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How to Charge a Solar Battery with Electricity? (Simple Guide!)

Whichever method you choose, it is important to make sure that the solar battery is properly protected from overcharging, as this can damage the cells and reduce its overall lifespan.

Do you have a solar battery? If not, you should consider getting one! Solar batteries are a great way to store energy from the sun so that you can use it later. In this blog post, we will discuss how to charge a solar battery with electricity.

How to Charge a Solar Battery with Electricity

When you purchase a solar panel, one of the other considerations is solar batteries. Once you have a solar array hooked up to your rechargeable batteries, you can use solar power even when the sun is not shining.

Sometimes there may not be enough power from the solar panels to charge the batteries. In such an instance, you might wonder whether it is possible to use your solar batteries to store power.

The short answer is yes. Solar batteries can be charged using grid electricity. It is not the preferred option but it can still work for emergencies.

How Charging the Battery Bank Using Regular Power Works

To charge the battery bank using a solar panel, you must remember that grid power is supplied as AC. To use it to charge the batteries, it has to be converted into DC power.

This conversion process is not 100% efficient, which is why storing grid power in the battery bank should be reserved for emergencies.

As a rule, if you have a large battery bank, you should charge it with solar power. This is because a solar system supplies you with free energy while charging batteries using the grid is inefficient and will lead to a higher electricity bill.

Besides that, grid power may be coming from non-renewable sources, which defeats the whole purpose of installing a solar system.

How to Charge Batteries with Grid Power Supply

Most modern systems come with a dual-charge feature. This allows you to charge batteries using solar power as well as grid power. No matter which mode you use to charge the batteries, it is important that you ensure the power going to the batteries is safe.

That means you need to use the right battery chargers. If you are unsure of what equipment to use, you can always contact the battery manufacturer, who will provide you with the right information on how to do it.

Why It Might Be Necessary to Charge Your Batteries with Grid Power

There are several reasons why you might want to charge your battery using grid power. The first is to avoid losing battery capacity.

For instance, if your battery bank comprises lead acid batteries, it is not safe to keep them discharged for long periods. A lead acid battery will quickly deteriorate once it is kept below a certain charge for an extended period.

If the area experiences long months of winter, and there is not enough sunlight to charge the batteries, it will become necessary to keep the batteries powered to avoid losing efficiency. Grid power can also be used to top up your battery bank. This is especially useful if your solar panels are not able to provide enough power to fully charge the batteries.

Another reason why you might consider having the battery simultaneously charging from the grid and solar system is the grid reliability. If your local grid is notoriously unreliable, it might become necessary for you to store power using your batteries for when the grid goes down.

Another reason why you will want to charge your batteries using grid power is that they may be fully depleted when you buy them. In such a case, it makes sense to charge up for the first time using grid power, and then hook them up to solar panels for subsequent charging.

When to Charge Your Batteries Using Grid Power

If you plan to use an AC supply to charge your batteries, you must keep costs as low as possible since grid power is many times more expensive than using solar panels. One way to achieve this is to charge the batteries at night when the grid power costs less.

However, keep in mind that even then, it will still cost many times more than simply using solar systems to charge the battery. Charging solar batteries is most appropriate when you only have to charge small batteries.

For example, you can use AC power to charge the solar light batteries if the light has this feature. This ensures that if your light did not charge correctly during the day, you can still use them at night to light up your home.

When charging your solar light batteries for the first time, we have a great guide that will help you do it correctly.

There Are a Few Things to Be Aware of When You Solar Charge Batteries

To charge lead acid batteries, you need to apply DC volts to the terminals of the battery. For slow charge, you need to apply 2.3 volts per cell and 2.45 volts per cell for fast charging.

If you are charging a battery, you need to be aware of overcharging. When too much charge voltage is sent to the terminals, it could cause decomposition of the water into electrolytes, which leads to premature aging.

It is the reason why you need a charge controller as part of the battery charger package. A charge controller detects when the battery is full and switches to trickle charge mode. It helps to ensure that batteries do not suffer any long-term damage when being charged. The solar charge controller will protect your batteries from being overcharged by power being generated by the solar panels.

