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5 Watt Solar Trickle Charger

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This past weekend for the first time ever I climbed on the roof of my "new to me" 2016 Newmar Ventana LE to replace a sewer vent cap and decide to "explore" all that was on the roof (I've owned the Newmar less that three months).  I was stunned to find a small, Zamp Solar brand solar cell mounted on the roof above the pilot's chair.   Searching through Newgle, I learned that 2016 model year Nemars have a 5 (or 10) watt solar panel to provide a trickle charge to chassis batteries.   I'm not sure of the value of this small solar panel as the chassis batteries receive a trickle charge when the MH is parked and connected to shore power / using the generator.

Anyway, now that I know I have a small solar cell, are there any concerns about a solar cell that I need to be aware of?   Thanks for the help!

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Probably nothing to maintain, but when you wash roof, clean the surface of the panel. I do mine once a year. 5 watt will probably not keep up with the transmission drain on the chassis batteries, so don’t count on it. Plug in to shore power if you can. 

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5 Watts is approximately 0.04 amps. Wonder why they went so small. Even 100 Watts is 0.9 amps.

As Ross stated, keep it clean for whatever use it is for.

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1 hour ago, wayne77590 said:

5 Watts is approximately 0.04 amps. Wonder why they went so small. Even 100 Watts is 0.9 amps.

Not quite correct, the system is 12 volt dc not 120 ac, at 12 volts .4 amps and 9 amps. .4 amps will almost keep up with a half amp drain during daylight hours.

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8 hours ago, kaypsmith said:

Not quite correct, the system is 12 volt dc not 120 ac, at 12 volts .4 amps and 9 amps. .4 amps will almost keep up with a half amp drain during daylight hours.

I have the same solar panel, I consider it a toy, not practical for much.

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Kay, I had an extra zero slip in there.  Granted that .4 amps may keep a battery charged up but what about parasitic draws.  WIth a step controller there may be a draw more than a lot of trickle chargers can provide. I had that scenario once upon a time. Then there are the other internal parasitic currents.

Sorry about my miscalculation input of an extra zero. I just don't think 5 watts is good for much. Might run a transistor radio.

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Would the factory wiring and controller be adequate for installing a larger panel? Small (25w) panels are cheap and would at least be useful.

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As usual, the forum replies have been prompt an very useful !    My 5 watt solar trickle charger may be useful if the MH were ever parked uncovered, not connected to shore power and the generator was not in operation.  Since the answer to that scenario is "never" the solar trickle charger will be nothing more than a roof adornment / dirt collector.     Bill has a good thought -- does Newmar include the small solar trickle charger as a "sales gimmick" ?

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Heck, I had a small panel on the top of my roof AC on my 03 Bounder. It disappeared and I don't know how big of output it was supposed to have. It was a common thing. 

Bill 

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9 hours ago, wayne77590 said:

Kay, I had an extra zero slip in there.  Granted that .4 amps may keep a battery charged up but what about parasitic draws.  WIth a step controller there may be a draw more than a lot of trickle chargers can provide. I had that scenario once upon a time. Then there are the other internal parasitic currents.

Sorry about my miscalculation input of an extra zero. I just don't think 5 watts is good for much. Might run a transistor radio.

Just trying to keep things straight. No, 5 watts is not much, I tried one of those 30 watt units on my nieces car one time because her battery kept draining enough that the car wouldn't start in 18 hours, 30 watts didn't help either. After two years, numerous batteries, alternators, and hooking up full time chargers, it was discovered that the trunk light was backwards, trunk open no light, trunk closed light came on, no one ever thought there was supposed to be a light in the trunk. LOL, I was only asked to put the solar panel on, and didn't realize that it was still a problem as no one bothered to tell me until after the car was replaced.:blink:

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On 6/18/2019 at 8:24 AM, richard5933 said:

Would the factory wiring and controller be adequate for installing a larger panel? Small (25w) panels are cheap and would at least be useful.

 The wiring and controller might not work.  A 25 watt panel will produce slightly over 1 amp in bright sunlight which is a small part of the 24 hour day.  Not hardly enough to make a difference.  I have 800 watts with a MPPT controller and that is sometimes not enough.

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