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Old 12-11-2016, 04:22 PM   #1
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Default Connect solar to power plug?

I am wondering... What would happen if I were to connect a flexible solar panel (which just happens to fit in my windshield) to one of my 12v cigarette lighter power plugs?
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Old 12-11-2016, 04:37 PM   #2
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What size solar panel, what wattage, what voltage, what amps? All these play a part in what goes into your 12v plug. I have a 100 watt factory installed solar panel on my 2017 Trend, which uses a charge controller to control amount of amps and voltage into my coach batteries (AGM). IMHO, you would over charge your engine battery and ruin it, if you did not control input. The voltage/amps may heat up the cord or blow your fuse, or overheat your wiring.
There is more information out there for solar panels and what is needed for charging batteries.

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Old 12-11-2016, 09:55 PM   #3
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what i have is a 70 watt panel - i think the amps are around 5

really what i was wondering was about the feasibility of charging the engine battery via the power socket - using a charge controller
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Old 12-12-2016, 02:23 PM   #4
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harbor freight sells a cheepy ( like everything they sell!) made to plug into lighter* and with battery clips.

as above the lack of a charge controller can damage the battery

* not all lighters are connected to the battery when the vehicle is off, so that will only work when it works

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Old 12-12-2016, 02:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkguitar View Post
harbor freight sells a cheepy ( like everything they sell!) made to plug into lighter* and with battery clips.
I have tried at least three of those HF panels, in a variety of vehicles and conditions. I have never seen any evidence that they actually charged or "maintained" the battery, beyond the little red LED on the device. As far as I can tell, the current they produce cannot even keep up with typical parasitic draw.
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Old 12-12-2016, 02:44 PM   #6
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All I'm really trying to do is avoid running wires from inside my RV to under the hood to trickle charge the battery. I could easily configure the controller between the solar panel and the power plug. The panel itself would double as a sun shade!
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Old 12-12-2016, 03:27 PM   #7
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Battery Tender sells a small solar controller for trickle charging and solar panels with a built in controller in several wattages..

https://www.amazon.com/Battery-Tende...y+tender+solar

https://www.amazon.com/Battery-Tende...y+tender+solar
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Old 12-12-2016, 03:42 PM   #8
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Battery Tender sells a small solar controller for trickle charging and solar panels with a built in controller in several wattages..

https://www.amazon.com/Battery-Tende...y+tender+solar

https://www.amazon.com/Battery-Tende...y+tender+solar
I have forwarded this info to Santa at the North Pole... Thanks!
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Old 12-12-2016, 06:37 PM   #9
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I changed out my solar controller for a model with two channels. One goes to my house batteries, the other to the engine battery.

I used the zamp/battery tender jr type ring pigtails on the batteries and the 12 gauge wiring to the controller. I send 10% of my panels output to the chassis battery until it reads full. I didn't find the cable routing thru the inside of the van all that difficult. You could use a fish tape to get it thru some tight spaces.

If you have a portable panel with it's own controller, you could simply install a pigtail on your chassis battery and secure the end connector somewhere you can get to it. Just be sure to make certain your panel's controller has the correct battery type selected.
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Old 12-19-2016, 06:09 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by gregmchugh View Post
Battery Tender sells a small solar controller for trickle charging and solar panels with a built in controller in several wattages..

https://www.amazon.com/Battery-Tende...y+tender+solar

https://www.amazon.com/Battery-Tende...y+tender+solar
So I got the Battery Tender and a 70w foldable solar panel off eBay and SUCCESS! It works great! The panel fits in the windshield and keeps the battery charged.

Here's a link to the panel I bought:

Portable Foldable 70W Solar Panel Remote Power 70 Watt weighs 5lbs Flexible NEW | eBay
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