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Solar battery tender setup

Brandon

Well-Known Member
Electrical is not my strong suit by any means, but because I now have my on board water setup running, and hopefully sometime I'll get on some rock/camp lights, I was thinking about a solar battery tender to keep the battery topped off when in camp and not moving anywhere, but drawing on the battery.

I do hope/plan on adding a fridge sometime, which I would swap to a marine/semi battery at the same time, and would like to be able to tie into the system and add another solar panel to support that, or have it big enough for that to begin with.

Will I need some complicated bunch of stuff or is this doable with decent priced items off the shelf? I would probably mount the solar panels between the crossbars and the roof of the truck so I can still use the rack for work. Or have them easily removable when not using them. I've checked a bit on Expo, but there are so many threads and most are crazy setups that are way too much for what I need.
 

overlandjeep

Moderator
do yourself a favor and reach out to the guys at overlandsolar.com they have everything you need. I run one of their 90 watt folding systems
 

DaVikes

Active Member
Shawn, I just looked at the specs for the 90 watt system. It seems like it should provide enough current to run your fridge and charge the battery. Have you found that to be true? Do you know what your current draw is while parked? I don't know, other than I know what my fridge draws, and there shouldn't be much else continuously drawing current.
 

overlandjeep

Moderator
It keeps my house battery at 100% throughout the day. My fridge, ham radio, and usb charging can run indefinitely when the panel is deployed. When it is a sunny day it pulls in around 5a/hr


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overlandjeep

Moderator
If you would like to borrow mine for a week or so before pulling the trigger you are welcome to


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Brandon

Well-Known Member
Looks like a pretty nice setup, but a little too rich for my taste/needs at this moment.
 

mikeinCO

Active Member
I will second the set up that Shawn recommended, I picked up the same set after seeing his at the Ham-fest. It is super simple to hook up and deploy and kept my fridge running all weekend. I did do a dual battery install as well so this should keep up with any future needs that come down the pike.
 

Odomandr

Active Member
Could you leave it deployed on a roof rack all the time? Would the panel survive riding down the road on the roof, scratched by limbs and such?
 

overlandjeep

Moderator
I am considering doing that same thing you gain space but lose sun targeting efficiency


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Brad

Administrator
Staff member
I put a solar set up in my pop up camper, pretty sure it came in around $200 with a normally mounted roof panel. Thought about the same setup on my 95. Make a slide mount under my roof rack that allows me to setup the panel in a optimum spot when in camp.
 

Brad

Administrator
Staff member
Our pop up when deployed. Have about 10 feet of cord which plugs the panel directly into the 7 pin trailer harness. I have the wiring setup to trickle charge the camper battery off the alternator while we are driving then the panel uses the same pin while in camp. Both run through the charge controller.
 

Brandon

Well-Known Member
That's more my style and price. Hopefully finishing the OBW today...which works awesome so far, and i found a place to get the awning fabric done. After that, I'll probably look into the solar setup. Unless i start some other random project.
 

Brandon

Well-Known Member
Will this work for a simple solar setup to keep things topped off? Goal is to keep the fridge on 24/7, so I would like to make sure that I am keeping up with the draw that it may be using during the day. Battery may have to be upgraded, but I'll figure that out once I see what kind of power it pulls in the real world.

http://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Watts-Volts-Monocrystalline-Solar/dp/B009Z6CW7O/ref=sr_1_25?ie=UTF8&qid=1455467618&sr=8-25&keywords=12v+solar+battery+charger

http://www.amazon.com/Docooler-Controller-Battery-Regulator-Protection/dp/B00L37KZI6/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&qid=1455467555&sr=8-15&keywords=12v+solar+battery+charger
 

Morris Yarnell

Well-Known Member
Which panels you choose will have a definite effect on how they work, don't necessarily get the cheapest as a bit of shade can almost kill the power that they put out. We have mono on our greenhouse for an exhaust fan and the clouds going overhead will stop the fan altogether. Better to use them the way Brad did and angle them toward the sun in a place where there will be no shade at all for the best output.

"There are two primary types of solar cells used in the manufacture of solar panels: monocrystalline and polycrystalline.
Monocrystalline solar panels are more efficient and more expensive, but they are also extremely intolerant of shade. Polycrystalline panels are slightly less efficient and less expensive, but they handle partial shade just a smidge better.
The way to tell if a solar panel is monocrystalline or polycrystalline is to look at the pattern of rectangles on the panel itself.
If the circuitry between the rectangles has large silver diamond shapes, it is monocrystalline. If the pattern of rectangles is just intersecting lines, it is polycrystalline."
 

Brandon

Well-Known Member
Well the Renogy solar panel looks to have a lot of good feedback from people on expo, so I'd say its good. That charger, probably not so much.

Apparently the best way is to get the MPPT controller, which gets more power from the panels. That one I linked is one of the cheap ones that you wouldn't want. As far as the panel, it would be probably just hard mounted flat. It'll just charge as much as it can although it wont be optimal. Maybe make it detachable so I could angle it... but not on the top of my list since it'd mostly be for charging during daily use.

But, if there is a battery depletion issue, it might be a better solution to start out with an AGM deep cycle battery to replace the stocker. I really dont have room for dual batteries, and people have had fender issues after putting dual batteries up front and having 150+ pounds bouncing around up there. Only dual batt option would be re-plumbing the OBA and moving the tank somewhere else so the battery could sit next to my compressor.
 

Brandon

Well-Known Member
Could put them both behind the rear seat

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Water tank/pump is where the passenger side seat half used to be. Drivers has a lot of storage that i'd lose... and I already have stuff on the floorboards.