Originally Posted by AllFumbs
Thank you, All,
Yes, it wasn't bright of me to overlook the fact that the cig'-lig' socket's only 'hot' when the key's in. .............AF.
Honda had an optional cigarette lighter that replaced the accessory gizmo. Assuming that they connected it up to an always on circuit it might be easy to make the connection considering that you'd have to be a snake to find it. I felt around in my 2005 G1 and the wire(s) disapeared pretty quickly into the harness though.
I'm using two of the smaller radio shack solar chargers in parallel to charge my CRX 12v battery and they work fine. I have one laying on the back cargo area and another on a flat area over one of the rear wheels by the side window. That way there is more of a chance that one of them is in the sun most of the time. I found that one of the smaller panels wasn't enough to keep the battery charged as they aged.
I bit the bullet and pulled the center plastic off that hides the radio connecter etc. I wired the accessory socket to the all time 12v wire on the radio connector. You have to pull the radio to get at the connector on the back of it. Also pull the radio fuse so you don't blow it while making the mod. The 10A fuse is under the left side of the dash. The 12v wire to the radio is quite thin and I sure wouldn't try to put 9.5A through it though.
I bought this 5W "garden solar panel" through eBay 5W Solar Cell Panel 5 Watt 12 Volt Garden Fountain Pond Battery Charger Diode | eBay
It's a nicely made panel and is worth the price. I noticed that the working current (Iop) is 0.29A at Vop 17.3V which is really too much current to continually charge a 12v lead-acid battery.
I installed a voltage regulator set for 13.8V inside the cigarette light plug to limit the voltage (and hence the current) to a safe value. You will get a loose Schottky diode with the panel. Wire it right at the output connection of the plug so the battery doesn't discharge back into the regulator or the panel. You don't need the diode at the panel since it is in the cigarette plug.
My car has dark tinting on the back and side widows and the charge current is about 35 ma maximum. Since the windows on the Insight have tinting in the glass I'm not sure what it the charge will be without the dark tinting. Moving the panel directly into the sun increases the charge to ~250ma if the 12V battery is low.
This setup works very good. I just have panel laying in the cargo area where the sun can shine on it part of the day.
2005 Insight, MT, 88K, Silver
1988 Honda CRX HF, 44/51 mpg
1963 Lotus 7 replica, 12 mpg
1962 Henny Kilowatt, 40 miles/charge @ 40 mph