Guests - If You want access to member only forums on FM. You will gain access only when you Sign-in or Sign-Up on Fishing Minnesota.

It's easy - LOOK UPPER right menu.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Krebber

Small solar panel/battery charger ... do they work?

14 posts in this topic

I run a 12-v system in my fish house and am wondering if it's worth the money to buy a solar panel/battery charger that I've seen advertised in Cabelas and at Northern Tool. My battery lasts 2 days or so...but I was thinking if these things work, they might make a nice supplement and I would not have to think too much about running lights/tv/cb/etc. Anyone have experience with them? Worth the money? Thanks for any help!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, they do work, but how well and is it right for you depends on how often you use your fishouse and your electrical demand.

Most solar panels amount to a trickle charge. So if you use your house for a day or two per week, the solar panel may keep the batteries fairly well charged. However, if you are at the house most every day then I don't believe the typical solar charger will keep up.

One can get multiple panels or higher output ones, but then the costs add up pretty quickly as compared to throwing the battery in the back of the pickup every other day.

Let's look at the math...

Assume your battery is 100 Amp-hours for sake of discussion. You say it lasts about two days therefore you are using about 50 Amp-hours per day.

One of the solar panels I looked at was 15 watts at full power. 15 watts / 13 - 15 volts equals about 1 Amp or just a bit more. So, it would take roughly 50 hours of good charging time to restore 1 days use in this example. Then you have to figure in how many hours of light per day there are in the winter months to get an idea of whether or not it fits your needs. Assume 10 hours sunlight per day (again for easy math) and you would need 5 days of charging for 1 day of use in this scenario. This all assumes the panel puts out full power for the entire time so it's a best-case scenaro.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The angle of the sun through much of the winter is too low to do much with those solar panels. Not to mention the weeks we go through without seeing the sun through parts of winter. They'd work great charging batteries over the summer, just not so great over the winter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whoaru99, summed it up very well. The solar charger won't extend your batteries life in two days fishing and won't fully charge your battery for the next weeks fishing either. You'll end up having to bring it home to charge it either way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's also important to consider that recent evidence suggests that for best performance and long life, batteries should be recharged as soon as possible after use. To let a battery set for extended periods of time at low charge is not always a good idea.

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not to mention that on most lakes (IMO) if it aint nailed down and screwed in and crazy glued on it will get stolen. And if it cannot come off they will break it just for spite.

Boy I sound pretty negative I guess. Sorry you caught me on a frustrated morning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the 15 watt one from Cabelas and use for my trolling motor batteries and I have found it does the job as long as there is a week between uses and the batteries aren't drained too far down. This is summer time use with alot more charging time than the winter though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to everyone for the advice. Yet another reason to buy a generator!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

was at the state fair today and talked to the guys at the alternitive energy booth up by the ecology building (old tecnology building) and am now convinced that what i have posted about the wind powered generators is not the best thing to do. the guy i talked to about them said that they have to much vibration and are very annoying. which i thought was not a problem but he sells them and if he says so i can believe him. if you are to go with solar think big watts. between 150 to 200 watts and for a 200 watt set up think about $1000 and he also said that mounted on the south side of the house on the flat is the best as you get reflected sun off of the ice and snow as well as direct light. he also said he has three houses with solar and one actually has 600 watts of panels and they use a small microwave and lots of toys in it. now get this he does carry a small generator for those long sunless stints that we occasionally get. so if you are at the fair and want some great info on alternitive chargeing sources stop by their booth. ... paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great replys guys. I think nytlyter has the correct summary of solar potential. My experience has been positive. I have one 15W solar charger attached to the back of a boat seat and have gone a week in the "wilderness" without having to charge the one 12V deep cycle. THis is with light to moderate use of 55#PD trolling motor (with most hours given to charging only). Given that the batteries were topped up at the start and it was quite sunny that week, I was still somewhat amazed. That was 8 years ago and the panel is still putting out. Granted, the solar panel would be considerably more efficient in the Summer Months. If you can maybe put out 50W solar, and you only use it weekends, it just might do the job (not as noisy as generator either).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How much are the 15 watt solars at Cabella's.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

not sure about cabelas panels but i will tell ya that i paid about 170 per 15 watt panel on my house. and also that a 45 watt panel will run ya from 450-500 duckies. for one battery and only fishing on weekends i would go no less than 45 watt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The idea is great - use solar, but it seems like a pretty large outlay for a functional system compared to hauling the battery back and forth every couple days - IMO, of course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't remember exactly what I paid but I think it was around $100-$150 plus I bought a solar controller for $30 to prevent overcharging.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0



  • Posts

    • ozzie
      169 overpass (293rd or county 9) north of Zimmerman...take the off ramp and go east (right) to county 19 take a right going south through the S curve and hang a left at the end of S curve on 289th Ave take that about 2 miles to Blue Lake Dr take a right and then take your first left a couple blocks later to the landing.
    • Monkster
      We're a little over a week away from the 6th annual LCRA Ice Fishing contest on Lake Gervais in Little Canada, MN! Lots of great prizes, over $10,000 in prizes and raffle. Grand prize for fishing is a Marcum flasher, a Clam X200 flip over thermal and an Eskimo auger! Come on out Saturday, February 4th, noon to 3pm. Line up early for a good spot, the tent will open by 9am with beverages (alcohol and non-alcohol), food and raffle tickets. The raffle is the LCRA's winter raffle. $5 tickets, grand prize is a trip to Vegas and $1,000 cash! You don't have to be present to win in the raffle, that will be drawn after the prizes for the fishing contest around 4pm that day.   The Little Canada Recreation Association is a non-profit group that raises money to offset registration fees for youth in the Little Canada, Roseville, Maplewood and Vadnais Heights areas. We also fund scout projects, playground equipment and many types of sports equipment for area teams.   For more information on the LCRA or to register for fishing, go to www.lcraonline.org  
    • Cliff Wagenbach
      Thanks Del! Good information source on local conditions! Cliff
    • Fishin machine
      So as far as live bait rigging what works best? Shiners? Suckers? Fatheads? As far as this time of year goes.
    • CousinEddie
      Like someone else said, some of the places with the old school $2-$5 beer and $6-$10 burger pricing have also been owned for a long time and were paid off long ago. According to the county website, the landing has 300+ feet of lakeshore (which isn't cheap), a tax bill that's 3 times what the VC pays, 10 times the dock space to maintain and given that it's was purchased relatively recently, they likely a mortgage to pay. The Crescent is also a relatively recent purchase. But the Crescent has a less expensive location, lower taxes and is more centrally located in terms of road access (important during the 4-5 months of the year when boating and snowmobiling taper off).   Overhead is going to play a role in the pricing of any business. You have your total sales minus your overhead and that's your profit. You can't sell the same thing at the same price with significantly more overhead because you're not going to make any money. Yes, you can offset low margins with a higher number of sales, but with a very short snowmobile season and a relatively short boating season that can be pretty difficult.   I'll be the first to agree that the pricing is on the high side, but the food is also a step up from some of the other options with lake accessibility. My guess is that after evaluating the various price points, the owners decided that the current business model is where they stand the best chance at turning a profit and keeping the doors open. If $2 beers and $5 burgers were a slam dunk way to make money, I'm sure that they'd be doing it because it would be a lot easier.   Whether it be lakeside bars/restaurants or marinas, there are less and less of them every year because the cost of lakeshore and the taxes (which usually increase after a recent sale) make it almost impossible to compete with places that were paid off a generation ago. When these restaurants and marinas close, townhomes and cabins usually replace them so I'm happy to pay the prices if it means another option when it comes to eating or grabbing some drinks on the lake.