12V Battery Recommendation - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-26-2017, 05:52 PM   #1
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Name: Peg
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12V Battery Recommendation

I have a 12/24v suitcase solar panel rated at 13 watts. I'd like to use it to charge a small 12v battery (the size of a motor scooter battery) during the day and use this storage battery to power string lights at night using an inverter.

I need to purchase a 12v battery for this purpose. I'm not looking for a large deep cycle battery, just a small one that I can easily stow. Can anyone recommend a decent battery for this purpose? Will I need to use a controller while charging this storage battery or is my solar panel small enough not to bother with a controller?

Peg
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Old 05-26-2017, 07:56 PM   #2
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It sounds like your string lights are AC powered if you plan to use an inverter, and the inverter itself will use some of the battery power. Are the lights LED? That will allow use of a battery about 1/10 the rating of lights that are incandescent.
A solar controller wouldn't be needed for such a small wattage panel, but I really don't know about the effect on a small battery. I don't think that your charger will overcharge a smaller battery (you would top out at 1 amp per hour), but I'm not an electronic expert.
As for smaller batteries, they do have small motorcycle batteries, and also riding mower batteries that should work for your needs.
If you ever plan on getting electric trailer brakes then perhaps a battery designed to operate the break away cable would take care of all your needs.
Or you could just go for a standard type 24 marine battery at WalMart or Sams club.
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Old 05-27-2017, 10:46 AM   #3
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My house phone uses a small 12 volt battery and I think it is rated as a 7 or 12 amp hr. It was about $25. Noticed the other day that Fry's Electronics carries several sizes.
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Old 05-27-2017, 01:21 PM   #4
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One possible item for your usage is a 12V auto jump starter; some even have a built-in AC inverter, like this one (I think it has a 22Ah battery): https://www.amazon.com/Allstart-555-...8EKPNWK9Q4KHMD
I am not advocating the purchase of this or any similar item, I'm just pointing out their existence. It gives you all-in-one convenience, but I'm sure you can buy just a battery and an inverter for less cost.
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Old 05-27-2017, 02:45 PM   #5
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Solar Panel.

The voltage of the solar panel not the watage determins whether a regulator is needed. documentation with the panel will tell you if a controller is needed. A solar panel that doesn't require a regulator means it is low voltage and will not completely charge the battery which will shorten battery life. An A22 wheelchair batteriy is a good small deep discharge battery but too expensive for what you want it for. It will be cheaper in the long run to purchase a string of LED lights and use throw away batteries. Also have you considered a 12v cordless drill battery to power 12v LEDs?
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Old 05-27-2017, 03:27 PM   #6
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I have a 12/24v suitcase solar panel rated at 13 watts. I'd like to use it to charge a small 12v battery (the size of a motor scooter battery) during the day and use this storage battery to power string lights at night using an inverter.

Why dont you just purchase a set of 12V LED string lights and do away with a inverter?

http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&key...l_2tf82cwzum_b
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Old 05-27-2017, 04:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herons View Post
I have a 12/24v suitcase solar panel rated at 13 watts. I'd like to use it to charge a small 12v battery (the size of a motor scooter battery) during the day and use this storage battery to power string lights at night using an inverter.

I need to purchase a 12v battery for this purpose. I'm not looking for a large deep cycle battery, just a small one that I can easily stow. Can anyone recommend a decent battery for this purpose? Will I need to use a controller while charging this storage battery or is my solar panel small enough not to bother with a controller?

Peg
The cheapest batteries that are suitable for this application and require no inventing special connectors, etc, are lawn tractor batteries. They are readily available at Walmart or Tractor Supply where you can compare prices and sizes in person. These are cheaper than "motorcycle" batteries, but no real difference that matters for your use. Motorcycle batteries are more specialized in their sizing and have a sealed design with a vent tube. This is designed to keep fumes away from the steel frame.

For charging from your small solar setup, just hook the collectors up directly and read the voltage, while connected to the panels, with a simple volt/ohm meter (easily available and cheap). Disconnect when the voltage gets over 14 volts. Re-charge when the voltage gets down to about 12.3 volts with no load and after sitting for a while. I'm assuming the output voltage from your solar setup is 14 to 19 volts or so.

I had two 50 watt collectors that I used with a single group 27 battery in one of my campers. I never had a controller and got by just fine. Not saying it's the best way to do it, but it worked well. I think the collectors were 19 volts and they were hooked in parallel.

12 volt LED strings will probably be the most efficient, even if they do have their own power supply attached. Get true 12 volt strings if you can.
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Old 05-27-2017, 04:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herons View Post
I have a 12/24v suitcase solar panel rated at 13 watts. I'd like to use it to charge a small 12v battery (the size of a motor scooter battery) during the day and use this storage battery to power string lights at night using an inverter.

I need to purchase a 12v battery for this purpose. I'm not looking for a large deep cycle battery, just a small one that I can easily stow. Can anyone recommend a decent battery for this purpose? Will I need to use a controller while charging this storage battery or is my solar panel small enough not to bother with a controller?

Peg
We recently bought a small 12/24v solar panel and realized if left on very long it could fry the 12v battery. Once the battery if fully charged then it starts over charging. We went to Harbor Freight and bought a small controller for about $25. It's worth it to not have to worry about ruining a battery.
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