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Ours started the car in the mountains after being left overnight, at 13F, when the resting voltage was 11.2V but it cranked really slowly and probably wouldn't have lasted long if the car hadn't started right up. FYI, I'm testing the voltage with a USB adaptor in the cig port, not directly on the battery, and with ACC on, so there's other load from the HU starting up, interior lights on, etc.

rlouie, how long should a battery be left after charging (i.e. driving the car) to get a good sense of the true state of charge?
Depends on the condition of the battery to start with - both health and state of charge. If the battery is near zero and in good health, the surface charge gets absorbed quickly until the battery gets close to 70% or so - then you would need less time to understand what's going on. If the battery is near full, the surface charge takes a while...


Example. If you have a 12.0V reading on your battery, and you charge it for an hour at 14.4V/5A, immediately after charging stops, you will see that voltage drop to under 14V and then quickly through 13V (probably less than 30 minutes) where it starts slowing at about 12.5V. Given a few more hours, you'll see it drop down to approx 12.1V

On the flip side, if you have a 12.7V battery and you charge it, immediately after charging stops, you will still probably see the voltage drop to under 14V but it will be a much slower decline to 13V (may take 2 hours) where it slowly declines down to 12.88V in another few hours.
 

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I'm charging one of the 7Ah SLAs on my desk with the iMax B6 and it's interesting watching the charging voltage. For the first hour it was around 13.8V +/- 0.2V until it had supplied about 1Ah and now it's steady at 14.7V with 1.55Ah supplied so far in total (almost two hours).
I believe that's the function of the charger more than anything else. Most chargers like to do a slower ramp up and then increase the rate as it becomes comfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
I believe that's the function of the charger more than anything else. Most chargers like to do a slower ramp up and then increase the rate as it becomes comfortable.
I can set the max amperage it delivers, up to 5.0A, and for the 7Ah I set it to 1.0A. It started out around 12.3V (had been stored for over a year) and the charger shut off after about three hours. An hour later, it's at 12.8V. Seems consistent with the math, and that the iMax B6 is doing an OK job charging a lead acid battery.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
After a few mores tests, I'm trying a different tack. The dash cam has only been connected via the cig port for a few days of normal commuting and errands and this morning the battery is 12.0V so I'm going to try a solar panel (maybe plus the dedicated SLA if the panel can't keep the battery more fully charged.

For those of you that have them, how do you connect them? Obviously the cig ports aren't powered. Is it OK to use one of the unused always-on fuse sockets in the driver's side panel? The controller has separate connections for the battery and the load.
 

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Discussion Starter #25 (Edited)
The battery was 11.9V this morning.

The 30W solar panel arrived this afternoon. In direct sun, directed at the sun, the most I could get it to produce was 14W. Inside the car it was far less.

I won't get to play with the Crosstrek in the sun for a few days. Any comments on how to connect it?
 

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The battery was 11.9V this morning.

The 30W solar panel arrived this afternoon. In direct sun, directed at the sun, the most I could get it to produce was 14W. Inside the car it was far less.

I won't get to play with the Crosstrek in the sun for a few days. Any comments on how to connect it?
The big problem is where to put the panel so that it gets light but it won't get in the way AND you don't have to put it back in place everytime you park. How big is the panel?
 

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Yeah, I've been trying to figure that one since I suggested solar charging of the SLA. My best guess is roof rack. If I had a solar and a rack, that's what I'd do. If I needed solar, it would be an excuse to buy a roof rack!
However, that would mean getting the wires back inside somehow and a beefier panel is required to survive outside. Longevity of the panel is another issue.

I might try and go along the door weather stripping to get it IVO the fuse panel. I could also consider drilling out access through the antenna (and sealing it up), drooping the roof liner and running inside but I'll need a second look for options when its not less than -30; that's -22 to you southern folk.
 

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The battery was 11.9V this morning.

The 30W solar panel arrived this afternoon. In direct sun, directed at the sun, the most I could get it to produce was 14W. Inside the car it was far less.

I won't get to play with the Crosstrek in the sun for a few days. Any comments on how to connect it?
If the solar panel output is 15W or less, you don't need a regulator. At our cabin, I have used a 15W panel on our boat moored there for many years (10+) without a regulator, and it has kept my battery fully charged. I test it every year, and it is still like near new. And it is not even an expensive battery, just a regular automotive battery.

Most solar panels (12V) actually output about 17 - 19V when charging with no load. Low wattage at that voltage can actually be beneficial as it provides a better "equalization" charge which keeps your battery cells more healthy (prevents sulfation and stratification).

My large solar system for the cabin has a regulator that periodically applies an equalization charge cycle to keep the batteries in top shape.
 

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Discussion Starter #29 (Edited)
The big problem is where to put the panel so that it gets light but it won't get in the way AND you don't have to put it back in place everytime you park. How big is the panel?
I was hoping I had found a use for the moonroof... :D

But the glass is tinted... :(

The active area is around 25x13" which will fit in the space between the moonroof and sliding cover but I'll have to trim it a little. I don't want to do that yet because I'll return it if it won't generate enough power with the sun overhead. My test yesterday was too late in the day but didn't bode well.

Any thoughts on wiring it to an always on fuse? Any potential issues? I have a regulator that was putting out 14.4V when I tested it yesterday. The panel was fluctuating wildly from 0 to 21V.
 

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Yeah, I've been trying to figure that one since I suggested solar charging of the SLA. My best guess is roof rack. If I had a solar and a rack, that's what I'd do. If I needed solar, it would be an excuse to buy a roof rack!
However, that would mean getting the wires back inside somehow and a beefier panel is required to survive outside. Longevity of the panel is another issue.

