Solar Panel Charger For Battery

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Best Portable Solar Charger Of 2022

Solar Battery Charger (LiPo/Li-Ion) || DIY or Buy

Our solar charger experts have been rigorously testing the best solar chargers on the market for almost 10 years. After reviewing over 65 models, you could say we know a thing or two about portable technology. For our review update, we purchased 8 of the top models for in-person testing. While assessing each panels charging abilities, we narrowed in on the best of the best to highlight. From gigantic panels designed for expeditions and car camping to pocket-sized battery packs made for the backcountry, we’ve been able to hands-on test a wide variety. The result is a detailed summary of our findings, with our top picks for specific uses highlighted. Ready to join the solar revolution?

Reverse Charge Blocking Diode

When I first saw this term, I was confused. I may know a lot about solar power, but Im not as familiar with cars. But as Ive looked into it, this feature immediately became a valuable option that I realized is important.

Reverse charge blocking diodes allow the charger to retain all the energy that it collects throughout the day from the sunlight. It then prevents it from leaking out that energy at night when its not in use.

The feature is present in most solar-powered battery chargers, though, so it shouldnt be too difficult to find. Just make note of a mention of the feature or not, as most manufacturers will include this in the description.

The Benefits Of Recharging With Solar Power

There are several clear benefits that come from relying on solar panels to charge your car battery. These include:

  • Long-term savings: The most obvious plus is that you will almost never need to draw from the national power grid again to charge an electric car. This equates to significant savings over the course of a lifetime. It is definitely a cheap way to efficiently fill up your car. You could also add a car-charge maintainer to the equation, which means that once the battery is charged, it will stop drawing power, allowing you to use the excess power around your home, sell it, or store it in a battery for later use.
  • Convenience: Solar panels can be installed and integrated anywhere that there is sunlight. This means you don’t need to drag a gas-guzzling rent-a-car to your uncle’s cabin in the woods. If there is a solar roof panel or two, you can safely drive your EV out into the woods without fear of being left stranded without access to the national grid.
  • Extra-green: Apart from the financial savings you enjoy when separating from the electrical grid, utilizing solar energy is just another way to take care of the environment. The sun is perhaps the greenest power source available to us, since it does not require building clunky wind turbines or dams. We should definitely be taking as much advantage of it as possible.

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How Long Does It Take To Charge A 12

Depending on the size of your battery, itd require approximately five to eight hours to fully charge car battery with solar panel that could generate 1 amp of current.

In addition, if you want to ensure a more effective charge, be sure that the solar panel is free from any obstruction and is positioned directly facing the sun.

Please note that charging time usually varies depending on the amp output and size of your panel. A large-sized panel could charge a car battery more quickly than a solar charger with a small-sized panel.

Ready All The Materials And Tools Required

Schumacher 15W Solar Battery Charger/Maintainer SCM10487 B& H

Install the solar panel so that you could connect it to the primary connector later on. Arrange the panel first to know if an extension is necessary or not, as this will depend on the setup.

Make sure that you cover the wires for additional protection. Do this first if the battery isnt charged yet. Its crucial to charge the battery before you install the panels to save time.

Then, see to it that the batterys negative terminal is on one side, and the positive terminal is on the other side. You can continue to step 3 if your battery is already parallel.

Otherwise, you will need to cut your cables and create a few jumpers. Basically, it goes like this: the larger the inverter, the longer the cable.

Read Also: Car Not Starting Battery Good

Don’t Get Caught In The Wilderness Without One

  • University of Maryland Baltimore County

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The best solar chargers use the sun’s abundant power to keep your devices and batteries topped off. Solar chargers aren’t just for nature enthusiasts. People who spend a lot of time outdoors, whether that’s camping or commuting, will find them useful, as well. These chargers help keep your devices ready to go without you needing to be near a power outlet.

With so much of our lives revolving around electricity, the case for solar chargers is not hard to make. Some solar chargers are small enough to strap on to the top of your backpack, so even as you walk to work, or set your backpack down next to a window on the train or in your car, you can use the sun’s power to your advantage.

The Correct Way Of Solar Panel Charging Car Battery

If youre going for a DIY approach, ensure that your charging system has a charge regulator to control the voltage.

When using a solar charge regulator, you could attach one end of the controller to the battery. From there, you can attach the other end with your solar panel.

Such a method significantly aids in regulating the voltage so that your battery wont exceed the safety limit. The charge regulator tracks the voltage of the battery, a process known as pulse width modulation.

Using a charge regulator can help keep the battery from going beyond the target limit or the safe float voltage. Luckily, its safe to leave this type of setup attached continually without worrying about the potentiality of battery damage.

Read Also: Are Solar Batteries Worth It

Aa Car Battery Solar Charger

  • Connections: Clips, OBD
  • Rating: 4/5

RECOMMENDED Like the very similar Halfords equivalent the AA-branded panel looks like pretty good value, because its among the cheapest on test but has a reasonable 2.4kW output.

