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? about Solar chargers

Old 11-01-17, 12:26 PM
  #26  
LesterOfPuppets
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It doesn't take $$$ in solar to keep a phone going, unless maybe you're keeping the screen on max brightness constantly.

I kept my phone going with a smaller previous version of this, and a couple of batteries.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FPHKJ04...a-373618395247
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Old 11-01-17, 12:29 PM
  #27  
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I ran the anker 2 panel version of the one above paired to a anker 10000mAh battery. At night I can charge my phone, gps, lights.

Some days I ran the panel to both the battery pack and my iphone. but seemed more efficient in the end just to charge the battery and run a USB spliter cable to multiple devices while I sleep.

My next tour will have to add a 2nd battery pack
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Old 11-01-17, 12:49 PM
  #28  
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I've long held in the back of my mind a scheme to sew solar panels on the back of a jersey or vest, and add a couple of solar armbands. Cost of flexible panels has stopped me, but some products are starting to come available. (like this Scott-E-Vest Solar Powered Jacket | Wearable Tech | CrunchWear) Albeit in horrible styles. It would be worth looking into.
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Old 11-01-17, 01:34 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
It doesn't take $$$ in solar to keep a phone going, unless maybe you're keeping the screen on max brightness constantly.

I kept my phone going with a smaller previous version of this, and a couple of batteries.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FPHKJ04...a-373618395247
For just a phone like the OP is asking, no it does not take big $$$ per say, but what about a laptop, and phone, and... Oh, wait a minute, it's not as sunny for days at a time as one would like/NEEDS it to be... If you want to do it with solar and make it reliable, then yes, it's going to be big $$$...

EDIT; BUT hey, how about just turning on the phone for 5 minutes at a time three times a day, and... guess what, you can make it last for a week without a solar panel, or a dynamo hub, or needing to be plugging it into a wall socket to charge, but once a week, and... you got's to wash your clothes anyways, so sitting there and also charging your phone at the same time you are watching your clothes go round and round, THAT is constructive, not a waste of time... and it's FREE WIN, WIN,..

Last edited by 350htrr; 11-01-17 at 06:34 PM. Reason: add stuff
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Old 11-01-17, 05:16 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I've long held in the back of my mind a scheme to sew solar panels on the back of a jersey or vest, and add a couple of solar armbands. Cost of flexible panels has stopped me, but some products are starting to come available. (like this Scott-E-Vest Solar Powered Jacket | Wearable Tech | CrunchWear) Albeit in horrible styles. It would be worth looking into.
The downsides to that jacket, other than, how much would it "actually charge" ?, is... that wearing a jacket is very weather/temperature dependant... Thus, unless you wear it lets say 10Hrs a day it becomes... "useless" ?, for "reliably charging anything"...? JMO
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Old 11-01-17, 05:41 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
I ran the anker 2 panel version of the one above paired to a anker 10000mAh battery. At night I can charge my phone, gps, lights.

Some days I ran the panel to both the battery pack and my iphone. but seemed more efficient in the end just to charge the battery and run a USB spliter cable to multiple devices while I sleep.

My next tour will have to add a 2nd battery pack
and... right There is the right/correct answer. Easiest, cheapest, least problematic to deal with most likely to do/acheave what you want, what the OP wants ...

Last edited by 350htrr; 11-01-17 at 06:31 PM.
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Old 11-01-17, 06:59 PM
  #32  
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Why are you so invested in announcing the "correct" answer to a question that can't be answered one particular way?

Just describe what you do and how it works.
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Old 11-01-17, 07:29 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Why are you so invested in announcing the "correct" answer to a question that can't be answered one particular way?

Just describe what you do and how it works.
Why...? Because (solar panels) have sooo much BS Numbers attached to them that practically all will fail when a person tries to "use" them for their "intended" use, and what they are "supposed" to work for because of price... and, NOW the common perception of solar panels are/have become... They are useless, they are a fail, they just don't do the job...and so on. BUT, guess what, they CAN do the job, "if".. ONE spends the $$$ and gets the one that can actually do the job... or, when price is a problem, cut back on the use of said electronic device and viola, same goal can be achieved, or get a battery... Three different choices that I have put forth or agreed to would work... So, there is at least three choices on the "correct" answer to the question on what would work for a particular use...

Last edited by 350htrr; 11-01-17 at 09:35 PM. Reason: add stuff
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Old 11-01-17, 10:47 PM
  #34  
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Too much coffee...

I don't get the $$$ factor and fail talk.

As stated, I bought a sub $100 panel (that included a battery) that I can deploy on my bike while I ride and that consistently powers my phone, light and Ipod via that battery during the summer season.

