Solar chargers - worth the money?

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New member
Aug 11, 2006
I have a 25' tow behind that sees most of its use up in the woods during the fall.  Electrical loads are minimum since we're out most of the day, but we do frequently need to run the heater at night.  After upgrading to golf-cart batteries, I have better battery life, but still need to run the generator almost every night to limp through the evening if the heater is on. 

I've been thinking about adding solar panels to help recharge the batteries during the day (even a quiet generator is annoying when it's so silent you can hear elk walking through the woods).  I installed a small system on my father-in-law's sailboat several years ago, and it seems to be effective as a float charger. 

After reading some of the promises and propaganda, I'm looking for some real life feedback on actual performance versus rated performance.  Can I realistically expect to get much battery charge during a 10-12 hour period in the fall, or should I just invest in a quieter generator?

Appreciate any feedback, yay or nay........



Moderator Emeritus
Mar 3, 2005
Elkhart Lake, WI for the summer. Work at Road Amer

I think it would be marginal, at best. With an 80 watt panel, you'd get about 6.5 amps (max.) charging current per hour - assuming the panel is in full sunlight. Being in the woods would make that a real challange, especially in the fall when the sun is at a low angle. Add a few clouds or overcast, and you may get nothing. It certainly would help on some days, but don't count on it as your primary power source. Add a small generator like a Honda 1000EU 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Feb 2, 2005
At my Silver Springs FL home
Get a catalytic propane heater - they heat like crazy, don't need a fan, have no open flame and are quite safe to use. Most are equipped withh a low-oxygen safety shutoff too.  A Big Buddy or a couple portable Buddys would probably heat your cabin nicely without using an electricity at all.  The Big Buddy has a small fan you can turn on if you wish, while the regular portable Buddy has none.

Buddy from Mr Heater
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