Sunforce 5wt Solar Trickle Charger

Discussion in 'Power - Site Power/Batteries/Generators/Solar' started by nhlakes, Aug 1, 2017.

  1. nhlakes

    nhlakes Active Member

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    Oct 15, 2011
    DE and NH
    Just plugged in a Sunforce Trickle charger into my Aliner, after verifying that it's SAE plug is reverse polarity just like the factory Zamp fitting. This panel is only big enough for maintenance while in storage and not for re-charging, but it looks like it'll work well. For now I will just set it on the top when it it is closed for storage.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006JO0TC/

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  2. xvz12

    xvz12 Active Member

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    Apr 6, 2017
    New Plymouth, ID
    I have a little cheap generic 2 watter that I've velcroed to my battery box, so far, it seems to be maintaining the battery just fine.....don't know if it'll be enough for winter time, I'll just have to wait & see.
     
  3. nhlakes

    nhlakes Active Member

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    Oct 15, 2011
    DE and NH
    Finally got around to finishing the install of the solar trickle charger. The main pole slides out of the lower pole and it all unplugs when camper in use, just leaving the lower pole/mount hidden away. Might paint that part flat black.

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  4. nhlakes

    nhlakes Active Member

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    Oct 15, 2011
    DE and NH
    I went with the pole mount to help keep it clear of snow. I figure in the winter I'll keep it at more of an angle to help assure that snow does not build up on the panel, which would obviously prevent it from working. Plus it will allow me to put a cover on the trailer (other than the spare.)
     
  5. nhlakes

    nhlakes Active Member

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    Oct 15, 2011
    DE and NH
    Just got back from 3 weeks of business travel and checked the charge on my Aliner’s battery. I had left the Solar trickle charge setup while I was gone and was surprised when my meter displayed just 12.0 volts. I checked out the plug in the ZAMP connector and - YIKES – the reverse polarity adaptor was not there. I’ve been trickle charging for 3 weeks with the polarity reversed.

    I had gone camping for a few days prior to my trip and apparently the adaptor had fallen off the cord when I removed the panel and put it in my garage - and I had not noticed it when I plugged back in. (Failure bow)

    It is now taped to the cord so that will not happen again. I was concerned I may have damaged the panel, controller, or battery, but the panel output seems normal and the battery appears to be taking a charge well (via a 10amp charger.) Hopefully minimal damage was done to the battery.
     
  6. sleach

    sleach A short run will get you within walking distance.

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    May 17, 2014
    Last winter I used a 1.8 watt trickle charger to maintain the batteries on the trailer. Lugging the batts up and down the basement stairs was getting to be a chore. Tested voltages and specific gravities several times, and all was well. Learned the panel had to be secured with a bungee as winter winds would dislodge it from the battery boxes. While we get snow fairly often on the Colorado Front Range, it melts off quickly, so I gave no thought to elevated and tilted mounting.
     
  7. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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    Mar 3, 2006
    TX
    Plug in the PU and let it charge for a few days to get it charged! or use another charger.
    Your .3a panel will take a long time to get 'er full.
     
  8. nhlakes

    nhlakes Active Member

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    Oct 15, 2011
    DE and NH
    As mentioned earlier, I used a 10amp charger to recharge. The panel is just to maintain a trickle while unplugged. The point of my post was simply pointing out that I had accidentally trickle charged with reverse polarity for a few weeks while I was away and was I curious if I'd done any damage to the battery. It took a charge just fine so all seems well. ;)
     
  9. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

    6,128
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    Mar 3, 2006
    TX
    I thought you had a 10a charge controller ('charger'), sorry for my assumption.

    Here's the issue which you have reversed. Letting a battery sit below 12.5 or so and the reaction is harder and harder to reverse the longer and lower the voltage goes! Thus the recommendation to recharge fully monthly or so in storage or better yet maintain full.
     
  10. nhlakes

    nhlakes Active Member

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    Oct 15, 2011
    DE and NH
    Hi rabird, Sorry for the confusion here. I totally understand that batteries should be kept at a full state of charge, and should be brought back to a full state of charge shortly after use. Having had bass boats since the 80's, I've been maintaining deep cycles for decades - although admittedly for the last 20 years or so they have all had onboard chargers so it has not required much thought - just plug the boat in after a day on the water. ;)

    Anyway, this is the first time I've messed with solar or having to worry about a reverse polarity adaptor.

    I had brought the Aliner battery to a full charge prior to leaving it for 3 weeks and had then plugged the 5wt trickle charge solar panel in as a maintainer while I was away.

    I was alarmed when I discovered it had dropped to 12.0 when I returned from my trip. That's when I discovered that the reverse polarity adaptor was missing from the ZAMP connection. Having a solar setup yourself, I suspect you're probably aware that their SAE style connector that comes standard on many new RVs these days has the polarity reversed, as compared to Battery Tender and most other things out there.

    Anyway, when I discovered that I'd been trickle charging with the polarity reversed for 3 weeks and that had brought the battery down to 12.0, I was unsure how much, if any, damage was done. In all my years of charging batteries I'd never done anything like that before.

    I immediately put a 10amp charger on it and and it took a full charge. The meter read 13.0 late yesterday and will check it again today to see if it is holding.

    Hopefully that cleared up any confusion.

    (although having had just one cup of coffee so far this am, maybe not) ;)
     

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