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  #1  
Old 02-20-2010, 12:05 PM
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Default solar panel battery charger

has anyone had experience with a solar panel battery charger added to your atv?
good? bad?
smart? waste of $$?
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  #2  
Old 02-20-2010, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1988rrc View Post
has anyone had experience with a solar panel battery charger added to your atv?
good? bad?
smart? waste of $$?
Seems like it would be best if you had a camp you kept your rigs at for weekend use, where the site was off-grid. I never have an issue with battery since the machine is run year 'round. Why not just plug it into the wall now and again.....? I guess if you store it for months on end and one mounted the little panel to southern exposure it would make some sense. Would keep a trickle charger from consuming watts 24x7. You'd have to do the math....
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  #3  
Old 02-20-2010, 02:26 PM
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I have never used a solar charger on an atv but use one on the boat all the time its moored and have never had a flat battery in 4 years.

A lot depends on what you would intend to use the charger for. The lower priced panels have very little output and as such will only maintain a charge in a battery and will not recharge a battery in an emergency. When you get to the size of panel that would recharge a battery overnight the price would be sky high and you would be far better off buying a small petrol generator which would at least have uses elsewhere.

I bought a reasonably expensive panel as the boat has twin batteries. I have also included a voltage regulator to prevent overcharging and this also optimises the charging to the flatest battery. In theory you could keep several batteries charged using a system like this but its not cheep to buy $100 and a bit of overkill for one quad. Would be ok if you had a lawnmower and a classic car or two in the same garage.


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Last edited by fastd; 02-20-2010 at 02:33 PM. Reason: added a bit
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  #4  
Old 02-20-2010, 04:04 PM
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the reason for asking is, we keep our ATV's hid out in the woods (to keep someone from coming into camp and stealing them) at the hunting camp for 6-8 months of the year and they don't get ridden sometimes for up to 2 months at a time. I have never had a dead battery or battery problems until this year (could be the battery is just old 3 yrs +/-). the solar panel would just be for trickle charge and maintaining the charge. i seemed like a good idea to me. it seems i have seen them at walmart for about $50.00. someone suggested just removing the battery and keeping it at camp on a trickle charger which i though was a good idea as well.
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  #5  
Old 02-20-2010, 04:27 PM
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A solar charger would be ideal for the trickle charge. Small panels run at 1 to 2 w but it may be a good idea to get a slightly bigger unit and purchase a Charge regulator/splitter to allow two bikes to be connected at once and the charge maintained in both. The larger the rated wattage the better the unit will work on maintaining the battery in bad weather. I am based in the UK so have no idea where you would get them in the US. I could put up links to UK suppliers so you can see what I mean.

One point. Most of these things are advertised as being suitable for use outdoors but on the cheeper panels the fittings etc are definately not good quality and rust very fast ( particularly in my installation where salt water is involved).

I got round this by mounting the panel on an IP65 box and running the wire into the box. Seal the wire where it connects to the panel with silicon and make all the connections in the box and ran two wires out with stainless croc clips.

Also note that solar panels and long term snow don't go together well

Cheers
Dave

Last edited by fastd; 02-20-2010 at 04:37 PM. Reason: typo
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  #6  
Old 02-20-2010, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1988rrc View Post
the reason for asking is, we keep our ATV's hid out in the woods (to keep someone from coming into camp and stealing them) at the hunting camp for 6-8 months of the year and they don't get ridden sometimes for up to 2 months at a time. I have never had a dead battery or battery problems until this year (could be the battery is just old 3 yrs +/-). the solar panel would just be for trickle charge and maintaining the charge. i seemed like a good idea to me. it seems i have seen them at walmart for about $50.00. someone suggested just removing the battery and keeping it at camp on a trickle charger which i though was a good idea as well.
Makes perfect sense for an off-grid camp. A friend of mine had a full size steel shipping container dragged up to his camp with an excavator. Made a nice little level bed for it and keeps all his and his kids ATVs, motorcycles, chainsaws, etc in the steel unit with a big old lock. Anything valuable is kept there. Very safe and slightly out of sight. Solar trickle charger would be perfect for this kind of thing.
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  #7  
Old 02-21-2010, 12:41 AM
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if your gona be wireing a few things togetther. you may as well get a big pannel. iv used the smaller ones. there junk. they have enough power to light one or so leds. but there at 35ma. not evon 1/2 amp. then u add 2 wheelers to that solar charger. it be a wast of money.

if useing a smaller pannels. in my opion. there a wast of money.
mid pannels i guess are ok. 50watts might be alright for one wheeler. but you have to keep them faceing the sun.

if your gona do it right get a 100watt pannel or bigger. i have a 130watt pannel and in full sunlight it puts out 7 1/2amps. it charges 3 12v batterys in my truck. but when the sun isent out. there just sitting there. if its a somewhat sunny day its not to bad. but keep in mind the smaller the pannel is. and no sunlight it wont be doing any thing. if a small pannel is 1 amp or 1/2 amp and half sunlight its only putting out half the power. plus you have to have it pointed at the sun to get the max outa that pannel. and if it gets covered in snow it may as well be night time.

so this is why i say a bigger pannel so then on the mid sunny day it will still be putting out 2amps. the smaller pannels wont be putting that much out on a mid sunny day. ya the pannel may be more. but least your getting more of your moneys worth.
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  #8  
Old 02-21-2010, 12:50 PM
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walmat has these for $45.00

CL-600 Solar Trickle Charger
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Old 02-21-2010, 12:50 PM
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atv, battery, charger, chargers, experience, minneapolis, panel, panels, rated, road, solar, sun, trickle, vehicle, walmart



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