That's what I have and how I use it. It's curious that you suggest thats not possible.
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Old 11-02-17, 10:25 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Too much coffee...

I don't get the $$$ factor and fail talk.

As stated, I bought a sub $100 panel (that included a battery) that I can deploy on my bike while I ride and that consistently powers my phone, light and Ipod via that battery during the summer season.

That's what I have and how I use it. It's curious that you suggest thats not possible.
Well I am probably not expressing my thoughts "properly"...

1; You don't need anything to make your phone last a week, only use it 5 minutes at a time three times a day. WIN if that works for you, FAIL if you want to use the phone more...

2; You can have a battery pack and depending on said battery size you can last the week using the phone as much as you want. WIN...

3; You can have a cheap $30 folding solar panel and it could work, or not, depending on how much you use the phone and how much sunlight you had every day. WIN if you can use the phone as much as you want, FAIL if you cant...

4; You can have a $100 folding solar panel and it could work, or not, depending on how much you use the phone and how much sunlight there was every day. WIN if you can use the phone as much as you want FAIL if you cant...

5; You could have a $500+ solar panel and guess what, it WILL work and you can also have a laptop you can use as much as you would want, all you would need is two Hrs of so so sun light per day, even on a basically cloudy week. WIN... FAIL for cost...

Last edited by 350htrr; 11-02-17 at 10:37 AM. Reason: add stuff
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Old 11-02-17, 11:37 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
The downsides to that jacket, other than, how much would it "actually charge" ?, is... that wearing a jacket is very weather/temperature dependant... Thus, unless you wear it lets say 10Hrs a day it becomes... "useless" ?, for "reliably charging anything"...? JMO
You could do the same thing with a lightweight vest and it probably wouldn't be all that hot. But for a decent charging rate I'd need to practically cover my back like that ridiculous-looking jacket which is the other downside that's stopped me from buying parts.
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Old 11-02-17, 12:06 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
You could do the same thing with a lightweight vest and it probably wouldn't be all that hot. But for a decent charging rate I'd need to practically cover my back like that ridiculous-looking jacket which is the other downside that's stopped me from buying parts.
I had mine tied to the back of a backpack when I was walking around a festival and charging my battery. And when I was back on the bike, I just tied the backpack, solar panel and all, on to the rear rack. Being able to wear it might be useful in some situations, but not needing to wear it might be desirable as well.
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Old 11-02-17, 04:51 PM
  #38  
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I suppose it depends on what you call a lot of money. I purchased an Anker 21 watt panel ($60) and and an EasyAcc 26000mah battery ($47) for my recent Pacific coast trip. The battery is big enough to charge my phone 5 or 6 times (I use it all day to run Strava and listen to music). The solar panel takes several days to recharge the battery while riding and that works just fine. If I can set the panel in the sun after I ride, it can charge even quicker. So for $107 I have a working system. Cheap enough for me.

My son used a Goal Zero 7 watt panel to charge his phone directly but if he went into shadow the charge would stop and when it resumed his phone screen would wake up. This ended up using more power than the panel would charge so he quit using it (used my battery instead). I think directly charging a battery instead of the phone is a must for most phones.
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Old 11-05-17, 07:56 PM
  #39  
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I am using a combination of items. I have a dynohub wired to a USB port. I charge a 32,000 mAh battery. I keep another smaller battery as an emergency reserve. Best bet is to charge the batteries from the grid when you have the chance. The more sources of power, the more power you will have stored up. I have the Anker 21W charger. It works great. You can lash it to your bike or backpack. You can also fold it or use the grommet holes to to aim it towards the sun in camp:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B012YUJJM8/

I am also using this lightweight, lowcost meter to keep tabs on how much my equipment draws and what my solar panel is putting out:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00J3JSEG6
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Old 11-05-17, 08:08 PM
  #40  
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Yea, what it comes down to is, How much power do you "NEED" ... Like I said in earlier posts, using less is maybe actually "better" than producing more power... NOW, if you "need" lots of "power" because you use your electronic equipment more than most, and cutting back is NOT the answer... Then, the bigger that battery power/solar power you have, the better.!
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Old 11-06-17, 09:27 AM
  #41  
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As someone that camps in a camper for weeks at a time(wife's choice) with TV, Stereo, Toaster, Microwave, Rooftop Fans, Vacuum Cleaner, O2 Concentrator, Water Pump, Power Tools, Chargers for Phones and more that are ALL POWERED BY SOLAR, I love it. Living with solar is all about finding the BALANCE of demand with production and storage, once in balance I have gone YEARS without a hookup to the grid or generator. Now I am talking about a setup of 500 watts with 280 lbs of battery storage. This wont work on a bike so I am enjoying this thread and learning from others, YEA! When long distance backpacking I tried solar and it was a fail, your never in sun long enough always moving in and out of cover, it was a little heavy, every extra oz hurts at the end of a long day. I tried the SIVA ATOM bike generator and it gave power I wanted to it's storage battery but it is a drag of about 1to 1.5mph. Now with Christmas coming I search for a solar options for a multi-month tour to handle phone, bike lights and headlamp recharging duties.
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Old 11-06-17, 01:24 PM
  #42  
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The biggest hurdle I can't get over is charging a battery just so you can charge another battery later (your phone, etc....)

