Solar battery chargers are becoming more popular each day because they are ideal for charging items such as cell phones, spare batteries cars, trucks, tractors, motorcycles, boats, ATV’s, RV’s, and lawn mowers, etc. Solar chargers can operate with 24 and 48 volt DC systems and a couple of added features include the fact that they’re relatively easy to use and are maintenance free.
These chargers work when the solar plates are exposed to daylight and the charger converts the sun’s rays into low voltage DC electricity. Solar chargers come with various power levels. Most of them are designed for 12 VDC, but if you need 24 volts or more, the solar panels can be wired in series. However, there are some models that can handle up to 48 volts.
Now for the downside: solar battery chargers take a long time to charge and the time it takes generally depends on the weather conditions. A solar panel needs direct sunlight for it to work at maximum power. If the sky is overcast or the charger isn’t at the right angle, the charger will take longer to perform its duties.
Solar chargers rate their output in watts. In general, a rating of 15 watts delivers one amp per hour in direct sunlight. To know what size charger you need, you have to figure out how many amp-hours or watts-hours you’re using based on time. Then, predict how much direct sunlight the solar panel will absorb in a day and calculate a total amount of watts-hours output.
A charge controller is a good idea with these types of battery chargers as it can prevent overcharge, improve charging quality, and help to prevent any battery discharge in low and no light conditions. Some solar panels come with pre-installed blocking diodes to prevent discharge; however, when a six-watt or larger panel is used, a charger controller should help.
Most solar panels are weatherproof and all you really need to do to maintain them is to remove any dirt and debris and to inspect the electrical connections. Solar panels can last between three and 25 years; however, the guaranteed life expectancy rating is generally 80% percent of the published rating of the panel.
Solar battery car chargers are also popular because all you have to do is place the device on the car’s dashboard and plug it into the cigarette lighter. The battery charger will then use the sun’s rays to generate the power needed for your vehicle.