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Solar powered chargers


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#1 Dean Cannon

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 05:05 PM

Anybody had any experience with solar battery chargers in the far north? Or anywhere for that matter? I'm looking at a 12V charger capable of trickle charging a motorcycle battery.
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#2 John Sprung

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 04:36 PM

I've had a solar trickle charge setup on my F-350 for a few years, but here in LA, not cold country. I made it myself from swap meet solar cells and a diode. It's about 18" x 24", I'd expect for just a motorcycle battery you could go with something a lot smaller.

You don't need fancy control circuitry for a solar trickle charger, just size the cells small enough to stay out of trouble. A diode in series is necessary to keep it from draining the battery when you lose the light. Anything in the 1N4001 - 1N4005 group will work fine. Remember that these things make electricity whenever the light hits them, so give it a connector that has some protection against shorting.

Another thing to watch out for is partial shadowing. If one cell in a series is blocked from the light, the whole thing stops charging -- like those old time Christmas lights.





-- J.S.
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#3 Jim Keller

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 07:37 PM

In addition to the obvious cold issue, remember that even in summer months, sunlight in the arctic is low-angle, and significantly dimmer than you're used to (or the solar cell manufacturer's consider). When getting specs, be sure to ask about your specific needs.

Please let us know what you find out...
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