How To Stop A Car Battery From Going Flat or Why I Am Stupid Sometimes

solar battery chargerWell, today we finally made it down to town after being stuck up the mountain for five days because of the snow. Luckily we had plenty of food and were not too short on the vino either although it was getting dangerously low! Gasp.

Anyway, this one of those rather rambling posts but the story that follows is all based upon one of these small and cheap solar panel trickle chargers although being in Spain we bought ours from Amazon UK here and for less than 12 pound (sorry can’t find the pound symbol on my Spanish Laptop!) you can’t really go wrong.

If you do not drive your car or battery powered hover craft or battery powered personal helicopter at least every few days then you may find, as we do, that the battery goes flat. Especially if the weather is cold. As we had not driven the car since the weekend when we went to go out it was as dead as a proverbial…umm……I am informed it is a Do Do or a Doornail. Why is it Doornail?

So, you may ask, if you have a cheap solar trickle charger to stop a battery from going flat why did the battery go flat.

Well, because I am stupid and have not taken it out of the box yet!

Very stupid in fact. It took me ages to shovel snow from under the car and repeatedly rock it back and forth, back and forth so that I could jump start it. After heaving and pushing and digging for what seemed like the whole morning I finally got it in the right position. A final push and I was rolling down the hill. Clutch pedal down, in to second, gear turn the key and release the clutch pedal.


Our poor Olive Trees. Amazingly all the Olives seem to be fine

Nada. The battery was so dead the poor cold thing did not even have a spark of life in her bless her. So, get the battery out of the car with my freezing hands and trudge back up the hill it is. On with the  electric battery charger  (yes, it is run by solar panels, it gets convoluted doesn’t it?) we have in the house and after 30 mins or so it was restored to a low powered but self sufficient enough life to work for my second jump start attempt.


A natural, wind sculpted Snow egg. Now THAT is real Art. Yeah Baby

The daft thing is that we have two of these trickle charge solar panels. One is used to charge a battery we have in the house that is connected to a DC pump that runs our water and I installed it weeks ago. I had to drill holes in the stone that makes up our rustic house, insert rawl plugs, drill a tidy hole through the wooden window frame so the cables (which are really long) could run inside to the battery and all manner of fiddly things.

To keep the car battery from going flat all I would have had to do was use the supplied suction cups, stick the panel to the windshield with said suction cups and attach the crocodile clips (supplied) direct to the battery or use the cigarette lighter option (also supplied) and simply push it in.

Anyway, they do keep a car battery topped up and stop them from going flat, even in relatively un-sunny weather, it’s just a shame I didn’t connect it to the car battery that is actually on the car.


7 Responses to “How To Stop A Car Battery From Going Flat or Why I Am Stupid Sometimes”

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  1. And, he forgot to mention how long we were trying to push the car whilst it was in gear! Still he sorted it out in the end, brrrr

  2. Alicia says:

    Having car troubles can really screw up your morning especially in unpleasant weather. Those chargers seem like a handy tool to have “just in case”.

  3. Well.. at least the manual labor of pushing a car in freezing cold weather is environmentally friendly =) But yes.. having solar chargers might be preferred.

  4. I love the snow egg picture. That is amazing. Always carry jumper cables. Someone may drive by and help you.

  5. Jef says:

    Living here in Minnesota, I can relate to dead car batteries, fuel lines freezing in sub-zero weather and ice storms where you are lucky to be able to open your car door.
    A couple years ago when my battery seemed a little sluggish and was slow to turn the engine over a friend borrowed me a solar trickle charger and I put it on the dash and plugged it in. (My car has a cigarette lighter socket that stays on all the time even with the key off) Later that afternoon and the days that followed the engine seemed to pop right off. So, the next spring I found a nice 12v 5 watt panel on sale and ended up using it for other purposes around the house all year too. I can keep my battery-backup sump pump charged as well as a small battery powered radio salvaged from a cordless drill/flashlight/radio combo that I keep in my shed. These small panels work great and are well worth the small investment.

    • Jef they are great. We now sue it to keep our water pump battery topped up and it did do the job in the winter of topping up the car battery. It was getting silly with it always going flat.