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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 you intend to connect via the cigarette lighter please check that it remains live when ignition is off - if it  does that's fine, if not you will have to connect to the battery in another way - either hardwiring to the battery terminals or by having a permanently live cigarette lighter socket installed.

Because the solar panel will be behind glass (on your dash) and because orientation of the panel towards the sun I wouldn't suggest going for anything less powerful than a 4W solar charger and ideally would go a bit larger than this.

Best options for you:

    4W Solar Briefcase :

    10W Optimate :

If you want/need to hardwire to the battery the Optimate 10 is the best option. The main benefit of the briefcase is that it can be folded up and stowed in the boot or under a seat nice and neatly. The Optimate 10 is 2.5 times more powerful than the breifcase and would be my preferred option for this reason. If the car is parked in a shady spot or the solar panel will face North you might want to consider going for the Optimate 20W (twice as powerful as the OPtimate 10). If you want to connect the Optimate 10 or 20 via the cigarette lighter socket this can be achieved by ordering the optional cigarette plug adapter to allow this.

    Optimate Ciagarette Plug Adapter : 
I hope this helps. if you have any questions or would like to proceed with an order please get in touch. You can of course order online (and find product details) by following links above.

Kind regards


Last update: May 17, 2018
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