12V solar charger using LM317

[Alex] decided to build a solar charger for his car battery. He had an 18V solar panel able to provide up to 83mA. You cannot connect the panel directly to the battery because charging voltage cannot exceed the allowed safe limit, and also solar panels may become a load for the battery in a dark time, and this way discharge it.


So he ended up with a simple circuit utilizing LM317 and a couple of resistors setting voltage so that battery would be charged at the recommended 13.2V. To prevent back supply, a Schottky was used. Of course, it adds some voltage drop (0.7V worst case). This was taken into account while calculating voltage adjusts resistor divider. As a test [Alex] left a solar charger for three days connected to his battery, and it charged up to 12.35V which is about 75% of capacity. Not bad at all.

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