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Using a solar battery charger to charge your trolling motor battery can seem like a great idea but there are some things you might want to consider before you make your purchase.
We have looked at some of the benefits of using a solar powered charger for trolling motor batteries to help you get an idea of what you might expect and whether or not it might work for you.
5 Best Solar Chargers For Trolling Batteries
1: NOW 20 Watts Solar Trolling Motor Battery Charger (best overall)
- Dimensions: 14.1 by 15.7 by 0.25 inches
- Weight: 2.4 pounds
The NOW Trolling Motor Battery Charger is a solar battery charger that is built specifically for trolling motor batteries. It is lightweight and durable, as well as being weatherproof, which can be important for use on a boat.
It’s a 20 watt charger that’s designed to charge 24 volt batteries. This can make it ideal if you’re looking to charge two 12 volt batteries but it may not be suitable if you want to charge only one 12 volt battery.
The solar charger comes with a Plug and Play power cable with a DC plug, as well as alligator clamp and ring battery terminal connectors.
- Ideal for 24 volt batteries
- Terminal connectors included
2: TP-Solar 20 Watt 12 Volt Solar Charger
- Dimensions: 14.7 by 13.5 by 1.4 inches
- Weight: 1.9 pounds
This TP-Solar 12 Volt Solar Charger is designed to maintain the charge of a 12 volt battery, so that you can extend the life of a charge. It is built to deliver a trickle charge rather than a full charge of a dead battery but it might be useful in delivering a small slow charge to a dead battery to get it going again.
The panel features four holes so that it can be mounted to your boat or other surface. It also comes with cables for connecting to your battery.
Another useful feature is the indicator light that tells you that the solar panel is charging your battery.
- Trickle charger
3: NOW 20 Watt 1 Amp Solar Battery Charger
- Dimensions: 14.1 by 15.7 by 0.25 inches
- Weight: 2 pounds
This NOW 1 Amp Solar Battery Charger is designed to charge 12 volt batteries so it can be a good option if your trolling motor uses just one 12 volt battery. However, you could also use it to charge one battery at a time if your set-up includes more than one battery.
The charger features a durable semi-flexible solar panel with an aluminum back for added strength. It can be ideal for using on a kayak or small boat, as it can be mounted on both flat and slightly curved surfaces.
It comes with cables to connect directly to your battery, as well as a DC plug and a 10 foot extension cable.
- Ideal for 12 volt batteries
- Easily mounted
4: Suner Power Waterproof 12V Solar Battery Charger
- Dimensions: 23 by 14.25 by 1.5 inches
- Weight: 5 pounds
The Suner Power Solar Battery Charger is a waterproof charger that can charge 12 volt batteries.
It is designed to work as a charger and a trickle charger so it can charge a 12 volt battery in around 12 hours but it can maintain your battery to keep it topped up so that you can extend the length of time you get from your battery on one charge.
This charger features overcharge protection and is crafted for durability with a tough ABS frame and durable tempered glass in the panel.
It also features an LED light to let you know the solar charger is charging correctly and it comes with the connector cables to attach to your battery terminals.
- Designed to charge 12 volt batteries
- Durable construction
- LED light
5: SOLPERK 5W Solar Battery Charger
- Dimensions: 10.4 by 8.6 by 0.6 inches
- Weight: 1.8 pounds
This Solperk 5W Solar Battery Charger can be ideal if you’re looking for a more compact solar charger for your kayak. This lightweight charger features suction cups so that you can easily mount it to various surfaces on your boat without having to drill holes in your vessel.
This portable charger is built to be resistant to wind and rain. It can deliver a slow charge to maintain a charged 12 volt battery but may take a while to fully charge a battery.
It features an LED light to let you know it’s charging and comes with four suction cups plus battery terminal connector cables that have a plug and play design.
- Plug and play
- Weather resistant
- Suction cups
Why Use A Solar Charger For My Trolling Motor?
One of the main benefits of using a solar power is that you can harness the energy from the sun to create your own electricity. This means you don’t have to plug into the grid or pay for the electricity you generate through the solar panels.
Solar chargers are also more environmentally friendly as solar power is classed as renewable energy rather than energy derived from fossil fuels. This has another benefit – they don’t generate any harmful emissions.
Another advantage of using a solar powered charger is that you can take it with you on your boat. This means you may not have to take your heavy battery out of your boat, as you can bring the charger to the battery.
Video: Solar Battery Charger For Trolling Motor
They can also usually be installed on your vessel.
Note that most solar battery chargers are not designed to be used while you’re operating your trolling motor. It can be better to charge the battery while you’re not using the motor. But make sure your charger has access to plenty of sunlight while it’s charging, as the chargers are not designed to store power.
How Much Sun Do I Need?
Many solar chargers will take several hours, usually over a few days, to charge a battery, depending on the size of your battery and the wattage of your charger. But, obviously, solar panels will not work at night or in the dark, as they need light in order to work.
The higher the wattage of the charger the faster it may charge but solar chargers are still quite a new technology and are generally not very quick at charging, with the higher wattage of solar chargers generally being too large for mounting on a small boat.
If you use a 75 amp hour 12 volt battery you would ideally require a 70 watt 12 volt solar charger. However, this can still take over a week for the solar charger to charge your battery from empty to full. To charge it from about 50% to 100% may take around 4 days.
Using a solar charger with a lower wattage will take longer to charge the same 75 amp hour battery.
Generally, a 15 watt solar charger can deliver 1 amp hour for every hour of direct sunlight. However, if it’s cloudy or the panel is not in direct sunlight, this will affect the amount of charge it can deliver.
What Gear Do I Need?
You’ll need a marine battery (that’s suitable for your kayak trolling motor) and a solar charger that is compatible with your battery, for example, the same voltage. If you need to charge a 12 volt battery, you’ll need a 12 volt charger.
If you need to charge two 12 volt batteries you will probably need a 24 volt charger or you can use two 12 volt chargers.
How Do I Rig It All Up?
Solar chargers can be pretty easy to set up, especially the ones that are plug and play. First of all, you need to make sure your solar panel is at a 90 degree angle to the sun. If the angle is less, the amount of energy the panel can generate will also be less.
The cables from your solar charger can be directly connected to your battery, with the negative (black) cable attaching to the negative terminal on your battery and positive (red) to positive. Some chargers may have a light to let you know that there is power going to the battery.
If you’re looking for a solar charger for a 24 volt battery we think the best option is the NOW 20 watt 24-volt charger as it’s durable, has a decent wattage and can be easy to use.
A good runner up is the 12-volt NOW battery charger because of its durability and its included connectors. Another great option if you’re looking for a compact charger that’s easy to mount, is the Solperk 5 watt charger.
However, remember that not all of these chargers will suit all trolling motor batteries and that while they can be convenient, they can take a lot longer to charge your battery than a standard charger.