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We have a guide in another post If your solar charge controller is not charging your battery. Read it for a few simple tips.

Besides overcharging, there is the risk of undercharging. If the charge voltage used is too low, the current flow will stop before the battery is fully charged. As a result, some lead sulfate remains on the electrodes, which eventually affects the battery’s capacity.

Batteries that are left in the discharge state or kept in store for too long will eventually start to accept less current than normal. This happens due to something called sulfation, which is where the charger is left connected to the battery for too long.

In some cases, the battery may have been in discharge mode for too long, which makes it necessary to replace the battery.

Temperature Considerations When Charging Batteries

An important consideration when charging lead acid batteries is the temperature. At low temperatures, the charge efficiency is reduced.

When temperatures rise about 45 degrees Celsius, the charge efficiency rises so rapidly that there is the risk of thermal runaways if there is no temperature compensation.

When picking a solar battery charger, it is always important to think about the temperature variation. Luckily, there are many options out there today.

Whether you need to charge small batteries for your solar lights or you need to charge a huge solar battery bank using AC power, you can always find a solar charger option that suits you best.

How Do You Charge a Solar Battery with Ac Power?

The easiest way to charge a solar battery with AC power is to use a solar charger. Solar chargers are devices that are specifically designed to convert AC power into DC power, which can then be used to charge batteries.

There are a variety of different solar charger models available on the market, so you should be able to find one that meets your needs and budget.

If you want to get more technical, you can also charge a solar battery with AC power by using a process called capacitor inversion.

This process involves using an inverter to convert the AC power into DC power, and then using a capacitor to store the DC power and supply it to the battery as needed.

Solar inverter sizing is an important consideration when using this method, as you need to make sure that the inverter is powerful enough to handle the amount of power that you want to store.

This method is generally more efficient than using a solar charger, but it can also be more expensive.

Can I Charge Solar Battery with Regular Charger?

While it is technically possible to charge a solar battery with a regular charger, it is not recommended. Solar batteries are designed to be charged by solar panels, which produce a trickle charge that slowly builds up the battery’s capacity over time.

Regular chargers, on the other hand, provide a much higher amperage that can damage the solar battery and cause it to degrade more quickly.

If you must use a regular charger, be sure to use one with low amperage and monitor the charging process carefully so you do not overcharge the battery.

Can You Charge a Battery with Electricity?

Yes! You can charge a battery with electricity. In fact, that’s exactly how batteries are charged! Electric current passes through the battery, depositing electrons on the negative electrode (the cathode) and removing them from the positive electrode (the anode).

This creates a voltage difference between the two electrodes, and this voltage difference is what powers our devices.

How Do You Charge a Solar Battery?

Charging a solar battery is a pretty simple process. All you need to do is connect your solar panel(s) to the battery bank and let the sun do its thing!

The way that solar panels charge batteries is by providing a trickle charge that slowly builds up the battery’s capacity over time. This means that you don’t need to worry about overcharging your battery – the sun will take care of that for you.

It is important to note, however, that the rate at which a solar panel charges a battery depends on several factors, including the size of the solar panel, the type of battery, and the level of sunlight.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it! That’s how to charge a solar battery with electricity. By following the simple guide above, you can keep your solar batteries charged and ready to go when you need them most.

Have you tried charging your solar battery with electricity? Or are you still deciding if solar batteries are worth it?

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How to Charge a Battery With a Solar Panel – Only 4 Steps

how to charge a battery with a solar panel

Charging your batteries using solar panels is an excellent method of utilizing clean, green, and renewable energy. However, how to charge a battery with a solar panel? Before you begin, you have to set up a charge regulator, which is for controlling the voltage from the panel that’s transmitted to the battery.

Without a regulator, on sunny days, the solar panel might generate more energy than your battery could manage, and this could cause damage to your battery. Fortunately, this is a straightforward approach that would have you charging your batteries quickly.

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We’ll continue discussing the proper steps in using solar panel to charge battery in this post. So, let’s begin!

