Optimal solar panel for vehicle in long-term storage?





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  1. #1
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    Default Optimal solar panel for vehicle in long-term storage?

    My Landcruiser with 200ah aux battery will be in storage for several months while we renovate our house. The storage facility does not have 220v so I plan to install a panel on the storage unit roof and plug it into my battery management system solar input.

    Would appreciate any advice from the experts on the optimal panel size to maintain the above battery configuration? (Batteries will be fully charged when I park the vehicle). I don't want to spend too much - have already spent quite a lot on Flexopower folding panels for camping. There is also a small risk that the panel disappears from the facility roof.
    Thanks!

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    Default Re: Optimal solar panel for vehicle in long-term storage?

    Old method for a car battery. Disconnect from vehicle, Charge full then empty out electrolyte into a bucket. Close up battery and store on shelf or leave in vehicle unconnected. When battery is required, purchase correct Specific gravity acid and fill up again. Discarded acid must be neutralized with bicarb of soda and water before discarding. This is the old method. With fancy new technology batteries, bests ask the experts.
    Last edited by hunter26; 2020/07/03 at 08:41 AM.
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    Default Re: Optimal solar panel for vehicle in long-term storage?

    Quote Originally Posted by hunter26 View Post
    Old method for a car battery. Disconnect from vehicle, Charge full then empty out electrolyte into a bucket. Close up battery and store on shelf or leave in vehicle unconnected. When battery is required, purchase correct Specific gravity acid and fill up again. Discarded acid must be neutralized with bicarb of soda and water before discarding. This is the old method. With fancy new technology batteries, bests ask the experts.
    Thanks Hunter - but this is way too much admin for me! I just want to disconnect the panel, jump in the vehicle and drive when I need to.

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    Default Re: Optimal solar panel for vehicle in long-term storage?

    Do you already have a solar controller you can use, I assume so since you say you already bought panels for camping?
    I'd say a 50W panel, even a 30W should do it just fine however rather go 50W since you won't be tracking the sun, the panel will be flat on the roof. 50W panel plus 2.5mm ripcord between the panel and controller down in the vehicle and bobs your uncle.

    Would you be able to check on the vehicle from time to time, once a month or so? I heard of plenty stories in the past where people lost expensive batteries due to charger failure while in storage, a fuse pops or as you say the panel disappears and then you anyway lose the batteries.
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    Default Re: Optimal solar panel for vehicle in long-term storage?

    Quote Originally Posted by bigboy529 View Post
    Do you already have a solar controller you can use, I assume so since you say you already bought panels for camping?
    I'd say a 50W panel, even a 30W should do it just fine however rather go 50W since you won't be tracking the sun, the panel will be flat on the roof. 50W panel plus 2.5mm ripcord between the panel and controller down in the vehicle and bobs your uncle.

    Would you be able to check on the vehicle from time to time, once a month or so? I heard of plenty stories in the past where people lost expensive batteries due to charger failure while in storage, a fuse pops or as you say the panel disappears and then you anyway lose the batteries.
    Thanks, yes a 50W panel is what I'm thinking. My vehicle's DC/DC system has a built in controller so I'm planning to just connect the panel to the solar input, which charges the aux. battery, as it would do when I'm camping.
    Dumb question: does a typical DC/DC system allocate any solar charge through to the cranking battery? I'm assuming not, so I have a separate controller to periodically connect the cranking battery to the panel.
    Yes, will check on the vehicle very couple of weeks, at which time I plan to switch over the solar charge from the aux battery to the cranking battery & vice versa.
    Thanks

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    Default Re: Optimal solar panel for vehicle in long-term storage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lanners View Post
    Thanks, yes a 50W panel is what I'm thinking. My vehicle's DC/DC system has a built in controller so I'm planning to just connect the panel to the solar input, which charges the aux. battery, as it would do when I'm camping.
    Dumb question: does a typical DC/DC system allocate any solar charge through to the cranking battery? I'm assuming not, so I have a separate controller to periodically connect the cranking battery to the panel.
    Yes, will check on the vehicle very couple of weeks, at which time I plan to switch over the solar charge from the aux battery to the cranking battery & vice versa.
    Thanks

    Some DCDC chargers do yes, I know the CTEK D250S also maintains the starting battery once the aux battery is full, but I'm not sure if others do. What DCDC charger do you have?
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    Default Re: Optimal solar panel for vehicle in long-term storage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lanners View Post
    Thanks, yes a 50W panel is what I'm thinking. My vehicle's DC/DC system has a built in controller so I'm planning to just connect the panel to the solar input, which charges the aux. battery, as it would do when I'm camping.
    Dumb question: does a typical DC/DC system allocate any solar charge through to the cranking battery? I'm assuming not, so I have a separate controller to periodically connect the cranking battery to the panel.
    Yes, will check on the vehicle very couple of weeks, at which time I plan to switch over the solar charge from the aux battery to the cranking battery & vice versa.
    Thanks
    50W should be ample.

    I use in both my vehicles a WRND DC to DC charger. To charge the Primary battery I use a separate solar controller. Once connected it charges the Primary battery as well as the Aux via the WRND.
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    Default Re: Optimal solar panel for vehicle in long-term storage?

    A small panel of 5-10 watts is al that's required.

    Then you wont even need a solar charge controller. Just couple directly to the battery.

    The amount of current it will produce will be akin to trickle charging of an intelligent AC charger.
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    Default Re: Optimal solar panel for vehicle in long-term storage?

    I would use a 30W with a controller to ensure it does not overcharge.
    The car and aux battery could self discharge about 2Ah per day. A 5W in sun might not even charge the loss of the 2 batteries used.
    Last edited by ekkekan; 2020/07/03 at 08:53 PM.

