Best Solar Charger Kit for Boat Battery

A reliable battery is one of the most important parts of your boat. You want to find your battery ready to go when taking your boat out for a ride.  But you don’t want to haul out your heavy boat battery to your house or cabin each time you want to charge it.  A solar battery maintainer will slowly charge the battery (at the discharge rate) to make sure you don’t find a dead battery and be ready to go.

A Solar Battery Trickle Charger allows you to harness the power of the sun to maintain your boat battery without having to move your battery. We recommend the EcoWorthy Solar Battery Charger Kit as a maintainer for your marine battery.

Why go for a Solar Trickle Charger for Your Boat

There are various Battery Chargers on the market that you can use to charge your boat battery. However, a Solar Charger uses power from the sun meaning that wherever you have access to sunlight you can use the charger.

Onboard Charger

A solar charger acts as an onboard charger meaning you don’t have to move your batteries in order to get them to electricity. Provided you mount the solar panel where there is sufficient sunlight you will get power to your batteries.

Multi-bank Charger

A solar panel can act as a multi-bank charger provided that the batteries are wired in parallel. This means that you can charge your starting batteries and trolling deep cycle batteries all out once with a trickle charge.

Run Small Appliances

If you not using the solar panel to charge your boat batteries a 30-watt solar panel can actually be useful for charging your phone and running small appliances.

Features of a Good Solar Charger

When looking for the best solar battery charger these are some of the features you’ll need to look out for:

Easy Mounting

When using a Solar charger it is important that you place the charger where there is sufficient sunlight. Whether you are storing your batteries in a cabin or charging them while still on the boat, you will a space where you will place your solar panel.

A Solar panel can be easily mounted through the screws at the corners some can also be mounted on the windshield through suction cups or hooked through metals eyes.

Efficiency rate

Solar panels are known for their bad efficiency i.e sunlight to electricity conversion rate. It is therefore important to get Solar panels that allow for charging in low light and cloudy conditions.  Monocrystalline solar panels with a 20% conversion rate will not leave you disappointed.

Covered in tempered Solar glass

Tempered Solar Glass allows for better protection of the panel and will better survive the rugged treatment of the outdoors. 

Interchangeable clamps and Cigarette Cable

The charger should come with a connection cable, cigarette lighter, and bare connector.  A Cigarette Lighter cable allows you to also charge your car battery.

Solar Charger with Cigarette Lighter, Alligator Clips and SAE Connector

LED Light

An LED light will indicate the flow of current and will enable you to check whether the charger is charging your battery.  If you aim the panel to the sun the LED should turn on to prove it is generating a current. 

Blocking Diode

It is important as the Solar Panel charges the battery that is does not drain the battery at night.

Charge Controller

A Solar Charge controller is important for the system as it ensures the battery is protected from overcharging, reverse discharge, and overload protection.

It also provides short circuit protection.

The Charge Controller is not waterproof and should be mounted where it cannot get wet.

TP Solar Panel Kit

TP Solar panel kit is a White 20-watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel rated at 6.55 amps. It comes with a 10A PWM Solar Charge Controller and two 6.5ft extension cables with an o-ring terminal and battery clip. It is a lightweight solar panel of around 2.75 pounds.

With mounting holds ready this is an easy-to-use and easy-to-install kit. The small size and weight also make it easy to carry around.  It has a sturdy design that can withstand the elements of the outdoors.

It has a Solar Charge controller that protects the battery from overcharging, discharging, and overload protection. The USB has a USB output that can be used to charge small devices like your phone or IPAD

Pros

Sturdy Design

Easy to Install and Fix

Portable and light weight

Waterproof and Dustproof

Comes with a Charge Controller

Long Extension cable

Cons

Controller not Waterproof

Eco-Worthy Solar Panel Battery Charger Kit

The Eco-worthy Solar Panel kit is a Waterproof 25 Watt Solar charger. It also comes with a sturdy design that is dustproof and waterproof.  It comes with plug-and-play SAE connectors that are easy to install and free of maintenance.

It also comes with a 3A USB Charge controller with an indicator for charging and discharging.  

This is also a great starter kit that is easy to install with plug and play cables with a pre-attached cable on the solar panel.

Pros

USB Charge Controller

1 Year Warranty

Long battery clamps and O-ring terminal cables

Cons

3A Charge Controller

A great starter kit that can also be used in other DC applications such as door openers, chicken coops and electric fences.

How to Build a Solar Kit for Charging a Boat Battery

We have listed some of these specialized solar panels that are plug-and-play and customized to be used on boats later in this article. But if you are a DIY person you can pick up a 60 Watt Solar Panel, a Charge Controller, and Wiring and build it yourself. The reason for this is that this panel will allow you to charge your boat battery but can also be used to charge other devices like phones, and laptops. 

High Efficient Solar Panel

A 20 Watt Solar Panel will be sufficient for trickle charging a battery. However, it might be too slow in bad weather conditions and you should consider a higher Wattage to get faster charging. That’s why we recommend a 60-watt panel but this also depends on the size of the battery bank.

A Monocrystalline Solar panel that ensures its efficiency with a high conversation rate (around 20%) will ensure the panel can perform even in cloudy conditions.  

Charge Regulator

A Charge Regulator or a Charge Controller will ensure the battery is protected from Overcharging. A three Stage Charge controller will ensure bulk charging where the highest voltage and amperage of the charger will be used, the absorption charge where the charge continually declines, and the float charge where it charges at the discharge rate or trickles charge of the battery to maintain a 100% charge.

Solar Charge Controller with small solar panel
Solar Charge Controller with Solar panel

The controller also prevents reverse charging or the solar panel discharging the battery at night or when not in the sun.  

A 10A PWM Charge Controller will do the job. A PWM Charge Controller will work for AGM, SLA and Gel Batteries. I recommend the Zamp controller it gives the best readings and has three stage charging feature.

Wiring

You will need the following wiring to ensure the charge is delivered from the Solar Panel to your battery;

  • DC to SAE Connector
  • SAE Alligator Clips to attach to the battery.
  • An extension cable.

Ensure that you have long cables (up to 6ft) according to the boat size to ensure that the battery is connected to the Solar panel and the Solar Panel is mounted at the best location to ensure maximum sunlight absorption. You will also need to mount the charge controller away from any water exposure as most charge controllers are not waterproof.

Depending on your battery you may also find that Cables with Ring clips may suit you better as they don’t easily detach from the battery. This can lead to great disappointment if you leave the alligator clips intact only to find them detached later and the battery not charged.

Remember also always connect the battery before connecting the solar panel and when disconnecting disconnect the solar panel first and then the battery.