You probably lose 30% of the energy just doing that!

You've just wasted 30% of the time you took to charge your cache battery in the first place.

I've got a dynamo hub that goes thru a Sinewave converter to charge my Iphone 6+. No intermediate battery required to run my phone all day (listening to Pandora Radio).
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Old 11-06-17, 02:34 PM
  #43  
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I've found this article on Crazyguyonabike.com about solar power to be useful:

https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/...c_id=9258&v=xw

I agree charging a battery to charge another battery is inefficient. If you can leave your phone off while charging that is best but I like to run Strava on my phone while riding so I use an intermediate battery.

mike
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Old 11-06-17, 02:37 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
The biggest hurdle I can't get over is charging a battery just so you can charge another battery later (your phone, etc....)

You probably lose 30% of the energy just doing that!

You've just wasted 30% of the time you took to charge your cache battery in the first place.

I've got a dynamo hub that goes thru a Sinewave converter to charge my Iphone 6+. No intermediate battery required to run my phone all day (listening to Pandora Radio).
Some devices are much more picky about their power supply than others, that is one reason that some people need to charge a battery and then use that to charge their device later.

My Sinewave will not charge the batteries in my Garmin 64 GPS, but if I use a cache (pass through) battery it will charge.
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Old 11-06-17, 03:03 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
Why...? Because (solar panels) have sooo much BS Numbers attached to them that practically all will fail when a person tries to "use" them for their "intended" use, and what they are "supposed" to work for because of price... and, NOW the common perception of solar panels are/have become... They are useless, they are a fail, they just don't do the job...and so on. BUT, guess what, they CAN do the job, "if".. ONE spends the $$$ and gets the one that can actually do the job... or, when price is a problem, cut back on the use of said electronic device and viola, same goal can be achieved, or get a battery... Three different choices that I have put forth or agreed to would work... So, there is at least three choices on the "correct" answer to the question on what would work for a particular use...
I'm not sure what vested interest or benefit you have from trying to make solar sound awful, but like myself and others have said (who have no interest either way, other than addressing the OP), it works reasonably well and reliably for a good price for us, and far, far from the $ you are suggesting.

It sounds like you maybe installed panels on your home and got duped by some kind of bad salesmen and now are disgruntled about it or something.

Solar panels are not especially complex, and consequently, are pretty reliable these days.
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Old 11-07-17, 07:49 AM
  #46  
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Those of you quoting $1,200+ make me think you have never actually used solar on a cycle tour. As most of you know, I rode my e-bike from Kansas to Utah this summer (without plugging in even once). I had less than that invested in my entire panel system and charge controller (the controller is a surprisingly expensive part once you get up above 200W).

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Old 11-07-17, 08:33 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
Well I am probably not expressing my thoughts "properly"...

1; You don't need anything to make your phone last a week, only use it 5 minutes at a time three times a day. WIN if that works for you, FAIL if you want to use the phone more...

2; You can have a battery pack and depending on said battery size you can last the week using the phone as much as you want. WIN...

3; You can have a cheap $30 folding solar panel and it could work, or not, depending on how much you use the phone and how much sunlight you had every day. WIN if you can use the phone as much as you want, FAIL if you cant...

4; You can have a $100 folding solar panel and it could work, or not, depending on how much you use the phone and how much sunlight there was every day. WIN if you can use the phone as much as you want FAIL if you cant...

5; You could have a $500+ solar panel and guess what, it WILL work and you can also have a laptop you can use as much as you would want, all you would need is two Hrs of so so sun light per day, even on a basically cloudy week. WIN... FAIL for cost...
This is my conclusion...

Why would number 1, 2, 3, or 4 work...?

1; because you used the phone in a limited manner.

2; because one bought the right size battery.

3; because you used the phone just the right amount of minutes.

4; because you used the phone just the right amount of minutes.

5; because you spent the $$$ to make sure it could do the job...