It also has an OBD plug attachment as standard, making it far easier to install in a car that doesnt have a permanently-live 12v socket.

The blue LED flashes excitedly the more sunlight it sees, which is good for reassurance that the panel is actually working and gives you an indication of the best place to catch the sun. The output isnt huge though, even in bright and direct sunlight.

Charging A Boat Battery Bank

Charging a Car Battery with a Solar Panel and Charge Controller

If there are more than two batteries on the boat you may need to double up on the panel. The batteries can be connected in parallel to maintain the voltage and charge them as one bank.

Depending on the number of batteries you want to charge or maintain you may have a two, three, or even 4 battery bank. Most batteries are connected in Series which adds up the voltage to 24V or 36V in some cases.

These may reduce the charging time from the solar panels and you will need to add them to compensate depending on how fast you want to charge your batteries.

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Best Overall Solar Charger

  • Multiple Device Charging Speed9.0
  • Weight & Portability6.0

Weight:Number of USB outlets:REASONS TO BUY

The BigBlue 3 goes above and beyond the rest. Thanks to its impressive charging abilities and consistent performance across the board, this panel maintains its place at the top of the pack for another year. Though there may be other options out there that charge faster or look cooler, nothing beats this model when it comes to overall performance. When your electronics need a boost, this panel will deliver a consistent charge in variable conditions . In terms of features, we love the built-in ammeter and the zippered accessory pouch. We also appreciate this panel’s simplicity and reasonable price tag. With three USB ports and a classic fold-out design, the BigBlue is an excellent all-arounder that will efficiently charge most small gadgets.

One downside to this panel is its weight. Weighing in at 23.5 ounces, it’s a bit heavy. As a result, it’s better suited for front-country use, though it will excel wherever you use it. Other than its weight, this panel receives high marks across the board.

  • Multiple Device Charging Speed9.0
  • Weight & Portability7.0

Weight:Panel Size:REASONS TO BUYREASONS TO AVOID

It’s not the lightest model that we tested, but it does pretty well for its size . Its tri-folding design is about the size of a magazine and is easy to store. This contender was hard to beat when it came to charging capabilities, weight, and price.

How To Connect A Solar Panel To A Car Battery

Just like the examples above, a Solar Panel will charge a Regular Flooded type Car Battery in the same as any type of 12 Volt Battery. At first, the Battery will start to charge without any difficulties. After a short time, the Solar panel will increase the Charging volts to an unsafe level. At these higher voltage levels charging the battery will start gassing and producing hydrogen and oxygen. the electrolyte in the battery will start bubbling, eventually destroying the battery.

Doing it the proper way will ensure that the battery will charge and wont harm it by simply using a Charge Controller to adjust the volts recharging the battery. First, connect the line into the battery then the controller thats connected to the Solar Panel. The voltage coming from the Panel to the Battery will level off and wont allow the targeted voltage to go beyond 14.6 volts. This is the appropriate maximum level that is needed to charge the battery without damaging it.

The size Solar Panel you need for trickle charging a car battery is a small 20-30 watt panel system that will deliver approximately 1.6 Amps that will charge a regular car battery in a day or 2.

Read Also: 2017 Honda Crv Battery Replacement

Price Per Watt Of A Solar Panel

The easiest way to determine value is the price per watt. Take the price and divide it by the number of watts. For example, if your panel costs $70 and is 7 watts, that is $10 per watt. $10-15 per watt is a good value in our eyes. Anything more than $20 a watt is too expensive unless it’s also coming with valuable accessories, batteries, or inverters.

Sealey 15w Solar Power Panel

SUNER POWER 12V Solar Car Battery Charger &  Maintainer
  • Connections: Clips, socket plug
  • Rating: 2.5/5

The Sealey has the lowest output of any charger here at a measly 1.5W, which means it wouldnt be able to power a small LED bulb.

Nevertheless, it may just be enough to keep a battery charged over a very long period if the only load is something small, such as a clock. Unfortunately, in overcast conditions the wattage produced barely registered on our meter.

The upside is its tiny size its only a little bigger than a sheet of A5 paper and has a soft frame to prevent it damaging your cars trim. There are better chargers that cost only a little more though.

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Compare To Similar Products

Inexpensive, efficient, user-friendly, excels in partly cloudy conditions Efficient, powerful, great value for its size, lightweight Quick to charge, portable size, panel actually works despite small wattage Compact, lightweight, fast charging capabilities Impressive charging speeds, can charge multiple devices simultaneously, affordable
Cons Pocket too small to hold extra cords and accessories Heavy, slow to replenish battery via solar Lacks versatility Poor interruption recovery
Bottom Line We were impressed by its ability to charge our gadgets quickly and reliably and its reasonable price is the cherry on top A compact, lightweight panel with exceptional efficiency and charging capabilities This exceptionally priced battery pack quickly charges devices, and if left in the sun for hours, can replenish via solar This little panel is by far the lightest in this review, but its charging abilities are impressive A powerful, fast charging machine, capable of charging multiple devices, complete with a reasonable price tag
Rating Categories
Multiple Device Charging Speed 9.0
Max USB Output Current 2 amp
11.1″ x 6.3″ x 1.3″ 11″ x 6.3″ x 0.75″ 7″ x 3.75″ x 1.25″ 5.5″ x 3″ x 0.7″ 5.9″ x 11.8″ x 0.8″
Battery?
33.1″ x 11.1″ x 0.2″ 26.3″ x 11.1″ x 0.2″ 7″ x 3.75″ x 1.25″ 5.5″ x 3″ x 0.7″ 18″ x 11.8″ x 0.1″
Battery input

