My local club is looking to put solar panels out on the batteries to keep them charged. Would appreciate any info regarding success and failures with solar panels, brands to use or avoid and any suggestions.
Make sure they're never shaded during the day. As stupid as it sounds, I belong to a club where the panels on several stations are mounted on locations that do not face upwards towards the sun and/or are in shade most of the day.
Chris: I'm on the road so can't give you the correct name or part numbers, but......I bought all of mine (I have an eight trap Five Stand field) from Home Depot. They're mail order only, from the website. The stores don't carry them. Roughly $70 apiece. They've worked great for me, for approx two years. Caveat: We don't shoot every day though either. The traps get used once a week, sometimes a bit more.
First, check with where you got your traps. They usually sell panels and know what you need better than most other places will. Lincoln has some 10 watt panels I have used that have out lasted and out performed some 20s I got to try out.
EcoDirect has great pricing http://www.ecodirect.com/Small-Solar-Panels-s/741.htm. Good service too. You can order them with leads or without. If without then make sure to use weather rated wire. I use marine rated tinned copper for ours. Also, use wire for the job. If running longer distance, go larger. Make sure you use a charge controller. A lot of folks say they aren't needed until over 10 amps but they should be. If the panel is going to be in the shade, get a bigger panel. I use 20watt panels mounted on top of a stand we built for the long range receivers we use. There are some I know will be in the shade mainly and i have used even larger. You can probably get by with 10 watt panels though. Also, the batteries are just as important. Don't skimp there. Make sure you get one with a metal frame and thicker glass too. Those plastic ones, I think battery tender, lasted me about 3 months before dying.
These guys are cheapest I have ever seen. panels are a little larger but not too bad. http://www.gaarent.com/12-volt-solar-panels/ Haven't had a chance to wire it up, but will try to repost later once I do and get a meter on them.
While at Deer Creek I had 95 traps on Solar panels bought at Harbor Freight for $40 each They are diode latched so they don't drain the battery at night. Never brought a battery in for mains charging after I got them. Note price and compare with your Trap supplier prices
They worked even after some idiot drove over them with golf carts
I don't know where Sobrepuesta shoots. We were in Florida and in full sun they put out 19V and in full shade (we had tall tree covers) they put out 17v and that was plenty
I had 88ah gel marine batteries YMMV
Take off the cheesy crocodile clips and replace with ring terminals, use a spring washer and a 10mm nut to screw then down to the post. The clips rust and reduce current flow
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