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Old 06-09-2012, 11:19 PM   #1
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Is solar panel enough to maintain 6 volt batteries?

My 27 foot Sunline is in need of new batteries. I have always wanted two six volt batteries for weekend boon docking in Michigan. I have read the stock convertors in most trailers are not adequate for very good charging and I should replace the convertor w a 3 stage charger. Since the trailer is mostly in a sunny storage lot and the trailer is only plugged in at home for about 24hours during loading/unloading or when camping w full hook ups, Can I leave my convertor in there and just buy a 50-80 watt solar panel w controller to pick up the slack of the convertor/truck charging system. If I cant plug the trailer back in after a boondocking weekend will the panel be able to top them back off while in storage? I can check the water level monthly but cannot leave it plugged in during storage.
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:12 AM   #2
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I would replace the converter/charger in direct sun light you may get 6 amps from a 80 watt panel where you could get 80 amps or more from a charger. 2, 6 volts need a big charger they have huge storage capacity. Solar is very nice because it's free power but they can be expensive with panels, controllers and wiring. Some thing else to consider is mounting the panels I'm not real big on putting holes in the roof. I looked into solar panels and decided that a small generator and a good charger was actually cheaper.
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Old 06-10-2012, 03:30 PM   #3
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I don;t have this and I do not anyone who does put its a mat that does require you to put holes in the roof

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Old 06-10-2012, 10:06 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies!

I am trying to hold off on a generator & new charger but I will consider it. The reason I am interested in solar is more about keeping the batteries in top condition while in storage for sometimes up to 12 weeks between uses & picking up the "topping off slack" of the stock convertor or truck charging system rather than generating free power to keep up with daily usage.

An example of our usage would be to pick up the trailer from storage yard & plug in at home the day before while packing, sometimes full hook up or rustic camping for 2-3 nites w very limited 12volt usage (e.g. gas fridge, & a bit of fantastic fan/water pump usage) then bring it home 3-5 hours while truck charging then to charge over-nite while unpacking although sometimes we have to take it back to storage right away.

I am assuming during winter storage that the batteries will need to come in the garage and be put on a separate charger.

I agree about holes in the roof 68watt flexible panel that was mentioned may be a good fix for this.

Would this scenario work or if I did buy a better convertor how long can disconnected six volt batteries sit between recharges without damaging them.
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Old 06-11-2012, 06:23 AM   #5
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There are many tricks to save power for "rustic" camping from the sound of things you really don't need a pair of 6 volt batteries a group 27 should be enough. Two 6 volts are going to weigh over 120# and they are pretty big batteries. One of the best upgrades for any camper is a modern 3 stage converter/charger they are very quiet (electrically) have a far better charge rate and will not kill a battery if left on long term. A good charger well recharge the battery pretty quickly pretty much while you are packing and definitely quicker then your fridge will cool off. Often a heavy charge is what's needed after sitting uncharged for several weeks. A good group 27 battery may have as much as a 100 amp capacity and that is some thing you can carry with out a great deal of effort and leave on a battery maintainer at home.
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