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Classic Car Solar Panel Trickle Chargers

Posted by in Eco Products, Solar Lights and Chargers on Sep 07, 2012 . .

If you use your classic car less often than you would like or are getting ready to put it away for the winter months, you may be wondering about the best way to keep the battery in tip top condition. A good solar trickle charger might be just the thing you need....
 

solar trickle charger of the correct type and size will keep your car battery in good, fully charged condition even through the darkest mid winter months. If you are not sure which 12V solar battery charger  is best for you read on!

The first thing to decide is if the solar panel will be mounted in the car itself or externally somewhere (on the roof of your garage for example).

In Car Solar Trickle Charger

If the car is to be left parked outside without a cover a small solar charger can be left inside the car, either attached to a window or laid on the dashboard. For best solar performance, putting the solar panel in the car is less desirable than having an externally mounted panel. Glass (particularly tinted) will reduce the performance of any solar panel and when mounted inside a car it is inevitable that the solar panel will be partially or fully shaded for considerable periods of the day. 

That said, if the battery is in good condition and there are no significant drains on the battery (alarm, electrical faults! etc) even a small solar trickle charger can keep the battery fully charged.

In car trickle chargers usually come with a cigarette lighter plug attachment and crocodile clips to allow the charger to be attached direct to the battery. Obviously the cigarette lighter socket is a neat and easy way to connect back to the battery, however, you need to ensure that the socket remains live when the car ignition is switched off and key removed. If this is not the case the solar panel will need to be connected direct to the battery or a specific, permanantly live cigarette lighter socket installed in the car.

Some in car solar trickle chargers come with suckers to allow the solar panel to be attached direct to the inside of a window. Others come with a fold out stand that allows the solar charger to be angled up off the dash board.

Orientation is important: the solar charger should be mounted in an unshaded south facing window for best performance. A solar charger will still work in non south facing positions but output will be reduced.

In car 12V solar trickle charger options: 

  • 1.5W Solar Trickle Charger - ok for summer use and when out and about but otherwise a bit too small for most car batteries
  • 4W Folding Solar Car Charger - a reasonable size and has a stand to allow it to be propped up on dash - for use inside the car only and probably a bit small for winter battery maintenance 
  • 10W OptiMate Solar Panel Charger - best option for most classic cars - fully weatherproof and large enough for year round battery maintenance, can be placed inside or outside car, comes with charge controller to prevent harm to battery and gives charging and battery status info via LED lights, large range of accessories
  • 20W OtpiMate Solar Panel Charger - best option if there are drains on battery (alarm etc) - fully weatherproof and large enough for year round battery maintenance, can be placed inside or outside car, comes with charge controller to prevent harm to battery and gives charging and battery status info via LED lights, large range of accessories

External Solar Car Chargers

The best option is often to have a solar charger / small solar panel mounted externally, often on the roof of your garage. Mounting outside will ensure you get the best from your solar panel, but for maximum output is still ideal to position in an unshaded south facing position if possible.

External 12V solar panel charger options:

  • 5W Solar Battery Charger - put together ourselves for the needs of motorcycles but just as good for classic cars as well - 5W solar panel big enough for year around maintenance charging of batteries up to 50Ah capcity if solar panel can be well positioned (unshaded, South facing) outside - includes charge controller.
  • 10W OptiMate Solar Panel Charger - best option for most classic cars - fully weatherproof and large enough for year round battery maintenance, can be placed inside or outside car, comes with charge controller to prevent harm to battery and gives charging and battery status info via LED lights, large range of accessories
  • 20W OtpiMate Solar Panel Charger - best option if there are drains on battery (alarm etc) - fully weatherproof and large enough for year round battery maintenance, can be placed inside or outside car, comes with charge controller to prevent harm to battery and gives charging and battery status info via LED lights, large range of accessories
What size solar trickle charger?

Even a small solar charger will help with battery maintenance, and basically the bigger (higher wattage) the solar charger the more charge you will get to your battery.

For normal 12V car battery maintenance I would suggest you buy as large a solar charger as you can justify (I would wouldn't I?!) particularly if there are battery drain problems. If you exceed the ratio of 10W of solar power to 100Ah of battery capacity a charge controller is required but you don't need to worry as our 5W Solar Charger and OptiMate Solar Panels all come with a charge controller as standard. 

Our most popular 12V car battery solar trickle charger is the 10W Optimate Solar Charger.

Never be disappointed by a flat battery again!

Hope this helps! Please give us a call if you need any help or advice. If it all makes sense, why not order now? You can fit it in a jiffy and have peace of mind that your battery will be charged and ready for starting duties the next time you want to take the car out for a spin!

Last update: Jun 28, 2018
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