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Solar battery charger


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I am looking for some way to keep my batteries charged while in storage. Shore power is not available. Can I use solar and what size unit should I buy as charging the batteries is all I plan on using it for. Thanks

 

 

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Which batteries? If you have four, you need a bigger unit than a regular “battery tender”. I would think something in the area of 40 or 50 watts would be a minimum, and you could leave your small parasytic devices on without worry. You need to get one with extra capacity for those dim days when not much sun gets to the panel.

 

OTH, a larger suitcase panel of 100 watts or more would also be very useful when camping, especially if you install a solar charge port on the side of your hull.

 

John Davies

 

Spokane WA

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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A different strategy is to simply disconnect the batteries while the trailer is storage. This has worked well for me. I described my battery disconnect switch HERE.

David Stillman, Salt Lake City, Utah

2016 Oliver Elite II  Hull 164    |    2017 Audi Q7 tow vehicle. 

Travel and Photography Blog: http://davidstravels.net

 

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Mokid -

 

I use a 25 watt panel while my Ollie is in storage.  It has a built in controller and is rigged so that all I have to do is plug my Ollie's pigtail into the solar panels.  I do disconnect both the solar panels and all other power drains from the batteries while in storage.  Admittedly the winters are not normally too bad here in western North Carolina.  But, we do have occasional temperatures down to as low as single digits and do get from 6 to 20 inches of snow each winter.  Last winter my batteries stayed fully charged all winter without doing anything additional.

 

Previous to getting this solar panel, like DavidS, I too disconnected the batteries.  However, once or twice during the storage season, I'd uncover the camper for a couple of days and re-connect the batteries in order to allow the Oliver solar panels to charge the batteries.  This procedure also worked well.

 

Bill

 

p.s.  See my October 14th post under the thread" Cover for Legacy Elite" for pictures of panel, connector and tripod.  Also, for reference, I have four Trojan T-105 lead acid batteries that are now over three years old and still going strong.

2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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I think this is the same as what Bill is saying.

 

I have a 100 watt panel I just plug into the 7 pin connector on the front of the trailer that I have wired to a female 7 pin on the charge line and ground of the plug. If your not handy you can buy one already made up. You could us a smaller panel for winter the same way.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Go-Power-Trailer-Accessory-Portable/dp/B00FYUCQXK/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1539890390&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=go+power+7+pin+solar+connector

 

https://www.amazon.com/ECO-WORTHY-Monocrystalline-Portable-Foldable-Controller/dp/B010WUHW2G?th=1

 

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Tom & Cheryl 

LE II #305

2018 GMC 2500HD SLT Duramax

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I like the small solar panel over the winter charging approach for locations without house power. However it requires attention and care during the winter.

 

My Elite II is in a shed, covered, out of the sun, wind, rain and snow.  As house power is available, I have options that would not apply to many Oliver owners.

 

I have heard that some owners will leave their trailer connected to house  power, and will use the on-board charger to maintain their batteries over the winter.  My preference is to not do so as I have some concern with having a large charger on line in an unoccupied out of sight situation.  As such, I purchased a small 1.5 amp Tractor Supply battery maintainer.  I have mounted this unit on a vertical wall of the shed directly above and adjacent to the battery compartment.  I then extended the maintainer cables so that they would go up to the rafters, across the access isle by the battery box, and then down to the battery box.

 

For safety, I turn off ALL Oliver systems (Both 120V and 12V) and also trip all breakers.  (Note:  I do this so that I can power up systems one at a time in the Spring, and I know that regardless of what happens over the winter, I have no power in the trailer that could cause concerns.  Over kill, maybe, but an extra layer of safety costs nothing and may prevent an issue.  For example, a mouse having lunch with one of the larger electrical wires certainly could cause an issue or two).

 

With the batteries in a cold state (I.E. not on a charger for at least 8 hours), I adjust the battery water in all cells to full.  I then disconnect the positive terminal of the Oliver battery set, and connect the battery maintainer.  It will generally give a yellow light indicating that it is working, but the batteries are not at FULL charge.  After a few days, I have a friend verify that the maintainer has gone to "Green Light" (all is well).   I rest well until mid-May when Ollie and I restart systems, grease bearings and zerks, fill tanks and supplies, and roll another 12,000 miles chasing the wind.

 

The unit I recommend is the Tractor Supply heavier duty model:  Schumacher 1.5 Amp, fully automatic battery maintainer.  It costs $24.95 at Tractor Supply, and occasionally at Blaine's Tractor Supply for $19.95.  I know that there are a lot of these units on the market.  This one is my preference as it is self protected, stoutly built, and has been proven by many years of service.

 

EDIT NOTE:  For some reason I can't delete the below picture.  This is the charger version.  The unit I purchase is a Maintainer/Charger.  Be sure to get the Maintainer one.

Tug:  2019 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat, 3.5L EcoBoost, Max Trailer Tow, FX-4, 4X4, Rear Locker

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