The 12-Volt Battery System
Solar Feeders are powered by a 12 volt battery system that is recharged by a solar panel. Your feeder will only require one day of sunlight for every three to four weeks of feeder use. In fact, in some cases indoor fluorescent lighting will recharge the battery system.
The 12-volt battery system powers the spinner and associated motor (which are located below the hopper) and optional agitating motors. You decide when and how long the spinner will run during each feeding. You can also adjust the spinner’s height to suit the kind of feed your using – in fact; we’ll pre-adjust this for you when you order your Solar Feeder.
Fill your Feeder
Tow the Solar Feeder to your local CO-OP or feed store to fill it. Most CO-OPs or feed stores will deliver feed to you for purchases over 3,000 lbs. Close the hopper shut-off handle (or handles, depending on the model that you have) and tow it back to your pasture without wasting any feed. Unhook your feeder on a relatively level surface, set and secure the stabilizing legs – there will be one or four stabilizers, depending on the size of your feeder. After the stabilizing legs are secure, set the timer for the amount of time and when you want the spinner to dispense feed.
The Solar Feeders’ hopper can handle most feeds, from grain to pellets. Supplement your feed with citrus pulp, soy hulls, hominy, and more – add a vibrating motor attachment to help with sticky feed.
Setting and Operating Your Timer
Solar Feeders are equipped with a simple set timer. This timer is programmable for up to 6 feedings per day. On the back of the timer you will find operation instructions just in case you’re out in the field and have forgotten the instructions.
1. Push Set Clock
2. Push Hr & Min buttons to the correct time of day, push the Run Time buttons to desired test run time
3. Push P1
4. Push Hr and Min buttons to the desired time you want your feeder to go off, then push Run Time button to the desired length of run time. Repeat 3 & 4 for P2 through P6.
To Test: Push Test button and watch feed drop
Calibrating your Feeder
The first time that you use your feeder, we suggest you set the spinner plate at approximately 2 inches by spinning it on the threads until you find the right height and then tighten the spinner bolt. Once you have the plate set, put a 50 or 100 lb. bag of feed in the hopper and set the timer to spin for one second at a time. Continue to run the spinner for one second until the hopper is empty and divide the weight of the bag you put in the hopper by the number of seconds it takes to empty the hopper. The result of that calcuation is the amount of feed that your feeder will dispense per second – this will help you determine (a) whether the spinner is set at a height that is appropriate for your feeding size and (b) the amount of feed dispensed by your feeder per second.
The optional agitating motor for the hopper can handle most sticky feeds, and goat guards (available on the SF 1000, 1000G and 2500 models) keep goats from climbing into the feed trough.