Types of 12 Volt Solar Chargers
For individuals who are interested in saving money and reducing emissions and reliance on energy from overseas, a 12 volt solar charger is a surprisingly simple and convenient alternative. If you’d like to find out more about solar battery chargers, please read on.
The simplest type of battery charger functions by simply supplying a battery with electricity of a specific voltage. The battery placed in the power supply, and disconnected once it’s completely charged. A 12 volt battery may be charged in a 15-18 volt power supply. The main disadvantage of this kind of charger is that there’s nothing to prevent you from overcharging the battery.
An overcharged battery’s life is likely to decrease. Overcharging a 12 volt battery too much can damage it to the point that it will become unable to maintain a charge. The way to make sure that the right voltage is used and that the battery is not overcharged is to employ a charge controller. A charge controller will allow you to take advantage of the functions of a 12 volt solar charger without having to worry about overcharging.
The most common kind of charge controller for 12 volt batteries is a Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) charge controller. In basic terms, this type of charge controller works by flipping a switch on and off very quickly. Initially, the switch stays “on” more. The switch gradually spends less time in the “on” position as power is transferred to the battery, and when it’s fully charged, the switch goes off permanently. In a PWM charge controller, a microprocessor chip usually performs the task of monitoring and controlling the charging process. Thus, you can leave this type of charge controller plugged into a battery indefinitely, since it will only transfer power to the battery when needed, without the danger of overcharging. When you have a battery that you don’t necessarily use all the time, you can take make use of this form of “trickle charging” in order to ensure that the battery is available and fully charged whenever you want to use it. This ability is obviously very appropriate for a 12 volt solar charger. This, in turn, will let you keep the 12 volt battery for your boat or RV charged at all times.
With these basic components, you can make a 12 volt solar charger. The source of the power itself is the only thing that makes a 12 volt solar charger different. As you might expect, a solar panel is the source of the power for a solar battery charger. Building your own DIY solar panel for use in a 12 volt solar charger is becoming more common. Read more at Do It Yourself Solar Panel.
For the common solar panels used on buildings, the solar cells are generally about half a volt and three to four amps. If you’re using these types of cells, it will be necessary to use a number of them to generate the 15-18 volts needed to charge a 12 volt battery. Currently, there are small solar panels of numerous different voltages available. It’s necessary to match the voltage of the solar panel to your charge controller. The voltage rating on the charge controller indicates what voltage you’ll need. A solar panel of 15-18 volts is usually the best choice if you’re unable to use a charge controller for whatever reason. Just remember to use the indicated voltage if you are using a charge controller. You can build your own 12 volt solar charger with the help of GreenDIYEnergy. If you’re interested, check out GreenDIYEnergy Review.
Depending on the controller, the best way to wire it to the solar panel can be different. Usually, it’s safe to solder the same type of connector onto the solar panel that you have on your charge controller. If you can’t use a charge controller, you can use the same type of connector that’s on the battery. With respect to clamps, the spring loaded type work well with larger 12 volt batteries. Even if you’ve never soldered before, this procedure would actually be a good place to start, as it’s a very easy one. You won’t require any special equipment other than a decent soldering iron and solder, which you can get cheap at places like Radio Shack. All you have to do is twist the wires on either side together, applly the soldering iron to the wires, and touch the solder to the wires until it melts. There are just two things to be careful of: don’t burn yourself on the wires, and make sure to heat the wires directly with the soldering iron, and not the solder itself. Another great guide to building a DIY 12 volt solar charger is Homemade Energy. For more information, visit Homemade Energy.
That’s all you have to do! If you can do that, you can put together a 12 volt solar charger without any problems. The first requirement is a 12 volt battery. A charge controller with the corresponding voltage is also necessary. The solar panel, which you can build yourself or buy, should also have the same voltage. The last step is to make all the connections– connect the solar panel to the charge controller, and the charge controller to the battery. You now have free power, permanently! What’s more, you get some significant ancillary benefits: you save money, because you don’t have to pay for the electricity you’re using to charge the battery; you reduce pollution, as electricity generated by solar panels doesn’t pollute like electricity from oil or coal-fired plants does; and you help the country by helping end dependence on foreign oil.