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Old 25-11-2013, 10:33   #1
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pirate Battery..solar...cigarette outlet...

After reading some of these threads, my question should be easy for anyone but me. Here it is. If you plug in a solar panel to a cigarette socket, will that charge the battery that powers the socket?
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Old 25-11-2013, 12:39   #2
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Re: Battery..solar...cigarette outlet...

Yes.

Most cigarette lighter outlets are protected with a 10 or 15 amp breaker. Make sure that your solar panel won't exceed this figure (150-200 watts typically) and you will be fine charging the house battery system though that breaker.

David
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Old 25-11-2013, 12:40   #3
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Re: Battery..solar...cigarette outlet...

You want to directly connect a solar panel to cigarette socket to charge a battery that is connected to the cigarette socket ???

Man i didn't get it >.<
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Old 25-11-2013, 13:08   #4
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Re: Battery..solar...cigarette outlet...

Is the cigarette socket live when the boat engine or battery selector switch is off? Some cigarette sockets are not live when the engine or battery selector switch is off.

Dot and John
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Old 25-11-2013, 13:33   #5
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Re: Battery..solar...cigarette outlet...

I'd also recommended that you get a charge controller for the solar array so you don't overcharge your battery. Assuming the cigarette lighter socket is outside I'd figure out some way to weatherproof it as well..
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Old 25-11-2013, 14:25   #6
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Re: Battery..solar...cigarette outlet...

The "yes" answer would mostly be right but why not do it right? I've found that putting more than a few amps through a cigarette lighter plug can result in a melted plug (don't ask...).

For solar panels I like to use a new, separate circuit for each battery bank.

Others would have more knowledge and/or/experience than me but my understanding is that you need a double bus bar (or two singles) with a substantial fuse between the positive bar and the battery.

Get a reliable controller, wire the panel(s) to the controller and then to the bus bars.

Use good thick properly sized tinned wire and good quality crimp terminals.

There's probably a standard that sets things like wire colour etc.

A bit of research with Google would help.
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Old 25-11-2013, 20:23   #7
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https://www.dropbox.com/s/pdzz14wd9d...%2013%20PM.jpg

Here is my small solar panel setup. The solar panels get hooked up to the SunSaver. Use diodes if using more than one. Hook up the battery and the 12V socket to the SunSaver.
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Old 26-11-2013, 08:11   #8
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pirate Re: Battery..solar...cigarette outlet...

Thank you all for your time. What I am understanding is that there is more than on way to do this. What is the purpose of tinned wire? What is a solar saver? Is a bus bars function just to take the power from the battery and devise it up into different branches? Thanks again for the help!
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Old 26-11-2013, 08:34   #9
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Tinned wire is nice that it keeps all the strands of wire 'glued' together. It probably helps them not oxidize too.

A SunSaver is the black box in my picture. It takes the power generated by the solar panels and adjusts the amperage to produce the right voltage. It also protects the battery from overcharging.
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Old 26-11-2013, 09:04   #10
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Re: Battery..solar...cigarette outlet...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SunDevil View Post
Tinned wire is nice that it keeps all the strands of wire 'glued' together. It probably helps them not oxidize too.
Actually, properly tinned marine wire the individual strands should not be "glued together". The strands should all be free so the wire will remain flexible. The tinning is there to reduce corrosion on the copper.
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Old 28-11-2013, 06:16   #11
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Re: Battery..solar...cigarette outlet...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drifter2drifter View Post
After reading some of these threads, my question should be easy for anyone but me. Here it is. If you plug in a solar panel to a cigarette socket, will that charge the battery that powers the socket?
Yes (with caveats)

We do that using a small (18" square, about 180mA output in max sunlight) panel plugged int a "cigarette lighter" outlet on a 10A breaker. The low max current presents a lower risk of overcharge, but even a small current will overcharge the battery if left long enough.

Ours isn't a charging system, more a way to keep our single Group 24 battery topped up between outings. Bigger panels should have a charge controller to prevent overcharging.
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Old 28-11-2013, 13:36   #12
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Re: Battery..solar...cigarette outlet...

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Originally Posted by Lake-Effect View Post
Yes (with caveats)

We do that using a small (18" square, about 180mA output in max sunlight) panel plugged int a "cigarette lighter" outlet on a 10A breaker. The low max current presents a lower risk of overcharge, but even a small current will overcharge the battery if left long enough.

Ours isn't a charging system, more a way to keep our single Group 24 battery topped up between outings. Bigger panels should have a charge controller to prevent overcharging.
It is not just current, but voltage that damages batteries. Even a small solar panel can raise battery voltage to unacceptably high levels, leading to the battery's early death.

It is explained in detail here: Do I Need A Solar Charge Controller ?? - SailboatOwners.com
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