Touring - solar powered chargers
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01-22-13, 05:23 PM
Any suggestions on a solar powered charger for phone, tablet, etc ?
01-23-13, 01:23 AM
you have to stay in one place, out of the shade and the panel needs to be Big, or it takes forever..
To have impressive power, Think solarpanel trailer,that may have room for gear underneath
01-23-13, 02:10 AM
I have a GoalZero Nomad 7 and Guide 10 combo. I've found that my devices use more power than it can collect but as long as I find additional power every few days, it can tide me over. Knowing what I know now, I should have gotten a dynohub instead.
+1. If you need to charge while on the road, dynohub + charging device is the most reliable solution. Or leeching off your lunch break cafe's grid. I've actually asked for permission on a couple of places, the answer has always been yes.
01-23-13, 04:52 AM
I don't think solar is practical for bike touring. I use a dynohub to run my lights, iPhone (using GPS and display all day), plus other electronics. My dynohub charges a battery pack which then runs the other stuff while riding or stopped. I ride for a week or more with no need to plug into 110.
IMHO solar isn't quite there yet. The cells need to be a lot more efficient for a truly practical power source. However, batteries have come a long way and for under $100 you can get a $10k mAh one that will recharge a smartphone 5 or 6 times. So unless you are going on a true expedition I'd just buy a battery
01-23-13, 08:47 AM
I toured with a GoalZero Nomad 7 and Guide 10 combo a couple years ago. Unless you can position it angled directly at the sun and it can sit there all day I found it to be pretty much useless for touring. I tried strapping it onto my bob trailer and the thing just wasn't able to store anywhere near enough power. The mAh capacity on 4 AA batteries is too low to really charge much either.
I've since moved on to using a Lithium Ion battery back (7000mah (http://www.amazon.com/New-Trent-NT70T-Thunderbolt-Blackberry/dp/B002D4IHYM/ref=pd_sxp_grid_pt_2_1). I just charge it every few days when I have an opportunity. It's lighter and has a much higher capacity than 4 AA in the Guide 10.
01-23-13, 09:52 AM
+1 on the battery packs. I have the earlier version of this one (http://www.amazon.com/New-Trent-compatible-Thunderbolt-IMP120D/dp/B003ZBZ64Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1358959364&sr=1-1&keywords=new+trent+icarrier) and it works great for recharging my phone, gps and mp3 player multiple times. As long as I can plug in the battery pack to recharge it once every week or ten days, all's well. Not a problem since I'm usually in a motel once a week or so while on tour. Simple and no hassle. Fits easily in a corner of my handlebar bag. Charges my devices anytime, anywhere, pedaling or not, sun or not. Relatively inexpensive as well.
Tried solar first (a Brunton Explorer folding panel) but it would only supply enough juice to charge the tiny mp3 player. Sent it back.
I have a solar house as well as a ton of solar panels. Even run my fly fishing pontoon boat with a solar panel.
You need a minimum of a 10-watt panel to recharge small batteries. For my laptop, I use a 30-watt panel and that also runs my fly fishing pontoon. If I am camping longterm I use a 125 watt panel for the tent trailer. For my solar house I use 18 80 watt panels.
I would look into one of these:http://www.bluepacificsolar.com/picture_library/content-page-pictures/brunton-portable-power/solarroll-solar-charger.pdf
These look like they would work for bike touring and are fairly compact. Get the roll kind rather than the folding. Solar panels tend to break at folds and do not tolerate bending very well. I have only had one panel fail on me and it was due to bending just a little bit enough to break the internal contacts.
Always get a 12-volt panel and then you get by accessories to charge a variety of items. Stay away from item specific chargers.....your panel will easily outlast the item it was suppose to charge. With a 12-volt panel you can just buy the charging accessories at any truck stop.
Solar panels work well, they just are very expensive and inefficient. But in my situations well worth the money. If you have access to a outlet, stay with that.
01-23-13, 12:02 PM
+ 1 on buy a Dyno-Hub, it will provide power while you are moving and have the Lights off..
Schmidt hubs are more expensive.. but I cannot tell the difference between the lights on, load, and off.
The problem with small solar panels is the markup. E.g. the solarroll 14 mentioned above is > $300 at Amazon. The amorphous-type cells it's made of are cheaper than the crystalline cells in rooftop arrays, which are now available for around $2 US per watt. Yet this product is more than $20/watt :twitchy: I'm waiting for some Chinese ebay seller to realize a profit opportunity and make a killing.
01-28-13, 02:33 PM
Amorphous cell type, are less efficient as well .. so think watt/square foot in the calculation..
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