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Solar panel to charge the battery?

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7 replies to this topic

#1
jlmoped

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I don't drive the LR4 enough to keep the battery charged and sometimes get the low battery warning message.  Will it be a good idea to hook up a trickle charge to the battery while not in use?  Or does it make sense to put a solar panel on the roof rack to up off the battery?

 

I saw this panel and controller on Amazon, will they do the job?

https://www.amazon.c... sunpower&psc=1

https://www.amazon.c...D4QK2VP4WAETT0J

 

Or is there a better option to charge the battery beside drive it more often.

 

Thanks,

Julian


Julian

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#2
astateofmike

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That will work fine.  Did the same set up for a friend on his Toyota heading out to the desert to camp for multiple days.

 

If you want to hard mount the solar panel on the roof rack (or leave it up there for days at a time) I would suggest mounting that panel on something flat. I have one suspended and it got too hot in the driveway over a weekend and melted.  Didn't seem to loose voltage, but never flat again.  "mount flat" means against something.  If a roof rack, if you have the luggage bumps..it will melt over them.

 

I also would tell you to mount the controller inside the cab somewhere you can access it (in the load space) as it is nice to just put some quick release plugs on and pull the panel in when needed.  And the USB's are nice back there for phones etc.

 

But yes.  I can run a 10 + year old ARB/Engle fridge on a 100 watt solar panel for days on end...and not loose the charge.  AS LONG AS IT IS SUNNY.  Cloudy, things drop off.


Just enjoying my time traveling at the Speed of Adventure.


#3
DHappel

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The easiest way to keep it up is with a 'smart' trickle charger like a BatteryTender:

https://www.amazon.c...=battery tender

 

They are super popular in the hot rod and motorcycle markets where a vehicle might sit for a long time between uses.  The charger is too small to bring a dead battery back but perfect for maintaining a charged or nearly charged battery.  They come with alligator clips for easy connection and ring terminals that can be attached permanently then the wires run to the grill with a plug so you don't even have to open the hood, just plug the charger in at the quick plug and forget it.

 

As for solar, that would work for your lay-up but also have the benefit of charging the battery when in camp.  The drawbacks are higher cost and complexity.  

 

I think Nick D. as selling a 100w panel recently - you might touch base with him to see if he still has it.


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Don
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#4
jlmoped

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Thanks Mike (right?), can I just hard wire the controller to the battery?  I have a Frontrunner roof rack, planing to mount the panel on the cross slats.  Do I still need a backing?  If needed, can I use ABS plastic as the backing, or need metal?  Can I leave it on while on the highway or will it flap too much?

 

Hi Don, I have an older Battery Tender for a motorcycle (which I don't have anymore).  That's one option, but I prefer not to have a wire running out to the driveway.  Plus that is too easy to do, I need a project that requires me to bring out more tools  :P

 

Thanks,

Julian


Julian

'13 LR4 - with some extra stuff

KI6AWY


#5
ROVRMAN2

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I've had a 100w solar panel on top of my slim-line front runner rack since 2007(?). It's wired to a charge controller then to my aux battery which wires to starter battery. It's a little awkward but the solar tops my aux battery constantly. The aux battery powers all my accessories, Engel refrig, ham radio,aux LED headlights,winch,inverter and it recharges the main battery.

Attached File  IMG_1016.JPG   65.47KB   14 downloads smart charger

Attached File  IMG_1021.JPG   158.25KB   10 downloads aux battery

Attached File  IMG_1047.JPG   82.07KB   12 downloads wire junction box

Attached File  IMG_1052.JPG   128.46KB   10 downloads charge controller

Attached File  IMG_1051.JPG   193.18KB   10 downloads solar panel

 


2005 LR3, sliders, ARB bumper,Superwinch X9,Front Runner roof rack,OME ladder,
100w PV,aux battery,M416 camper trailer, RTT, LED lightbar, Green Oval lift rods.
AlCan,Dalton,Edgerton,Top of the World,Cassiar,Baja Sur Highways approved.

#6
SplurGn

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Wow - this is great information, thank you!



#7
ROVRMAN2

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I am planning to add a digital voltmeter in line pre charge controller to see if there’s any drop in efficiency in the PV panel over time
2005 LR3, sliders, ARB bumper,Superwinch X9,Front Runner roof rack,OME ladder,
100w PV,aux battery,M416 camper trailer, RTT, LED lightbar, Green Oval lift rods.
AlCan,Dalton,Edgerton,Top of the World,Cassiar,Baja Sur Highways approved.

#8
astateofmike

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Mine has a voltage in meter on it, or when unplugged, battery voltage.

 

Know I am way late, but ABS will work on the bendy panels.  Mine is zip tied to the luggage rack on a Westfalia and lives there permanently.   Your highway speeds may vary....but at 70, it rattles a bit (due to mounting) and works fine.

 

and yes, hard wire controller to battery and then I use a quick connect to change from Roof to ground panels.  That way I can park in the sun or the shade.


Just enjoying my time traveling at the Speed of Adventure.





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