Issue: The Excursion is not driven enough (sadly) and thus the battery dies. I disconnected everything I could think of (winch, light controller, etc.) but there is still some parasitic draw like the alarm system. I had the ex hooked up to a trickle charger and it does a great job but the Ex is often times parked where I do not have an outlet.
Solution: Solar panel and MPPT charge controller.
I purchased this 100W solar panel a while ago from Lensun Solar, originally to build out a “house” battery power station inside the excursion for camping. The original plan, which will still happen when I get around to it, was to link the solar panel with the DC-DC charger from Renogy, to the car battery and then to a lithium battery and inverter inside the truck to power the inside appliances. The process to get that accomplished has been taking a bit too long and the Excursion battery has been dying in the meantime. After installing the solar panel, which was easy using guerilla double-sided heavy-duty adhesive, I had to decide how to wire it to the battery. I did not want to put the DC-DC under the hood so the search was on for a solar trickle MPPT charge controller.
Amazon to the rescue! I found this – Bateria Power 10A 12V MPPT Solar Charge Controller – which does exactly what I need it to at a very reasonable price. The hook-up was simple and it has been handling the underhood temps with no issues. The controller is small, easy to tuck in anywhere, and shows the current battery voltage and amps going in. It can handle up to 150W of input so this 100W panel will not overpower it, but will be more than sufficient to keep the battery topped off.
If I did not have the hood solar panel, I would just get a small solar panel and keep it in the dash of my truck, wire it through this MPPT controller to the battery, and call it a day. The MPPT controller is the real MVP in this project, due to its size, cost, and ease of use.
If anything changes to either of these two components, I will update here, but thus far both have been working as intended.