Re: Solar Panel to augment 12V battery
Hey guys, I'm new to this forum but after recently using this place as a research tool that was invaluable to my most recent progect I wanted to let you guy's in on it. I have successfully installed solar on the roof of my 2006 Ford Escape Hybrid and it was fairly simple!
The solar panel is a Ramsond (find it on eBay) 120 watt panel. I mounted it directly to the lugage rack and painted the sides black so it just looks like part of the rack. I ran the wires through the factory gromet that the wiring for the rear wiper runs through, down the inside of the body, under the vehicle to the motor. I mounted a SunSaver 20 amp charge controler on top of the factory fuse box (fits like it was MADE for it) and ran the wires from the SunSaver to my new Blue Top deep cycle Altima. You MUST use a deep cycle battery for my system because it will get drained and recharged and a factory style battery isn't good for that. The Blue Top fits like a factory battery! You'll need to run a longer ground wire because the factory one isn't quite long enough since the posts are switched on the optima but thats not a big deal (use 8 gauge). On the power side you will notice two red wires going to the positive terminal. One takes power to the fuse box, the other brings power from your trunk battery, through a DC/DC converter to your 12v battery; this is the wire you will be disconnecting and not using. Wire it to a distribution block and keep a jump wire in the glove box so if you are going to make a long run at night you can hook the factory charge system back up. Now, your entire 12 volt system is solar and self sustaining with no pull from your trunk battery at all. As you drive, the car will use more 12v power than your 120w panel can make but as soon as you get to where you are going simply park in the sun and let the sun do the rest. Instead of supplimenting solar in, your 12 volt system will be stand alone. At first I thought this might throw some sort of safety code but the vehicle doesn't even notice! It still goes into hybrid mode and everything! I just set up my page so I haven't got pictures up yet but I will soon.