2009-06-04

Solar Charging my Car

My car stands, sometimes, for weeks on end, simply because I have nowhere to go in it. Its task is to chauffer big things around, not just me. So, there it stands. Batteries don't like that. They kind of like doing things. Kind of like me. Batteries get empty and soulless if left for a while. What I've done so far is to stick a small (Halfors [Halfrauds] call it "up to 1200cc" - as if you should measure battery capacity by the capacity of the engine) charger to the battery. This is sometimes annoying as I tend to forget it. I come out to the car and no charge. On top of this my 1200cc charger *cough* doesn't seem to charge the battery fully either.
The solution, I hope, is a solar panel. Maplin is flogging these panels that are designed to keep 12V batteries trickle charged. They've got different sizes, but when I walked into the shop I just opted for the cheap one. At £13 (well, £12.99) I wouldn't mind it if it didn't work. It's the Solar-Powered 12V / 2.4W Battery Trickle Charger that I bought.
I've already run into two little things that I would want to fix. First of all, the instructions say that I should disconnect the panel from the car before starting the engine. OK, fair enough. But the point of having a panel is to not having to disconnect it and reconnect it. See the "forget" point above. I need to locate a relay that is connected by default, and when power is added it disconnects. I can then take power from the cig lighter sockets to disconnect the panel. Another problem is that I have no 12V permanent point within the coupe. I'm not very keen on running a cable from the coupe straight to the battery as I think I should be able to connect it up in the coupe. I just need to find such a 12V point.
And then I obviously need to mount the panel (semi) permanently somewhere. On top of the dash would be the best spot as it's the only flat surface that can be hit by sunlight from above. All other windows are vertical. The panel comes with suction cups, but they won't work on the dash, so I might just hot-glue-gun the cups onto the dash. Heheheh... joking! Well, perhaps!
If I get all that done, then my car should be able to stay charged without me having to worry about giving it regular attention. In theory anyway.

1 comment:

JW said...

Sounds like a neat little project :-)