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Posted by Eeyore on October 5, 2008, 11:31 pm

John wrote:

Absolutely 100% worthless. I know someone who tried one and the battery still
went flat from all the electronic loads (like an alarm) on it when not in

Yes, and a solar cell has NO HOPE of powering those. it'll provide a few tens
of Watt-hours a day but it's pathetic.


Posted by John on October 6, 2008, 7:00 pm

Thanks for the advice! That saves me wasting money on something that
isn't going to work then ;)

Posted by spaco on October 5, 2008, 5:14 pm
 One other reason that a small solar panel won't serve YOUR purpose is
that, if the UK is anything like western Wisconsin in the USA, December
and January are alomost TOTAL washouts as far as solar energy goes.
This would mean that you'd have at least 2 months where it would be of
no value at all.
   I am not making this up!  I have been recording solar input daily
here for almost a year now. See:  http://www.spaco.org/PV/PVSolar.htm
   I have a cheap 1 meter square panel and it stores a maxumum of about
150 watt hours on a totally sunny day in summer, facing due south and at
the correct vertical angle.  On a typical cloudy day, (like this very
day so far), I am getting 2 watts at  12.51 volts into a "car battery".
  Since I left a small (10 watt) load on that battery all day yesterday,
the terminal voltage was 12.2 at midnight last night when I removed that
load.  The terminal voltage will improve during the day today, up to
maybe  12.89, by day's end.
   Remember, this is a 1 meter square panel, capable of supplying up to
30 watts in DIRECT sun.

Why not fix the car so it starts the first time?  Are you certain that
the car's alternator is working properly?

Or, at least one mfr on this side of the pond makes a "Dual battery" If
the main section goes dead, you throw a switch that is built into the
battery, and the other section starts your car.

Pete Stanaitis

John wrote:

Posted by danny burstein on October 5, 2008, 5:58 pm
[ snip ]

I had one of those two decades ago under the Sears Diehard
brand name. It worked fine, and saved my ass when I left the
headlights on one time.

BUT, one day, when I turned on the ignition, it went "kaboom".
Small explosion, fortunately, with no damage.

I headed to Sears and they swapped in a regular Diehard.

A bit later I checked and found that they had stopped selling
them, and there were some indications this was because of
some similar events. (This was before the day of easy internet
access, so I didn't see any stories).

One of the big battery manufacturers whose name escapes
me for the moment had a similar unit, and kept offerring
it for a while (but I could never find a store that actually
had it or was able to order it with a reasonable delivery
time), leading me to suspect they were the supplier and
had stopped making it.

If there's anyone selling this product these days, and
they've got good quality control, it could be worth it.

Oh, another two suggestions for the original poster:

a: if your battery drain is one of those unwanted things
(i.e. a short somewhere) you could hook up a fairly
cheap and easy "kill" switch at the battery. These are
commonly used for a theft protection device, but would
help here as well. On the other hand, this might mean
losing all your radio, etc., settings.

b: One of the best $0 investments I made was a "jumper
battery". This is a self contained unit ,about half the
size of a tissue box, which contains a small rechargable
battery and jumper cables. You simply lift it up and
hook it to the main bettery, and you've got plenty of
power to start up.

In the USofA these range from $0 to $0 or so and are
available at automotive supply stores and mass marketers.

Any model above the el-cheapo-basement unit would be fine.

Knowledge may be power, but communications is the key
[to foil spammers, my address has been double rot-13 encoded]

Posted by John on October 6, 2008, 7:04 pm
 On Sun, 5 Oct 2008 17:58:38 +0000 (UTC), danny burstein

Unfortunately I can't have a kill switch on the battery because it
would reset all the sensors etc and my keycard would no longer work
with it. I'd have to get it recovered to the main dealer who I'd have
to pay to have it reprogrammed.


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