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    Default Re: Optimal solar panel for vehicle in long-term storage?

    Quote Originally Posted by bigboy529 View Post
    Some DCDC chargers do yes, I know the CTEK D250S also maintains the starting battery once the aux battery is full, but I'm not sure if others do. What DCDC charger do you have?
    I have the Australian Projecta IDC45. I found problems with my CTek in high ambient temperatures so converted to a Projecta (which can handle temp up to 80C) when I upgraded my battery system. The Projecta manual is unclear on the system allowing solar power to maintain the cranking battery - will contact the manufacturer.
    Thanks!

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    Default Re: Optimal solar panel for vehicle in long-term storage?

    Quote Originally Posted by DCTheron View Post
    50W should be ample.

    I use in both my vehicles a WRND DC to DC charger. To charge the Primary battery I use a separate solar controller. Once connected it charges the Primary battery as well as the Aux via the WRND.
    Thanks will consider charging via the primary battery as I have a spare solar controller that came with my Flexopower camping panel. I see some comments on a 30W panel being enough - my supplier has 30W panels but not 50W in stock at the moment - would you think 30W is adequate?
    Thanks

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    Default Re: Optimal solar panel for vehicle in long-term storage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lanners View Post
    Thanks will consider charging via the primary battery as I have a spare solar controller that came with my Flexopower camping panel. I see some comments on a 30W panel being enough - my supplier has 30W panels but not 50W in stock at the moment - would you think 30W is adequate?
    Thanks
    To maintain the battery for vehicle storage, 30W will work if the battery is already at a descent level of charge (as it should be).

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    Default Re: Optimal solar panel for vehicle in long-term storage?

    Why I mentioned 30W as enough is you can get 24Wx4hrs=96Wh per day to go into your batteries. That will allow about 60Wh nett to go into the batteries after the max of 36Wh of self discharge per day. Yes some days there will be clouds but you should get enough overall for charging.

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    Default Re: Optimal solar panel for vehicle in long-term storage?

    Quote Originally Posted by ekkekan View Post
    I would use a 30W with a controller to ensure it does not overcharge.
    The car and aux battery could self discharge about 2Ah per day. A 5W in sun might not even charge the loss of the 2 batteries used.
    It is true that a 5-10 Watt panel might not be enough to halt self discharge and maybe there is a satellite tracker that ads to this.

    The only reason I suggested this, is that there is no way a 10watt panel will overcharge a battery if the OP maybe does not want to add the costs of a solar controller. It would basically be trickle charging.
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    Default Re: Optimal solar panel for vehicle in long-term storage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Die SwartKat View Post
    It is true that a 5-10 Watt panel might not be enough to halt self discharge and maybe there is a satellite tracker that ads to this.
    .
    Yes I suggest you Google what the self discharge of about 280Ah lead acid will be. This is the 200Ah aux bat plus the car main battery. I just gave an estimated value.

    Also bear in mind a 5W panel might provide 3.5W average for the good 4 to 5 hours of sun as far as PV goes.

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    Default Re: Optimal solar panel for vehicle in long-term storage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Die SwartKat View Post
    A small panel of 5-10 watts is al that's required.

    Then you wont even need a solar charge controller. Just couple directly to the battery.

    The amount of current it will produce will be akin to trickle charging of an intelligent AC charger.
    That's correct, only require a small panel to trickle charge battery. They are available and not very expensive, try meat.

  22. #17
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    Default Re: Optimal solar panel for vehicle in long-term storage?

    I have been using one of these from a local company in Pretoria for some time now on my boat ect. No issues and does what it is supposed to do with local support:
    http://178.62.2.185/shop/product/bat...0-watt-v1-3501

    BATTMAN CHARGER 10 WATT V1
    SOLAR BATTERY CHARGER FOR 12V LEAD ACID
    POWER OUTPUT UP TO 10 WATT
    MAXIMUM POWER POINT TRACKING
    3 STAGE CHARGING


    Firmlogik
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    Default Re: Optimal solar panel for vehicle in long-term storage?

    Quote Originally Posted by James S View Post
    I have been using one of these from a local company in Pretoria for some time now on my boat ect. No issues and does what it is supposed to do with local support:
    http://178.62.2.185/shop/product/bat...0-watt-v1-3501

    BATTMAN CHARGER 10 WATT V1
    SOLAR BATTERY CHARGER FOR 12V LEAD ACID
    POWER OUTPUT UP TO 10 WATT
    MAXIMUM POWER POINT TRACKING
    3 STAGE CHARGING


    Firmlogik
    Unit 3 17 Kambathi Street
    N4 Gateway Industrial Park

    Pretoria GP 0184
    012 001 7159
    [email protected]
    Cute device

    But I do not believe this part:
    MAXIMUM POWER POINT TRACKING
    3 STAGE CHARGING


    Here is another one:
    https://www.bushpower.co.za/product/...olar-regulator
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    Default Re: Optimal solar panel for vehicle in long-term storage?

    Apologies if this is a dumb question: Why not remove the batts and keep them at home?
    1) Removes the worries
    2 No complexities of having a solar panel mounted.
    3) Car cannot easily be re-appropriated.
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    Default Re: Optimal solar panel for vehicle in long-term storage?

    No advice, but I installed a 50w panel flat on my car port roof. Used an inexpensive PWM controller. Connected to the 90 amp crank battery which in turn is connected to the NL powerpack.

    It keeps the crank battery in tip top condition and opens up the solenoid to the NL pack and keeps the aux fully charged (102 amp) The car often stands for a week at a time and longest has been 3 weeks during lockdown.

    On really sunny days I can see the controller dumping volts and the battery's all on green.
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