Deltran Battery Tender Solar Panel Testing and Review.

So this is a review of a solar battery
trickle charger. This is a battery tinder brand, so it's kind of a known brand.
I picked this up off Amazon and I went with this Battery Tender brand one
because it's a recognizable brand and seems to be pretty well reviewed and a
lot of the other solar panels out there for keeping batteries trickle charged
don't necessarily have a built-in charge controller. So this one's a little bit
more expensive but it looks like it's a ready to go add a box solution that I
don't have to get a separate voltage regulator and all those other things
that have to do with some solar panels.

So here's a box, I got the big one that they
have, as you can see it's pretty pretty long. The Give some rough dimensions down
here and came in a big big old Amazon box you can see over there. So this is it
I got it out pulled it open. What do you get in the box? Well you get this solar panel…….Battery Tender Brand You see it's flicking a little bit there
my internal lights are trying to make it come on a little bit, and with it you get
a little bit of wire one of these kind of standard power connectors and what
these are called rc3 maybe something, I don't remember.

But you get
that fuse it some alligator clips they do show that they optionally sells some
different power leads like a 12 volt cigarette lighter plug in if you want
reverse charge that way or even an OBD2 adapter reverse charge so you can plug
into your OBD2 adapter and feed some power back into it if you don't want to
clamp it onto battery. So there's a solar panel, it's a pretty good sized solar
panel it's big enough that I can get a decent bit of amperage out of it but
also still be able to set this up on the dash the vehicle I want to use to keep
trickle charged. So this will be inside on the dash
out of the weather and I'll have to move it when I want to drive it doesn't go
flying around but it's mostly about just keeping the battery trickled
charge so it's ready to go when I do want to drive the car.

I've done some math for
you here the area it's twelve and a half inches this way and that's the visible
area in here this part that actually charges so that's twelve and a half
inches the actual outer dimensions are a little bit bigger what the box says it's
fourteen and that's about right at the widest point but you know I'm more
concerned with what the actual surface area here is because I'm trying to
figure out how much how much power can gather this is so tall and a half by
thirty-five long dimension so that's a total of four hundred thirty seven point
five square inches. Now because this is America we are inches but because I'm
an engineer I want to use the SI system so four hundred thirty seven point five
inches is zero point two eight two meters squared. The solar radiation
incident when I'm checking and I'm doing this on December 16th and 11 the morning
is 444 watts per square meter that's data I got from the Colorado State
University atmospheric weather station they've also it's a great data and you
can pull up information whenever you need it and so for the time of the year
and on a very clear day that's about what we're getting here in Colorado so
0.282 square meters times 444 watts per meter squared, this is your classic
dimensional analysis, I should be able to get 125 point 2 watts of solar radiation
incident on this panel.

Now that's the case and that's how many watts we're
getting knowing that we're running roughly at 12 and 1/2 volt or twelve
point four or twelve point six somewhere in there battery for an odd mode battery
I rewrite my power equation P equals IV is I current equals power divided by
voltage so 125 point two watts times twelve point four volts I should be able
to get 10 point one amps of this at twelve point
four volts. Now I'm not gonna get that because solar panels are something like
ten percent efficient so I'm expecting about a tenth of this how maybe it's
fifteen percent efficient I don't know we'll see what this one actually does
but I'm not gonna get 10 amps out that would be awesome if I could but
I'm not thinking 10 amps out so what I'm gonna do
I don't you've seen the math you've seen the solar panel is I'm gonna go take
this outside set it up I'm gonna try to get a good angle on the Sun this sounds
very very low in the sky right now because it's almost the shortest day of
the year I'm gonna set that up and I'm gonna see how much power can get out of
it.

I've got a couple multimeters, one we're gonna watch the actual voltage, so
that'll be our voltage term there, and then I'm gonna look at the actual
current, I have an amp clamp to watch the current which has pretty good resolution
should be able to read down to 0.1 amps and so from that we'll get an idea and
see how many Watts this thing's actually putting out and see if it really does
what they claim it does so there it is let's go do some testing! All right so
I'm doing some investigation with the solar panel out now you can see I got it
all set up to test here on the Jeep there it's sitting out on the ground
propped up at what I'm approximating to be the ideal angle to the Sun it's
pretty approximate though I can't tell you for sure I could probably do that a
little more scientifically than sitting on the ground with a wheel but I think
that's good enough for just checking out the solar panel, so I've got the battery
voltage reading there twelve point six four volts I've got the amp clamp on the
positive lead of the charge controller output so it's supposed to regulate
voltage to something about like 12 volts I'm not sure if it pushes more than 12
or what I would hope so but I haven't been able to tell yet so here and let me
get this out and see I've got twelve point six four and zero
you hook this up struggle with it cuz I'm doing this one-handed okay it's
clamped Ok if you can see that……

