Solar Panel Car Battery Charger

Solar Panel Car Battery Charger

The best car alarm is great for preventing theft, but this device will keep it charged. I didn’t realize plugging a charger into a car’s cigarette lighter could actually charge the car’s battery – usually it just sends electricity out, right? Nonetheless, the 1.8 Watt Solar Panel fits conveniently on any car’s dash, plugs into any standard cigarette lighter, absorbs the sunlight’s and charges your car’s battery…maybe.

Costs $20 and is available here and via Book of Joe.

Christen Costa

Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."

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  2. Lithium Ion batteries have a slightly higher voltage range and generate more heat. My suggestion is to purchase NiMH rechargeables – they are safer in a camera designed for regular AA batteries. You can purchase 4 AA NiMH 2500MAh Energizer batteries and a wall charger for $17-18 at Wal-Mart. buy it from laptop parts.

  3. I am having the same problem with boat battery. seems like the solar panel 15v i hooked up is discharging the battery. Will now have to take the battery off the boat and get it charged and then put it back on to see if the darn charger will maintain it if we start with a full charge. only thing running on the boat is a small bilge pump.

  4. I have a question I bought my solar power panel charger it has mounts for the window
    do I [have to] mount it on the window why can’t I just lay it on the dash board so it will be less likely to break ?
    my other question I don’t get where the alligator clips are supposed to be used the cord connected to the panel is not very long so how to get them placed on the battery under my hood?

    the weather outside today is below zero I know that my battery is going to be pooped out hoping what ever advise I can get will help me hoping someone tells me something before I have to go to work tomorrow so I can manage this in a timely manner thanks

  5. I’ve just returned from a fortnight away from home. I had left one of these 12v solar chargers connected to my car battery [in situ] in the garage.

    I have just gone to start the car and there is absolutely no charge in the battery at all. Completely dead! I wonder whether the terminals are marked incorrectly [positive+ and negative-]. If so, would this would drain the battery even more than the normally accepted loss?

    Any experts out there to give us a bit of feedback/advice before I knacker yet another battery, please?

  6. Get a fluke or some kind of volt meter you will see that these DO WORK and they do put out voltage, Im running some to 2 deep cycles and it charges enough to run my 70 gallon fish tank, minus the heater.

  7. Tim, you’d have to check what kind of drain your bike has on it at rest. Either you have a greater drain than the charger put out, a defective charger, OR a battery that was on it’s way out. If the battery is dying (sulfated, damaged internally, etc) no charger will save it’s life.

  8. Hmmm… I’ve attached a 1.5W solar panel to keep my motorbike battery charged up, and guess what? It’s run (almost) flat… !
    Sunlight in the UK is pretty poor, but I’d have thought even the basic of trickles would have kept it up to notch.
    I suspect the alarm drained it in the end – unfortunately no way of turning this off unless you’re a thief and know how to nick these things.
    Leave it to the power companies to feed the grid with alternative energy – it’s far more efficient for them to do this on a large scale than for households to attempt to contribute by buying their own generators. Think of all the plastic (oil) waste that goes into making solar panels that don’t perform. Most household ones will take 10+ years to pay for themselves…

  9. I am an eighth grader, and my Science teacher gave us a project that basically says we can’t use any of the fossil fuels to……I guess live. The teacher said that we had to use alternate energy sources to live our life. The sources I chose were: solar power, wind power, geothermal power, and biomass. I also had to “buy” a car that also ran on alternate energy sources; a Hybrid. I could not find any site, until I found this one, that would tell me what a solar powered charger was, how it worked, or how much it cost. So thx site for helping me get a good grade on my project!

    1. Sounds like your teacher’s a nut. Tell her what she wants to hear to get through the class, but keep your own mind intact and stay away from the Kool-Aid.

  10. My neighbor has come to charge his cell phone in my cigarette lighter for three days now. will this drain my car battery?

  11. I have had an ICP Sunsei Solar 12 V 2 watt solar panel connected to my car battery for a few months. (Take note Gavster:) Under cloudy skies my panel produces 63mA at 13 volts dc, and its maximum output is claimed to be 137mA. At 63mA the panel puts approximately 5.5 amp hours of power into the battery weekly (given an average of 12.5 hours of daylight). This primarily offsets the constant 31mA drain that the car (alarm, etc.,..) puts on the battery while sitting. A car battery also loses power because of auto-discharge, which varies by temperature. These two losses are before you consider recharging the battery or compensating for accessories run from the cigarette lighter. A rough limit of unregulated solar charging for a lead acid battery is 2% of its capacity (which is amp hours, NOT cold cranking amps). 16 watts of solar panels (500 mA to 2 Amp output) would seem to be a prudent limit for a 100 amp hour battery. Anything more and you risk boiling the battery electrolyte away by overcharging on a bright sunny day. Run the calculations for yourself using output figures for panels (both max and realistic), what the normal drain is from the car sitting, and what your battery can take in terms of a constant overcharge. One word of warning: many cars have inactive cigarette lighter circuits when the ignition switch is off. No current will flow to the battery through the cigarette plug when this is the case. Some people use the OBD connection to feed power to the car. I wired my panel directly up to the battery and the panel sits on the rear deck in the rear window.

  12. Unfortunately in the UK we don’t get that much sunlight, or this would only good in the summer, alternatively this USB car charger would be a good bet as I can charge many different devices as it plugs into the car cigarette lighter socket USB Car Charger

  13. when driving, the car’s alternator does the charging of the battery!!
    my unit works just fine and after 3 weeks i can get in and go !
    i got crocodile clamps that can be connected directly to the battery and thus does not charge through the lighter socket. jon kennedy is spot on.

  14. No this will not maintain the battery for those who crank car stereos and A/C. The output of this one is rated at 1.8 watts nominally and I would expect much lower in partial or indirect sunlight. By comparison the car’s alternator put out from 65 to 100 watts depending on what the manufacturer specified. This device as someone has mentioned is ONLY for someone who is expected to leave thier car for a long period of time without starting it. It will maintain the charge similar to a trickle charger. It can counteract very small drains put on, by say, an alarm system or keep a poor battery from completely going dead. It will NOT charge a dead battery. If you are having battery problems then you should get a new one, not spend half of the money on this then curse it when you are left stranded.

  15. We have a new product for digital camera and digital camcorder’s accessory.It uses solar or AC power to charge and supply power to digital products,such as digital camera,digital video,portable DVD,Sony PSP,ipod,mp4,cell phone etc. Are you interested in our product?We would like to be your supplier.

  16. Would be useful if parked at an airport (open carpark of course) or similar, so you don’t have a flat battery when you return.

  17. It’s not supposed to be the equivalent of a jump start, not supposed to recharge a dead battery. It’s supposed to maintain the charge in a live battery, to keep it from getting low enough to die. If it works, it’s probably useful for people who use a lot of cigarette lighter plug-in devices (cell phones, mini TVs, etc.), that can be a significant drain on the car battery, beyond what the batteries were really meant to handle.

    1. Tracey, I’m from puerto rico, I own a jeep. On weekends the jeep club gets together and we tour the island, my problem is that I like to here music and I have a very good system in my jeep. When I play my music it really drains my batteries (2 each) in the jeep. My question is? will this solar pannel keep both of my batteries charged.
      PS: Excuse the mis-spelled words, Inglish is my second language

      My e-mail is: [email protected]
      please reply, I thank you in advance

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