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Car Batteries naturally discharge when not in use. This is a small but constant drain that if overlooked it may drain completely and become dead. This reduces the battery lifespan and you will have to jump start the battery to use again. Modern vehicle have upward of 30 body control modules (computer), alarm system immobilizers and lock monitoring. These devices accelerate the drain on your battery.
If you don’t use your car often or leave in the garage too long, you may find a dead battery. A solar car battery charger will charge your battery when not in use and maintain the charge.
Solar chargers quite simply require the suns rays to start charging your batteries and should be positioned in a place where in it can obtain the greatest amount of sunlight. They also give you the chance to charge your car batteries without the having to connect to an external source of power. But because light intensity can change over time and the battery can be fully charge some of protection is necessary
Why you need one with a Charge Controller
Solar Panels over 5 watts (and occasionally the actual 5 watt) need a charge controller to cope with the output, and to stop overcharging your battery. For larger 12v batteries with more than 20Ah this should not be a concern. However if you plan to leave the charger connected for days; this will give you the comfort and confidence to leave it and not worry about it damaging your batteries.
Below we have listed some Chargers for various uses with overcharge protection. But we highly recommend the Suner Power 12v Charger.
Other Features of a Good Solar Car Battery Charger
This is what we looked when choosing the solar charger.
A Solar Charger must be directed towards sunlight in order to charge. The best placement for a car in the outdoors will be the dashboard. Suction cups that allow easy mounting on the car’s dashboard.
Solar panels that allow for charging in low light and cloudy conditions.
Covered in tempered solar glass
Tempered Solar Glass allows for better protection of the Solar Panel.
Interchangeable clamps and Cigarette Cable
The charger should come with a connection cable, cigarette lighter and bare connector.
An LED light that indicates flow of current is a feature that enables you to know whether the charger will charge your battery. If you aim the panel to the sun the LED should turn on to proves it is generating a current. You can also plug into the lighter socket when the panel to disconnected to check that the socket is live.
It is important as the Solar Panel charges the battery that is does not drain the battery at night. A blocking diode prevents reverse charging.
How we tested for reverse charging
Using a multimeter set to continuity measure we tested the solar charger. We did this by connecting the leads via the positive clip to the multimeter. By doing this you trying to see whether current is flowing towards the solar charger. There was no continuity. When the leads are connected the other way there was continuity (Positive lead to the negative lead). Meaning there is flow towards the battery.
Although each are good in their own way. We have ranked from number 1 to number to 5 according to the factors listed above.
1. SUNER POWER 12V Solar Charger & Maintainer
Small size allows it to be used on the go.
The top spot we have given to SUNER POWER 12V Solar Car Battery Charger. And for good reason the small compact good quality solar trickle charger to keep you battery topped off in all season. It is a well durable well-made high efficient crystalline solar panel with a tampered glass around it. It also comes with suction cups, screws and anchors for mounting.
It comes with a plug and play connector (2.4m cable (3 pcs of 0.5m connection cable, cigarette lighter and bare connector). It can connect via the cigarette lighter or using the long cable you can connect the charger to the battery terminals using the clamps.
It has a small LED light that lights up when the panel is receiving power. It has a built-in diode to prevent it from draining your battery.
2. Sunway Solar Trickle Charger
The Sunway Solar Charger uses amorphous technology that allows it work in cloudy conditions. It is covered with clear PV glass and with Durable ABS plastic housing which makes this solar panels charger stronger. It is low Maintenance and water proof. It has a built-in diode to prevent reverse charging from batteries. It blue light LED indicator to show when charging.
3. Solperk 12V Solar Panel Trickle Charger
The SOLPERK 12V Solar Battery Charger and Maintainer is a High quality amorphous solar car battery charger that uses thin film technology and it can work in any weather. It comes with 4 suction cups a cigarette lighter plug and a battery charging clip line. It is weatherproof and is covered with a durable ABS plastic case. It has built-in blocking diode to prevent reverse charging and battery reverse discharging. Blue indicator lights up when charging. The product is light and easy to install for inexperienced people
4. Eco-worthy Solar Panel Battery Charger
Works even in cloudy days
Needs constant wiping as it gathers dust easily
5. Allpowers 18V 5 Watts Solar Car Battery Charger
Last and not least is the ALLPOWERS 18V 5 Watts Portable Solar Panel Charger. Small sized high efficient mono Crystalline Solar panel. It has blocking diode to prevent reverse charging. It has a green LED indicator to show when it is receiving charge. It is easy to install, easy to use and maintenance free. It comes with a car charger cigarette lighter plug(power cord 1.5m) and a Battery charging clip line(power cord 1.5m) and 4 Suction cups.
How to Use a Solar Car Battery Charger
Charging your vehicle battery with a solar trickle charger is easy and can even be done on a continuous basis. Just connect the device and leave the solar panel on your car’s dashboard. You will probably forget it is even there. It can be for new or old vehicles, it does not matter. As long as your vehicle has a cigarette lighter and a battery you can use a solar battery charger. You can also use alligator clips to hook on the batteries directly.
You do not need to have special technical abilities in order to use an auto solar charger. It is as simple as these three steps:
- Take the charger out of the box
- Set the solar system on the dash of your vehicle
- Plug the cord into your cigarette lighter
Mount panel on your windscreen where it sources out enough sun rays. Other position it on the dashboard with its suction cups to put it place. You can do this with your car lighter socket. Alternatively if this doesn’t work with your car use a crocodile clip that comes with the charger and connect it directly to the battery. Its panel provides a stable maintenance level charge to your car’s battery to ensure that your battery remains fully charged even if you don’t start your engines daily.
Now, doesn’t that sound simple? Your car battery will receive the energy from the sun through a trickle charging system. That basically means, as the sun hits the solar cell, energy will be transferred to the battery of your car.
You definitely do not need any special skills to hook up your solar charger. It is so simple anyone who can drive can use a solar battery charger.
Owning a this device can be a great way to bring mobile energy with you almost anywhere you go. You can bring your solar battery charger in your automobile as you drive along the countryside. They are also great for spending time at the beach or hiking through the wilderness. Having a portable charger powered by the sun can make your travels much easier.
Solar chargers do not plug into electrical outlets so they can go with you on all of your adventures. Your 12v Solar battery charger will keep your car’s battery running at full power even while running your air-conditioning all summer long. Owning an automotive solar charger will prevent you from having to get a battery jumped because the charger will constantly be adding power to your car’s battery.