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Old 07-05-17, 04:37 PM   #1
lbrown13
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Solar charger

I am interested in a small solar charger, that mounts to the handlebars.
It will be used for charging phone/ipod or other small electronic devices.

Thanks!
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Old 07-09-17, 02:06 PM   #2
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https://www.voltaicsystems.com/solar...icycle-touring
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Old 07-09-17, 06:15 PM   #3
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I don't think there's anything solar that's small enough to fit on the handlebars that would provide anywhere near enough juice to charge a modern phone.

If you're just out riding for the day, the best solution is an external battery with a usb port. They sell a bazillion of them on amazon that provide enough power to ride all day.

For touring where you don't have electric, a hub dynamo is the most likely to work well and consistently. They also sell larger solar panels that you can put on the back of your bike that I've heard of working.
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Old 07-09-17, 06:32 PM   #4
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I've never met anyone touring who has successfully used solar to keep up with modern smart phones, they generally tend to use it to delay the inevitable, they still need to plug in sometimes (not saying you can't do it, just that I haven't met them). In order to get enough charge the panels need to be quite large as the robust panels are generally amorphous silicon, which is much less efficient. Then there is the security risk, solar panels are pretty attractive to thieves.
Hub dynamos will keep up with a smart phone in conjunction with something like a Forumslader that maximises output, for most touring but will struggle if the phone is doing something high drain, like being a WiFi hotspot.
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Old 07-17-17, 07:46 AM   #5
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I'm intrigued with solar chargers either for camping, travelling or cycling. But realistically, they are impractical. They are heavy so for camping it's better to carry spare dry cells and battery packs- how long are you gone for anyways? For travelling, you'll find and electrical outlet in your hotel room.
If you leave your solar panel out unattended, it'll get stolen.

For cycling, carry spares or get to a coffee shop.
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Old 07-17-17, 08:14 PM   #6
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I haven't used it for cycling, at least yet but I have had success camping. The last two years I used a goal zero Venture 30 and nomad solar panel at my sons Cub scout camp Venture 30 Solar Recharging Kit | | Goal Zero

4 days total. I made it without needing to plug in. I kept the panel clipped to my daypack. Granted this isn't like hiking, as the scouts had lots of activity stations throughout the day, so it would be easy to leave my pack in the sun while these sessions were running. I would imagine on the back of the bike it would get pretty good sun as well. The venture 30 can charge my iphone about 2.5 times and it recharged in about a day of good sun. 2 years in a row I never had to plug my phone into an outlet to charge.
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Old 07-18-17, 03:32 AM   #7
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i am looking for an alternative solution to charge my phone when i go bike camping too.
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Old 09-06-17, 01:21 PM   #8
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was wondering if you found any solar panels that worked for your handlebars?
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Old 09-06-17, 01:34 PM   #9
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was wondering if you found any solar panels that worked for your handlebars?
There are none that will fit on handlebars and charge a phone.

I have a 3 panel solar charger that's about 7 inches by 10 inches per panel. So it's fairly big when unfolded.

If I leave it in the direct sun at high noon with clear line of sight to the sun, it will charge a modern smart phone at the rate of about 1% per every 5 minutes. That's the peak efficiency, the best it works.

It's too big to mount to a bike. And even if I could mount it, it won't stay aimed directly at the sun as I ride, lowering it's efficiency even more.

Anything that will mount to the handlebars isn't going to be strong enough to actually do much.

I've yet to find a practical use for the panel I have.
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Old 09-06-17, 01:52 PM   #10
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There are none that will fit on handlebars and charge a phone.

I have a 3 panel solar charger that's about 7 inches by 10 inches per panel. So it's fairly big when unfolded.

If I leave it in the direct sun at high noon with clear line of sight to the sun, it will charge a modern smart phone at the rate of about 1% per every 5 minutes. That's the peak efficiency, the best it works.

It's too big to mount to a bike. And even if I could mount it, it won't stay aimed directly at the sun as I ride, lowering it's efficiency even more.

Anything that will mount to the handlebars isn't going to be strong enough to actually do much.

I've yet to find a practical use for the panel I have.
I'm curious about a large panel that could be put on something like a cargobob trailer. it could be 16"wide and upto 36" long. Might be able to mount 60Watt on that. i've also thought about having a trailer wheel that runs a smaller gear via chain to run a generator at higher rpm and get more electricty. drag would be higher but might not be noticeable, especially if its disabled up hill.
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Old 09-06-17, 06:39 PM   #11
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I did tour with a small fold-up solar charger (sort of like this—I don't think the exact model is in production anymore) that mostly served to "delay the inevitable" as Trevtassie put it, although that was good enough for my purposes. I had this lashed across my panniers in back.

These days, good high-capacity USB batteries are common and inexpensive, so there's not as much need, as long as you can camp near an outlet every so often.
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Old 09-07-17, 08:34 AM   #12
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Size matters in solar panels , or it will have little current output.

bring your mains plug in charger to lunch..
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Old 09-07-17, 08:56 AM   #13
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Size matters in solar panels , or it will have little current output.

bring your mains plug in charger to lunch..

here's a 40watt that looks pretty good price/performance for touring, its about 4sq ft.
https://www.amazon.com/KINGSOLAR-Hig...+panel+folding

some of the 20watt ones look useful too for trickle charging.
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Old 09-07-17, 09:32 AM   #14
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here's a 40watt that looks pretty good price/performance for touring, its about 4sq ft.
https://www.amazon.com/KINGSOLAR-Hig...+panel+folding

some of the 20watt ones look useful too for trickle charging.
That's $126 at the moment. I agree with those who say bring a battery or two. They're a lot less expensive and easier to deal with. I'm not away from power outlets for 24 hours very often. The Anker E1 costs about $17 and can charge my phone two or three times.
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Old 09-07-17, 09:50 AM   #15
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That's $126 at the moment. I agree with those who say bring a battery or two. They're a lot less expensive and easier to deal with. I'm not away from power outlets for 24 hours very often. The Anker E1 costs about $17 and can charge my phone two or three times.
how many mAh is that and how long does it take to recharge?
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Old 09-07-17, 10:14 AM   #16
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how many mAh is that and how long does it take to recharge?
I think the one I have is rated at 5,200 mAh, and they now have it available in 6,700. It takes about five hours to charge.
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Old 09-07-17, 01:15 PM   #17
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I hear the 20 watt foldable by anker is pretty good.
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