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Feeder Battery/Solar Panel Questions #7424230 02/04/19 02:40 PM
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Lantern batteries are getting expensive and are a pain to replace all the time. I'm thinking about going to 6V rechargeable batteries and solar panels for our deer feeders and have some questions.

- Our feeders are in the shade most of the day, piney woods. Will the solar panels still charge the batteries in the shade?

- We feed year round so the sun angle changes. Should I point the panels in a specific direction or just flat on top of the feeder?

- During hunting season they are set to feed twice a day for 5 to 10 seconds. Off season set to feed once a day. Any recommendations on solar panel and battery type?

- Any other recommendations?


Joe
Re: Feeder Battery/Solar Panel Questions [Re: BigDad] #7424257 02/04/19 02:55 PM
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I hunt timber company too. I've got my feeder down a lane with tall pines. I've had the same 6v with solar panel on it for 3 years and it hasn't stopped spinning. I didn't think it would get enough light either, but I guess it doesn't take much light to maintain the batter to spin 2 times a day.

Re: Feeder Battery/Solar Panel Questions [Re: BigDad] #7424314 02/04/19 03:42 PM
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They will work ok in the limited sun, but you may need to pull the batteries every once in a while and give them a full charge on a charger.

All the solar panels I have used said the panel should face southwest per the manufacturer for best results.

I don't know if it is because of the same phenomenon that makes southwest best for solar panels or not, but I have found that I get the best pictures (least exposure/lighting issue pictures) on trail cameras when the cameras face northeast. So at my blinds the panel faces southwest and on that side of the feeder facing north east is where I put trail cams.


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Re: Feeder Battery/Solar Panel Questions [Re: BigDad] #7424383 02/04/19 05:05 PM
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My panels face southeast, slanted to shed water, debris. Wipe them off every opportunity. This should be optimum position. I use the blue/ gray gel cells. Check often for corrosion (put some grease on the terminals to help prevent). My feeder batteries stay in place until they they no longer charge.

I also keep a 12v solar panel connected to the ranch truck battery.

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Re: Feeder Battery/Solar Panel Questions [Re: BigDad] #7424399 02/04/19 05:36 PM
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Any southern direction should work, keeping in mind the location of tree limbs that will restrict direct sunlight. I once hooked up a solar panel to a multi-meter to see the difference in current flow with direct and filtered sunlight and it was significant. I have mine pointed SE because that's where it will receive the most direct sunlight during the day.

You also have to be careful of critters that will hang onto or chew into wires between the solar panel and feeder. Flexible conduit often used in trailer and auto applications works good for this.


Dan,

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Re: Feeder Battery/Solar Panel Questions [Re: BigDad] #7424406 02/04/19 05:40 PM
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Point panels in the direction that they would get the most sunlight preferably south unless that direction is blocked. then try east or west. . In checking my 6 volt panels, direct sunlight my give 8 or 9 volts, in the shade may be 6 or lower depending if the sun is going down.



Re: Feeder Battery/Solar Panel Questions [Re: BigDad] #7424500 02/04/19 07:40 PM
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Thanks for all the help. One of my feeders is on the edge of a clear-cut and there is a treeline (tall pines and hardwood) on the South side so in the late Fall and Winter with the sun to the South it will always be in the shade. In the late Spring and Summer is will be in the sun most of the day. I'll put a solar charger on it to see how it does.


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Re: Feeder Battery/Solar Panel Questions [Re: BigDad] #7424791 02/05/19 12:29 AM
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+1 on squirrels chewing on the wires. If you protect wiring with metal flex conduit, seal the outside end with silicon caulking. Timers dont like water.

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Re: Feeder Battery/Solar Panel Questions [Re: BigDad] #7424856 02/05/19 01:12 AM
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I now screw the solar pannels to the feeder timer box with the wires going directly into the box behind the panel through hole drilled for that purpose. No critter issues that way on the wires since none are exposed.

Re: Feeder Battery/Solar Panel Questions [Re: kmon1] #7425185 02/05/19 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by kmon1
I now screw the solar pannels to the feeder timer box with the wires going directly into the box behind the panel through hole drilled for that purpose. No critter issues that way on the wires since none are exposed.

this is what I've converted too also. The metal flex conduit makes for acrobatic antics with coons and they tend to put enough of them on it to pull it out of the mounting points at the solar panel and the timer box. Coons are pretty resourceful little creatures.


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