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From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: misc.rural
Subject: Re: Tractor solar battery charger
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 14:42:47 -0500
Message-ID: <>

I have several of these.  I have one on my motorhome's cranking
battery.  Another on my backup car.  A third in my regular car that
keeps my booster pack charged.  I bought a bunch of 'em at a hamfest
so I don't have much money involved.

I suggest getting the largest panel you can afford.  I'm not sure 1.8
watts would keep the battery up over the long term.  Especially in
winter.  I think mine are 5 watts.  I've seen some 5 and 10 watt ones
on sale at both Northern and Harbor Freight recently.

Here's an alternative to think about that would cost about the same or
a little more.  The BB600 military aviation NiCad cranking batteries:

These have been military standard since after WWII.  Their life is
indefinite.  I have a 28 volt pack of Korean War vintage that still
produces its rated capacity.  The self-discharge rate is so low as to
be almost non-existent and low temperature has little effect.

The only maintenance is to occasionally add water (they gas when
charging) and about every decade, change the electrolyte.  The
potassium hydroxide electrolyte slowly absorbs CO2 from the air and is
neutralized.  I've changed mine twice.


On Thu, 19 Jan 2006 17:19:58 GMT, "Stumpy" <perilmung@spamnet.con>

>I've got a tractor that only gets run ~4hrs/3months(not at home).  The
>battery can't stay charged up and I have no electricity in the vicinity.  So
>far I jump it from my car and then it can start on its own when warmed up.
>I considered pulling the battery when I leave and putting it on a "battery
>maintainer" when I get home, but don't really want to lug the battery back
>and forth.
>Found this solar charger for an RV that is only $30, 1.8watts @ 15V.  I
>could install a cigarette lighter outlet on the tractor, get a cigarette
>lighter extension cord, and put the charger on the roof of the tractor shed.
>My question is - Would the battery be discharged by the long periods of no
>sun, night time etc.?  I guess if the circuitry is good enough quality that
>would not happen.  Has anyone used one of these unattended for any length of
>Is it OK to post a link?

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