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Solar Panel for Car

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Posted by John on October 5, 2008, 12:12 am
I'm looking to get a small Solar Panel to trickle charge my car
battery. So far the ones I've seen have been too long and thin, and
they would block up my air vents or speakers.

Can anyone recommend any sites in the USA or UK that sell small panels
that are about 12x8 inches in size? Was only looking for a panel of
around 2-3w maybe 150ma at 15v give or take.

I think size around 12x8, 11x7, 12x7, 10x8 would be the best types of
size as this wont block my airbags, speakers or air vents up and it
would be able to sit nicely on the dash and connect to the battery.

Thanks for any links,


Posted by Eeyore on October 5, 2008, 2:51 am

John wrote:

Forget it. All of them are worthless scams. Unless you ger a REALLY big
panel that might fit on the rear shelf of a hatchback type car.


Posted by Eeyore on October 5, 2008, 2:52 am

John wrote:

For how many hours a day ?

It's not going to help your battery any but will relieve your wallet of
some money.


Posted by John on October 5, 2008, 12:35 pm
 On Sun, 05 Oct 2008 03:52:39 +0100, Eeyore

Thanks for the input. You reckon its not worth it and they don't make
much of a difference?

At the moment I have just bought a new car battery its a special
sealed gel type that's for my car and cost 165. Unfortunately I have
a lot of electronics on my car that drain the battery while I'm not
driving. I have alarm and also the cardkey autosensors amongst other

I often don't use my car over the weekend and it takes a few attempts
to get started on Monday morning. Even within the week when I am
driving each day to work it often doesn't start first time.

At the moment we're going into Winter here in Britain so we wont have
as much daylight, maybe 5 to 7 hours max over the next 6 months. In
summer a lot more. I think if I only get a small amount of juice to my
battery from a small panel it may be the difference between my car
starting first time and not starting, and the difference between
keeping the battery maintained in top condition and not having to
spend more money in another four years to replace the battery, it
could last a few years longer than that still.

A small solar panel of maybe 2 or 3 watts may only cost 30 or 35, I
guess around $0 USD give or take, and may last 10 years and more. I
think if that is something that would work then it would be cheaper
for my wallet than the cost of having to replace the battery sooner
than I should especially with the type for my car?

What do you think? Still not worth it? Are you generally against
anything that is renewable? Because I am not some sort of eco-freak
I'm just interested in this to save money not spend it. Are you saying
that a small 2 or 3w panel won't help my battery and that I would
really need a bigger one? 5w? I guess I could have two small panels on
the front dash that connect to my battery, its just the reason I can't
have one big one is there's nowhere to put it where it will get a lot
of sunlight and wont block up other important stuff.

BTW, I have a small hatchback but it wouldn't be a good idea to put a
bigger panel on the parcel shelf because it wouldn't get much sunlight
there because my rear window is very small and pretty much vertical.

Thanks for your input,


Posted by Slick on October 5, 2008, 2:48 pm

The reason everyone is saying it is a waste of time and money is because the
size of panel you are talking about might be able to keep an iPod or your
security system LED flashing , the rate of charge recommended for Gel / AGM
batteries is 10% of the battery's AH capacity .
Being a late model car you could expect that your battery will be at least
80AH , so you need 8 amps to charge it.
If the things you have running are drawing it down enough to effect the
starting , then it means it must be dropping by around 40% of it's capacity
and this is only over the weekend !So around 32AH ,
Over the weekend the charging you are talking about if there was 8 hours of
perfect sunlight everyday would replace 2.4AH in 2 days.

I have standard AA touch batteries rated at 1100ma , your panel suggestion
would be lucky to even charge one of them on a good day let alone have any
noticeable impact on car battery..

If you were considering something around the 25w mark you might see a more
noticeable effect , but then for the cost you would be better off saving
that money until you batteries dies and replacing it with a brand new one
and still have money left over.
You might even want to consider a dual battery system , this would better
cater to your concerns.

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