Solar battery charge through the 12v socket?

Discussion in '3rd Gen - 2007 - 2017' started by Munkiebunz3, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. Munkiebunz3

    Munkiebunz3 Full Access Members

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    Since it's rated for about 15A I decided to have a go at an experiment with some parts I've accumulated. Per my own experience, I know that the 12v socket is always live. This should work unless there's a diode circuit that I am unaware of.
    I have a solar mppt controller that I purchased some time ago that I couldn't find a good mounting location in the engine bay or the passenger footwell.
    I also purchased 2 solar panels from anker that have 2 usb ports a long time ago for emergencies. Never used them.
    We all have a ton of usb cables.

    I made my own usb y-cable. With all male connectors. I then used the female connector, cut the leads & spliced the +/- into the solar mppt controller leaving the connection so that it's easily disconnected from the controller or the panels.
    I have a male-male 12v socket that I made from parts of others so I can charge a jumper battery if I need to.
    I scavenged another 12v socket (female) and stripped the wires to put it on the mppt controller.
    Now I just need to find my usb plug-in amp/volt meter to see what I get from the panel to the charger and compare it to what the mppt controller says it's getting.

    The anker Panel is just 21W. The usb power cable is maybe a 22 awg wire. However, if this experiment goes well, I'll probably do a custom 60w solar sunshade with some beefier wire gauge.

    So now you're probably wondering "why?". Well, I have a dash camera that is active 24/7 and I just want to make sure I don't deplete the battery as quickly as I am now. If I don't drive for about 4 days the car's dead. Before I get around to installing my dual battery setup, I will make sure to eliminate any parasitic draw that isn't directly from my cameras.
     
  2. coupe11

    coupe11 Member

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    I had a 96 S10 Blazer that would kill the battery after a couple weeks of setting. I bought one of the little battery charger panels from Harbor Freight and plugged it into the cigarette lighter on the dash and set the panel on top of the dash.

    No more dead battery issues. Worked for just over 6 months, till I sold it. Well, gave it away.
     
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  3. chuck s

    chuck s Full Access Members

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    Should work. Keep us informed.

    The manual is a little confusing this time of the morning. Looks like the max current is 150watts (about 12a) although there's a 20a fuse on the circuits. There's an outlet at the rear which could be used and eliminate more dashboard clutter but I'm not sure about the effects of the tinted windows.

    -- Chuck
     
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  4. Cyclone

    Cyclone Full Access Members

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    My thoughts.

    If your Dash Cam is on 24/7, then why bother having its power connected to the vehicle at all? The only reasons would be to 1) get power from the car's power system, and 2) Have it turn on/off with the ignition.

    Don't really need the car to power the camera if you have Solar, and if you are on all the time, it doesn't really need to connected to the car for on/off purposes.

    My suggestion, Have your solar power panels connect to a Anker 26000+ mah battery and have the camera just exclusively get the power from that. That way your car's power system is "out of the picture".

    Some of those large battery packs have two inputs for charging also. So you can have the Solar connected to one, and just have the other plugged into a switched USB port to "top it off" while you are driving.
     
  5. Munkiebunz3

    Munkiebunz3 Full Access Members

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    Okay, so my solar panel only puts out at 5v and I got 0 amperage.
    @Cyclone thank you for your input. My camera requires a 12v input and most of the battery banks have usb (5v limit). Since solar only works during the day, I'd still need a compatible 12v system to run it. Seeing how compatible foldable panels are available for about $200, I'm not going to do it. I'd rather try a used solar panel on the roof.
     
  6. Cyclone

    Cyclone Full Access Members

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    Ok. My bad. My Dashcam uses a USB connection for its power. I was assuming yours did also.
     
  7. chuck s

    chuck s Full Access Members

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    You need 13.7v DC to even trickle change a car battery.

    -- Chucj
     
  8. Munkiebunz3

    Munkiebunz3 Full Access Members

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    Yes Chuck thank you for that. Based on what I read I thought my panel regulates up to 20v but that's based on connections to tablets and phones. Regular ol dumb power just defaulted to 5v making it useless for my test application. It was an experiment that didn't give me my desired results but with a powerful enough solar panel, it's going to do well.
     
  9. powerboatr

    powerboatr Full Access Members

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    this is funny
    if my expy sits for 7 or 8 days the battery drops to 50% level of charge, so as she hangs out in the garage, i try to hook up the battery charger once a week.
     
  10. MuddySpokes

    MuddySpokes Full Access Members

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    I looked into a 24/7 dashcam system myself.

    Am considering a similar approach to Cyclone's with a dedicated battery. The difference is that I am looking at a battery isolator so that the alternator will charge the dashcam's battery. Reasoning for the isolator is to prevent the dashcam system from killing the main battery, especially if it's dedicated battery dies and simply sucks current. Adding solar to that leg is something that I had considered but just not decided on.
     
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