Charging your trolling motor battery with a solar panel is not just the right thing to do for the environment, it is extremely convenient. When you’re out on the boat, with any luck, you’ll have access to a good amount of sunlight. Can this be harnessed to extend the lifespan of your battery or can you even totally power the motor with a solar panel?
Charging Trolling Motor Batteries With Solar: What is Possible?
The exact capabilities of a solar panel to charge the battery depend on a few different factors. For instance, what are the power needs of the battery?
If you are looking to keep a trolling motor charged and stop it from depleting, a simple 10 or 12-watt solar panel can be the ideal option for preventing power from discharging.
This method of gradually trickling more power into the battery through the solar panel extends the time between recharging significantly. This is effective if you have got your boat out to the middle of a lake, for instance, and you want to top up the charge while you’re fishing. However, if you have low battery power then your solar panel will likely struggle.
If your motor battery has a capacity of 100ah, even with a 12-watt solar charger it might take two days to charge the battery. Put simply, the solar panel is unlikely to be able to totally charge the battery quickly, so it is much better for enhancing and expanding the charge cycle, rather than totally charging the battery.
A quality solar battery charger for boat can help you charge quicker. If you have a larger boat, a bigger panel may also help with the demands. Of course, larger solar chargers and solar panels are able to harvest more power and energy and this means they will produce more charge, faster.
Charging Your Trolling Motor With Solar Panels
Of course, before these steps, you need to ensure you have the right solar panels or solar chargers to enable you to charge at all. Then, the following steps can help you to ensure you are charging at maximum capability.
1. Position Your Panels
Positioning of solar panels is absolutely crucial. There are certain times of the day when the sun is brightest and by angling your panels and ensuring they are in the right position you can expose the panels to the most sunlight.
2. Connect the Charger
Disconnect the battery from the trolling motor and it will be ready to connect to a solar charger. Of course, before you go anywhere near the battery wires ensure that the motor has been turned off.
A solar panel will come with a charger, which is attached to the panel, and can then be wired to the battery. This sounds difficult if you don’t know much about electrics, but it really isn’t. There’s usually a red and black wire, which correspond to terminals of the same colors on the charger. Simply connect them and the charging will be ready to start.
3. Start the Charging
Time to switch on the charger. It will have a simple power switch which you just need to make sure is on. Don’t expect this to be like a rapid charge for your electric car. Solar power can take a long time to charge. If your power level is below 50%, it will likely take a very long time.
There are some safety precautions, too. Ensure you keep a lookout and don’t leave the battery unmonitored for extended spells while it’s being charged.
Charging a trolling motor battery with a solar panel is totally possible, but speed can be an issue for some. The process isn’t fast. However, it is good for the environment and a good solution for trolling motors.