Portable Solar Power

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Portable Solar Power

Postby Davekyn » Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:03 pm

I was thinking about dyno power lights, when I put my order in Ebay for a 3 Watt head Light set, a bike light/torch and aslo a maglight. Then I came across a backpack with inbuilt solar panels. I reviewed as ussual and soon discovered that a lot of room was taken up with these units and the overall price seemed prety high.

I came across some portable panels that fold up pretty small. However I soon started caculating how much time I would be in the sadle as oposed to sitting around all day waiting for some batteries to charge. I definately need a panel that will be small enough to hang off the back of my small back pack, yet strong enough to charge some AA/AAA batteries and a PDA.

SO!...........What are the factors to consider when thinking Portable Solar Power for an Ultra light Hiker/cyclist.

I was thinking the amount of time spent in the sadle as to the benifits of having one atached to the outside of my back pack...I guess in summer I would ride early in the morning with the hottest part of the day on foot, and mobile again in the arvo...

How many Watts is enough...how many amps per hour/milliamps more like it...Would someone like to explain the ratings. I have a small unit already that will charge 4 AA's, however it is more suited to Nicads as oposed to the other more powerfull Ni-Mh. The guy at Jaycar just said "no one uses Nicads anymore" and sold me the Ni-Mh...I can charge them...Like in 4 DAYS...however if I were to use Nicads, they would charge much sooner and probably work much better. The rate at which batteries charge and discharge will mean a lot to thier overall performance for its continued charging ability and use in the apropriate device.

Basically I have worked out that for the little Box unit that I have, which is meant for Nicads (low powered AA's)

Can you just get a AA batery holder and hook it up to a panel...exactly what is the formular for working out the right size panel for whatever hours...I was thinking I could fit a 10 Watt foldable unit on my back pack and would only need to exspose if for less than half the time of those exspensive all in one untis...would I need to adapt a charge controller to it??

So many questions....I will atempt to answer some of them, but in the mean time...if you know how the formulars work and what else needs to be considered...please do tell.

I do know enough to know that with some of the equipment out there...Its well worth creating your own solution as opossed to buying an all in one unit...Jaycar have a 4.5 watt panel that is heaps small enough...and compared to the little match box unit I am using, I reackong it could do a pretty good job for recharging AA/AAA. Or even a PDA...The 10Watt foldable panels even look more interesting for shorter exsposure times.

Sounds like a plan to me :wink:
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by BNA » Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:14 pm


Postby Aushiker » Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:14 pm


Make yourself Solar Battery Charger or consider the Exponent Flex 5 System with Batt Pak.

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Postby Davekyn » Thu Aug 30, 2007 7:25 am

Thanks Andrew,
I dont like the sound of that manufactured one...reviews where not very good. It seems a lot of manufactures are yet to use good quality panels or they should underate thier units some what more.

As for the Do-It-Yourself LINK...THANKYOU! I will be making my own for sure. I'll probably make it a dedicated project once I finish getting all my Hiking Gear...I've seen some amazingly portable 10Watt panels that look small enough and light enough.

Thanks for your input :wink:
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