How To Choose An RV Solar Battery Charger
They say the best things in life are free. That’s certainly true when it comes to powering your RV off grid. Instead of paying for earth-unfriendly generator fuel, why not harvest clean and free energy from the sun?
Of course, to do this you’ll need to make an initial investment with an RV solar battery charger. Plus, you’ll need some knowhow to build your own solar setup. Sound daunting? It’s probably easier than you think! We’ll cover the basics below and do what we can to help you get started.
What’s An RV Solar Battery Charger?
Simply put, it’s a solar panel setup that charges your RV battery. Solar panels convert the sun’s rays into electricity. You can store this energy in batteries, and use it to power appliances in your RV.
That can really come in handy when you’re boondocking (parking your RV off campgrounds) or dry camping (RVing without electrical hookups).
So what components will you need for your RV solar battery charger? That depends on how much energy you need, and how long you want to run your appliances. But the basics remain the same:
Choosing An RV Solar Battery Charger
Before you choose your solar panels and batteries, figure out how much energy you’ll use in a typical day.
If you run lights and a water pump only, it’s possible you can get by with just 1 solar panel and 1-2 batteries. If you’re looking to plug in lots of gadgets, like cell phones, computers, microwaves, and TVs, 2 solar panels and 2-4 batteries will do the trick.
Get stuck? You can find worksheets online that can help you “translate” your energy consumption into the battery capacity (measured in amp-hours) and solar panel rating (measured in watt hours and volts) you’ll need.
Or, you can contact a battery expert for advice on creating the perfect RV solar battery charger setup for your needs.
Next, we’ll discuss the types of solar panels, batteries, and charge controllers available on the market.
Solar Panels For RVs
Solar panels are your RV solar battery chargers. You’ll need to choose panels that are large enough to fill up your batteries. You also need to match the panel’s watt hour rating to the capacity of your batteries.
There are also a few other factors to consider, of course. What if the large solar panel you need doesn’t fit on your RV roof? If this happens, you could install several smaller panels instead.
Weather is a factor as well. The bottom line is that solar panels need sun to work. But not every day is sunny! If overcast days are a concern where you travel, look for panels that will still produce power when it’s cloudy.
What about price? In the end, you get what you pay for. So the highest performing solar panels are those with the highest price tag. If having consistent power is top on your list, go for quality panels made by reputable manufacturers.
Best Batteries For Solar Setups
Choices, choices, choices! What kind of battery do you need for your RV solar battery charger? The standard choice is a 12 volt deep cycle battery. But amp-hour rating and the type of battery can vary.
- Amp-hour rating (Ah). The higher the Ah, the more energy stored. Some RVers can get by with 50-100Ah. But if you want to take longer trips or power more appliances, you might want a 125Ah-300Ah battery. (Or, you can hook up more than one battery).
- Battery type. You can get a cheaper lead acid battery, or go for “the gold” and get a high-performance LiFePO4 lithium battery. Lead acid may be adequate for those looking to test the waters. But lithium batteries last far longer, use energy more efficiently, and charge faster. They’re also better for the environment. Additional options include AGM and gel batteries, but they don’t hold a handle to lithium. (See a comparison of different battery types here).
What Are Charge Controllers?
The last basic component of your RV solar battery charger is the charge controller. Also called regulators, these gadgets control the flow of energy that enters your batteries from the solar panels. They make sure your batteries don’t get overcharged.
There are two basic types of charge controllers: simple and sophisticated. The simplest kind is the shunt controller. It stops energy from reaching the battery once it’s full. The other kind, a series controller, can gradually reduce the energy flow as the battery charges.
What About Portable Solar Setups?
Sometimes you just need a little extra power to charge small but essential gadgets, like your cell phone. Portable solar setups are perfect for this!
They’re also a great introduction into the RV solar battery charger world. You can give them a test run when you don’t want to mess with installing large panels, or aren’t ready to make a large investment yet.
Portable panels unfold like a pamphlet, and you can place them anywhere! (In the sun, of course). Connect them to your battery…and voila! An instant way to charge while off-grid.
LithiumHub offers 40W and 20W versions that can charge 12V batteries. You can fold them up and stash them in a backpack. Paired with a lightweight lithium battery, it’s a breeze to take them on a hike or boat trip.
Whether you’re in need of a small portable setup or are searching for the best 12v batteries to accompany your setup, or need a normal 12v battery charger, here at LithiumHub, we’ve got you covered!
Read about lithium solar batteries or RV batteries here. Or, read more about RV solar setups and other eco-friendly RV tips here. Have more questions? Reach out to us!
LiFePO4 MPPT Solar charger
This 50cm cable get Anderson PP30 and MC4 Solar solar connectors. ideal to connect your solar panels to your OZO 300W or 600W or Genasun solar charger.
