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Old 08-27-2012, 10:40 PM   #1
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Palo Alto , California
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Great deal on Solar Trickle Charger

For those of you that aren't going the full solar route, I just ran across a great deal on a 7 watt trickle charging panel with blocking diode for just $19 ($25 including shipping) from Northern Tool... These are normally more like $40 to $50.

Wel-Bilt Amorphous Solar Panel 7 Watt | Amorphous Solar Panels| Northern Tool + Equipment

They are currently backordered, but at $19 how can you pass... The size is almost perfect to fit on top of an airstream propane cover.

I love Northern Tool. It's worth it to buy something from them just to get on their mailing list - twice a year they send a thick, bound catalog of power tools out... Great for all the ideas of tools you just have to buy.

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Old 08-28-2012, 06:33 AM   #2
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I have found, at least up north here, that with the amount of daylight, the amount of parasitic draw, 15 watts is about the minimum to keep the batts up to snuff consistently.
Remember, just the losses in amperage due to the cord, controller and connections, you'll lose a good portion of that 7 watts.

In my case, my 15 watter puts out about 700mA (over and above the parasitic load) for maybe 6 - 7 hours a day...on a SUNNY day. Less than that during morning and evening, and of course nothing at night.
The parasitic drain, after moving the propane detector to a storage switched location is between 150 and 200mA.

It takes one sunny day to make up for one cloudy day. Your results may vary in sunny SoCal, but the rest of us need to be aware of our latitude and average sunny days. Also, I found the propane tank wasn't a good location for me. Shaded by the trailer part of the day and you really need to angle the panel for the best capture of rays at 90* to the panel for as much of the day as possible while in storage.

"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." - Red Green
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