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Old 07-05-2014, 06:38 PM   #1
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Small solar charger just to keep batteries topped off?

I unfortunately have to leave my van parked for long periods of time. On several occasions now I have come back and found my batteries completely dead. The last time it happened it required new batteries.

I am wondering what I can use to keep the batteries charged. The setups I usually see are 12v for a regular car and plugin through the cigarette lighter. How about for the E350 diesel where there is a dual battery 24v system? What is used in that appplication?

I did search and could not find what I was looking for.
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:09 PM   #2
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Re: Small solar charger just to keep batteries topped off?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bburrito
I unfortunately have to leave my van parked for long periods of time. On several occasions now I have come back and found my batteries completely dead. The last time it happened it required new batteries.

I am wondering what I can use to keep the batteries charged. The setups I usually see are 12v for a regular car and plugin through the cigarette lighter. How about for the E350 diesel where there is a dual battery 24v system? What is used in that appplication?

I did search and could not find what I was looking for.

I had the same problem and bought this panel to keep a charge on the starting batteries.

http://www.powerfilmsolar.com/products/ ... =6578,6579

Just plug it into the 12v cig panel on the dash and put the panel between the windshield and sunshade.

In 4 years, I have never had a rough start.

R
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Old 07-05-2014, 07:22 PM   #3
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Re: Small solar charger just to keep batteries topped off?

Does it matter that that is 12v and the battery system is 24 volt?
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:36 PM   #4
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Re: Small solar charger just to keep batteries topped off?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bburrito
Does it matter that that is 12v and the battery system is 24 volt?
Unless you have 12v batteries connected in series (which would imply a 24-volt starter, electronics, etc, etc) your system is probably 12v with batteries in parallel. That's the common practice.

24v system on an E350 would be extremely unusual!
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Old 07-05-2014, 10:40 PM   #5
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Re: Small solar charger just to keep batteries topped off?

I installed the Solar Battery Minder and have been very satisfied. Look on Amazon or the manufacturer web site.

BatteryMINDer Solar Charging System - 12 Volt, 15 Watt Panel, Model# SCC-015

I would add a "Yes" on double checking your 24 volt status.
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Old 07-06-2014, 01:45 PM   #6
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Re: Small solar charger just to keep batteries topped off?

It must be 12V parallell then. There is nothing unusual about my rig.
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Old 07-07-2014, 11:39 PM   #7
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Re: Small solar charger just to keep batteries topped off?

If you have AC power available to plug into I also suggest a Batteryminder that has the ability to maintain and desulfate that also has a temperature compensator built in. If you plan to keep an alarm on in the van the amperage of the charger needs to be high enough to let the charger go into the float mode.
http://www.batteryminders.com/batterymi ... esulfator/

It's also probably best to keep the starting batteries separated from the house batteries during the charge. Most SMB's have a battery separator that can be set to an open state. That means you should use a charger on each battery system. Sometimes different style batteries require different charging characteristics. Many owners (including myself) keep the batteries topped off via a single charger & don't set the separator to stay open, and that's fine but it takes a larger amp charger like shown in the link. I also have AGM house batteries and AGM starting batteries that require similar charging voltages.

With a small solar setup you probably wouldn't have an overcharging problem and the same with a small charger that operates about the 2 amp range but with a small charger or small solar panel, you need to keep most all of the load off or the batteries will never reach their float level.

It's still a good idea to keep an eye on the batteries during any charge especially if there are several batteries involved. If one battery goes bad it will kill its partner. Test voltage from time to time.
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