Multiple Device Charging Speed

As you might guess, when tasked with the challenge of charging multiple devices at once, the more powerful models performed better than lower wattage models. Smaller panels such as the 5W and 7W models don’t have the power to sustain two gadgets at once. If this is a priority for you, then select a panel with a higher wattage. Generally, our testing found lower watt models to be less capable in this metric than the higher watt devices that can charge two devices.

The BigBlue, Anker 21, and SunJack were high scorers, as was the Goertek. As discussed above, the results show that models with higher wattage are more effective at charging multiple devices at once. We were impressed by the SunJack’s overall power and efficiency in this metric. Panels with built-in battery packs also excel in this metric, with the Goertek holding its own.

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Ring Solar Power Battery Maintainer

  • Connections: Clips, socket
  • Rating: 2.5/5

Rings 6.0W charger must be made in the same factory as the Halfords Solar Maintainer because we couldnt spot a difference in the look or performance in the two products except for some branding.

That means its big, frill free with no flashing LEDs and just basic clip and socket connectors. That might be all you need and its a decent enough product, but the Ring is £20 more expensive with no more features.

That makes it impossible to recommend, unless you find it somewhere on a special offer that brings the price down to the level of the Halfords unit.

Best Portability: Bigblue 28w Solar Charger

Charging Two Car Batteries with one Solar Panel
  • Power output falls short of promise

  • Battery not included

The Big Blue Solar Charger is a highly-portable solar charging solution that folds down to a small 11.1 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches when closed. While it is long, it’s very narrow and thin, meaning it will fit into most backpacks with ease. Included carabiners allow you to open it up and strap it to your backpack while you’re out in nature.

There is no built-in battery, but the three USB-A ports allow you to charge up any phone or tablet with ease. The panels are waterproof, which our reviewer tested by submerging the cells in a bathtub.

Our reviewer also noted that the advertised 28W output is misleading. There are four 7W panels which add up to 28 Watts. Unfortunately, the panels were capable of outputting only around 17W maximum during our testing.

There’s a pouch on the end for holding cables or even devices while charging, which is a nice bonus. Given its water resistance, we’d recommend this for hikers and campers, even in inclement weather. Of course, cloudy days will mean less charging, but at least you know your panels can stand up to it.

Number of Ports: 3 | Power Output: 5V / 4.8A | Types of Ports: USB-A | Number of Cells: 4 | Efficiency: Not listed | Battery Capacity: N/A

Even in less-than-ideal lighting situations, such as a cloudy day with snow on the ground, I was able to achieve 10W output .Gannon Burget, Product Tester

Read Also: Checking Car Battery With Multimeter

Solar Chargers Vs External Battery

In many cases, you may be better off with an external battery, charged up at home or by a solar panel. An external battery the size of your smartphone will typically provide four to five full smartphone battery charges. They also store power and operate any time of the day and are usually significantly less expensive, bulky, and heavy.

If you use a power-hungry iDevice , smartphone, or tablet, a high-quality battery pack is likely the way to go. You can charge it up, stress-free, at a lower amperage, and then get several smartphone charges or a full tablet charge out of the fully charged battery. You can also leave home with it charged up already, giving you a decent buffer against cloudy days and shady campsites.

If you are without power for four or more days, however, a panel will likely serve you better than a battery, if you had to choose between the two. But for most weekend ventures or mountain escapes, an external battery is a logical choice.

The ultimate solution may be to pair a panel with an external battery, which is the current trend in the backpacking-sized solar market. It all comes down to what you need to power and how long you’ll be without a wall socket.

Its Going To Cost You

Going green may often save you money in the long run, but it is seldom, if ever, cheap at the beginning. The price of swapping to solar power can be crippling at first, so be sure to work out your exact energy needs beforehand. A small 3 kW system, as mentioned above, can cost around $6k including installation, while a larger 8 kW setup averages out at around $25k. On top of this, you will also need a solar EV charger converter, which can cost close to $10k. However, there are numerous benefits that go along with installing sustainable energy production, including:

  • State incentives – These may be once-off reductions on the initial installation cost, or ongoing payments for living green.
  • Added home value – Houses with built-in energy production have a much higher resale value.
  • Eventual income – It may take as long as 20 years or more for solar panels to completely pay for themselves, but after that, they may actually earn you money by selling excess power back to the city.
  • Clear conscience – You can’t really put a price tag on the knowledge that what you are doing is having a positive impact on the environment.

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