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2019 Forester Sport CVT
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475 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
With multiple Subarus in the family, there are times one sits outside for a week or more without running.

It would be a snap to lay a solar charger on the dash to keep the battery topped off, but where to plug the charger?

The power outlet is switched.

There are old posts from two decades ago here. My question is about the newest generation Subarus.
 

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2019 Forester Limited
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790 Posts
Interested to know the same. Wonder what the track record is for these dashtop PV panels in summer heat?
 

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2012 Forester X Auto
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1,926 Posts
You will need to do a wiring mod for the existing outlets, or add a new one, as the existing power ports are switched.
There should be a wiring diagram in the owners book for your year.
I would suggest adding a new power port and wire it to the battery with a fuse. Pretty easy to remove to bring back to stock condition.
You also wouldn't need to unplug whatever items you normally use the outlets for (mine are typically occupied).
With an un-switched outlet, you also need to make sure you don't have something plugged in using power when parked.

Solar panels in summer heat will still work, but the power they produce is reduced, although not eliminated.
You probably don't have to worry about a regulator to eliminate overcharge for a dash sized panel.
You might consider looking at a flexible panel.
I've got one that folds for easy storage in the pocket behind the front seat.
 

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2003 Forester XS
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36 Posts
Been leaving solar panels plugged into the cigarette lighter port on our cars/trucks for 20 years. Michigan mostly(all year, so below zero cold and up to the low 100’s) though the family truckster saw plenty of 110F days out west on yearly camping trips. Never had a problem with the panels in the heat, unless you wanted to move it.

Edit, I still have one of the panels from way back when. Still works great.


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2019 Forester Sport CVT
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475 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Since the "power outlet" is switched, I will just run the wire under the hood to the door, then lay the solar charger on the dash. Connection to the battery direct is easiest for occasional use.

Even 5 watts at max output, there should be enough to keep the battery OK.

Amazon has a few with circuit protection. A highly rated 5 watt one is $50. A 10 watt one is a little more.
 

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2019 Forester Limited
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790 Posts
I did a calculation using available solar for northern Ohio and discovered we don't get enough sun in the winter months for even a 10 watt panel to overcome a continual 50 mA battery drain, and that's assuming a snow-free windshield. Works OK the rest of the year.

@RawLand, I plugged in numbers for sunny Texas (Austin) and it looks like you'll barely squeek by with your 5 watt panel, provided you face the panel south and tilt it up around 30 degrees during the winter months.

I used city solar data from an NREL site that provides historical solar data that accounts for average cloud cover, etc. Panel watt ratings assume 1000 W/m^2, which is close to what you get with a perfectly oriented panel on a clear day.
 

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2019 Forester Sport CVT
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475 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thank-you.

So order the: SUNER POWER Waterproof 12V Solar Battery Charger & Maintainer Pro - Built-in Intelligent MPPT Charge Controller - 10W Solar Panel Trickle Charging Kit for Car, Marine, Motorcycle, RV, etc
 

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2019 Forester Sport CVT
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475 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
The problem Subaru is an Outback, a 2018 I think, north of us in Omaha. When parked outdoors for three weeks, the battery was drained. The 10 watt solar charger, only producing current part of each day, should overcome any drain. There are no accessories or modifications to that car.
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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Yea..my initial thought is why bother. Buy this:
 

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2019 Forester Sport CVT
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475 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Draining a battery ruins it. It is better to keep a charger on it when away.

BTW: I have an AntiGravity lithium jump battery in my car. No more jumper cables for me.
 

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2018 Subaru Forester XT CVT
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31 Posts
Hi folks, like many (or most of you) I am holed up at home. I was wondering how ya'll are keeping your Subie's battery from draining out?

My own 2-year old Subie is sittin' pretty in its garage, and all I can do right now is take it out once a week for an hour drive at highway speed.

The car does have a fresh OEM battery in it, that's just a couple of months old.

What are you folks doing to ensure the battery keeps a charge?

I was thinking of buying some kind of a car battery charger, but as my car lives in a public garage, it will likely get stolen if I just leave it out, and I can't leave the car hood open all night.

Also, when I tried to look for car chargers, virtually all of them have horrible 1 star reviews on Amazon, with folks hating them and saying they are a waste of money...

Any ideas? What are you folks doing? What battery charger did you buy which you liked a lot?

Thanks in advance!
 

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2001 Forester L Automatic
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136 Posts
Battery Tender brand 1.25amp charger on a timer that runs 1 hour a day. My BMW motorcycle and riding lawn mower on the .750amp charger for 30 minutes a day. Works out great.
 

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2018 Subaru Forester XT CVT
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Thanks Steve K, but the "Battery Tender" brand has horrific reviews on Amazon, and also, my car lives in a public garage, so I can't just have a charger out plugged on the car 24/7... The charger will get stolen, or if the charger starts smoking or setting my own battery on fire, there's no one watching the car or the whole garage entire go up in blazes... Need a different solution...
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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We always have a YUASA 900 battery charger+maintainer connected to our vehicle battery. This is also sold under the Schauer Charge Master brand. Same device, just a different label.

Bobby...
533038

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['07 FSXT Member Journal] ['03 X Member Journal]
 

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2015 Forester 2.5 Premium CVT
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I don't think you really need to do anything as long as you drive it every once in a while, as you indicate that you do. Not sure what other option there would be if you can't plug in a device and leave it.

Mike
 

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Sahuarita, Arizona USA 2018 Forester Limited
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I was thinking of buying some kind of a car battery charger, but as my car lives in a public garage, it will likely get stolen if I just leave it out, and I can't leave the car hood open all night.
Sounds like the best option in your situation is a portable battery jump starter incase your battery does die. However, it seems like dying batteries are more of an issue in the 2019-2020 Foresters than the 2018's, perhaps because the newest generation is saddled with more parasitic electronics.

But I'm curious why you have a new battery already in a 2018? I would expect the factory battery to last at least three years.
 

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2011 Forester
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If the battery is new(ish) you should be ok with 1h drive. Try 2x weekly if you’re concerned. Bad things for Lead Acid battery are: sitting not charging and being used up by standby functions of computers and extreme cold. As it’s spring and relatively warm and you’re parked indoors, I’d say you’re gonna be just fine.
As I said previously, take out twice a week if you’re worried. Mine’s parked outside (Canada) battery is 2 years old and starts every time 1/week with no issues. Last week all overnight reps were -1C to -10 C (30F-14F)

Cheers


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2018 Subaru Forester XT CVT
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31 Posts
Thanks folks! My battery is new, as the OEM that came with the car died on me in less than two years. But, good 'ol Subaru customer service agreed to buy me a new battery without any arguments. They were super nice about it too - I really appreciate Subaru's good customer service. So, with springtime temps, and a new battery, I hear you folks saying just keep things as they are, and just take out the car for a spin once or twice a week?
 

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2018 2.0 FXT-Touring CVT
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Funny enough, my battery died, and I tried to jump it to no avail. I had to take it to the dealer and get a replacement (under warranty). The new batt works great, but it lit up my dash like a christmas tree. I had to go to the dealership and the shop manager cleared the codes (wearing full-on PPE). So yea...
 
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