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  1. #1
    Daily Rider Robert C's Avatar
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    Question Do solar chargers really work?

    I am considering a long ride this summer which will leave my outside for several days. I will be relying on a GPS as I will be in China. I need some way to keep the GPS working.

    This brings me to the question, do those battery / solar cell combos, like the one pictured, actually work?

    I intend to put it on the top of the stuff on my rear rack on a recumbent and use it on a GPS like this one.



    804422_1_s.jpg
    General

    Product Name
    Portable Mobile Solar Power Charger

    Brand/Model
    NA

    Color
    Black

    Basic Specification

    Battery Type
    Lithium Battery

    Capacity
    2600MAH

    Input Voltage
    5.5V/300-500mA

    Output Voltage
    4.2V,5.5V,9V /400-800mA

    Charger Time
    Around 2 hours

    Charging Mode
    USB or Adapter

    Port
    1 x USB Slot

    Dimension(L x W x H)
    120 x 65 x 11 mm

    Suitable For
    iPhone/iPad/PDA/PSP/MP3/Mp4/Laptop/Notebook

    Features
    - Portable mobile charger for your item
    - Easy to take and charge conveniently
    - LED lights flash when charging the mobile.

    Package Included
    - 1 x Portable Mobile Charger
    - 3 x Cables
    - 1 x Charger
    - 4 x Adapters
    Attached Images Attached Images
    As a nation we still continue to enjoy a literally unprecedented prosperity; and it is probable that only reckless speculation and disregard of legitimate business methods on the part of the business world can materially mar this prosperity. Theodore Roosevelt, Sixth Annual Message, December 3, 1906

  2. #2
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
    I intend to put it on the top of the stuff on my rear rack on a recumbent and use it on a GPS like this one.
    That things is Earthquake proof but not waterproof?

    You're better off going for an AA powered GPS like an etrex.

  3. #3
    Daily Rider Robert C's Avatar
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    etrex does not have China maps. Part of the trouble is that maps are a state secret. As such, GPS units that are offered outside of the Chinese market will not do what I want. Also, the batteries purchased in China are of very poor quality. You cannot plan on a battery in China lasting more than half as long as a similar battery purchased on the US.

    I have a small GPS with good battery life; however, it does not display maps. I actually doubt that I need the maps display; but, The last time I made a similar trip I ran into trouble when the road detoured at one point.
    As a nation we still continue to enjoy a literally unprecedented prosperity; and it is probable that only reckless speculation and disregard of legitimate business methods on the part of the business world can materially mar this prosperity. Theodore Roosevelt, Sixth Annual Message, December 3, 1906

  4. #4
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    Yes they work howbeit slowly and on sunny days.

  5. #5
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
    etrex does not have China maps. Part of the trouble is that maps are a state secret. As such, GPS units that are offered outside of the Chinese market will not do what I want.
    Maybe the free open source ones?
    http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl

  6. #6
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    I followed Mike's blog as he rode the Tour d'Afrique. His equipment page may be of interest - it mentions a Goal Zero charger.

    http://www.bike2013.com/equipment/

  7. #7
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    I like using an auxillary AA battery pack like this one:

    http://www.gomadic.com/garmin-edge-7...-extender.html

    More Gomadic chargers/accessories for the 705, solar too...

    http://www.gomadic.com/manufacturers...ame=Edge%20705

  8. #8
    Senior Member technoD's Avatar
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    I just bought a Revolve Sol-sport 5 kit for $35. folding solar panel, cables & 2200mah lithium poly battery came with it.
    Meijer.com has them on clearance.
    Ride to live, live to ride!

  9. #9
    Daily Rider Robert C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by technoD View Post
    I just bought a Revolve Sol-sport 5 kit for $35. folding solar panel, cables & 2200mah lithium poly battery came with it.
    Meijer.com has them on clearance.
    I check

    I checked, it appears that they don't have them anymore.
    As a nation we still continue to enjoy a literally unprecedented prosperity; and it is probable that only reckless speculation and disregard of legitimate business methods on the part of the business world can materially mar this prosperity. Theodore Roosevelt, Sixth Annual Message, December 3, 1906

  10. #10
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Some of these things are battery packs that you charge from mains power, that also happen to have a fairly useless solar panel on them.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    Try to get a solar cell with a bigger output than your GPS' power requirements and maybe you can keep it running properly through cloudy conditions. You will want a battery in there to get you through the dark spots too. You need to do some math to decide how big a solar cell and battery you need.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ttakata73 View Post
    Try to get a solar cell with a bigger output than your GPS' power requirements and maybe you can keep it running properly through cloudy conditions. You will want a battery in there to get you through the dark spots too. You need to do some math to decide how big a solar cell and battery you need.
    Yes. You need a pretty large panel in the first place, and even larger to allow for non-ideal conditions (shade, clouds, not pointed directly at the sun). Check the spex of the Gomadic solar panel, 13" x 12" and weighs 4 lb. http://www.gomadic.com/garmin-edge-705-sunvolt.html



    AAs are small, lightweight, universally available and can get you through periods where you can't charge from an electrical outlet. The 705 will run nearly 3 times as long on a set of 4 external AA batteries as it will off its internal battery.
    Last edited by Looigi; 06-12-13 at 08:25 AM.

  13. #13
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Bigger the panel the better , bike trailer with a 4 square foot size perhaps?

    I think the flexible brown cell is less efficient than the Rigid Blue ones.


    maybe a Hub dynamo for juice when you are moving, the Panel for the campsite
    Last edited by fietsbob; 06-12-13 at 06:49 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Bigger the panel the better , bike trailer with a 4 square foot size perhaps?

    I think the flexible brown cell is less efficient than the Rigid Blue ones.


    maybe a Hub dynamo for juice when you are moving, the Panel for the campsite
    ??? Typically, one is at the campsite at night.

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