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Author Topic: solar panels for recharging  (Read 499 times)
AI4WX
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Posts: 26




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« on: June 21, 2009, 07:03:26 PM »

i have been looking into getting a solar panel to keep my batteries charged for QRP work. I'm wondering..where do most ppl get their panels from, and also as weird as this is to ask, do the 12V panels actually keep a batt at 13.8 roughly or do they jsut charge to about 12v exactly?
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KK7GB
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Posts: 29




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« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2009, 07:44:58 PM »

camping world is where I got mine, with the controller. Keeps my travel trailer batteries charged enough to run my 706 mkiig.
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W3JJH
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« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2009, 07:54:41 PM »

I use a Unisolar 32 W flexible solar array with a Morningstar SunGuard charge controller to keep a 17 Ah gel cell charged.  If set up during the afternoon before Field Day to allow the battery to top off and kept charging during daylight hours through the weekend, this setup will power a rig like an FT-817 or a K2 for the full 24 h of Field Day.

I've talked with a guy who uses a similar sort of setup with a 5 W solar array, a SunGuard, and a 2 Ah motorcycle battery to keep his small radios alive while camping.

The SunGuard is a series chopper that uses PWM to keep the charging potential at 14.1 V. During Field Day, I typically see the battery potential vary from about 14 V in the early afternoon on Saturday to a low near 13 V around dawn on Sunday.

YMMV
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K0CBA
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Posts: 299




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« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2009, 07:59:35 PM »

If you forget and leave them connected to the battery in the late evening or over night, a diode in series with one of the leads might not be a bad idea.   It will keep the panels from maybe showing a load and discharging the battery.
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KZ1X
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Posts: 3228




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« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2009, 08:18:22 PM »

I went 'cheap' and got a surplus Volkswagen solar panel some years ago.

What's that?

Go to eBay and do a search on "vw solar panel" and you will see what I mean.  There are always plenty for sale.

The one I have floats a 7 amp hour gel cell quite nicely, which I use every year at Field Day to run my K2.

Look for me this year (as usual) on 40CW as W4EZ [9A NC].
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KC8VWM
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Posts: 3119




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« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2009, 10:47:28 PM »

Check out a hardware store Harbor Freight.

They are located in most US cities.

Here's a link to their product:

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=41144

73 de Charles - KC8VWM
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KC8VWM
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Posts: 3119




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« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2009, 11:03:19 PM »

12 volt solar panels are not necessarily "12 volts"
For example..

My 5 watt solar panel ratings are:

Power 5 watts
Voc > 22 V
Isc > 450 mA
Vop > 13.5 V

So when the panel is connected to a battery it is "rated" to deliver 13.5 volts. When the panel is not connected to anything (open circuit) you can expect the panel to deliver 22 volts.

The "12 volt" panel is capable of delivering the full 13.5 vdc charge to a battery.
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