Ask Bill

Welcome to Ask Bill! If you have a question about our products or need some help and guidance with an off-grid power or lighting project please use our contact form to ask Bill.

You may also find answers to your questions in the numerous Help and Info articles available via this page.


Posted by in Ask Bill on Aug 15, 2019 .

Customer question (received via email 14th August 2019):

I'm looking for a solar charging system for my motorbike which is kept in a garage with no mains power. I have seen the OptiMate 10W Solar Charger (OP10) on you website. Do you think this would do the job. Do i need anything else in the way of connections to attach to the bike? Also is there a mounting bracket or anything available?

Thanks Chris

Willgen Reply (Email from Bill 15th August 2019): 

Hi Chris,

many thanks for getting in touch.

The Optimate 10 is ideal for maintaining your 12V motorcycle battery.

The Optimate 10 comes with a weatherproof battery...

Posted by in Ask Bill on May 17, 2018 .

Customer question (received via email 16th May 2018):

I have a Smart ForTwo Smart Car I have had to replace my battery. The car is not used more than short trips around town. I want a dashboard solar trickle charger to maintain the battery. What do you recommend?


Willgen reply (from Bill 17th May 2018):

Hi Peter,

Many thanks for getting in touch.

For dashboard use the simplest method of connection of a solar charger to the battery is via the cigarette lighter socket. However, please be aware that in many modern cars the cigarette lighter socket is disconnected when the ignition is turned off and the key removed. If...

Posted by in Ask Bill on Jul 12, 2016 .

Customer question (received via email 22nd June 2016):

Hi, I am considering buying a solar trickle charger for my BMW M3 CSL as I keep the car outside and like the idea of having a charger that doesn't need to be connected to the mains.  The battery on the car is a lightweight one (12V 55Ah).  I would like to mount the solar panel in the car (not outside) and have it plugged into the cigarette lighter socket. 

Could you recommend the best charger for my needs?


Willgen Reply (Email from Bill 22nd June 2016):

Hi Graham, many thanks for getting in touch.
If you want to keep the solar panel in the car and...

Posted by in Ask Bill on Jun 15, 2016 .

Customer Question (received via email 14th June 2016):

I am wanting to buy a solar panel to trickle charge my campervan battery plus a solar charge controller. My battery lable is as follows- 12v 74Ah 750A(EN). What combination would you recommend? I live in the north of Scotland.
Many thanks,

Willgen Reply (Email from Bill 14th June 2016):

Hi Kay, many thanks for getting in touch.

To maintain your battery (assuming there are no continuous loads such as an alarm) I would recommend you use a 10W solar panel provided it can be positioned in an un-shaded, south facing position at an angle of 35 to 90 degrees from the...

Posted by in Ask Bill on Mar 01, 2016 .

Customer Question (received via email 1st March 2016):

Hello, I'm interested in buying one of your BP 10 watt 12 volt panels. Id like it to keep a 12 volt 74 ah battery charged that will be hooked up to some led pathway lighting. Can I wire the panel directly to the battery? Thanks

Willgen Reply (Email from Bill 1st March 2016):

Hi, many thanks for getting in touch.

Rather than wiring the panel direct to the battery, I would recommend installing a charge controller between the solar panel and battery to protect the battery from damage through overcharging. The charge controller will also prevent battery drain back to the panel...

Posted by in Ask Bill on Jan 20, 2016 .

Customer question (received by email 15th January 2016):

I am interested in a solar battery charger which would be mounted on an outside wall of a garage to keep a 2008 VW Beetle battery charged. Does the charger come with mounting brackets and if a longer cable is ordered does it affect the charge.
Thank you Steve

Willgen Reply (email from Bill sent 18th January 2016):

Hi Steve, many thanks for getting in touch.

I am assuming you are looking at the 5W or 10W charger:

  5W Solar Panel Kit

  10W Solar Panel Kit

The solar panels have four pre-drilled holes in the back of the aluminuim frame to aid mounting and the

12V solar chargers are perfect for year around maintenance of 12V vehicle starting and caravan/boat (leisure) batteries. But which is best for you?

There are numerous 12V solar trickle chargers available and choosing the right one can be difficult. Cheap is tempting but not always cheerful and who should you believe when it comes to performance and quality?!

Well worry no more. Here is Willgen's definitive guide to choosing the right 12V solar battery charger for winter battery maintenance.

What's Best For...?

Before we get into the detail, if you a looking for a quick pointer in the right direction, the most popular solar...

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