Table of Contents

Detailed Steps in Connecting a Charge Regulator to a Battery and Solar Panel

using-solar-panel-to-charge-battery

As mentioned, rather than attaching your battery directly to your solar panel, it’s fundamental to set up a charge controller between your solar panel and battery.

Materials and Tools Needed:

  • Battery charge
  • Solar panel
  • Inverter (required if you’ll utilize AC powered devices)
  • Charge regulator
  • Connectors, wires, and cable (usually contained in your solar panel kit)
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire cutter
  • Drill
  • 12V deep cycle battery
  • Electrical tape
  • Crescent wrench
  • Goggles (for eye protection)

Here are the things to do:

Step 1: Ready all the materials and tools required.

Install the solar panel so that you could connect it to the primary connector later on. Arrange the panel first to know if an extension is necessary or not, as this will depend on the setup.

Make sure that you cover the wires for additional protection. Do this first if the battery isn’t charged yet. It’s crucial to charge the battery before you install the panels to save time.

Then, see to it that the battery’s negative terminal is on one side, and the positive terminal is on the other side. You can continue to step 3 if your battery is already parallel.

Otherwise, you will need to cut your cables and create a few jumpers. Basically, it goes like this: the larger the inverter, the longer the cable.

Step 2: Attach the charge regulator into the lead battery.

There must be a wire on the charge regulator where you could clamp or attach the battery. You must switch off the inverter first; if the regulator is waterproof, you could put it anywhere; if not, ensure that you position it in a safe spot.

Step 3: Connect the lead battery to your inverter.

You can configure the battery as parallel to the other batteries in your solar system. Connect the batteries with cables when adding more of them. It’s essential that you link the cables to the correct terminals.

Make sure your inverter can charge numerous parallel batteries at once.

Step 4: Hook up the battery regulator to the solar panel.

Finally, you may run the line from the solar panel to the charge regulator to set it. An extension cord might be necessary to hook up the components, depending on your setup.

To learn more about connecting a charge regulator with a solar panel and battery, you might want to check out this video:

How Long Does It Take to Charge a 12-volt Battery With a Solar Panel?

Depending on the size of your battery, it’d require approximately five to eight hours to fully charge car battery with solar panel that could generate 1 amp of current.

In addition, if you want to ensure a more effective charge, be sure that the solar panel is free from any obstruction and is positioned directly facing the sun.

Please note that charging time usually varies depending on the amp output and size of your panel. A large-sized panel could charge a car battery more quickly than a solar charger with a small-sized panel.

What Is the Required Solar Panel Size to Charge a 12-volt Battery?

A solar-powered car battery charger can commonly produce 13.6 volts up to 17.0 volts, depending on the model you pick. It is purposely designed to charge standard vehicle batteries and could run any 12V gadgets.

Solar chargers are ideal for small cabins, cars, recreational vehicles, and boats. Interestingly, some models come with a converter that is meant for charging smart devices. They are valuable investments for portable off-grid systems.

A regular solar panel measures 65×39-inches, and is utilized to charge a 12-volt 100W battery. On the other hand, the commercial solar panel measures 77×39-inches.

The Correct Way of Solar Panel Charging Car Battery

If you’re going for a DIY approach, ensure that your charging system has a charge regulator to control the voltage.

When using a solar charge regulator, you could attach one end of the controller to the battery. From there, you can attach the other end with your solar panel.

Such a method significantly aids in regulating the voltage so that your battery won’t exceed the safety limit. The charge regulator tracks the voltage of the battery, a process known as pulse width modulation.

Using a charge regulator can help keep the battery from going beyond the target limit or the safe float voltage. Luckily, it’s safe to leave this type of setup attached continually without worrying about the potentiality of battery damage.

The Stages Involved in Using a Solar Panel to Charge Car Battery

solar-panel-to-charge-car-battery

The four primary steps involved in charging a battery using a solar panel are as follows:

Stage 1: Bulk Phase

This is mainly the first phase of charging your battery using the energy from the sun. It begins when the sun shines or when you switch on the generator.

This stage will begin when your battery reaches a low-charge phase. This occurs when the charge is below 80 percent.

