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Old 11-25-2018, 08:18 PM   #1
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Keeping the Dink Battery Up

Wanted to pass along a solution to a common problem.
My Dingee battery would often time sit for extended time and when I went to start it, there just wasn’t enough battery left to fire the motor up.
I’ve used battery chargers in the past, but what has been working really well is a small solar panel designed just for this purpose.
West Marine sells one for about $20. It’s the size of a loaf of bread and I wired it directly to the battery. Just enough “trickle” to keep the battery topped off. Even comes with suction cups to stick it where you want.

Works well.

Taras
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Old 11-26-2018, 10:54 AM   #2
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I have what is probably the same panel on my 17 ft center console but I bought mine at Harbor Freight. It puts out 1.5 watts according to the specs.
I simply bungy it to the little swim platform. It has been working fine for almost a year.
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Old 11-26-2018, 01:00 PM   #3
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Same.

I bought a 10w poly solar panel, an solar charge controller, and seadog rail clamps. Scrounged from my supplies a cigarette lighter plug, wire, butt splices, etc. Total bill was $83 plus tax.

All I had to do was wire the charge controller between the cigarette plug on the console, and the battery. The mount attaches to the hand rail and the whole setup can be installed or removed in just a few minutes.





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Old 11-26-2018, 04:21 PM   #4
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Annoyed with myself that when we got the big boat we found a small bread loaf sized panel in a locker and chucked it out during the cleanup, what use could it possibly be if installing 2250w on the roof?

Of course now, I would stick it to the top of the outboard cowling to trickle charge the batts.
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Old 11-26-2018, 04:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattkab View Post
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How's the glare off that panel when using the dinghy or do you remove the panel?
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Old 11-27-2018, 01:34 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simi 60 View Post
How's the glare off that panel when using the dinghy or do you remove the panel?
I remove it from the top rail when underway -- it doesn't seem safe to have it there when doing 20kts.

I can also mount it on the side rails, which I sometimes leave in place.
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Old 11-27-2018, 01:47 AM   #7
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mattkab,at 10w,wonder if you even need a regulator,but it can`t hurt.

I have a 25w panel with a simple regulator,dedicated to the boat (not the dinghy) genset battery.
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Old 11-27-2018, 05:06 AM   #8
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I've now been inspired to add a panel to my RIB. Thanks guys! Of course the scope of work expanded rapidly once I started.

The dealer had installed positive and negative bus bars, and did it quite well apart from the location. They are on the bottom of the console box, and prone to corrosion of the terminal/wire splice. The RIB floor floods from time to time when we get heavy rain and the drain plug for the RIB is still in place. Having re-spliced accessory wire terminals twice, it was time to fix the situation properly! I'm also relocating the battery isolator switch to be easily accessible once the console hatch is opened, rather than heaving fish my hand past flares, EPIRB, tools container and first aid kit.

I bought a 20W panel and a little controller. If I happen to leave the chartplotter running when anchoring the RIB for a swim (something I've done a few time accidentally) then the panel should almost exactly offset the draw of the plotter, which was one of the rationales for sizing the panel.

Mounting the panel will probably not be permanent. There is nowhere good to put it that will not interfere with the cover for the RIB. I am thinking of stowing it when underway, and then putting it on the seat when anchored. Or on top of the RIB"s cover when the RIB is stowed on board the boat.

Another option is to get some suction cups for fixing to the outboard's cowling and just leave the cover off the engine. The issue seems to be sourcing a suitable suction cup locally.
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Old 11-27-2018, 09:20 AM   #9
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My dink is a Intex Mariner 4 passenger boat with an electric trolling motor and a small wheel chair battery. My plan is to someday install a solar trickle charger so it’ll always be topped off and ready to go.
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Old 12-01-2018, 06:57 PM   #10
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If you want to keep it really simple, the small solar panel that West Marine sells works really great for keeping my dink battery topped off and it doesn’t need any controller. I wired it directly to the battery. When I get ready to take the dink out, I just tuck it under the center console. When the boat is at rest, the suction cups it comes with can be placed anywhere ��. Was about $20 bucks or so.
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