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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
If anyone is looking to pick up some solar chargers and rechargeable batteries (6 or 12 volt) now is the time to do it.

Hunting season is coming up. A lot of hunters use solar panels on their feeders to keep their batteries charged. So that means most sporting goods stores will be stocked up with a good selection.

OR


Wait until December or January, some of the stores like gander mountain or bass pro shops will be marking down their hunting gear as the get ready for the summer gear.

Wal-mart is very seasonal - they have 6 volt rechargeable batteries and 6 volt chargers in stock right now.

Tractor supply has the solar 6 volt and 12 volt chargers in stock, or at least they did 2 weeks ago.

I have one 6 volt rechargeable lantern battery, I am hoping to pick up several more along with some 6 volt solar chargers.

The 6 volt batteries serve a double purpose - deer feeder batteries and flashlight batteries.
 

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Over the years, I've gotten 4 solar panels, from J.C. Whitney. I haven't checked lately.
I use them to keep 12 volt car batteries charged, mainly to run emergency light/radios, when the power goes out.
You have to read the specs, because some will only keep a battery charged, not charge a dead car battery.
Be sure to get the device that keeps the battery from being overcharged and you can keep it hooked up all the time.
I think Kev has Whitney, on his web site.
 

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I tried to charge a battery that was just dead enough so that it would not start my truck. I put a 5 watt solar panel on it for 2 days and it still didn't have enough to start. I just picked up a 15 watt. I have not had a chance to experiment with it yet. I've got a solar charger for Nmh or NiCad bateries that works great. It'll charge them up in a day.
 

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Adaptable.
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And another one....

PowerFilm

I like this stuff, I have destroyed multiple chargers, but never the panels, though two of them have pretty gnarly creases from getting packs dropped on them. With a backup supply of diodes and wire, you can just keep rebuilding them if you are overly rugged with your gear like me. I tend to buy the OEM equipment and build my own chargers. Great for velcroing on top of a bug out bag. I don't want to use anything that needs to be unfolded and laid out since my daylight hours will usually be spent walking. And the prices are pretty good.

-g
 

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Aquaholic
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I have two Solar panels

I have two solar panels on my boat to charge the house bank. I thought about adding a small (trash can lid sized) windmill as well. The engine will charge the house bank, but consumes diesel.
 

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I have found recharging before completely depleting the batteries works best with solar recharging. They do not charge up to the levels a direct source charger can.
 

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Those 5 watt panels are mostly to maintain a charged batter over a period of time. Ihave one and use it on my bronco, so that the battery stays charged . But it will not ususally bring up the voltage in an already discharged or low battery.
 

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Keep in mind that the Watts of a panel does not indicate the rate of charge. Amps is what you need to look at. A 15 watt panel with .2a isn't going to do much. A 5 watt with .8a will do more, all other things being equal.
 

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Beans, Bullets & Bandages
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I have a source for the small solar chargers (for cell phones and such). We are testing them right now. I will post specs and pics later.

Give me a heads up via PM if you might be looking for one.
 

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I have the little Brunton Solar charger but I hardly use it for anything except a cell phone and I have a charger that works off any 12 volt battery. Recargeable batteries really suck and they don't last very long anyway. When I was on patrol, I had a Surefire 8NX and it's battery pack wore down in a couple months and the replacement did the same. I have pretty much had the same experience all the way around with flashlights. Haven't tried lanterns.
 
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