Solar battery maintainer

Discussion in 'Camper Storage / Winterizing & De-Winterizing' started by Steveo4090, Jun 4, 2021.

  1. Steveo4090

    Steveo4090 Well-Known Member

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    Anyone have a suggestion for a solar battery maintainer you've used and liked?

    I'm going to start keeping my hybrid away from my house without access to electricity. I'd really rather not have to take the battery with me every time I drop it off only to need to hook it all back up for the start of the next trip. It'll be in a secure place so I'm not worried about the battery getting stolen or anything, but I don't want to end up with a dead battery that won't charge.

    Just looking for suggestions. Thanks.
     
  2. McFlyfi

    McFlyfi Well-Known Member

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    What are you using to charge your battery?
    You're talking about a "maintainer" which for a fully charged battery, could be as small as 10 watts. But how is the battery getting charged? Assuming it's fully charged by some other method, you put it in storage, leave the maintainer on it in storage, then go for a trip. You come back from your trip with a battery that has been discharged to say 50%. The "maintainer" isn't going to do a great job of charging that battery back up- it's not designed to do that.
    My suggestion would be to go all in with a 100 watt panel and charge controller to not only maintain your battery, but to charge it as well.
     
  3. Steveo4090

    Steveo4090 Well-Known Member

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    We pretty much camp at full hook up sites with the camper. The battery isn't used for boon docking or anything like that. Usually just for lights if needed while loading/unloading after sun down.
    It will most certainly be fully charged when I put it in the storage spot.

    It will have a draw for the co2 detector and the 2 lcd clocks till I get a cutoff switch installed.

    So really just looking for suggestions on specific maintainers...like "buy this one because (insert reasons)".

    I can just pick one online, but was hoping someone had actual experience with one they liked.
     
  4. theseus

    theseus Living the Darkside... Silver Supporting Member

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    I was having the same question myself earlier this summer with my TT. I could not find a good reliable kit that didn’t cost as much as a 100w kit from Renogy. So I installed a 100w panel on my roof. That keeps the battery full.

    To avoid parasitic drain I installed a battery cut off switch next to the converter. So when it’s parked, I turn off the inside of the camper, but the panel still feeds the battery and I can still use the power jack as needed.

    I’m very pleased with this solution.
     
  5. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    Charge the battery , pull the fuse and store. Cost 0
     
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  6. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    Anything over 15 watts should work if it's going to be in a spot that gets sun the majority of the day. But I think to get enough sun it's going to need to be on the roof, which would be a pita.
    While researching some changes to my solr system I stumbled across this nifty little switch that you could mount right beside your converter to disconnect the battery.
     
  7. theseus

    theseus Living the Darkside... Silver Supporting Member

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    The only problem with that solution is that lead acid batteries self discharge. Over time it would still go flat.
     
  8. davido

    davido Well-Known Member

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    Go full solar.

    A 100W panel and a decent Renology controller; doesn't have to be expensive, just has to be capable of regulating itself down to the proper float/trickle levels.

    For what a trickle charge solar setup costs, and for how its effectiveness is somewhat limited, you would probably be happier with the utility you get out of a 100W solar panel and real charge controller. Then it will float your battery in the off-season, re-charge it between trips, and mostly keep up with your electrical demands during trips as well -- silently and without much thought. $200-300 depending on the maker and features. Money well spent.
     
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  9. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    Over what timeframe? I pull mine for winter and store in the garage. I check and charge them a couple of times over 4-5 months. They are usually fully charged in less than one hour. So between trips? Non issue
     
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  10. theseus

    theseus Living the Darkside... Silver Supporting Member

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    The most common rate of self discharge quoted is 5% per month. However you will also find quotes of 1% a day. For me I see about a 5% drop if I don't have the battery on a maintainer.

    Either way if you aren't actively maintaining it the charge drops. The life of the battery is longer if it is kept charged up.
     
  11. tfischer

    tfischer A bad day camping beats a good day at the office

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    As I said on another thread, for every year we've owned a pup, I've simply brought the battery inside for the winter. Have done the same thing for our lawn tractor battery. No charging between winterizing and dewinterizing. I've put a meter on the battery in the spring and it's never less than 12.6V that I can remember. Just isn't worth the logistics and expense of getting a maintainer, plus the risks of a lead acid battery outgassing inside my house while charging.
     
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  12. davido

    davido Well-Known Member

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    This is exactly correct. A battery that isn't maintained at full charge loses lifespan, even if it's only a few percent off of full.

    The things to balance are: Maintaining battery at full charge to prolong its life. Avoiding boiling off fluid, to avoid damaging cells. If you can achieve both of these you're going to have a happy battery. But it's a really fine line.
     
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  13. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    Got eight years on my pup battery charging twice per winter but the OP was asking about between trips. I still say charging the battery and pulling the fuse is adequate between trips.
     
  14. Annunzi

    Annunzi Active Member

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    Wow all this feedback and not one actual suggestion for a solar battery maintainer. I have 2 renogy solar kits, a 100W suitcase and foldable 30W, and I've been very impressed with both of them. Renogy also makes a 10W Solar Battery Maintainer which is what I'd get if I needed one: https://ca.renogy.com/10w-solar-battery-charger-and-maintainer/
     
  15. theseus

    theseus Living the Darkside... Silver Supporting Member

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    I think the question is how do you keep it from walking off? I considered something like this but really had no way to secure it when parked in storage.
     

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