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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have always had an interest in solar powered devices. Tonight i was doing some looking around for a charging solution for batteries like AA,AAA,cr123a. I wanted to pass this along to everyone to take a look at. My search was based on charging a couple AAs and cr123a's(3V). Here is what i came up with so far..

First is the starter kit
http://store.sundancesolar.com/flsobach4aa7.html

With this system you could charge 4 possibly 5 AAs during the daylight hours.

My thought would to be to add in 2 cr123a battery holder/chargers.

http://www.batteryspace.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=2320

This kind of setup takes a little wiring know how and some electrical knowledge but from what i have seen from everyone around here....this would be easy.

Im thinking about getting this charging system and adding an extra AA battery dock and 2 cr123a's battery docks. I figure i could probally get the materials for about $50 and im sure i have a small box to mount it in around my house somewhere.

Here is also another cool website on how to make cheap solar "things"
http://www.instructables.com/tag/?q...on&type:group=on&type:forumTopic=on&sort=none

N-:)
 

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To secure peace is to...
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I just got a solar charger for my cell phone. Pretty freakin' cool! I'll definitely check those links out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I am no expert but i have mixed feelings of the link you posted. Here is why. The price is very attractive, but my concern is about the size of the solar panel. I couldn't find any info on this product. My quess would be that its a less than 6volt 50ma panel. This means that it charges at a rate of 50ma an hour. To put this in perspective if your using a 2000ma battery. It would take the unit 40hrs to bring it to a full charge. So giving our current daylight environment, lets say 11hrs of good usable sunlight per day. It would take you over 3 days to those 4 batteries to be good to go. Thats a little too long for me. The setup a put up above is a 200ma/per hour unit. 4x as fast. Taking down the charging time down to 10hrs approx. So i could use the batteries at night to run a flashlight/lantern and charge them the next day and have them ready for the next night. This is just my opinion and hopefully useful for someone researching solar powered.

N-
 

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RockOut w/ your GlockOut
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I do apologize for seeming to make light of your post. Yes, it would be the bare min. for emergency.

I like the links for the flexible panels you posted, thank you. I have seen one company that has been sewing them onto packs w/ the access. wires on the inside. I have thought of making my own and those prices look good.



PS; The instructables.com site is sweet, that is where I have researched Yurts and other things:thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Its all good Bret. We are on the same page. We are both trying to help someone that maybe not as knowledgeable on solar powered. BTW whats at "yurt"? i looked it up on instructables.com but didn't find anything.

N-
 

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Semper non compos mentis
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I have posted a couple of circuits for small, very portable solar AA and AAA chargers in the Survival Files section tonight. One is current limited (200mA) and one is not.

My sister bought a stack of those little solar garden lights on ebay and I have been using them to make battery chargers.

Cheers, Herne
 

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Adaptable.
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I used two 4x5 pieces of solarfilm, two diodes and two $.50 4xAA holders to make battery chargers for our packs on the long walk. I had to perfect them on the road, since they weren't very rugged to begin with. It took more than a day to charge four AAs, but since it took us longer than a day to use them up it was a non issue. I also found that by taking four alligator clips and two lemgtjs of 12ga wire I could clip directly onto the + & - terminals of my spare cell battery to top it off. Cost me less than $30 for the whole set up. I also learned you can use a leatherman, and a nail heated to red hot over your campstove as a expedient soldering iron.
 

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I am no expert but i have mixed feelings of the link you posted. Here is why. The price is very attractive, but my concern is about the size of the solar panel. I couldn't find any info on this product. My quess would be that its a less than 6volt 50ma panel. This means that it charges at a rate of 50ma an hour. To put this in perspective if your using a 2000ma battery. It would take the unit 40hrs to bring it to a full charge. So giving our current daylight environment, lets say 11hrs of good usable sunlight per day. It would take you over 3 days to those 4 batteries to be good to go. Thats a little too long for me. The setup a put up above is a 200ma/per hour unit. 4x as fast. Taking down the charging time down to 10hrs approx. So i could use the batteries at night to run a flashlight/lantern and charge them the next day and have them ready for the next night. This is just my opinion and hopefully useful for someone researching solar powered.

N-
Is there something like this though except maybe with a larger panel that would charge them up quicker?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Is there something like this though except maybe with a larger panel that would charge them up quicker?

Sure, depending on your budget and size requirements. There is always something better.

First decide on what kind of voltage you need. Here is a chart that i found that i am applying to my design...

# or battery charging, the voltage of your solar panel MUST be higher than the voltage of the battery that you want to charge. We recommend using the following guidelines:
at least 2.0 volts to charge one 1.2 volt battery
# at least 3.6 volts to charge two 1.2 volt batteries wired in series
# at least 4.8 volts to charge three 1.2 volt batteries wired in series
# at least 6.0 volts to charge four 1.2 volt batteries wired in series.

