Solar Panel trickle charge - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 04-08-2011
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Solar Panel trickle charge

I am retired and do not use my Ranger daily , in fact only approximately 800 miles in the last year. I got a Harbor Freight Solar Panel 1.5 Watts trickle charger in hopes of keeping the battery fully charged at all times. You hang the solar panel where it can get sunlight or at least full daylight and it has a cigarette lighter 12V plug and a blinking LED charger indicator. I have positioned the panel where it gets full sunlight and plugged in the plug into the cigaretter lighter receptical, and the LED is blinking, HOWEVER, the battery is not charging. With a voltage meter just on the battery, no indication the charger is working. I disconnected the negative cable and used the meter on the positive post and the other wire on the disconnected negative cable...still no indication of any charging voltage coming through. The LED is blinking showing that the charger is working. Is there anything in the Ranger wiring system that would prevent the battery being charged this way...or...what can I do to have the trickle charge go to my battery?
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Old 04-08-2011
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i'm not a solar expert, but a 1.5 panel isn't gonna do that much.

plus its harbor freight so more than likely its crap and doesn't really work. you'd be better off going with a different brand.

i'm considering adding something like this for when i have a second battery and a power inverter, so when i'm camping i won't have to run the truck to charge up the second battery.
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Old 04-08-2011
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Thanks Andrew, I agree,...I was somewhat hesitant when it came to being from Harbor Freight, but was hoping that even if it was a little bit going into the battery, it would be better than nothing. Thanks for the quick reply.
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Old 04-09-2011
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personally, I wouldnt back feed through the 12v power point. your truck isnt designed to receive power from the 12v power outlet, its only designed to give out power.

ould be a regulator on the alternator blocking it, so as to stop juice from flowing back ward and blowing something up? just a thought.

Try your test light on the solar panel itself and see what kind of juice its putting out.

If you want to do this however, another way, would be to set up 2 wires, one from black, one from red, feed them down the front and out, so you can attach a battery charger to the wires with out actually popping the hood. Just be sure not to let the wires touch, or come in contact with the same piece of metal.
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Old 04-10-2011
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Thanks Dave. I thought of the same thing, two wires going to battery from the grill area (hidden) and plugging my "charger" in there and as you say, without popping the hood. I'll be the first to admit I know very little about "automotive wiring", that is why I am asking you experts, but would those two wires, both going directly to the battery allow the voltage of the battery to flow to the trickle charger and possibly ruin or burn it up? Shouldn't there be some kind of componet installed in one of the wires (or both) to only allow the trickle charge into the battery and not the battery to the charger? I think I know the name of the componet that allows current to flow only one way, but damn if I can think of it. Thanks again!!!!!
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Old 04-11-2011
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What you need is something like this:

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/DT...0123/?rtype=10

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/ATM-9201/?rtype=10

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/SUM-900148/

These plug in the wall and have a quick disconnect on the battery so you don;t have to keep hooking up clips and these will maintain a boat or bike battery all winter.

Search on the Web for Battery Chargers and you will come up with a few.
The ones above are from Summit Racing, decent customer service, might work out but you may find something cheaper on-line.
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Old 04-11-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrambler82 View Post
What you need is something like this:

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/DT...0123/?rtype=10

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/ATM-9201/?rtype=10

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/SUM-900148/

These plug in the wall and have a quick disconnect on the battery so you don;t have to keep hooking up clips and these will maintain a boat or bike battery all winter.

Search on the Web for Battery Chargers and you will come up with a few.
The ones above are from Summit Racing, decent customer service, might work out but you may find something cheaper on-line.
His whole purpose is to harness the free power of the sun gods to keep his battery charged fully. I like the idea of a solar panel myself.
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Old 04-11-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldSport View Post
I am retired and do not use my Ranger daily , in fact only approximately 800 miles in the last year. I got a Harbor Freight Solar Panel 1.5 Watts trickle charger in hopes of keeping the battery fully charged at all times. You hang the solar panel where it can get sunlight or at least full daylight and it has a cigarette lighter 12V plug and a blinking LED charger indicator. I have positioned the panel where it gets full sunlight and plugged in the plug into the cigaretter lighter receptical, and the LED is blinking, HOWEVER, the battery is not charging. With a voltage meter just on the battery, no indication the charger is working. I disconnected the negative cable and used the meter on the positive post and the other wire on the disconnected negative cable...still no indication of any charging voltage coming through. The LED is blinking showing that the charger is working. Is there anything in the Ranger wiring system that would prevent the battery being charged this way...or...what can I do to have the trickle charge go to my battery?
I used Solar Battery Charger successfully last year to keep my tractor charged, I moved one on to the camper as well, both started up just fine come last month.

As long as you don't have anything other than the computer and natural battery drain to fight the panels work great.
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Old 04-11-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red_Ak_Ranger View Post
His whole purpose is to harness the free power of the sun gods to keep his battery charged fully. I like the idea of a solar panel myself.
One of them a Solar Panel; 5.5 watts.
The others are alternatives...
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