A 12V battery is often a must-have device when going off-grid for a long time. However, it is only good if it is charged.
So, what’s the best way of charging this valuable asset? Will a 6V solar panel charge a 12V battery?
After all, a solar panel means you don’t have to interrupt your fun to go to the shore once you recharge your battery. How do we go about it, though?
Whereas it isn’t as easy as most people assume, knowing what’s right, including how to go about it, can make a huge difference. So, let’s find out if a 6V solar panel will charge a 12V battery and much more.
Can a 6V Solar Panel Charge a 12V Battery?
Unfortunately, it will be impossible for a 6V solar panel to charge a 12V battery. So, don’t bother trying this thing.
After all, a 12V battery needs a solar panel with a wattage of at least 5 watts. So, anything lower than that, including a 6V and a 9V solar panel, is unsuitable.
What Size Solar Do I Need to Charge a 12V Battery?
Rest assured that there are various sizes of solar panels at your disposal. Their rated power outputs are also different.
However, despite the differences, most of them are ideal for a 12V battery. Choosing a solar panel wisely is equally important because of the fraction incompatible with a battery with such a voltage.
You must identify a few things before choosing a solar panel to ensure the right decision. These factors include the following;
- How much energy does your household need
- Battery’s voltage
- Its wattage
- The amp hours, as well
Interestingly, various 12V batteries have different capacities, usually between 5 amp-hours and 200 amp-hours. Therefore, without ample due diligence, you can’t assume the solar panel is good for your 12V battery.
For instance, identify how fast you want your battery to charge fully. The battery capacity unit is also important, usually in amp-hour (Ah).
Once you factor in the above factors, there are high chances of choosing the right solar panel for your 12V battery.
What Do You Need to Charge Your 12V Battery Using a Solar Panel?
Most people assume that charging a 12V battery is a simple task. It doesn’t revolve around connecting a solar panel to the battery’s terminals.
After all, it is impossible to charge the battery using photovoltaic panels directly. That’s why you need the correct components and tools to do so, including the following;
- 12V battery
- Battery cables
- Charge controller adapter cables
- Solar charge controller, which can be MPPT or PWM as long as it is compatible with your 12V batteries
- Solar panel(s)
It is worth mentioning the charge controller’s significant role in protecting your battery. For instance, it regulates the electricity flow from the solar panel to your 12V battery.
Consequently, the chances of your battery overcharging reduce drastically, which calls for a celebration. After all, it is a major cause of permanent damage to batteries, not forgetting its danger.
Its design lets it cut off any energy supply as soon as your 12V battery fully charges.
Step-by-step Guide on How to Charge a 12V Battery with a Solar Panel
Once you have the equipment, follow this guide to charge your 12V battery with a solar panel.
Connecting the Charge Controller and the 12V Battery
It will be outright if your battery comes with wires. On the other hand, their absence means that you have to buy the wires
10-gauge and 16-gauge wires are ideal for connecting to the charge controller. Attaching the wires’ stripped ends of the battery’s positive wire to the corresponding terminal follows.
Repeat that for the battery’s negative wire too. Insert the ends of the bare wire into your charge controller ports, not forgetting to tighten using a screwdriver.
Connecting the Charge Controller and the Solar Panel
Once the first connection is over, proceed to this one. It involves attaching the positive solar panel cable to the adapter cable.
Remember also to attach their negative counterparts accordingly. Next, plug the solar input cables’ positive into the solar panel’s positive terminal at the charge controller.
The same also applies to their negative counterparts, not forgetting to tighten the terminals in each case. MC4 connectors are vital when connecting several solar panels.
Use such components to connect your solar panels series.
Verifying the Connections
Now it is time to check how successful steps 1 and 2 above turned out. You can only verify this success by turning on the solar system and the battery.
An indicator of an excellent connection is the charge controller turning on. It indicates that the battery and the charge controller are connected.
You should also check the display screen of your charger controller, which should have readings if everything is fine. Otherwise, a blank screen or zero indicates that the connection wasn’t conducted as it should have been.
If you use a power station to charge the 12V battery, it will be easier to confirm if the connection is excellent. After all, some are smart enough to monitor the current and voltage rates in real-time.
For instance, the manufacturers use algorithms that boost the power stations’ intelligence. There is also the portability that enhances their convenience.
Some have apps to help you monitor the readings conveniently. You can do much, from controlling your power station to monitoring its voltage output using your mobile phone.
All you need is either a Bluetooth connection or a reliable internet connection. You can also keep track of the charge time from the inbuild charge controller.
Exposing the Solar Panel to Direct Sunlight
Remember that a solar panel produces energy with the help of the sun. The energy it produces is directly proportional to the direct sunlight reaching it.
Ensure that you choose the most optimal orientation. That’s why other people mount their solar panels on garages and other roofs to ensure appropriate sunlight reaches them.
If your solar panel can’t access sunlight, how will it charge your 12V battery? That’s why one can’t insist on how important this step is.