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Solar Pulse

Written by Keith Mandic

With key off-parasitic loads growing higher and higher as equipment is added to a car as well as the normal draw from body control modules and engine control computers, keeping a battery charged is more important now than ever. For special service units such as infrequently used mobile command posts to detective cars that don’t get driven enough to keep the battery charged to take home cars that can sit during off time, jump starting a dead battery is more and more common.

To help combat this problem, solar panels are becoming more and more popular. With the price of solar panels falling and charging technology getting better, more and more agencies are looking at solar powered chargers to keep the batteries fully charged.

The PulseTech ERV SolarPulse unit combines solar panels with PulseTech’s patented pulse waveform controller to not only charge the battery but condition it as well. The controller applies a special waveform to the battery while it charges, reducing sulfation on the battery plates and helping the battery work at peak efficiency for a longer period of time. It is claimed to rejuvenate older batteries as well.

The SolarPulse panels are protected with a clear polyurethane coating that makes them almost indestructible and weather resistant so it can be mounted on top of a light bar or inside the back window. It has a 1.5-foot lead wire with bare leads extending from one end to make cable routing easier. There is a 12.5-foot cable coming from the controller that attaches to the panel and a 3-foot cable that runs from the controller to the battery terminals.

Once installed, the system runs automatically with no maintenance required. There are several models available from PulseTech with varying sizes of panels and output current. We chose this unit because its panel size and unterminated cables make it easier to retrofit on top of a light bar.

While fairly new to some parts of the country, smaller units have been in service in warmer climates for a while and lightbar companies are offering them as a factory installed option. PulseTech Products Corp.

Model: 735X613 ERV SolarPulse
Device Type: Solar powered battery charger / conditioner
MSRP: $199.95
Size: Solar panel 16”L x 4.93”W x .125”H, control box 3.25”L x 2.25”W x 1.5”H
Output: 6 watts (400mA)


Kevin Mandic is a product and services specialist at Lund Industries. He may be reached at kbmandic@lund-industries.com.

Published in Police Fleet Manager, Sep/Oct 2011

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