Do you sometimes let your vehicle set up for long periods of time between uses? Do you have a riding lawn mower that sets up for the winter? Batteries sometimes have a hard time maintaining their charge when not being used for long periods of time. The schumacher 12 volt battery charger is like maintenance for your battery. This charger will help keep your battery in tip top shape when not in use for long periods of time.
I bought one to try it out.
I bought one to try it out. I have a diesel truck that sets up in the winter. I use it all the time in the summer for the yard work I do all summer. It has really worked out well so far. I did have to replace the batteries about mid winter this year but they were already 8 years old so i really cant complain. I use the truck very little in the winter but I like the idea of being able to jump in it and go if I need to.
Installation was really easy. The hardest part for me was mounting the solar panel. I mounted it on 2 one by fours I had in the shop and attached it to my carport and ran the wiring over one rafter and down the side closest to where the battery is in the truck. After the solar panel is mounted all the wiring is plug and play after that. Each wire has a plug that matches up with the next one. The solar panel has 4 screw holes made in it but the panel itself is made of plastic so be careful not to tighten the screws down to hard it can crack and damage the solar panel.
When I ordered the Schumacher 12 volt battery charger all the research I did before buying it I discovered that in order for everything to work properly I would need to also order a regulator to go with it. If you hook the solar panel directly to the battery it will over charge the battery( I tried this and it was true) without a regulator the solar panel was charging at around 16 volts which is way to much for just battery maintenance that much voltage will damage a battery in a couple of hours. So the regulator was a great investment. I also purchased a 25 foot extension wire just to make sure that I had enough wire to reach the battery in the truck. It is better to have to much than not enough. The charger comes with the clamps to hook up to the battery as well as a plug to plug into your 12 volt power outlet in your vehicle. Just whatever is easiest for you to use. With the plug you dont even need to raise the hood of your vehicle.
As with all batteries a person has to be careful about creating sparks around a battery. After the charger was mounted and the regulator was mounted I hooked up everything in a reverse order so as not to create any sparks. I first hooked up the clamps to the battery then hooked up the clamp wire to the regulator by hooking the plugs together. The regulator is clearly marked as to which wire plugs where. All the plugs are the same so be careful where you plug things. Then plug the solar panel to the regulator and installation is complete. One word of caution is NEVER start your vehicle with the solar charger hooked up. The alternator on your vehicle can create a power surge that can damage the solar panel. When you need to disconnect the charger it works really well to unplug the solar panel from the regulator then unplug the clamps or power outlet plug from the regulator then disconnect the clamps or plug from your vehicle. Batteries can explode if you create sparks around them because of the gas they expel during charging. Always remember SAFETY FIRST.
When the solar charger is not in use it is a good idea to take down the solar panel and store it away till the next time you need it. The solar panel is weather resistant so it doesnt hurt to get it wet but I always store it away you know personal preference I guess. The regulator is not weather resistant so I mounted it in a dry location. I left the regulator mounted where it was since it was in a dry location anyway. Since I use the charger mostly in winter the solar panel is exposed to some pretty harsh weather elements. Be sure to keep the solar panel as clean as possible. Snow and ice build up may slow the charge rate down. Ice and snow will eventually melt so I wouldnt get the ladder out unless it was really bad. The safety first motto applies here also.
Putting it all together
I purchased the Schumacher 12 volt solar battery charger to maintain my truck batteries in the winter and so far it has done a terrific job. The Schumacher brand of battery chargers have been around for years of course they were all ran off electricity back in the day. My dad bought an electric Schumacher battery charger when I was a small boy and I still have it today so I knew it was a good brand. I bought the Schumacher solar battery charger because I wanted a maintenance free charger that I could hook up for all winter and not worry about anything and with the regulator I never worry about overcharging. I also dont have electricity in my carport so that made going solar the right choice.
My Amazon Affiliate has the Schumacher SP 400 12 volt Solar battery charger and maintainer for $49.01
The Schumacher SPC-7a controller is $31.02
The Schumacher EC 25 25 foot extension is $7.00 if you need extra wire for your installation.
If you have any questions or comments please post them in the reply section below. As always I would like to thank you for reading my post. I hope you found it helpful. Michael Cox.
Have you ever wondered just how solar products work? Please read my article on the science of solar.