solar charger - Page 2 - Alfa Romeo Forum
You are currently unregistered, register for more features.    
Reply
 
Thread Tools
Status: Drinking too much beer in Munich ;)
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: I would rather not say
County: -
Posts: 1,576

Member car:

159

A word of caution about hardwiring a solar charger, all solar panels used for this purpose must have a blocking diode in series with them to prevent the battery from leaking current back through the panel at night. For panels that are designed as car trickle chargers the diodes are always already installed, most of the time on the back of the panel, but I can remember seeing one with the diode in the cigar lighter adapter plug.

When yoiu go to hardwaire in a panel yoiu have to cut off the cigar lighter plug, so if the diode is in the plug that will be left out of the circuit and for all the charge that goes into yoiur battery during sunshine hours, even more will go back out at night time !

So if you're going to cut the cigar plug off one of these panel's leads, it might be an idea to open up the plug to check the diode isn't in there
FixitSan is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Status: Clutch is slipping :-/
AO Member
 
MikeRomeo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: United Kingdom
County: Essex
Posts: 65

Member car:

159 V6 Q4 JTS

I had the same problem, forked out for an expensive bosch battery and now it never misses a beat even after not running for almost a week at sub zero temperatures
MikeRomeo is offline  
(Post Link) post #28 of 47 Old 21-01-13 Thread Starter
Status: -
AO Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: United Kingdom
County: Greater London
Posts: 518

Member car:

159 Sportswagon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeRomeo View Post
I had the same problem, forked out for an expensive bosch battery and now it never misses a beat even after not running for almost a week at sub zero temperatures
Same for me. New Bosch S5 higher rated than recommended, a new alternator, the car was last moved 11 days ago and parked outside. I've got a flat battery.

To be fair we probably wont move it for another week, so it needs a bit of a hand.

Jonnym

Last edited by jonnym; 21-01-13 at 23:28.
jonnym is offline  
 
(Post Link) post #29 of 47 Old 21-01-13 Thread Starter
Status: -
AO Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: United Kingdom
County: Greater London
Posts: 518

Member car:

159 Sportswagon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FixitSan View Post
A word of caution about hardwiring a solar charger, all solar panels used for this purpose must have a blocking diode in series with them to prevent the battery from leaking current back through the panel at night. For panels that are designed as car trickle chargers the diodes are always already installed, most of the time on the back of the panel, but I can remember seeing one with the diode in the cigar lighter adapter plug.

When yoiu go to hardwaire in a panel yoiu have to cut off the cigar lighter plug, so if the diode is in the plug that will be left out of the circuit and for all the charge that goes into yoiur battery during sunshine hours, even more will go back out at night time !

So if you're going to cut the cigar plug off one of these panel's leads, it might be an idea to open up the plug to check the diode isn't in there
Thanks for the info. I was toying with the idea of putting a socket in there for when we go camping etc. If i do it would bypass that issue, although the panel also comes with a set of croc clips as well, so I'm hoping the diode is on the panel.

I'm getting a 4.5w panel, they don't have an overcharge cut off, could this be a problem?

Thanks

Jonnym

Last edited by jonnym; 21-01-13 at 23:29.
jonnym is offline  
(Post Link) post #30 of 47 Old 22-01-13 Thread Starter
Status: -
AO Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: United Kingdom
County: Greater London
Posts: 518

Member car:

159 Sportswagon.

Sorry for all the questions...but:

If I piggyback the wire in the photo that JabawokJayUK identified as the amplifier live, would it turn it on or do it any damage? Having the amp on would pretty much negate any advantage derived from the charger!

If it is OK to use that wire then what is the best way to cut into it? I would normally use a Snap-Lock or similar but that wire looks far too big. Would striping a section of insulation from the wire, winding the new wire around it a few times and soldiering(if my iron is up to it) be adequate? Or is there a better way?

The annoying thing is I'm going to be fitting a new handbrake cable this summer and it would mean I could get a live from virtually anywhere in the car at that point as all the carpets would be up, but it can't wait that long.

thanks for any advise

Jonnym
jonnym is offline  
Status: Drinking too much beer in Munich ;)
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: I would rather not say
County: -
Posts: 1,576

Member car:

159

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnym View Post
I'm getting a 4.5w panel, they don't have an overcharge cut off, could this be a problem?

Thanks

Jonnym
No that's fine , 4.5W at 14V(max) is about 0.3Amps (I = P/V). The panel will only povide 0.3Amps if the battery needs it...if the battery is already at it's optimum voltage the current it requires to keep it tricklle chargede is less than 0.3Amps.
In other words the battery will self regulate how much current it needs to stay topped up based on it's own voltage level.


As fpor the live wire in the boot. If it stays live at all times then you are safe to put the solar panel onto it. Yoiu should be safe to put a lighter socket on it, just checkl the fuse rating first and don't try to draw more current than the fuse is rated for. (Uprating the fuse might seem feasible, but then the ability of the wires to carry the extra current needs to be considered.
FixitSan is offline  
(Post Link) post #32 of 47 Old 23-01-13 Thread Starter
Status: -
AO Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: United Kingdom
County: Greater London
Posts: 518

Member car:

159 Sportswagon.

Spot on it is just under 0.3amps in the details.

