Solar Panels & trickle charging

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 12, 2009 at 11:06
ThreadID: 67779 Views:2942 Replies:4 FollowUps:3
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Hi everyone,
I would like to know if there is any problem using a Primus 80w solar panel to trickle charge my camper for extended periods?

Or is it best to purchase a dedicated 10w trickle charge panel for this purpose?

To explain, I have a window incorporated in the top of a custom camper trailer cover installed after the manufacturer offered it as an option. I intend to leave the solar panel connected to the camper either open totally (80w) or folded providing 40w of power. I kind of figured that if 80w was too much power being used to trickle charge, 40w may be ok.

Of course like all of these solar panels, the Primus has a regulator but it occurred to me that I simply don't know enough to make the correct call on this.

There is only one thing worse than going away with a flat battery & thats going away with a cooked one.

By the way thanks to those responsible for managing this site. You feel that the responses you get here are totally impartial & it does offer peace of mind when getting away from it all.

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Reply By: Ozhumvee - Sunday, Apr 12, 2009 at 11:32

Sunday, Apr 12, 2009 at 11:32
As long as the regulator is connected and working it should be ok.
The only problem might be if the battery is a wet cell and is in an enclosed space there might be a fume buildup. Gel and AGM batteries should be ok.
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Reply By: Brad & Sam - Sunday, Apr 12, 2009 at 11:34

Sunday, Apr 12, 2009 at 11:34
Thanks Peter for you reply. I suspected it would be ok but you just don't always know until after the damage has been done.

The battery is a gel unit so that should be ok.

AnswerID: 359296

Reply By: Boobook2 - Sunday, Apr 12, 2009 at 12:04

Sunday, Apr 12, 2009 at 12:04
I understand that the regulator in the Primus is a pretty simple PWM unit without 3- 4 stage and trickle charging capability. I am pretty sure it is not really designed for constant set up top up use. I assume you mean top up use when in storage.
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Follow Up By: Brad & Sam - Sunday, Apr 12, 2009 at 17:11

Sunday, Apr 12, 2009 at 17:11
Thanks for the feeback. I may have to consider buying a specific panel for this purpose designed for trickle charging. As the battery is a gel unit it may well be a problem.

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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Sunday, Apr 12, 2009 at 12:52

Sunday, Apr 12, 2009 at 12:52
Depends on your battery - what float voltage is written on the side of yours? Many Gel batteries have a lowish float voltage of 13.5V which I expect is less than the regulated voltage of your solar setup. In which case, I wouldn't leave it connected for long periods of time.

Gel battery have a low self-discharge rate, so I'd store it disconnected and run an appropriate charger on it occasionally tokeep it in good shape.

AnswerID: 359304

Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Sunday, Apr 12, 2009 at 14:43

Sunday, Apr 12, 2009 at 14:43
Rather than using a trickle charger, just connect your panel for a few days every month or so. Saves the cost of purchasing a trickle charger.

The other way would be to install a quality 3 stage charger in your van to power your system in caravan parks and leave that running at home.

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Follow Up By: Brad & Sam - Sunday, Apr 12, 2009 at 17:13

Sunday, Apr 12, 2009 at 17:13
Thanks Phil I do have a Ctek charge fitted to the trailer. I might just stick with plugging it on one and a while.

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