solar battery charger/maintainer anyone use them?

Discussion in 'Boat Modification Journal' started by biga, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. biga

    biga Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,111
    State:
    evansville
    i am getting the parts together for my new boat buildup and i got thinking that one of these solar charges would be pretty nice to keep them topped off and ready to go when im not fishing. i try to put them on charge once in a while but it doesnt always happen:wink: just curious if anyone has used these products before? the more maintenance free i can make this boat the better!!!
     
  2. justwannano

    justwannano Active Member

    Messages:
    1,003
    State:
    SE Iowa
    Electric fence chargers (for containing cattle )only use a battery thats 1/4 the physical size of a car battery and the last one I bought was 6 volts and 9 ampre hours. The size of the photo array on the fence charger is about 6"X9".
    If you have enough room for 3 or 4 arrays it will probably work ok on a 12 volt car battery.
    Harbor Freight sells one to keep a car battery at full charge. It wouldn't even keep a lawn mower battery charged.
    Have a good one
    just
     

  3. 1sporticus

    1sporticus Active Member

    Messages:
    1,006
    State:
    Iowa
    Catfish Kenny put a harbor frieght charger on his boat, but I haven't heard his comments about it. Maybe he'll chime in. Later Andy
     
  4. justwannano

    justwannano Active Member

    Messages:
    1,003
    State:
    SE Iowa
    I've talked to him about it but I'll let him tell you about it.
    ~just~
     
  5. seaark ryan

    seaark ryan New Member

    Messages:
    199
    State:
    Kansas
    I worked at a sporting clays range and we had 34 traps that were all 12v and we had solor chargers on all of them. They were 5 watt units. They did help prolong the charge life on the batteries by more than three times as long but they would not charge the batteries to a full charge. I would recomend a good onboard charger and just leave it plugged in all the time. Hope this helps you!
     
  6. biga

    biga Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,111
    State:
    evansville
    i had no intention of using one of the cheap harbor frieght chargers.. there are better product out there .. my boat isnt always parked were i can get a charger on it all the time.. it would be really nice to hook up and go knowing that the batteries were fully charged and ready every time..
     
  7. Bubbakat

    Bubbakat New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    McMinnvill
    Adam they make some really good solar chargers that would work for what you are trying to do and I think either cabilas or west marine on the net has them.
     
  8. Little Mac

    Little Mac Active Member

    Messages:
    1,828
    State:
    NW Arkansa
    I used one plug in type from harborfrieght an it would take it 2 days to charge it up to full, I do have the solar panel from harborfreight, I hard wired it, as it didnts seem to do very well thru the cigarette lighter. Did that yesterday so we will see how long it takes. Where I park my boat there is no electricity and I hate to pull the battery. :smile2:
     
  9. daniel-delarosa

    daniel-delarosa New Member

    Messages:
    392
    State:
    seminole, oklahoma
    I use them on my trailer and boats. They are nice because they keep your batteries topped off. They wont charge a battery, they just maintain the battery level. I charge my batteries after fishing, then throw the solar chargers on. Next time I head out I have no doubts about my batteries being ready.
     
  10. tbartek

    tbartek New Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    742
    State:
    New Germany, PA
    I put one on my pontoon boat last summer that came from northern tool. It charges, maintains and desulphates the battery. My battery has been in top shape ever since. You can see them online at northerntool.com
     
  11. biga

    biga Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,111
    State:
    evansville
    thats the one im looking at...:wink:
     
  12. brother hilljack

    brother hilljack New Member

    Messages:
    7,305
    State:
    Shelbyville, TN
    Because I like the sure thing, I would say stick to the regular plug in charger! Its is much more reliable. I have too much bad luck to take a chance on my batteries:wink:
     
  13. biga

    biga Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,111
    State:
    evansville
    like i said in the first page ..... i am not near electric were i will be parking to boat! thats why im looking at solar..
     
  14. GaryF

    GaryF New Member

    Messages:
    3,649
    State:
    O.P., KS
    You should be fine with a 12 volt solar maintainer as long as there are no big phantom loads on the battery, things like clocks, radios that require power to store their settings, or indicator lights. You can always pull the fuses to any of those. People who buy a small panel and expect it to charge their battery up are usually disappointed, but for what you are doing it doesn't take very much power.
     
  15. crmule

    crmule New Member

    Messages:
    145
    State:
    Orange City Florida
    I have used solar panels for years both on my boat and in hunt camp.I use a 15w on my pontoon while I am fishing the flats I get longer range from my batts,then I use 5w units from calbela on my camper in hunt camp, my only sorce of power ,that consist of two deep cycle batts and two 5w panels .I use an inverter for AC .works good
    Harbor feright panels work great.
    bewell crmule
     
  16. catfish kenny

    catfish kenny New Member

    Messages:
    6,064
    State:
    Iowa
    They help but they aint gonna take care of the need fer juice...you need a good batterey charger .....There is nothing maitenece free:wink:
     
  17. bluejay

    bluejay Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,493
    State:
    Napoleon, Mo.
    Thanks Charles. My camp is like yours and I have no power. Going to give this some thought. May pick your brain later. LOL
     
  18. catfish kenny

    catfish kenny New Member

    Messages:
    6,064
    State:
    Iowa
    it dont matter they maintain....I am gonna look into the northern tool too THANKS! Might be what I am after to where were you all bout a yr ago(LOL) I aint done much night cattin this yr but its nice knowing everything is workin right & gonna!
     
  19. takeaction

    takeaction New Member

    Messages:
    427
    State:
    Ware Shoals, SC
    This may help, and then again it may help noone. I hope it DOES help some at least, and it may even be offtopic. Pleaseforgive the typos that I may make as I did something stupid and hurt my back again yesterday, so I'm taking the big meds (lortab/soma) and it's really hard to focus on one subject, but I'm going totry.

    I have studying solar electric panels and setups, along with personal hydroelectric units for over 10 yers now. If you are trying to power your boat while you are fishing (which isn't the case here), you will basically have to cover your entire boat with panels to keep up with the trollinf motor. It just pulls too much power.

    If all you want to do it charge after fishing (what this thread is about if I'm reading it correctly_), get you one of the small inverters that have a battery charger bult in, OR, just a plain solar battery charge controller that the panels plug into. The plain chargers, which are NOT run on normal electic, get their power directly from the panels, and send everything straight to the battery for charging, maintenance, and actually work VERY well, depending on the wattage of the panel/panels plugged into them, and can even double your time on the water if you have enough wattage going.

    http://store.sundancesolar.com/solarforrvs.html , if you click charge controllers, the very fist one is one made specifically for marine applicationss and would keep your batteries fully charged while you're not fishing. Granted, the setup would not be cheap, as you still have to buy all the other parts including the panels, wiring, etc., but this is what I have been researching for boats, only on a larger scale.

    The premade chargers already have the controllers in them. The good ones anyway.

    I fanyone looks at this and decides they wantto tinker with it, PLEASE pay attention to the specs and stuff... you can burn up a few hundred, to a few thousand dollars very fast by not paying attention to the specs. (as with everything) If you're unsure, write the company! or call them! Just don't try it if you're not 100% sure that connection is supposed to go there. That site even has premade solar chargers (not charge keepers) that will fully charge over time. I personally will build my own when/if that time ever comes, as I will want specifics.

    Below are a few links to solar places that I frequent. I hope this might have helped.

    http://store.sundancesolar.com/
    http://www.siliconsolar.com/
    http://store.altenergystore.com/
    http://www.mrsolar.com/