I think the wire should be OK as its around 6mm in diameter. It might be feasible to use the existing fuse box as there are quite a few redundant slots on it, I will have a poke around later.

thanks again

Jonnym
jonnym is offline  
Status: 159 2.4 20007 plate 19,500 DPF/EGR by Adie (AHM)
AO Silver Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: United Kingdom
County: Wiltshire
Posts: 2,282
Images: 16
I can see you are keen on the solar charging circuit but one thought about battery going dead.

My wife had a 156 and the battery on that would go dead over 6 - 8 days. That turned out to be the after market stereo.

If you pushed and released the off button it went into standby mode but must have still been drawing quite a bit of current.

If you pushed the off button and held it in for 4 or 5 seconds it turned fully off. After this never had another flat battery for the further 4 years we owned it.
kandlbarrett is offline  
(Post Link) post #34 of 47 Old 24-01-13 Thread Starter
Status: -
AO Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: United Kingdom
County: Greater London
Posts: 518

Member car:

159 Sportswagon.

My stereo is the standard one, but im not sure its always turned off.

I will try it left on and off with the meter.

Thank for the info

Jonnym
jonnym is offline  
(Post Link) post #35 of 47 Old 09-02-13 Thread Starter
Status: -
AO Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: United Kingdom
County: Greater London
Posts: 518

Member car:

159 Sportswagon.

The solar panel has arrived. I've given it the once over a couple of things worry me, the build quality, which although not terrible is not great but it was very cheap, the fact it was supplied with a cigarette lighter plug which had a 13amp 240v fuse in it, and finally that when facing the sun shining through a tree, so not optimum, the panel produced 19.6v.

I understand that if the battery is over 35 Ah the panel does not require a charge controller, mines 77Ah so it should cope OK.

I've a few more things to check on it before fitting, I will keep you posted.

Jonnym

Last edited by jonnym; 09-02-13 at 17:03.
jonnym is offline  
Status: 159 2.4 20007 plate 19,500 DPF/EGR by Adie (AHM)
AO Silver Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: United Kingdom
County: Wiltshire
Posts: 2,282
Images: 16
19.6V might be bad news!

A battery will gas if it is charged at a voltage greater than 14.4V and the gases are explosive. Long term I think you are also likely to damage the battery.

I am to lazy to do the reading but. "wiki lead acid battery charge" typed into a search engine will probably give you lots of info.

However, there will almost certainly be a difference between open circuit voltage (no load on the solar cell) and the voltage with a load.

Connect it and measure the voltage across the battery terminals. If that is over 14.4V I think you might have a problem. You need to keep an eye on that voltage as it will increase as the battery charges and, as you are aware, will depend on how sunny it is.
kandlbarrett is offline  
(Post Link) post #37 of 47 Old 10-02-13 Thread Starter
Status: -
AO Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: United Kingdom
County: Greater London
Posts: 518

Member car:

159 Sportswagon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kandlbarrett View Post
19.6V might be bad news!

A battery will gas if it is charged at a voltage greater than 14.4V and the gases are explosive. Long term I think you are also likely to damage the battery.

I am to lazy to do the reading but. "wiki lead acid battery charge" typed into a search engine will probably give you lots of info.

However, there will almost certainly be a difference between open circuit voltage (no load on the solar cell) and the voltage with a load.

Connect it and measure the voltage across the battery terminals. If that is over 14.4V I think you might have a problem. You need to keep an eye on that voltage as it will increase as the battery charges and, as you are aware, will depend on how sunny it is.
I asked the question about the high voltage on the Maplin website when I was looking into buying there 4 watt unit.

They responded with this:"When connected to a car battery, the internal resistance of the battery will bring this no load voltage down n to around 13/14V, so will be fine to charge and trickle charge the battery."

So they agree with your theory. I will measure the load on a sunny day to check it as well, thanks for the help.

Jonnym
jonnym is offline  
Status: -
AO Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: United Kingdom
County: Greater London
Posts: 25

Member car:

2001 156 1.8 TS

If you have a SW like mine then you *might* have a Motorola tracker fitted in the roof lining that will also be draining your battery. Mine appeared to be wired into the main loom so I thought it may have been a factory option?
Manny001 is offline  
(Post Link) post #39 of 47 Old 30-03-13 Thread Starter
Status: -
AO Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: United Kingdom
County: Greater London
Posts: 518

Member car:

159 Sportswagon.

Where in the roof lining is it? I can have a look around and see if I have one.

My new bosh s5, bought at the end of December, is only 60% productive so is going to be replaced on Monday, the new alternator is good however. I think the periods of being out of charge have goosed it. I still haven't fitted the solar panel yet as I've been involved with other projects, but will try very soon and feed back

Jonnym
jonnym is offline  
Status: -
AO Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: United Kingdom
County: Greater London
Posts: 25

Member car:

2001 156 1.8 TS

Mine was right above the drivers head.....radio waves straight into the brain lovely.

