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Thread: Small Solar Maintenance Charger Advice Pretty Please [emoji120]

  1. #11
    I am he, fear me the evil twin's Avatar
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    @MB

    I would grab a multi-meter and after about a week or so of not using the tractor (if it stays parked up that long) and when the panel is in full sun just check the battery terminal voltage.

    If it is between 12.6 to 13.4 max (ideally 12.7 to 13.1) and around 12.9 is perfect.

    The aim of what you are doing is to stop the battery sulphating which means the voltage has to be held above 12.4 ish
    The by product of that aim is that it also means at least an almost full capacity battery.
    Last edited by the evil twin; 14th October 2020 at 12:20 PM.
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    MB (15th October 2020), mudski (15th October 2020), rusty_nail (14th October 2020)

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  4. #12
    Daily Lurker rusty_nail's Avatar
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    I'm always astounded by the knowledge on her, especially yours et. Thanks for sharing

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  6. #13
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    Will do thankyou kindly ET, appreciated !!


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  7. #14
    The master farter
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hodge View Post
    Look up / Talk to Low Energy Developments Marko mate.
    They have various small sized panels for various purposes and fittings , chargers etc... They know solar !
    All my solar needs go there.

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    Is that the shop in High St Preston? Went in there to get a new panel, was served by a dude in dreadlocks and all I could smell was B.O and weed. Hahaha! Quite helpful though.

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    Expert Brissieboy's Avatar
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    A shunt regulator is another option in this type of application. It simply clamps the voltage at the set level thus preventing to going above that limit. It would be placed at the panel, before the blocking diode so should be set to about 13.9V (the ideal 12.9V plus the 0.6V drop across the diode). Probably not readily available to buy off the shelf, but anyone into electronics could knock one up for the cost of a beer or two.

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    I am he, fear me the evil twin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brissieboy View Post
    A shunt regulator is another option in this type of application. It simply clamps the voltage at the set level thus preventing to going above that limit. It would be placed at the panel, before the blocking diode so should be set to about 13.9V (the ideal 12.9V plus the 0.6V drop across the diode). Probably not readily available to buy off the shelf, but anyone into electronics could knock one up for the cost of a beer or two.
    Good point and agree shunt regs will a) work and b) clamp the voltage but in a practical application like the one discussed the panel output voltage should never rise to 13.9V.

    At more than 100 to 1 the battery internal resistance should ensure a current flow such that the panel never gets anywhere near open circuit voltage.
    If it did either the panel rating is too high or the battery AH capacity too low for a non-regulated use.

    Could maybe consider voltage clamping so that it won't matter what size battery is used (IE works even with smaller capacity) to make it a bit more versatile tho so good idea for that case.

    Personally I like to keep my battery maintainer panel setups as simple as possible so no reg of any description is necessary but that may not suit everyone of course.
    In the garden I just hook the panel to a 2nd hand battery from work and walk away and they work for years.
    For my boat I just have a small fly lead from the panel that plugs into an aux power socket on the boat IE same principle as the dash mat style car panels that sit on the dash and plug into the ciggy lighter.
    After a day out on the water (sigh... a rare happening these days) I wash the boat down and as the batteries are fully charged or close to it anyway I just plug in the fly lead and check that it is holding 12.8 every week or so.
    Last edited by the evil twin; 15th October 2020 at 06:02 PM.
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  13. #17
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    Thanks again for everyone’s assistance Gents, really appreciated!!
    Starting to kindly learn heaps here and from a phone chat with PeeBee too understand now that the originally thought failed 5W cheapo panel on our dam pump wasn’t the cause of its battery swelling/caput :-(
    Being a deep Victorian winter valley with many trees surrounding it must’ve sat stagnant well below 12.4V and calcium build up expansion lead me to nuffy believe it overcharged and exploded thought :-)
    Quite tricky this electrical caper with so many variable conditions learning and I’ll be sure to check batteries around the block a lot more regularly from here on in thanks heaps All



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    Quote Originally Posted by the evil twin View Post
    Pls excuse the snip.

    That is what the "blocking diode" is for, to prevent reverse current flow when the sun isn't shining.
    Thanks for the info. I had a spare 10w panel and soldered a diode into the wiring, connected to a 120ah battery. It's working well, up to 13.6v in full sun.
    2008 CRD Wagon, 199,000kms and counting....

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    Quote Originally Posted by mudski View Post
    Is that the shop in High St Preston? Went in there to get a new panel, was served by a dude in dreadlocks and all I could smell was B.O and weed. Hahaha! Quite helpful though.
    Hahahahaha went there myself a few years ago on Australia day weekend to get a cheap chinese 100ah agm. His hair was green and the stink was the same. Copped a 30 second tirade about “happy invasion day “ upon entering. Told him to FK off and purchased a battery elsewhere.

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  19. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by MB View Post
    Confirming did the old ‘Jaycar Click & Quick Collect’ for a couple of Rusty_Nails & PeeBees phone advice panels on the way home from work.


    20W/1.15A direct onto the tractor battery (Lead Acid 160 RC Minutes) if I understand everyone’s thankful advice should loosely convert hopefully to 100+AH safely?

    Will look towards a third flash bluetooth type remote version for dam pump down in the valley once time & money permits thanks heaps again Gentlemen


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    I bought a 10W version of this from Supercheap and used it on the GQ when it went into the paddock for a few months while i built the shed. It worked perfectly and the GQ cranked straight up when i went to it. It has a constant leaching current and think it is a couple of the LED lights. A little panel is heaps cheaper and easier than finding the draw. lol
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