Choices, choices, not so many choices... Which one gang?

Rednecktek

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Sep 8, 2021
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779
So evidently the battery on my truck is dead... again... and I'm just going to give up and glue a panel to the roof and wire it into a cheapie PWM controller to keep the thing topped up while I'm deployed.

I was looking at flexible panels and I figure 50w would be plenty to just keep the batteries up, and I don't want to spend too much money because I have to work for a living. Paying double/watt just for flexible at the minimum hurts.

Anyways, I whittled it down to 2 contenders, but not being knowledgeable on brand names and such, I figure I'd throw it in here and see if anyone can point me one direction or another.

Option 1: SunPower 50w Flexible Mono for $80
Pro's: Higher review ratings 4.7/92, higher amperage (2.8a)
Con's: Lower VoC range so it will produce power only under more direct light and trees are a thing.

Option 2: TP-Solar 50w Flexible Mono for $80
Pro's: Higher voltage so it Should produce usable power under less than ideal conditions
Con's: Lower ratings 4.4/55, lower amperage (2.1a)

Either one will be hard wired to a cheapie PWM controller. Being as that it's not going to be doing the MPP thing, is there one better than the other?

Thanks gang!
 

Rednecktek

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779
Pickup truck?

Yup. The battery dies after a few months of just sitting there collecting pollen and the wife only uses it when she needs to do big loads of dirt for her business, which isn't much. So I pretty much assume I'm going to come home to a dead battery every time.
 

Rednecktek

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I would find a couple of used panels and put them between the bed rails. Cheaper than flexible panels and more watts.
Problem with that is that I use the bed all the time and I can just see my wife getting a load of gravel dumped right on the panels. I heed a completely hard mounted solution that is hands-free since the removable solar panel with magnets that I had for it is a failure. She took the panel off to use the truck and it evidently never went back on.
 

Wellbuilt

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Sep 14, 2020
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How about a New AGM battery they hold a charge for a long time .
I have equipment that sits for 6 months and the battery’s stay charged .
If you disconnect a regular battery when you leave , I think it would last a few months .
 

Rednecktek

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779
If I disconnected the battery that would defeat the purpose of keeping my battery topped up as I'd have to, again, re-program all my radio stations then drive to the other half of the state to reprogram all my other radio stations.

Or I can just do a hands-free charging system that wouldn't need to have anything disconnected or reconnected every time the truck gets used and/or put away.
 

Wellbuilt

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I think a agm battery will hold a charge for months with minimal loss of power .
RN it 2021 no one programs there radio and more , most every one has it in ther phone
even me and I’m Pretty much a caveman
 

HRTKD

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Apr 24, 2020
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Somewhere South of Denver
I think a agm battery will hold a charge for months with minimal loss of power .
RN it 2021 no one programs there radio and more , most every one has it in ther phone
even me and I’m Pretty much a caveman

I must be a Luddite then. I use my radio like a radio. I do use my phone for navigation and texts connected to the truck, but that's it.
 

Wellbuilt

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I must be a Luddite then. I use my radio like a radio. I do use my phone for navigation and texts connected to the truck, but that's it.
Really my phone plays thru the truck when ever I’m with in 200 feet .
You may have good reception I get static all most every where unless in close to the city.
The phone gives Crystal clear Music everywhere.
I’ve been doing this for 15 years I think .
 

HRTKD

Boondocker
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Location
Somewhere South of Denver
Really my phone plays thru the truck when ever I’m with in 200 feet .
You may have good reception I get static all most every where unless in close to the city.
The phone gives Crystal clear Music everywhere.
I’ve been doing this for 15 years I think .

When I'm on the road I like to listen to the local stations and hear what is going on in the communities I'm passing through. Some of the "news" updates are entertaining.
 

Rednecktek

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Sep 8, 2021
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779
Yeah, call me weird but I like my old fashioned radio.

I'm leaning towards the TP-Solar just because it should provide a charge in lower light conditions than the Sunpower. Losing the .6a I think is a worthwhile trade-off to having that wider operating ranges.

Unless someone has a reason to avoid the TP-Solar?
 

stienman

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Jan 6, 2021
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I don't have any thoughts or experience with these two units, but I believe your judgement is sound in choosing the one with higher VOC. The last time I worked at Lear for a Ford body module the entire vehicle was only allowed to consume 350mA (just under 5 watts) when fully off. Your 50w panel will be overkill, but it will also keep the battery topped off, and handle a week of really cloudy weather without issue. Honestly you will be fine with either one.

I expect you would find success with a smaller, cheaper 20W panel, and you may not need a charge controller at that point - the battery can handle the possible 2A trickle charge a 20w panel would provide in direct sunlight, but a charge controller would extend the life of the battery.

Of course, the above only applies if you haven't added any aftermarket items that are powered when the vehicle is off. If so, you should measure the current draw and make sure it's below 0.5A when the vehicle is off. (with modern cars that's about 15 minutes after you turn the key off and no other triggers, such as doors, have occurred).
 
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