Solar battery charger for tractor

Norman

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LX2610HSD;LA535;LP 60" grapple; WC68 chipper; GB60 SW cutter
Sep 30, 2021
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Georgia, USA
Hello good OTT folks, my tractor is stored in a lean-to shed without any power close by and I was looking for a solution to keep my battery charged on the LX2610. It gets used mostly in cooler months and will likely not be started much over the summer time. Found a few solar chargers on Amazon...does anyone have experience with these? Seems like a pretty good deal, so that's why I'm asking.

Looking specifically at this one: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WYP4H6...colid=26VYL53HWS2NM&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it&th=1
 

GreensvilleJay

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had a look at the specs.... produces 21 volts at 1.5 amps.. consider it a 'trickle' charger, a 'maintainer' that'll 'top up' a fully charged battery.
a 'lot' of power is wasted, only need 16-17 volts to a 'charger'', so +-6 watts of energy is wasted in this unit....shame...
 
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DustyRusty

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If the lean to protects it from the elements and the sun, then a solar cell isn't going to work very well with limited light. They need direct sunlight to work efficiently.
 

D2Cat

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I'm not familiar with the product you list, but years ago VW had a lot of complaints from new car owners about leaving their car a the airport and when they returned their car wouldn't start. VW came out with a solar panel (about 8"x15") that had suction cups on the corners and was attached to the windshield, then plugged into the cig. lighter.

I got one from a salvage yard and used it for my tractor. Worked fine until some calves got hold of the wires!!!!
 

The Evil Twin

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No experience with the Amazon units, but the Battery Tender brand has provided 5 years of service so far. I have the little 5 watt model on the toy hauler battery over the summer. It's not going to charge it very well but it does maintain a fully charged battery.
The price per watt of the Chinesium units sold on Amazon make me question their quality.
 

North Idaho Wolfman

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You need one of these, I have one on my fuel tank pump battery, been working for 8 years, never had a dead battery.


 

GreensvilleJay

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BX23-S,57 A-C D-14,58 A-C D-14, 57 A-C D-14,tiller,cults,Millcreek 25G spreader,
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thank you !!! now IF you could only recover the 1000 emails that Gmail DELETED without MY permission......
sigh....
 

JohnDB

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M4500DT
Jun 9, 2018
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Hello good OTT folks, my tractor is stored in a lean-to shed without any power close by and I was looking for a solution to keep my battery charged on the LX2610. It gets used mostly in cooler months and will likely not be started much over the summer time. ...
#1 decision you need to make is whether you need a charger (can charge a partially discharged battery) or a maintainer (keeps a charged battery topped up). According to a US maintainer manufacturer I queried, a maintainer won't properly charge a partially discharged battery. For a maintainer to work, the battery must be in a good state of charge. Some chargers have a maintainer mode, those that don't have a maintainer mode can wreck your battery if left connected to the battery for a long time.
 
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GreensvilleJay

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BX23-S,57 A-C D-14,58 A-C D-14, 57 A-C D-14,tiller,cults,Millcreek 25G spreader,
Apr 2, 2019
9,431
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113
Greensville,Ontario,Canada
Usually a 'maintainer' is a 'smart trickle charger', less than 2 amps, that will test battery condition, top up a bit, then disconnect the charging power,go to sleep for some time, then repeat that cycle. The key point is that it disconnects the charging power, so it can't 'boil away the acid or fry your battery'.
A 'charger', will pump more amps into a battery and may or may NOT ,disconnect itself when 'done'.
These days you need to 'read the fine print' as some 'blur and slur' the meanings of words in their advertisements !
 
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GreensvilleJay

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BX23-S,57 A-C D-14,58 A-C D-14, 57 A-C D-14,tiller,cults,Millcreek 25G spreader,
Apr 2, 2019
9,431
3,836
113
Greensville,Ontario,Canada
I'm kinda surprised and curious that when a post is 'deleted', that the 'numbers' get reset. I'd expect
1,2,4,5,6..... NOT 1,2,3,4,5....
 
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Vigo

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Jan 9, 2022
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The topic has been sort of nibbled around the edges, but to give a fuller explanation for the next person who comes across looking for solar charger info, here we go:

A simple solar panel with NO electronic controls on it whatsoever must be of a very small wattage, say <10w, to avoid damaging a typical lead acid battery over time. As a side effect of that, it cannot effectively 'recharge' a drained battery for a couple of reasons. One reason is that lead acid batteries 'age' and deteriorate very quickly when left in a discharged state (sulfation) so any recharging would preferably be done in a fairly quick manner to avoid taking chunks off the lifespan of the battery. Sulfation is constantly forming in a lead acid battery but one of the ways that a charging setup typically combats that is that it puts enough current into the battery to cause some slight plate growth/deformation through heating, and causes a 'healthy' amount of 'gassing' or bubble formation, and the bubbles themselves gently 'jostle' things on the surface of the plates as they float to the top, as well as causing gradual circulation of the electrolyte which prevents 'stratification' where the more acidic electrolyte settles to the bottom, leaving the upper parts of the battery plates with 'weaker' electrolyte. These minor movements of the plates and electrolyte help prevent young, 'soft' sulfate from hardening into crystalline forms which are basically impossible to 'shake loose' from the plate and block whatever parts of the plate they cover, making the battery 'act' smaller and smaller until it is too weak to do its job and must be replaced.

So a real charger should be able to charge lead acid at a certain minimum level of aggressiveness usually described as ~0.12C or 12% of the amp-hour rating. If you have a 100amp-hour battery (large car battery, typical boat battery) you would ideally charge it at 12amps or more until it was full or nearly full, for example. 12amps X 14volts (what you typically charge a 12v lead acid with) = ~170watts. So you'd need a 100-200w solar panel to be an effective 'charge source' for a drained lead acid.. but then if you just left it hooked up all the time it'd kill the battery in no time!

So the cheapest solar 'maintainers' are simply small enough that they can't overcharge the battery. The battery can dissipate the ~5w of energy as heat without suffering any harm even when it is 100.00% charged.

So be wary of large 'solar maintainers' of 10+w of power.. they may do as much harm as good over the long term. If you want to use a larger solar panel you would really need a 'solar charge controller' to go with it. Some of the nicer solar maintainers may have these electronics built in, but if not you would need to add one separately and set the voltage limits appropriate to your battery so that it would transition from the 'charging' voltage to the 'floating' voltage when the battery was charged, and if the battery didn't need any power it won't give it any!

Basically, more watts isnt necessarily better, and most of the manufacturers/sellers know that the typical buyer doesn't know jack shi*t about lead acid battery charging so they don't even bother to be transparent about what their devices do, electronically. Be skeptical, and on some level a 5w solar panel with no electronic controls is safer than a 20w panel with electronics that do.. indeterminate, unstated things. 🕵️‍♂️
 

jyoutz

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MX6000 HST open station, FEL, 6’ cutter, forks, 8’ rear blade, 7’ cultivator
Jan 14, 2019
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If the lean to protects it from the elements and the sun, then a solar cell isn't going to work very well with limited light. They need direct sunlight to work efficiently.
The solar panel goes on the roof, with the converter panel and cables inside.
 

North Idaho Wolfman

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Do I read that as "DustyRusty" now being persona non grata here?
Nope just a post deletion move up error.
Post #4 became the new #3 when original post number #3 went to delete land!
 
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Plant 175

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Here is a good thread on the subject. I have been contemplating this.