If you need a step by step for removing the roof lining IM me your email address and I'll email you a.docx with pics.
Manny001 is offline  
(Post Link) post #41 of 47 Old 31-03-13 Thread Starter
Status: -
AO Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: United Kingdom
County: Greater London
Posts: 518

Member car:

159 Sportswagon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manny001 View Post
Mine was right above the drivers head.....radio waves straight into the brain lovely.

If you need a step by step for removing the roof lining IM me your email address and I'll email you a.docx with pics.
Could I feel it with out removing the lining? I'm not sure it is the issue as I tested the draw on the car and it was only 2ma, so about what I would expect from any modern car. I think its the alarm which is the problem. As the car is parked on the road side I think its constantly bought into a state of high alert draining the battery.

I need to do a longer test using the meter, but will have to wait until the weather improves a bit.

I would be good to rule out a tracker however.

Thanks

Jon
jonnym is offline  
Status: -
AO Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: United Kingdom
County: Greater London
Posts: 25

Member car:

2001 156 1.8 TS

If you removed the driver hand grab, sun visor and partial removal of driver door rubber you should be able to see if one is there or not. Mine was just behind the recess for the visor and had previously been glued to the roof skin.
Manny001 is offline  
Status: 5 niggles to go...
AO Member
 
Brera_Matt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: United Kingdom
County: Gloucestershire
Posts: 331
Garage

Member car:

Brera 2.2 SV "S"

A WARNING TO ALL

I posted this on another thread and JabawokJay pointed me to here: I would strongly advise against connecting a solar charger to your battery and leaving it to charge.

I work in aerospace, specifically power systems, and overcharging batteries WILL make them overheat and eventually catch fire. A battery fire is a self-fuelling fire, that is, one which doesn't require oxygen, a burning battery will burn itself out even if you throw it into a swimming pool. So if you do set your car battery on fire, all you can do is watch the rest of your car go up with it.

A simpler solar charger will not have the intelligence or indeed any connection to each cell in the battery to know if it's over-charging a cell or not, i.e. you're blindly putting charge in. Once one cell catches fire, the heat it generates will set off all the others like lighting one match in a box of matches.

As car batteries are pretty big in terms of capacity and the solar chargers are (I guess) putting very little in, you'll have gotten away with it. Extended use could be very dangerous, and I doubt your insurance would pay out if they found out you set your own car battery on fire.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Cheers,
Matt

2.2 Red Brera with all the S mods except the interior
Brera_Matt is offline  
Status: Clutch is slipping :-/
AO Member
 
MikeRomeo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: United Kingdom
County: Essex
Posts: 65

Member car:

159 V6 Q4 JTS

That settles that then
MikeRomeo is offline  
Status: -
AO Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: United Kingdom
County: Greater London
Posts: 25

Member car:

2001 156 1.8 TS

Fyi ....i can confirm that after removal of my Motorola tracker my battery no longer goes flat after two weeks on my drive.
Manny001 is offline  
Axl
Status: -
AO Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 35

Member car:

147

Quote:
Originally Posted by felix159 View Post
Your solar charger will work through the lighter sockets when the key is not in the ignition. The key removal prevents the draw of power in the normal manner. The ECU will do that. However the charging system works on tha fact that your vehicle is negatively earthed to the battery. Hence the charge of electrons to the battery run from negative rail to positive ( unlike current that runs positive to negative). Note therefore that your charger must be disconnected when the vehicle is started or running...the diodes within the circuit will hold off for so long, but the charger and ecu might not like it for long.
I have just bought a Maplin 'briefcase' solar battery charger and it has a charging light. The charging light is on when the key is removed from the Spider and when the charger is connected to the cigarette lighter socket.
So I guess this proves the theory and the device is charging the battery?

I did also discover that the charging light is extinguished when the engine is started.

If this is correct, then there is no need to run cables to the battery itself, which would be very convenient.
Axl is offline  
Status: 16Italiancylinders(V 6,N4,L2,V2,V2)+1Span ish
AO Silver Member
 
swq4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: United Kingdom
County: East Riding of Yorkshire
Posts: 1,540
Images: 28
Garage
Resurrecting this old thread.
The SW sometimes does not used for a week or so in Summer (Spider+Italian Bikes!) so I am wanting to keep the battery healthy. Read through this thread and seems ambivalent about use of Solar Chargers (threads on P/H similarly so).
Wonderd if anyone has experience of the AA battery maintainers (plugs into EOBD port): AA Shop | Car Battery Solar Charger ?

Last edited by swq4; 23-07-16 at 00:02.
swq4 is offline  
Reply

Go Back   Alfa Romeo Forum > Supported Alfa Romeo Models > Technical & Vehicle Assistance > Alfa 159, Brera & 946 Spider

Tags
charger , solar

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome