any of these panels according to the web site

http://www.batterystuff.com/solar-chargers/

Note that I have never used this web site and don't know if these are good deals on solar panels. I am just using them as an example.

edit: to add links and solar panel info

Edited by CedarLakeSkier

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LS-One

Th important thing to keep in mind is they are trickle chargers not battery chargers. Between a quarter and one amp is common for the output on the solar units. The point being if your battery is put away low like a trolling motor battery or a boat battery that has been run down from extended stereo use these little units will never catch back up with 5 to 8 hours of effective sunlight per day.

Edited by LS-One

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Ndawg12

Let me switch gears a little bit, how many amps of output is adequate to turn these motors with a jump starter. I've also got my eye on a 300amp battery jump pack but I'm not sure if that's big enough.

The jump pack might be a better option ( as long as I keep it charged!). I can just turn the perko switch to off when I'm done for the day and if I get to the ramp and she's dead for what ever reason I could jump start it.

How does that sound?

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plano86skier

Harbour Freight is also another place you can get solor battery chargers. I asked and received one for Christmas, but have not used it yet. Boat is 4.5 hours away.

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woody

Sounds like a jump pack is the way to go. Easy to use and piece of mind that your boat battery is turned off when not in use.

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LS-One

Here's my jump pack.

JUMPER CABLES - EXTREME HEAVY DUTY FEATURES:

Length: extremely long at 20'

Gauge: very large at #4 gauge

Construction: tangle free, color coded 100% rubber which remains flexible at temperatures even below zero

500 Amp capacity

All copper - multiple fine strands for greatest flexibility

Color coded insulated handles

Extra-strong spring loaded parrot jaw clamps

post-23-1239833975_thumb.jpg

$40.00 to $60.00 bucks most anywhere.

Edited by LS-One

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skislut

I'm certainly no authority on solar chargers, but here's what I know.

I have a Sunstream Lift that has a solar charger on it to keep the battery in shape. The directions say to use it direct to the battery if you live in the Northern Zones. With Southern Zone use you are supposed to hook up that device mentioned in the link above to keep the battery from overcharging.

The directions also say that if a battery is 75-80% or less charged, the solar charger won't bring the battery back up to snuff ever. So to recharge with a battery charger back to 90% or so and then the solar panels will work. The panel on the top of my battery box is about 12" by 18 or 24" or so.

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Boatman

I bought my solar panel charger at West Marine. I use it to keep the battery on my boat lift topped off. I use the lift all season without needing to use a battery charger. It works great!

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medicdiver

Another question s to consider as I have been thinking about doing it. What are you twoing the boat with, and how far?? If you have a 7 prong tow plug you have a powered wire back there. You can run a wire from that and charge your battery off the truck when going to/returning from the boat launch. That should recharge what little bit has been lost while sitting, and only requires $25 in wire and clips. Then just keep a jump pack in case.

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Malibuzer

I always keep a "jump start" pack in my boat at all time. I can't count how many times it has been used, not usually for us but also for others without having to drag out the booster cables out on the water. I also use solar panels a lot for work. You can eliminate the over charge situation by installing a voltage regulator. I use one all the time in the motorhome. You can make a voltage regulator your self if you do a small search on the internet there are lots of instructions to build one from scratch. It would cost you about $10 including an led that would is on when the battery is accepting the charge or it turns off when the battery is fully charged.

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JasonK

I have a friend who has a small solar charger for his pontoon boat battery. He's very happy with it. :)

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Ndawg12

Ok, so I started this post just yesterday, and I'm a little impatient so I decided to take the jump pack route. I appreciate all the info on the solar panels but I think I took the best route for my situation.

But my second question still remains, is this jumper going to fit the bill:

VECTOR JUMP STARTER 12 VOLT DC POWER 300 AMP PART# VEC010S ** NEW IN BOX **

EXCESS INVENTORY- SHELF PULLS BOX MIGHT HAVE SOME WEAR / TEAR FROM HANDLING

Overview

This VECTOR VEC010S Jump Start System w/ 300 Amp starting power .

