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Build my own solar battery charger using 10W panels and Deep Cycle Battery

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Posted by visoredge on September 14, 2007, 8:09 pm
I have 2 10W panels, and was thinking about building a charger that I
could then plug in my various phone charger, AA battery charger or
misc small things around the house.

I have two options
Doing something like
Using a marine or deep cycle battery (what's the difference) and how
many AH should I get to maximize storage of the energy from these 2
- would be a bit more work probably, but cheaper and can get a bigger
battery (like a Costco Marine 85AH battery)
- then use an inverter from to convert DC into AC so I can plug in my
standard various adapters

Using my 10W panels to charge something like this:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)89800119&sr=1-1
Then plugging in my stuff into this guy.

If I use my 10W panels and convert the solar power output into a
cigarette lighter adapter I can plug it into this to charge.
Question: Do I need a Solar controller to charge something like this?
Or is the controller built into the device.

ANY SUGGESTIONS or ADVICE before undertaking a project like this?
ANY suggestions on particular brands of converters (I see a bunch on


Posted by Richard P. on September 15, 2007, 5:49 am
Hey visor.... I think the difference between a marine and a deep cycle
battery is that the marine is a compromise between a starting battery (high
current/short duration) and a deep cycle (moderate current/long duration)..
but I could be wrong and will probably be corrected on this. heheh..

The AH rating is just how long it can pump out the current.  The larger the
AH rating, the longer it will take to charge it up full with your 20 watts
of PV.

In your case, I would be tempted to go with the Xantrex power pack.  It
probably has a charge controller built into it and is a simple all in one

I use a couple of 100 Ah/r sealed AGM deep cycle batteries because I can get
them for nothing from work, and a couple of cheap 300 watt Xantrex inverters
that I got on sale for $5.  Works beautifully for me when running my table
and desk lamps.

Posted by boustephane on September 16, 2007, 9:49 pm
 Hi, I have three suggestions for your project:

First, with only 20W, you don't need a big battery to store your
energy because it will take a lot of time to recharge it (for example,
I have a 113 AH marine battery with a 80W solar panel and it take 2
days to recharge it). So a 85 AH battery will be a lot enough for your
application. I don't know the difference between marine or deep cycle
battery, I heard that marine battery use to be more resistant to shock
and shaking. Usually, marine batteries are less expensive.

Second, your first projet seems to me the best idea because you can
choice the kind of inverter. If you use a 120V AC battery charger, I
suggest you to buy a 150 or 300W PURE SINE inverter (5 x most
expensive) instead of modified sine (most popular) because with
modified sine, you can scrap your battery or some electronic parts. If
it is not mentioned that it is a pure sine, it probably mean that is a
modified sine.

Most of the powerpack like Xantrex use modified sine and it is good
for most application but not recommended for some electronics
applications or batteries chargers (another option is buying a
powerpack AND a pure sine inverter that you can plug into the

Third, usually, when your have more than 15W of solar panel power, you
need a charge controler to avoid overcharging your battery or

Good luck in your projets !

Posted by visoredge on September 17, 2007, 6:36 am
 Thanks for the suggestions.
I'm going to do a little more research!
For now maybe I'll do #2, for portability's sake, might be nice to be
able to move the battery pack around...

Posted by Bubba on October 13, 2007, 2:04 pm
 I just ordered a Xantrex 1500 and I'm trying to decide what solar
arrangement would be practical for recharging.  I'm a newbie to the subject
matter, so please pardon my ignorance.

The Xantrex has a 60 ah battery.  According to their manual, some models
have a series of three 21 ah batteries instead of one 60 ah.  What would you
consider a practical size and strength of solar panels to charge that unit
in one day?  I haven't ordered my panels yet.  Still researching.

Also, the manual I downloaded for the Xantrex says you should use a charge
controller between the panels and the Xantrex to avoid overcharging.  It
isn't included when you buy the Xantrex.

(Amazon.com product link shortened)89800119&sr=1-1

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