It is in this phase that the panel puts as many amps as probable into the battery cells. Moreover, the voltage in your batteries increases slowly as they take in the electricity.

Stage 2: Absorb Phase

This phase occurs when the charge level is between 80 to 90 percent.

Or, it emerges when your batteries reach a charge amounting to 14.4 up to 14.8 volts. Chiefly, when your batteries reach this charge percentage, it goes into the absorb phase, which generally relies on the charge rate. Fundamentally, the above charge rate is for lead-acid batteries.

This phase ends once the number of amps going in your batteries reaches a particular number that’s pre-set, or a predetermined time period elapses.

Stage 3: Float Phase

This phase commences when the charge regulator lessens the voltage to a particular pre-set value. It is accomplished when your batteries obtain a charge level of 100 percent.

You must be knowledgeable of how to program your charge regulator.

Stage 4: Equalization Phase

This phase refers to a regulated overcharge phase, which is accomplished regularly.

Equalization helps maintain lead acid batteries, whose capacity declines due to sulfation.

How to utilize a solar panel to charge a lead-acid battery?

The first thing you have to do is to invest in a premium quality solar panel and voltmeter. See to it that you choose a solar panel with the standard size.

When you attach the solar panel to your battery, see when the voltage reaches roughly 14-volt; this implies that your battery is fully charged.

Remove the connection when your battery is already fully charged. This is to impede charging the battery too fast or overcharging it. It’s vital that you carefully check your battery’s user manual to unveil the number of amps your battery can handle.

Meanwhile, if you are acquainted with trickle charging, keep in mind that there are a few solar chargers specifically engineered to sustain your battery’s charge level.

Such solar chargers don’t generate excessive voltage to impair your battery. For this reason, it is practical to get a trickle charger if you keep your car idle for an extended time.

The Bottom Line

You learned from this post the detailed steps on how to charge a battery with a solar panel. Rather than directly charging the battery with a solar panel, it’s best if you use a charge regulator to ensure safety. This way, you can extend the lifetime and performance of your battery.

So long as the materials and tools required when charging your battery with a solar panel are prepared and you carefully follow the guides shared here, you’re good to go. Hopefully, you can enjoy the perks of solar energy just as much as we do. Please feel free to share this article if you find it useful.

Charge AA Batteries – And More – With A Portable Solar Panel

You will need the right smart charger with a USB power input, and the right solar panel with enough power output.

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The AA size battery is the most common. Off-grid charging for this battery (and other sizes) can be accomplished with a combination of the right portable solar panel and battery charger to get the job done.

When might this be useful? While off-grid, camping, hiking, a remote location, or simply for your own preparedness.

  • Communications devices
  • Portable radios
  • Flashlights
  • Headlamps
  • Handheld GPS
  • Etc..

While on the go, out in the field or backpacking, the following are two system recommendations for off-grid charging equipment specifically for (AA, AAA). And the other for (AA, AAA, C, D). Yes that’s right, even D size!

(JUST UPDATED for latest technology solar panel and chargers to get the job done)

Off-grid Charging System For AA, AAA Batteries

The following off-grid charging system includes two components:

A folding solar panel
A complimentary battery charger for AA & AAA batteries.

Note that this will only charge “rechargeable” batteries (had to say it…).

Portable Folding Solar Panel For AA USB Charger (and more)

This is the latest update of my recommendation. A new model:

I watched a video where several of the popular high power folding solar panels were tested for efficiency. The Big Blue 28-watt solar panel tested to be the most efficient. It has also won a number of “Editors’ Choice Awards” on various testing sites.

Folding solar panels come in many sizes, shapes, and various electrical specifications. Here’s a picture from the manufacturer site which gives you a good relative idea of the Big Blue 28-watt solar panel relative size when unfolded.

This 28 watt solar panel is portable, folds up, and provides the correct output operating voltage and minimum current requirements to power the chargers listed below. That is, under full sunlight.

Since it has USB output, it can be used to charge your other devices too (e.g. cell phone).

