My father in law lives in a seniors retirement complex and he sometimes does not drive his car for months. It is kept in a well lit underground parking garage. There seem to be parasitic loads that keep discharging his battery. I'm not sure what they are but likely his clock, radio memory and perhaps the onboard computer. Can anyone tell me how much power drain this will cause and/or how to measure it? My question is will one of those dashboard mounted two watt solar battery maintainers make enough power from artificial light to keep his battery from draining? How much power does it take to maintain a battery?
This may be the wrong forum but I know there are many wise solar experts on here so maybe some one can help me with this problem.
I no expert but I have tried what your proposing and you might have success with the Harbor Freight 10 watt which is one amp there abouts and that would be in direct sun light. The most bestest would be a battery maintance charger about the same cost. But you will need an electrical soource. The next thing would be to put a disconnect on the battery but that might be more problems for the senior then he can handle. Bill
Note is the garage lite 24/7 and the amount of have to be considerable. I really don't see the solar working.
No the solar panels will not work in a underground parking structure. Not even on the second floor of a three story parking garage. The lighting would have to be as bright as daylight to work, and they just are not that well lit.
Is there any power recepticals in the garage? Sometimes there are exhaust fans, and nearby them are lights and power recepitcals. But I don't know. You would need to plug in a battery charger, or have a booster battery, or have a disconnect switch installed that he can turn the knob to re-connect the battery. Yet this will not work with some cars that require power to unlock the doors, and you have to release the hood from inside. You would have to block the hood to keep it unlatched, and some good dooer will probably remove the block, latch the hood for you! Just to make sure you did not drive away with it unlatched.
Some portable battery boosters have jumper cables, and in some cases a 12 volt cigarette lighter receptical. With that, and certain cars allow the cigarette lighter to stay on all the time (or you can install a new cigarette lighter receptical for this purpose) you can plug in the portable battery jump starter to the car, recharge the car battery in a couple of hours, then take the booster pack up to his apartment, recharge that in the wall outlet.
However the booster packs are heavy. Probably someone at the place can move the 35 pound booster around for him, if he is not going to do it himself.
Thanks for the feedback guys. I was going to put a battery disconnect on, the kind that mounts onto the negative post which you simply turn one way or the other to connect or disconnect but he seemed unhappy about this concept. He did not explain why. I then told him about the solar chargers. I know that solar cells will run a pocket calculator from indoor lighting so I put that idea to him. He liked it so I thought I would look into it further.
The car is a 2009 Chevy Impala with about 6,000 kilometers or 4,000 miles. It has the power door opening but the hood opening I believe is manual. I never thought about some do-gooder closing the released hood but yes that would be a problem. Another problem is that the darn thing will not let him remove the key from the ignition when the battery is flat. Once he gets inside and inserts the key in the ignition, trys to start it and it won't turn over he now knows the battery is dead. Too late, he now knows also that his keys are siezed and cannot be extracted. What a PITA. The idea of regularily hooking up a charger is all that remains if the solar panel won't work. This is no problem in summer when we are home but gets complicated when we are gone south for 3 or more months for the winter. I'm flat out of great ideas. Maybe the portable jump starter is an answer. He can keep it charged up in his suite then load it onto his walker and take it down to the garage. Again this is another PITA for a handicapped senior. I think he should sell the car and take cabs but they don't like to give up the notion of freedom of mobility even if he seldom uses it.
There are power recepticals in the parking garage but they are not near his handicapped parking spot. The closest is less than 50 feet away but it requires that I string a cord across the traffic aisleway and I worry that some senior who can't see too well will trip on it so I can only leave it connected for a day, usually overnight in order to minimize the hazard to shuffling feet.
In conclusion I thing the battery disconnect is the only option.
Whatever, more thought is needed. Thanks again for the feedback.
Since there is a receptacle less than 50 feet away, is there a way to secure a cord overhead instead of across the traffic path? Is the owner/manager of the facility open to this? Is there a way to permanently mount a battery trickle charger under the hood, with only the electric cord accessible through the bumper or grill? (kinda like a block heater cord hangs out) If yes; I would do that, and secure all the cords so that if someone forgets to unplug it, it simply unplugs when the car is backed out.
to unseize his key, what about those little maintainer thingys that plug into a "hot" cigarette lighter socket and have a 9 volt battery to retain settings? or as stated, use a small jumpstart jobby plugged into the socket and disconnect the main battery?
Not sure I would totally disconnect the battery with the newer vehicles.
I had my truck battery run down on me which turned out to ba a bad alternator not charging the battery enough but I had the battery terminals totally disconnected for about 12 hours.
After I got the new alternator all installed and working I had to take the truck to Ford to get the computers all reset - minimum charge was $120 for ten minutes of work.
You might look around the storage garage and see what others in there are doing...
Connecting up a small batteryminder "low current" trickle charger sounds like a good plan to me if they will let you hook it up to 120VAC...
My Posts are IMHO based on my experiences - PM me Roy and Carolyn
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