I might try and go along the door weather stripping to get it IVO the fuse panel. I could also consider drilling out access through the antenna (and sealing it up), drooping the roof liner and running inside but I'll need a second look for options when its not less than -30; that's -22 to you southern folk.
The best bet might actually be a smaller panel mounted on the driver's side of the hatch windshield as you can route the wires through existing raceways back into the cabin. Yes, the panel is smaller but then the panel will be in use all of the time and you don't have to worry about the elements.
 

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I was hoping I had found a use for the moonroof... :D

But the glass is tinted... :(

The active area is around 25x13" which will fit in the space between the moonroof and sliding cover but I'll have to trim it a little. I don't want to do that yet because I'll return it if it won't generate enough power with the sun overhead. My test yesterday was too late in the day but didn't bode well.

Any thoughts on wiring it to an always on fuse? Any potential issues? I have a regulator that was putting out 14.4V when I tested it yesterday. The panel was fluctuating wildly from 0 to 21V.
Don't worry about no-load fluctuations... once connected to the battery, all of that goes away.

As for an always on fuse, I would just use the supplied connectors for now and see if your battery condition improves over the next 30 days before thinking about making further changes.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
Don't worry about no-load fluctuations... once connected to the battery, all of that goes away.

As for an always on fuse, I would just use the supplied connectors for now and see if your battery condition improves over the next 30 days before thinking about making further changes.
No supplied connectors, just bare wires, LOL. It's not an automotive accessory, just a basic solar panel. It took a while to find one with the dimensions that would fit the moonroof. If it works, I'll run a cable through the headliner and down the A pillar (behind the airbag, of course, thanks Doca) to the fuse box. Just wondering if there's any downside to pumping 14+ volts and, hopefully, close to 30W through one of the empty always-on fuse sockets. Don't really want to go through the firewall but that's always an option.
 

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No supplied connectors, just bare wires, LOL. It's not an automotive accessory, just a basic solar panel. It took a while to find one with the dimensions that would fit the moonroof. If it works, I'll run a cable through the headliner and down the A pillar (behind the airbag, of course, thanks Doca) to the fuse box. Just wondering if there's any downside to pumping 14+ volts and, hopefully, close to 30W through one of the empty always-on fuse sockets. Don't really want to go through the firewall but that's always an option.
Ahhh... I thought you got the NOCO one being discussed.

As far as 14V is concerned, you shouldn't any issues as the alternator charges at 14.4V. What you can always do is a test with the panel and the battery on a sunny day... disconnect battery from the car, place solar panel outside in sun, connect the panel to the battery, measure voltage. That should give you some idea of what's going on when you connect it up. Then in the car, you always wire the panel to a switch to turn it on (ie charge) when you leave and off (not charging) when you drive. If you want to get fancy, use a relay connected to an accessory circuit to operate the relay with the default position being on (ie panel connected to the battery) while the car is off.
 

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Discussion Starter #34
Ahhh... I thought you got the NOCO one being discussed.

As far as 14V is concerned, you shouldn't any issues as the alternator charges at 14.4V. What you can always do is a test with the panel and the battery on a sunny day... disconnect battery from the car, place solar panel outside in sun, connect the panel to the battery, measure voltage. That should give you some idea of what's going on when you connect it up. Then in the car, you always wire the panel to a switch to turn it on (ie charge) when you leave and off (not charging) when you drive. If you want to get fancy, use a relay connected to an accessory circuit to operate the relay with the default position being on (ie panel connected to the battery) while the car is off.
It was sunny this morning and I was planning to test the panel on the roof of our building but then the clouds rolled in. The best I saw was 15.8W with the panel on the dining table in the sun (through our dirty windows) so that's promising. The voltage is crazy, jumping around from nothing to 21.7V but on the regulator it's steady at 14.4V when the panel is lit.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
It doesn't seem to be working today. I may need to send it back to Amazon if I can't figure out what's wrong with it...

Lucia on the solar panel.jpg
 

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It seems a darkness has settled over the Sun...
Problem solved, I just needed to use an air duster - how we get the cats off the places they're not allowed... :D

Update: I removed the aluminium frame it came in. That was a lot more work than I was anticipating but now it fits in the space between the moonroof and the sliding cover. Now I just need to figure out how to mount it so it won't rattle but can be easily removed if we ever need to open the moonroof.

I don't like the idea of suction cups. My experience has been that they eventually dry out and fall off in our warm climate. I'll experiment with some ideas I have when I get custody of the Crosstrek again...
 

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Problem solved, I just needed to use an air duster - how we get the cats off the places they're not allowed... :D

Update: I removed the aluminium frame it came in. That was a lot more work than I was anticipating but now it fits in the space between the moonroof and the sliding cover. Now I just need to figure out how to mount it so it won't rattle but can be easily removed if we ever need to open the moonroof.

I don't like the idea of suction cups. My experience has been that they eventually dry out and fall off in our warm climate. I'll experiment with some ideas I have when I get custody of the Crosstrek again...
Why do you need to mount it?

Just have it sit in the sunroof cover (maybe with a bit of soft foam on the corners)... feed the wires down the A or B pillars and then to the fuse box.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Why do you need to mount it?

Just have it sit in the sunroof cover (maybe with a bit of soft foam on the corners)... feed the wires down the A or B pillars and then to the fuse box.
That's what I'm thinking, or Velcro. Trying to avoid squeaks and rattles...
 

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That's what I'm thinking, or Velcro. Trying to avoid squeaks and rattles...
Glue fitted foam to the bottom so that it forms to the cover (ie no rocking) then use velco on the foam to cover interface area and glue a bit of weight to the bottom of the panel if the panel is too light. That should cut down on any bouncing.
 
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