Powering 12v Trackers by Solar?

Hi just curious if anyone has a good solar power solution for keeping the trackers running without a normal power source? Use cases:

  • To track unpowered trailers or boats while in outdoor storage. For security primarily.
  • Convenience to install in weird places like on roof of boat.

Ideally I’d like:

  • Something as small and compact as possible.
  • Panel and cables must rated for outdoor use.
  • Ideally avoid another battery, and just use the built in tracker’s battery and charger.
  • Must provide at least 12V power to the tracker, and they need up to 250mA while charging.

The internal battery should be able to provide power for long enough between sunny periods if configured correctly. For the security use case a ping every hour or three would be fine.

I tried a cheap “12V” “10W” panel off Aliexpress but without much success. I suspect it just doesn’t generate enough power and the voltage drops to 5v with any load from the tracker. The trackers need at least 10V, so a voltage cut off switch would be sensible:
I was tempted to try one plus a bigger panel…

Any other ideas or suggestions?

One possible solution is the FMB204 unit (1,8 Amp battery) working with 24V solar panel directly connect to it. It’s a water proof solution also.

Thanks yes the FMB204 looks good except I need 4G, we don’t have 2G any more in New Zealand. Also I’m not sure any solar panel connected directly to the devices is a good idea, as the voltage will drop below the minimum voltage input requirements as the sunlight drops, which might not be good for the tracker long term.

The only 4G device with a longer life rechargeable battery is the FMC234, although I’m reluctant to buy any non FTC devices any more as I can’t configure anything else with mac…

Obviously connecting the solar panel directly to the control unit is not the best thing. You asked for a simple and light configuration, I adopted the configuration you see in the photo and put everything inside a waterproof box. Depending on the battery capacity, solar panel power and weather conditions, the unit can operate for months or years without any other energy source.


Thanks, for that, yes I run similar setups to run solar powered raspberry pi’s remotely. But really wanted something not much bigger than the tracker itself, after all it’s already got a battery and charger in it! I’ve ordered a tiny voltage cut off device from aliexpress to try. Combine that with a bigger solar panel that easily sustains > 10v, and I think it should safely power the tracker…