So I've got one in pushing about one amp
right now alright so it's in the Sun, its about as
direct as I'm ever gonna get it ideal situation if you just had it over your
roof or something you wouldn't get this much and it's able to charge at 1 Amp
what I can't say right now is that charge controller if it's doing anything
because it knows my battery voltage is pretty good and it doesn't need to push
more than an amp so there's some questions there if I had a battery that
was a little bit more dead lower on voltage exactly what would be doing
this is a very good topped off battery we just drove around did my grocery
shopping so it's pretty well charged now right now this is December this is about
as short as the days get we're closest to the shortest day of the year and the
Sun it's a nice bright sunny day and see we don't really have any clouds in the
sky a few trees getting close to being in the way well it's a nice sunny day
it's a good day for testing according to the surface area of the solar panel and
what the solar radiation is now based off of the CSU weather station I should
be pulling maximum 8.6 amps right now it's doing 1 amp so that means that this
thing right now is a little bit less than 10% efficient compared to my ideal
now how much that's gonna change with me fixing the exact angle and everything
I'm some you know there's some efficiency there but basically just
because I'm calculating out that I should be able to push 9 amps right now
or whatever that is in Watts, it doesn't mean it's actually gonna happen
so this panel is advertised as a 15 watt solar panel which I think means I should
be getting you know not too far off from what I'm at let's see 15 divided by
let's say 12 point 6 so it's saying that in theory you should be able to get 1.2
and I'm saying I'm pretty close to that right now
let's see me a play with this a little bit clean up right some more see if it
does anything oh 1.1! Look at that! little angle change a little more upright
well back to one let's try to lay it down flat and see what happens sit it on
the wheel there yeah look at that point three just goes to show you how much
that angle makes a big difference the cross-sectional area is just so
different ones pointing like this things are bouncing off let me do it let's do
it the shallow angle like I might want for summer point-8 well that's pretty close let's go back up right a little bit more that's pretty upright probably even more
than needs to be for the Sun angle bit okay and back to 1amp 1.1 so there you
go not too far off from what what the panel
says it'll put out which again should be a little over a little over what we've
got right now but that's pretty good so yeah really the maximum you're ever
gonna get out of this is an amp but right now with the low Sun everything if
I were to set this out and use it to keep the battery topped off and it was a
flat on a roof or something if it was on the roof of your RV 0.3 amps
I mean that's something that'll that'll keep it trickle charged you know kind of
topped off but it's certainly not gonna be recharging a battery if you ran one
down so yeah interesting stuff interesting findings looks like they're
not lying when they say that it's a 15 watt charger just that's 15 watt under
the very very ideal best conditions ever so all right
interesting stuff let's see what happens when I hook it up to a dead or battery so I have the solar panel hooked up to a
basically dead battery this is out of one of my Nissan's, it sits for a long
time and I don't drive it for a few months and then the battery's dead it's
got a slight draw from the security system so that's why I've got this
battery tender as you can see I've got it hooked up and the voltage is kind of
bouncing around funky it's actually starting to do a little bit more from when I
first grabbed it, it was just basically totally dead
oh I've actually got 12 volt reading but when I first powered this up it was
reading five you see it's bleeding down so if I go back and I hook up the solar
panels back on it so I got the solar panel set up I should be getting should
be able to push about 0.9 amps as you can see the voltage is really
fluctuating around quite a bit it was a voltage controller in there but it is
putting on some voltage definitely higher than 12 which is good we need to
push the voltage up you see the currents kind of shifting around so am I good
charged up battering the Jeep I was getting 0.91 amps something about like
that with how the panel's sit up now I'm reading about point two point three
voltages fluctuating quite a bit so it's trying it's trying to charge him it
seems like it has issues when I first hooked it up and the voltage was around
five I hooked up a jumper pack this guy just to push the voltage up and then it
kind of kicked in and recognized that it was there it was cutting on an awful lot
with the totally dead battery and then having that jumper pack hooked up I was
able to get to read 12 and push a little voltage into the battery now it seems
like the solar chargers finally seen about 12 volts so it's starting to
regulate and do its job I suspect the longer I leave it on here it'll settle
down you see already it's bouncing a little less so leave this here for a
little bit and see what happens with it I'm probably not gonna be charging
up as battery quick it was just totally dead but maybe the voltage will stop
fluctuating so much, alright we will see what happens

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