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Old 05-17-2006
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Make mine Solar!

I'm looking for a good solar power 12v trickle charger to keep my batteries topped up. I would need about 8-10 feet of cord and a 12v receptacle. Any recommendations?

Later,I'm intending to add a small 12v fridge,and the appropriate solar panel to replace the draw(3A?). Ideally,I would like to plug this solar panel into a 12v receptacle also.
Does anybody have recommendations for an efficient low draw cooler/fridge,and what size panel seems appropriate? My own sense is 40-50w would be sufficient.
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Old 05-17-2006
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The largest solar panels that you should add to an electrical system via a 12-volt receptacle are probably only about 32 watts or so in size. Anything larger should be setup on a charge controller and properly fused so you don't damage your batteries or cause a fire.

There will be a mis-match between your refrigerator and the panels, as one is a constant load, and the panels can only supply electricity during part of the day (really 10-4 if you're lucky)... so you need to have more panel capacity than you would otherwise think.

I've just finished equipping my boat with two 130 watt solar panels, but have a Engel 27 refrigerator to power, as well as the other electronics on board. The panels are connected to the house bank via charge controller, which also allows me to monitor the amperage from the panels and the voltage of the panels and the house batteries.
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