Originally Posted by flyfisher
I have the 4D lifeline AGM battery as my "House Battery" in my 2005 SMB. I'd like to get a little back up, and have seen a portable solar panel that claims it will boost the charge in the battery simply by plugging into the cigarette lighter. Anyone have any thoughts on this? I don't want to hook something up that ends up frying the complicated electronic bits or rendering my battery useless. When I bought The Van new, I didn't get the optional gizmos that would have allowed me to use a solar panel.
Most (all that I have seen) cigarette lighter solar panels have zero over charge or undercharge protection. If you just want a solar panel to keep the batteries in good shape and re-condition them, then the BatteryMINDer 15 Watt Solar Charger Controller is the best vale for money.
http://www.batteryminders.com/batterych ... 16140.html
Has over / under protection, can leave it plugged in and the alternator won't ruin it, also has Desulfator charging which is kind-a new and seems to have some merit.
If you are going for more than a battery maintainer / drive some very very small bit's in the van, then you'll need something a lot bigger as other have said. But read, read and read and carefully select your solar charge controller, that is far more important than the solar panel and there are a lot of totally crap ones and huge prices out there.