ONE BEST THING ABOUT THIS SOLAR PANEL (IMPORTANT)

Lots of people don’t realize this when looking for a USB solar panel to recharge their phones, batteries, etc…

Most of what I’ve seen out there have this issue (though it also depends on the device you’re charging). If a cloud passes overhead to the extent the output drops below the capacity to charge the device — the charger may not recover to full output when the sun comes back unless you manually unlplug-replug the device you’re charging (e.g. cell phone). Otherwise it remains at a slow charge rate which will take a lot longer.

Charge Interruption Recovery

“One of the coolest features that our Editors’ Choice has is the ability to recover from an interruption. Whether you are charging on a partly cloudy day, or the sun angle changes to cast a shadow over the panel while you are charging, the BigBlue has an auto-restart function that makes reconnecting to your device a smooth affair.”

Again, I’ve also read that this may depend on your device too. So check your specific device after cloud cover returns to full sun…

I strongly recommend that you get yourself a USB amp meter. This will help optimize the panel position while charging, and also reveal if it’s charging properly after returning to full sun from cloud cover…

Big Blue 28-watt Solar Panel Specifications

  • 3 USB charging ports (Each 5 volts / 2.4 amps Max)
  • Folded Dimensions (11.1 × 6.3× 1.3) inches
  • Unfolded Dimensions (11.1 x 33.1) inches
  • Weight (20.6 ounces)
  • SmartIC Technology – detects device type for optimal charging current

AA USB Smart Charger

You need a charger with USB input for its power source. That way you simply connect to a powerful-enough solar panel (a good example shown above).

If you will only be charging AA or AAA batteries, the following recommendation will get the job done.

It has a micro-USB input which will connect with the solar panel shown below.

A benefit of this charger is that you do not need to insert batteries in pairs. It will accept from 1 to 4.

Each battery slot is independently monitored and uniquely charged according to the state-of-charge of each battery.

Smart chargers also have more sophisticated charging and sensing circuits improving charge quality and promoting longer battery life.

USB Charger For AA, AAA, C, D Batteries

This USB charger is unique! How’s that? Well it can actually also recharge C and D size batteries. Not everyone may need this capability. But if you do, it’s a nice solution with the solar panel above.

Store Solar Energy In A USB Battery Pack

Another use for this solar panel… Charge up a USB battery pack. That way you could use the battery pack later, any time, when there’s not enough sun to charge your device(s).

Although it will take awhile to charge up a USB battery pack (depending on its capacity), it’s a great way to store energy.

I have been using one of the “Anker” external batteries for many years with great success. The current most popular model is this one:

6 Comments

I have a couple 60watt solar panels, and a few 850 ah deep cycle rv batteries. I also have a Goal Zero guide 10 with the AAA and AA charging module, that works pretty decent can plug a usb into it as well, my backup charger plan is using the big batteries and a 1000w inverter. I can plug my chargers into the inverter to charge AAs, AAAs, D, C cells of witch i have a good supply of Tenergy and eneloop batteries. Mainly for lighting in emergency situations.
The cell phone, i could care less, when it goes dead ill toss it, but flashlights, head lights, and some other small stuff like my Kestrel or radios, those are important.

You can also get and would be worth getting rechargeable CR123 and other similar batteries and the corresponding chargers, even for pancake batteries, well worth it, optics, range finders etc all run on these oddball batteries, all can now be found rechargeable.

Thanks Kula
I didn’t know that they had those “oddball” sizes in rechargeable format. We can’t forget we need to get a charger for those batteries. I’ve never seen one of those chargers. I’ve got a few AA and AAA chargers and even an old one that also charges C and D batteries.
Cool beans

Sam
Just do a search, you will see them

the USB amp meter looks like it will be good to have. i didn’t know that they made one. i have ordered one.
also if someone has a link for rechargeable pancake batteries and chargers i would be all in for that.
i have looked, but have not found any. those small batteries are what most medical devices run on, thermometers, blood sugar monitors, etc. you wan’t them to stay up and running, just in case
i have a goal zero 30 watt portable to augment my small (400 watt) primary solar set up.
solar yard lights for inside the house at night, kerosene lamps, wicks, and 150 gals of kerosene.
i may not be able to do a lot of things, but i won’t be in the dark doing it !

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