Originally Posted by mbusky View Post
As someone that camps in a camper for weeks at a time(wife's choice) with TV, Stereo, Toaster, Microwave, Rooftop Fans, Vacuum Cleaner, O2 Concentrator, Water Pump, Power Tools, Chargers for Phones and more that are ALL POWERED BY SOLAR, I love it. Living with solar is all about finding the BALANCE of demand with production and storage, once in balance I have gone YEARS without a hookup to the grid or generator. Now I am talking about a setup of 500 watts with 280 lbs of battery storage. This wont work on a bike so I am enjoying this thread and learning from others, YEA! When long distance backpacking I tried solar and it was a fail, your never in sun long enough always moving in and out of cover, it was a little heavy, every extra oz hurts at the end of a long day. I tried the SIVA ATOM bike generator and it gave power I wanted to it's storage battery but it is a drag of about 1to 1.5mph. Now with Christmas coming I search for a solar options for a multi-month tour to handle phone, bike lights and headlamp recharging duties.
The difference here is size, the camper can hold a huge solar panel all day every day without a bother...

Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
The biggest hurdle I can't get over is charging a battery just so you can charge another battery later (your phone, etc....)

You probably lose 30% of the energy just doing that!

You've just wasted 30% of the time you took to charge your cache battery in the first place.

I've got a dynamo hub that goes thru a Sinewave converter to charge my Iphone 6+. No intermediate battery required to run my phone all day (listening to Pandora Radio).
Perfect for the OP, if that is how he wants to use his phone...

But, that battery can also give you a buffer Zone/safety factor...

Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Some devices are much more picky about their power supply than others, that is one reason that some people need to charge a battery and then use that to charge their device later.

My Sinewave will not charge the batteries in my Garmin 64 GPS, but if I use a cache (pass through) battery it will charge.
Yes , that is just another hurdle one must get trough...

Originally Posted by fantom1 View Post
I'm not sure what vested interest or benefit you have from trying to make solar sound awful, but like myself and others have said (who have no interest either way, other than addressing the OP), it works reasonably well and reliably for a good price for us, and far, far from the $ you are suggesting.

It sounds like you maybe installed panels on your home and got duped by some kind of bad salesmen and now are disgruntled about it or something.

Solar panels are not especially complex, and consequently, are pretty reliable these days.
I have zero vested interest in anything to do with this topic...

What I do have is three to four tours using nothing but solar for the whole trip, 8 to 10 days per trip, using a whole bunch of power, just like Robert C I have an E-Assist bicycle, and... unless you have a frame to support said solar-panels on the bicycle you are stuck with a folding solar panel, a TOTALY different type of solar panel...
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Old 11-07-17, 08:35 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
Those of you quoting $1,200+ make me think you have never actually used solar on a cycle tour. As most of you know, I rode my e-bike from Kansas to Utah this summer (without plugging in even once). I had less than that invested in my entire panel system and charge controller (the controller is a surprisingly expensive part once you get up above 200W).

I like your set up, and it IS cheaper/and more effective, but most people here are talking about a "folding" solar panel, a totally different ball game. IMO.
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Old 11-08-17, 04:00 AM
  #49  
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This Camelbak look-alike with solar panel looks interesting - https://www.fasttech.com/products/19...cling-backpack
Usefull or junk?
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Old 11-08-17, 06:33 AM
  #50  
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My 2c...

First of all, I think that it's a shame that so many of these threads turn into a peeing contest.

On topic....
I use both. I had a front wheel made with a Son28 dynohub and added a usb charger from here: Cycle2Charge

I deliberately chose a usb charger without a battery because I figured that when the battery eventually failed, then the whole unit would need to be replaced. I use a regular battery pack to charge from the dynohub. Then use the battery to charge my devices. Inefficient? Maybe, but I found that my phone kept switching on and off while charging - also inefficient.

Before the dynohub, I purchased a cheap 7 W fold out solar panel that I strapped on my back rack or used where I camped. It was surprisingly efficient and works still. Obviously strapped on the back of the bike is not the most efficient, but it still works. And if needs demand, a good 2 hours in the sun will give a good charge to whatever needs it.

For long trips I will use both.

What devices do I use?
Initially it was my phone, my kindle, a cheap tablet & bluetooth keyboard (for my never written on-the-road journal :-) ) and my i-pod.
Now I have a Wahoo Elemnt GPS added as well as an AA/AAA battery charger (Batteries used in camera, rear light & headlamp).

In practise, what I have found is that the dynohub will provide enough power every day to fully recharge the gps unit and the phone with juice left over. I was surprised back in September on a week tour in the hilly part of NL in atrocious weather with an average daily speed of just 13kph that it generated enough power.

The solar panel will be for those days when mileage is short or nonexistant.

To answer the OP, yes a solar panel can charge your phone - weather permitting. Add a battery pack and you have some built in insurance.

Frank
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