Anderson adapter battery Lithium Iron LFP with terminals
Solar Charger 300W
Solar charger 300W that can work with any kind of Lithium or Lead Batteries 24V, 36V, 48V, 60V and 72V This MPPT solar charger get an integrated boost controller, so you can charge your Lihtium battery with only one 12V panel. Max power is 300W Weight = 450g
12V 10A MPPT Solar Charger Genasun Lead-acid / Li-ion / Iron phosphate Lithium
Solar charger MPPT Genasun for 12V Iron Phosphate Lithium or 12V Lead-Acid or Lithium battery The Genasun solar charger is MPPT solar charger
Solar Charger 600W MPPT Boost controller
Solar charger 600W that can work with any kind of Lithium Batteries 48V, 60V and 72V This MPPT solar charger get an integrated boost controller, so you can charge your Lihtium battery with 2x12V solar panels in series.
12V 10A MPPT Solar Charger Genasun Lead-acid / Iron phosphate Lithium
Solar charger MPPT Genasun for 12V Iron Phosphate Lithium or 12V Lead-Acid The Genasun solar charger is MPPT solar charger
Waterproof Solar Charger Genasun Lithium LiMn / LiPo / LFP 36V. 48V
Solar charger MPPT Genasun for LiMn or LiPo or LFP batteries 36V or 48V The Genasun solar charger is MPPT solar charger with integrated boost controller that allows to use a lower panel output voltage than the battery voltage to be charged. For exemple you can charge 48V Lithium battery with 12V solar panel
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OZO is a French company based in Eguilles in the Bouches-du-Rhône, 10km from Aix-en-Provence and 40km from Marseille. The activity of the OZO company is the design of electric kits for bicycles, tricycles, scooters.
MCL8048 48v mppt 80a solar charge controller for lifepo4 batteries
Prostar MCL8048 48v mppt 80a solar charge controller for lifepo4 batteries adopts advanced DSP digital control technology.
The mppt 80a solar charge controller optimizes battery charging, can extend battery life and improve the system performance. Its comprehensive self-test and electronic protection functions can avoid damage caused by installation errors or system failures.
The MPPT function is a natural adjunct to the DC-DC charger function and there are several quality brands that provide this with more under development.
A single unit can be used by itself as it automatically switches between alternator charging and solar charging. For larger systems, our favoured arrangement is to use a separate MPPT controller for the fixed roof mounted panels and use the combined MPPT/DC-DC with portable panels.
MPPT Solar Charge Controller Details
Charge controller charging logic
The mppt solar charge controller is designed with 3-stage battery charging algorithm for fast, efficient, and safe battery charging.
Prostar’s MPPT, or Maximum Power Point Tracking, controllers will maximize the production output of your solar system.
MPPT-150-14.6, DC-to-DC Solar Charger Controller for Bioenno 12V LiFePO4 Batteries
Rated at 150 watts, the MPPT-150-14.6 solar controller is designed for charging Bioenno 12V type LifePO4 batteries. Input DC range from 16-25 VDC. Output is a constant 14.6 VDC. Rated at 12 Amps maximum. Smart charge controller design will automatically adjust charging output as required by batteries, no user adjustment needed.
MPPT-150-14.6 is a MPPT (maximum power point tracking) controller is a DC to DC solar converter. This unit is rated at 150 watts and converts higher solar panel voltages down to 14.6 VDC which is more suitable for charging LifePO4 type batteries. The solar input is pre-wired with MC4 style connectors. The output comes pre-wired with the popular Anderson Powerpole 30A connector.
- Controller Technology: MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) Technology
- Input Voltage: 16-25 VDC
- Output Voltage: 14.6 VDC
- Input Connector Type: MC4
- Output Connector Type: Anderson Powerpole 30A
- Maximum Power: 150 Watts
- Maximum Current: 12 Amps
- Battery Type: Bioenno LiFePO4 or equivalent
- System Type: 12 VDC (DC to DC converter)
- Controls: Automatic (no user adjustments required)
- Conversion Efficiency: 95%
- IP Rating: IP67
- Short Circuit Protection: Yes
- Over Temperature Protection: Yes
- Dimensions: (L x W x H) 2.3 in. x 1.6 in. x 0.9 in. (58 mm x 40 mm x 22 mm)
- Warranty: 1 Year
NOTE : This solar controller is intended for used with Bioenno LiFePO4 or equivalent batteries. This controller should not be used with Flooded, AGM or GEL type batteries as it will overcharge them.
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Off Grid Gear 2 Go Standard Return Policy
- Policy. The return of hardware and software purchased from Cybergear (collectively, Product) is subject to specific manufacturer, publisher or distributor restrictions. Such suppliers may provide limited or no returns of Products. If the supplier accepts returns, you may request a RMA and if approved, Cybergear will assist in its replacement or grant you a credit against future purchases in an amount equal to the original purchase price less freight paid for the Product and less any applicable restocking fees. You are responsible for return shipping charges and risk of loss on all return shipments. Returns are also subject to the rights of return processes below. If you fail to return Product within the applicable return policy period or if the Product does not meet the rights of return and processes under this Return Policy, the Product is considered accepted by you and not returnable. All returns are subject to a minimum 15% restocking fee.
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- By email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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