Solar chargers function by
using photovoltaic cells
to generate energy directly from the sunlight. This energy is converted
current which is then transferred into the battery. Even
though they obtain their energy from the sun, most solar chargers can
be used even when it’s cloudy or there isn’t much light. So even if
your car is stuck in the shade, you should still be able to generate
enough charge in your battery to start your car again.
The chargers either plug
into your car’s 12 volt outlet or connect directly to the battery,
although the outlet chargers are preferred as they are much easier to
use while driving. You can leave the solar panel on your dashboard and
the battery will constantly stay charged, even if you forgot to turn
your dome light off. The biggest benefit of most solar chargers is the
price, as most all of the popular models cost less than $100,
which is cheap for the peace of mind you’ll have knowing that you’ll
never have to have the experience of having a dead car battery again.
Types of Solar Vehicle
These chargers come in two
types: trickle chargers
and full chargers.
A trickle charger constantly feeds a very low level of energy into your
battery, which maintains its charge even when the car isn’t running.
These chargers usually have a small solar panel and are considered
portable, unlike full chargers which require a much larger solar panel
to achieve their goal. Full chargers are used to completely charge a
dead battery, although usually you have to take the battery out of the
car to achieve this. Some trickle chargers can also fully charge a car
2017 Solar Car Battery Charger
Probably the most
product on the market right now is the Wagan
product features mono-crystalline solar cells that are covered with tempered glass
to make the solar cell waterproof and resistant to scratches or chips.
It is quite efficient at charging most all car batteries, even those
that have developed a problem with battery drainage.
This charger is even
effective enough to use on cars that haven’t been started in quite some
time, and is perfect for mounting in a car which doesn’t get very much
use. The Wagan 2017 plugs directly into your car’s 12 volt outlet,
which makes it very easy to use. However, the major
drawback of this system is that the 12 volt sockets in some model of
cars will only function when the key is turned to accessory mode or the
car is turned on. Therefore, this product might not be very practical
for use with some make and model of cars.
You can consult your car’s
owner’s manual to see whether or not the socket in your car functions
when the car is off. If this is the case, then it will be necessary for
you to purchase a charger with alligator clips that will connect
directly to your car’s battery.
50022 5-Watt Solar Battery Trickle Charger
Another extremely popular
brand of solar car battery chargers is Sunforce, which
produces a large line of solar chargers in a variety of sizes and
wattage. These chargers can be used to charge almost any battery
batteries, marine, car, and other batteries - even electric
fences. One of the major advantages of the Sunforce line is
that these chargers can be plugged into your car’s 12 volt socket, or
connected directly to the car’s battery, which makes them ideal for use
in any situation. Our personal pick would be the Sunforce
5-Watt Solar Battery Trickle Charger.
By connecting the
directly to your battery, you can free up the outlet to charge cell
phones or any other devices, while still charging your car’s battery at
the same time. These trickle chargers will help protect against any
battery drain and make sure you can always start your car. One of the
biggest advantages that Sunforce has over its competitors is in the
construction of the PV cells themselves.
These chargers use amorphous solar cells
- also known as thin
film panels - which are much thinner and therefore more
lightweight than most other solar panels. However, the Sunforce panels
are also weatherproof and extremely strong and durable. Sunforce even
claims that they can withstand the impact of one inch hailstones flying
at over 40 miles an hour without suffering any damage, which makes them
one of the longest lasting chargers on the market.
Most solar car chargers
are meant to be used inside the car on the dashboard, while the
Sunforce chargers are strong
enough to use anywhere and will withstand temperatures as
cold as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Another major advantage of the Sunforce
line is that the panels come in various sizes, each producing a
different amount of wattage. This makes them ideal for a variety of
uses and much more versatile than most other chargers. The only
drawbacks are that Sunforce chargers are slightly more expensive than
many it’s competitors, and also slightly heavier due to their
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