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Automobile solar charger

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  #1  
Old 11-17-2009, 07:13 PM
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Desert Rat Desert Rat is offline
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Default Automobile solar charger

Boise company's solar charger may save car battery, gas consumption

Treasure Valley Solar is marketing a way to keep electronic devices revved up in the car without turning on the engine.

Drive by an auto accident and you're likely to see a lot of police cars nearby.

But what is not so obvious is that those patrol cars are often idling their engines - consuming gas and putting exhaust into the air.

The reason: Police cars are loaded with electronic equipment - computers, flashing lights - that rely on the engine running to keep their equipment charged without risking draining the battery.

Treasure Valley Solar, a Boise company, may have a way to keep those electronic devices running without burning gasoline or idling a car.

The company has put together an integrated system that uses a solar panel on the car's roof that connects to the battery and can keep electrical systems going without draining the battery or running the engine.

Cost: About $1,200 to $1,500 per vehicle. The system can recoup its costs in about three to six months, company officials estimate.

The system is designed for companies that have fleets of vehicles operating out in the field where employees are using battery-operated equipment such as cell phones or laptops with a limited amount of power. It also is useful for construction companies, which could use the devices to ensure that battery-operated power tools don't run out of juice.

"Keeping tools charged can be a big deal," said Wayne Whitt, Treasure Valley Solar's director of customer solutions.

Treasure Valley Solar has signed an agreement with Zenware Inc, an Eagle company that sells business technology used in the field. The agreement gives Zenware an opportunity to provide customers with another channel for powering their equipment without using a generator or burning gas, said Rod Puzey, Zenware's VP of Operations and Director of Business Development.

Treasure Valley Solar's product has caught the attention of the Canyon County Sheriff's office, which outfitted one of its patrol cars with the solar device beginning Monday for $500.

The price was agreed on for a pilot program, county officials said.

Patrol cars can idle for two to three hours at an accident site, said Mark Tolman, fleet manager for Canyon County vehicles. Every hour of idling is the equivalent of putting 36 miles on the car's engine, he said.

There also is the problem of pollution from idling. "We want to be able to cut back on emissions," Tolman said.

Company officials are still gathering data on how much businesses can save by using the solar charging system over running the engine. So is Tolman. The county put the device on a single car. But that could change.

"If things start looking good (we'll) put another online," he said.

Bill Roberts: 377-6408

Treasure Valley Solar
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Old 09-03-2010, 02:57 PM
greenproducts greenproducts is offline
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Default Re: Automobile solar charger

That is a great way to power up devices. How long though will the solar panel last?

Also, how much power does it produce and can it also recharge the car battery?
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Old 09-03-2010, 06:05 PM
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Desert Rat Desert Rat is offline
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Default Re: Automobile solar charger

Hmmm, looks like they changed there site since I posted that. I guess they gave up on that. But they do have Treasure Valley Solar - Solar Fleet Elite
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Old 09-04-2010, 11:36 AM
solardave solardave is offline
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Default Re: Automobile solar charger

A good idea if you have a lot of equipment like police and emergency vehicles. It's a great niche product.
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Old 10-11-2011, 06:58 AM
alaina alaina is offline
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Default Re: Automobile solar charger

The simplest way:
Get a voltmeter and a solar panel. Connect the panel to your battery and watch the voltage rise. When it gets near 14 volts your battery is charged. Disconnect your solar panel to keep it from overcharging your battery.

Your battery can be damaged if you charge it too fast, so don't get a panel that's too big for your battery. Consult the battery manufacturer's data to see how many amps it can handle, both while charging and discharging. If you happen to have a big panel and a little battery, there are tricks further along in this instructable.

Some solar panels are made just for the purpose of maintaining batteries in vehicles that are parked a long time. They don't go over 13.5 or 14 volts and don't ever produce enough current to damage the battery. These you can just hook to your battery and forget.

If you want to use more power you'll want to get a bigger, higher voltage panel than that.
Here I am running my truck's electrical system off a solar panel wedged in the windshield.
My alternater fell off the engine and the belt broke. I'm driving south so I just set up the panel and drove into the sun, peeking over the panel. Read more of that Haywire Mechanic Story or click on "step two" to read more battery/solar tricks.

_____
Retail
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:42 AM
BooneyLiving BooneyLiving is offline
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Default Re: Automobile solar charger

What a great idea! This will save them money and it's good for the planet. They probably don't care about the eco aspect of this but I'm sure they care about the financial aspect of it.
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Old 01-19-2012, 12:03 PM
rogerd rogerd is offline
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Default Re: Automobile solar charger

Great idea indeed. The cost is little on the higher side for normal cars, but may be we can rig up a small solar panel that meets the requirements of a average car user.
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