Description

Instantly jump-starts vehicles anytime and anywhere; Automatic on/off power control ensures safety and resists sparking; Clamps power on only with proper polarity connection; 12 volt DC portable power outlet; Rechargeable from home or vehicle; Ideal for emergencies in remote locations; Microprocessor control (Digital Smart Control); High frequency power conversion technology; 3 stage rapid charging battery charger; 27" heavy duty welder-type cables and clamps; High density 19 Ah sealed non-spillable battery; Built in LED emergency worklight; Self storing cables and clamps; Digital display battery diagnostics; Alternator voltage and battery check

Portable Cordless, Rechargeable 300 AMP Instant Starting Power

12 Volt DC Power Supply

Keyless On/Off safety switch

High density, 9 Amp hour sealed, non-spillable battery

Recharge with supplied AC and DC charging adapters

Heavy duty cables and clamps

Built-in LED emergency worklight

12 volt DC portable power outlet for DC accessories & appliances

12 Amp self-resetting circuit breaker

LED battery status display shows battery level

12 Volt DC car cord and 120 Volt AC household charger included

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MalibuNation

This what I have:

Jump N Carry

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Ndawg12
This what I have:

Jump N Carry

Wow, that looks like a nice present from somebody Biggrin.gif Looks like a nice unit to have but a little pricey for my budget and requirements.

Edited by nemire12

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the_dude

Your question on amps and jump pack really depends on the circumstances. Basically how dead your battery is. The minimum CCA for these boats is usually 500-600. If your battery is run down just below the ability to start but still powers your accessories and whatnot the 300amp pack will probably do it. But if you have a drain and your battery is totally dead, 300amp pack is not gonna cut it.

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Ndawg12
Your question on amps and jump pack really depends on the circumstances. Basically how dead your battery is. The minimum CCA for these boats is usually 500-600. If your battery is run down just below the ability to start but still powers your accessories and whatnot the 300amp pack will probably do it. But if you have a drain and your battery is totally dead, 300amp pack is not gonna cut it.

That's the info I was looking for, thank you, or wasn't looking for, damn it, I all ready bought the 300 amp jumper!!

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MalibuNation
This what I have:

Jump N Carry

Wow, that looks like a nice present from somebody Biggrin.gif Looks like a nice unit to have but a little pricey for my budget and requirements.

Nemire, that's why I work two jobs to buy toys like that. My nic-name is Mr. Overkill. Jim

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DONTW8

In my experience the extra long high cpacity jumper cables are a necessity. I have a pair of them from the days I owned a wholesale lumber company and we had to jump start our forklifts in the winter. Forklift engines have huge drag on them because the hydraulic pump is permanently engaged. So it takes lots of cranking amps just to turn them over.

As stated before I do all of the boat towing for our 3 man nucleus crew. Dennis and Rick both store their boat away from home near Lake Billy where we go. Dennis had contiinuing problems with finding his battery discharged even after two weeks leaving his boat unused. The problem has been fixed now as it turns out his starter/solenoid had developed a load because he had left the center plug out and the starter was submerged. Also on his MC 197 PS there are rocker switches and they are hard to tell if they were switched off. We put that boat away with the cover on it and would return to find the battery flat. We alternate between boats so it would sit a couple weeks and run down. Dennis bought one of those battery packs but it was not powerful enough to turn the engine over on its own.

Rick just plain is an athlete and does not do the excessive compulsive maintenance on his boat. As far as he is concerned his Sunsetter is just an appliance to tow us through the course and it has not been waxed in 10 years. He thinks Dennis and I are nuts because we are so anal about our boats. My boat is no problem because I replace the battery frequntly and I keep it at home in a warm garage.

Anyway I have jump started boats at the ramp several times over the last 3 seasons. With the dual battery setup in my Duramax and the super heavy duty jumper cables I can generate enough juice to start a boat even if the battery is dead flat. My point is the cheapest method that works every time is the big jumper cables.

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Ndawg12

I got my new jump starter yesterday, charged her up, and today tried her out. Competley unkooked the battery on my truck and hooked it straight to the jumper (no assistance from the truck battery). It turned over twice and that was all she had. But I'm happy with that, as long as there's a little juice left in my batteries I feel confident that this little jumper will get me over the hump and get the Monsoon started! Thanks for everyone's input.

Edit: I'm sure I'll will eventually get a pair long, heavy duty cables too.

Edited by nemire12

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