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Solar Trickle Charger for Vehicle Battery During Winter Storage

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I have a 2020 Ram :promaster 2500 159" WB high roof stealth van. We live in Montana and have put the van in storage for a few months. I bought a 13-watt solar trickle charger and mounted in the windshield. The van is facing south so the panel will get lots of sun. I connected the solar panel to the Ram using the cigarette lighter adapter. The instructions for the trickle charger said that some vehicles don't accept a charge through the cigarette lighter when the ignition is turned off. How would I know if that's the case on my Ram?
P.S. The solar panel has a light that turns green when the solar panel is working and red when it's charging a battery. The light is green most of the time flashing briefly to red before returning to green. I'm interpreting this behavior to mean that the battery is nearly fully charged but is accepting a teeny bit of power every now and again.
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2014-159 HR in CT
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Welcome!!!

If your solar panel is on the dash, the easiest plan would be to make a hole in the clipboard (slide out the radio, then unscrew the clipboard to lift it). From there, route the wires straight down to the cupholder area where it's easy to get to the van battery cover to connect directly.

I recently got a Renogy mini-solar panel as a free gift (having purchased a bunch of Renogy stuff). Wondering about how to connect it... Not sure if I'm supposed to run it through a charge controller or just connect directly to the battery. It's only about 10W, so it seems like a direct connect would be OK.

Hoping others will respond...
 

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2016 136 HT Gasser
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439 Posts
I have a 7.5W SOLVAO solar trickle charger. It has an SAE connector. I wired a lead up from the battery to the tray right below the steering column. The wiring connected to the solar panel is long enough that I can connect it at the steering column and still have it reach my sunroof. No controller/electronics other than what's built into the solar panel. When I'm traveling I stow the charger and there is no clutter. The 7.5W unit is totally up to the task given we get pretty regular sunlight year round where I live.
 

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2019 Promaster 3500 Silver high top 159"
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It's only about 10W, so it seems like a direct connect would be OK.
a rough approximation of a PV cell is a constant current device where current is proportional to illumination. The relationship breaks down at very low light levels or high panels voltage. Which is to say, your 10WT panel, in optimal conditions, will push out ~.5A into your service battery (10WT/18Vp). That should be a fine trickle/float current for 8-12 hours a day. And most times it will be less (clouds, sun angle, etc)
 

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I agree that it is pricey. It's claim to fame is that it will work even on your dash inside of a garage on indoor light.

Rolls up pretty small.

That is what I used on my daughter's minivan to keep it going since the grand daughters tended to do goofy stuff in her van and end up with a dead starter battery.
 

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2016 136 HT Gasser
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I agree that it is pricey.
Maybe @proeddie is a profligate trust fund baby. Or a dot.com bizillionaire. Or a Nigerian prince in need of your help to reclaim his fortune. It could happen. I've seen weirder things right here on postmasterforum.com. @Kip-on-truckin's videos come to mind.😎
 

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2014-159 HR in CT
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To clarify, although I'd like to be in one of the aforementioned groups, I'm just a guy who bought 3 Renogy batteries. They gave me "points" that I traded in for a free 10W solar panel... had more points, so I got a 5W version too !!! (y)
 

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2021 1500 136"WB High top
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To clarify, although I'd like to be in one of the aforementioned groups, I'm just a guy who bought 3 Renogy batteries. They gave me "points" that I traded in for a free 10W solar panel... had more points, so I got a 5W version too !!! (y)
I must have points! Gonna explore what I can get for free...

EDIT: i have 8808 points! how do you use them???
 

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2014-159 HR in CT
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I must have points! Gonna explore what I can get for free...

EDIT: i have 8808 points! how do you use them???
Use the Renogy app on your phone.

Click on the little guy (account) icon in the bottom right corner

Click on the Rays Shop

Pick what you want and redeem your points...

Notes:
  • best time to do it is on Mondays... they restock what's available
  • 4998 points gets you a 5W solar trickle charger...
 

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2021 1500 136"WB High top
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Use the Renogy app on your phone.

Click on the little guy (account) icon in the bottom right corner

Click on the Rays Shop

Pick what you want and redeem your points...

Notes:
  • best time to do it is on Mondays... they restock what's available
  • 4998 points gets you a 5W solar trickle charger...
on the phone! No wonder I couldn't figure it out, I was on the computer. Now what to get.....
 

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There's a catch! They only offer certain items, and there are not a lot of usable choices at an affordable number of points. You can get a $20 off coupon, but it's only good if you spend $300 ! I got the 5W trckle charger because I had enough points and it was either that or a Renogy Tote Bag !
 

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2019 Promaster 3500 Silver high top 159"
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I used a small computer to modulate the output of the DCC50S to effect SOC control. That uncovered a bug in the charger which disabled the ALT input (failure to charge while driving). After several go-arounds with technical support, they denied warrantee support because "I had modified the product" - but they did offer me a 7% discount coupon... I suppose I should take it in case I add a third battery...
 

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I have a 2020 Ram :promaster 2500 159" WB high roof stealth van. We live in Montana and have put the van in storage for a few months. I bought a 13-watt solar trickle charger and mounted in the windshield. The van is facing south so the panel will get lots of sun. I connected the solar panel to the Ram using the cigarette lighter adapter. The instructions for the trickle charger said that some vehicles don't accept a charge through the cigarette lighter when the ignition is turned off. How would I know if that's the case on my Ram?
P.S. The solar panel has a light that turns green when the solar panel is working and red when it's charging a battery. The light is green most of the time flashing briefly to red before returning to green. I'm interpreting this behavior to mean that the battery is nearly fully charged but is accepting a teeny bit of power every now and again.
For about $50 you can buy a TRIK-L-STARTER which will connect your chassis battery to the house system so that your solar panels will keep it charged. I've been using one for more than a year, and my Promaster starts right up even after it has been sitting for 4 to 6 months. Here's a link. TRIK-L-START
 

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Just a thought, but if there is AC power anywhere near where you store your van, I'd recommend an AC powered battery maintainer to keep the battery in perfect condition day and night, fair weather or stormy. Last I checked, those batteries flew past $150 each, so the little bit of electricity use is certainly justified.
 
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