6volts is a good starting point.
the reason i wanted an higher voltage panel was i planning to recharge two 3volt batteries.

Next the Milliamps....the panel i listed above is 200ma. If you took 2 panels and wired them in 'parallel' you could decrease charge time.

http://www.instructables.com/id/ER2UU7XK49EV1BETHR/

This doubles your milliamps and keeps the voltage the same. So for instance I could buy the kit i originally posted, buy another solar panel for about 35-40 dollars and wire in parallel. This would give me 7.2volts and 400ma per hour.

So you want to recharge a 2000ma battery??? approx 5 hrs later you are popping them in the flashlight.

Now this is just an example......there is so many different panels out there. Just remember to understand what kind of volts and milliamp you need.
Also do your research, this stuff isnt rocket science but if you mess it up then your spending the night in the dark or some other less desirable situation.
There is also a way to wire 2 smaller solar panels in 'series' to get a bigger voltage. 12volt solar panels are also made for running 12volt things that plug into a cigarette lighter or charging a car battery.

Im not an expert on solar powered stuff but i would say i know enough to get myself a decent kit. If anyone needs help selected or designing a solar powered unit. let me know. it would be my honor to help. good luck
 

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Sure, depending on your budget and size requirements. There is always something better.

First decide on what kind of voltage you need. Here is a chart that i found that i am applying to my design...
Hey Nick, thanks for the detailed info; you seem to know more than me so I'm going to throw a solar panel / power question out there to you and anyone else who can advise / inform:

I received a small Solio solar charger / self contained battery system for Christmas; it's like a large cell phone that folds out with three small panels and it has a built-in battery. Just made to charge cell phones, iPods or whatever but the cool thing is it has a battery built in for storage. The less than cool part is it takes about 10-12 hours to charge it up. Regardless, it got me thinking about solar power.

What I found online that I am really interested in is foldaway solar panels sold under various brand names like Sunlinq. Here's a link:

Folding Solar Panels

As you can see they are 12 volt and range from 6 - 62 watts output. My question is how can I figure out what I can power and or charge in those ranges? Using Ohm's Law I can see that 12v / 62 watts gives me 5.1 amps. So I'm "assuming" for instance that I can power a Ham radio up to 12v/5a for instance. How can I convert this to charge times or use on other devices and or use an inverter to get AC out of it? Any ideas or thoughts?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hey Nick, thanks for the detailed info; you seem to know more than me so I'm going to throw a solar panel / power question out there to you and anyone else who can advise / inform:

I received a small Solio solar charger / self contained battery system for Christmas; it's like a large cell phone that folds out with three small panels and it has a built-in battery. Just made to charge cell phones, iPods or whatever but the cool thing is it has a battery built in for storage. The less than cool part is it takes about 10-12 hours to charge it up. Regardless, it got me thinking about solar power.

What I found online that I am really interested in is foldaway solar panels sold under various brand names like Sunlinq. Here's a link:

Folding Solar Panels

As you can see they are 12 volt and range from 6 - 62 watts output. My question is how can I figure out what I can power and or charge in those ranges? Using Ohm's Law I can see that 12v / 62 watts gives me 5.1 amps. So I'm "assuming" for instance that I can power a Ham radio up to 12v/5a for instance. How can I convert this to charge times or use on other devices and or use an inverter to get AC out of it? Any ideas or thoughts?

Thanks in advance!

First i like to say that i really like that solar panel. It has some good numbers on the output side. What kind of stuff are you looking to charge and power. If i can get some "real" items i can do a little research and get some feedback to you about each of the specs. Prob the best bet will be to have 12volt, highest amp you can afford solar panel run into a deep cycle 12 volt car/truck/boat battery. Then run a 12v/120v adapter off that for the 120v stuff. This can be expanded also to multiple batteries as money permits. Get back with me about some appliances you want to run and i will see what i can do.

N-
 

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Hey all, i have been experimenting with systems for a while now. And i have seen that there are a lot of ready made systems out there. The way i see it we are better off understanding the mechanics and procedures and building a versitile system.

http://www.siliconsolar.com/

They have a great selection of just panels, you can pick up a 12v, 3 amp panel for about 30 bucks. I placed a few of those in a parallel circut with a deep cycle battery (think golf cart battery) and a power inverter and i can run almost all commercial battery chargers in the 120v power socket located on the inverter. I whole heartedly reccommend you expierement if your funds and time permit. I have learned a lot about solar power and with the stuff you learn by trial and error you can apply the power of the sun to just abuot any application with enough wire and panels.

There are some great tools and walkthroughs on those sites, so thanks for the info guys! I never get tired of learning new information and getting ideas for more methods. (great site)

pat
 
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