Solar trickle charger - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-23-2015, 10:01 PM   #1
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Name: Wendy
Trailer: Burro 13 ft, 1984
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Solar trickle charger

I want to get a solar trickle charger for my 13' Burro that will keep my one marine battery charged up when camping for several days away from 110v power. I'd only be using a few interior lights (they're incandescent now but I'm planning to replace them with LEDs) and maybe a small fan. Any advice?

Thanks! Wendy
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Old 08-24-2015, 12:36 AM   #2
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I would look for around a 50 watt "suit case style" portable solar panel with controller and wires. Fans, water pump, heater motor all consume large amts of electricity but usually for short periods of time, and you will need more than a trickle charger to bring a battery back up to "full".
Dave & Paula
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Old 08-24-2015, 09:31 AM   #3
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Name: Andy
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Solar Charger

I agree with David and recommend Zamp Solar products (not cheap but excellent quality). I have an 80W folding solar panel that works well to recharge my marine battery (I have a 13' Casita). However, this would be an overkill for just using a few LED lights (they only draw 0.2 amps/hr). Zamp has a 40 W product. This still might be an overkill but you may want this if camping in partly shade area. That's my 2 cents!!!


If camping with full sun for 4-5 hours, my friend has a small 13W unit that works well for him (he just uses LEDs) but this is not a Zamp product. I personally like Zamp's quality.
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Old 08-24-2015, 09:33 AM   #4
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I have a 15W panel permanently mounted to my roof. It takes care of interior lights, stereo, and charging small electronics, and has kept a 45ah gelcell charged and happy for 10 years
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Old 09-07-2015, 01:08 PM   #5
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This is very helpful information. I also am interested in solar panels, but would like to understand if those can be used in place of a trickle charger? My ideal would be to install solar panels on the roof which would allow me to keep the battery charged when dry docking off the grid (using water pump, laptop, and the original trailer lightbulbs unless I could easily/affordably replace them with LEDs - right now they are just regular bulbs) AND which would keep my battery charged when my Bigfoot B19 is not in use - it is currently stored outside under a permanent metal structure which protects it from the elements and UV, but as it is outside in Phoenix, AZ, I would think the solar panels would still get activated. Can solar panels work for both functions? I already have the BatteryTender solar trickle charger and have had two brand-new batteries go totally dead even with using it, so I am looking for better solutions and also I want fewer gadgets, so was hoping solar panels could help me when I am out on the road and when the TT is parked at home.

Also, I have just the original converter box and circuit board in the Bigfoot B19. Would I need to change those out to use solar panels and if so, where would I find the replacement electronics and what kind of price tags are we looking at for this sort of thing? I have to budget way ahead of time for these mods...

Thanks for any input/suggestions.
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Old 09-07-2015, 01:21 PM   #6
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every solar panel equipped with charge controller is a trickle charger once the battery is basically full.
whether or not the solar panel would work under a cover depends on just how deep the shade is. When I am camped out in the open, I hear my charge controller kick in in the mornings about 3/4 hours before sunrise, with only very indirect light.
The charge controller needs to be matched to the size of the solar panel, so the best thing would be to calculate your wattage needs, and then check that versus what you do have, and buy panel and controller as a package if needed
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Old 09-07-2015, 01:27 PM   #7
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Thank you, that's good to know! I think they would kick on under the outside cover because there is still quite a lot of ambient light - just not direct sun.
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Old 09-07-2015, 05:30 PM   #8
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Here are some threads discussing similar questions on solar:

How long will battery last...

Harbor Freight's 45 watt solar panel

battery life question

Good luck!

Ray
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Old 09-07-2015, 07:53 PM   #9
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Thank you Ray - those are very helpful links for getting more educated!
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