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#222157 - 04/22/11 08:22 PM Re: Goal Zero - my new sustainable power base [Re: hikermor]
Alex Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 1034
Loc: -
Originally Posted By: hikermor
Have you had this device out on the trail yet?

Nope, just got it in the mail this Wednesday. Tested functionality on the balcony only.

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#222164 - 04/22/11 10:20 PM Re: Goal Zero - my new sustainable power base [Re: ]
Alex Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 1034
Loc: -
Originally Posted By: IzzyJG99
Here's my setup.

Nice! So, it looks like we've got all of the sizes covered from EDC to heavy BOB.

What about the useful electronics we can power with this easily renewable electrical energy then?

Let's discuss how a mobile solar panel can help with survival basics. For example, Am_'s one could be used even for shelter I believe. Just kidding here, but who knows? grin.

Lighting/signaling/communication applications - obvious. I've got electric water purification option already, have an idea for the reliable electric fire starter. Saw electric mittens and hand warmers. Looking for an AA powered stun gun - for self defense (I think they should work on predators too to some extent, am I wrong?). Thinking of a Peltier element applications in the survival situations...

For the starter. Is there ways to use electricity for food procurement? I've heard of electric rod once, used by poachers, which can zap a lot of fish instantly working from a boat.

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#222167 - 04/22/11 10:42 PM Re: Goal Zero - my new sustainable power base [Re: Alex]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3077
I've just ordered a Coolermaster Excalibur Fan for the Solar PV power kit. It appears to be very lightweight @ only 128 grams yet will move 85+ CFM at only 30dB.

http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/product.php?product_id=2965

It will consume 6W power so it is capable of being powered by the Guide 10 Adventure Kit or a smaller and lighter folding panel such as the Sunlinq 6 and 12 W panels. Hopefully it should add some cooling capacity under the shade of a tarp or tent on hot and sunny days. As Izzy mentioned in his excellent review of his EDC setup in relation to the problems encountered during the Katrina debacle i.e. with a loss of comms and lighting ety being able to keep cool would have been most welcome even if it was only a small fan.

Quote:
Thinking of a Peltier element applications in the survival situations...


Peltier arrangements are not very efficient, you could run a full sized fridge on only 100Whrs per day.

http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Conservation/chest_fridge2.pdf

The Brunton Solaris 26 could in theory run the Vestfrost SE255 Freezer in a Fridge mode as it will develop more than the 100 Whrs per day on good sunny days. Typically you would need more solar PV power than this to cope with the inverter losses and battery losses.









Edited by Am_Fear_Liath_Mor (04/22/11 11:09 PM)

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#222168 - 04/22/11 10:56 PM Re: Goal Zero - my new sustainable power base [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]
Alex Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 1034
Loc: -
I see your point. Great idea! Such a high flow fan might also be good as a blower for an improvised high efficiency wood stove in cold climate/weather.

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#222169 - 04/22/11 10:58 PM Re: Goal Zero - my new sustainable power base [Re: Alex]
Pete Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1126
Alex ... nice job. You're well ahead of me, but I definitely hope to be working in the same direction. Can you slow down a minute and answer a few basic questions? How much voltage and power do the solar cell assemblies put out? Are you able to directly connect these solar cells to your batteries, or is there some sort of voltage converter that I'm not seeing? Did it just happen that the solar cells put out the right voltage for your needs, or are they actually designed to be the right zie for this job?

I've seen other people with larger battery charging systems for lead-acid batteries. And it usually seems that they need some sort of voltage or power converter to get everything matched up. So ... just wondering why you don't need that here.

Once again - good work!

thanks!
Pete #2


Edited by Pete (04/22/11 11:11 PM)

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#222186 - 04/23/11 02:44 AM Re: Goal Zero - my new sustainable power base [Re: Alex]
LesSnyder Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 1375
Loc: New Port Richey, Fla
for your warm weather sleeping consideration....for the 04 hurricane season I had a small Coleman D cell tent fan, and it was invaluable for sleeping comfort without electricity...as soon as possible switched to a larger fan with a D cell battery pack...at the time my pre digital TV/NOAA radio had the same adapter plug as the fan, so converted it to larger DC source... obtained a female cigarette plug adapter cord with battery clamps and used a Harley motorcycle battery for the 05 season for a couple of days without power...upgraded to a heavier auto 12v battery system (2 batteries) and just obtained a Goal Zero 7watt solar panel to play with solar charger...need to get a USB to mini cable and other adapters...don't understand why an adapter was not included

don't know how long a 7 watt system will take to charge a 12v battery on only .6amp...if it shows a promise Harbor Freight has their 3 panel 45watt systems on sale

AFLM... are the Engel 12v refrigerators made in Australia sold in the UK?

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#222218 - 04/24/11 03:56 AM Re: Goal Zero - my new sustainable power base [Re: MDinana]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2537
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By: MDinana
My off the grid plan is to take my dinky lawn solar powered lights and use them to recharge my batteries. And if people aren't home, borrow their lights too shocked


Slightly OT, but thought I would chime in as I've been testing this exact setup for the better part of a year.

My practical experiments indicate that the only way to make this work is to bypass all the internal circuitry in these lights and hard-wire them directly from the solar panel to the battery terminals. The cheapies I'm using (including some tossed in the dump, NiCd batts and all -- grr!) produce a little over 4 VDC directly, though at a such a miniscule current that you can't really overcharge.

I find that they will effectively charge low-capacity NiMH cells (in the 1200+ mAh range), but are barely enough to maintain high-capacity cells (2500s) at their existing voltage.

Bottom line: with 2-3 of these rewired units plus cheapo NiMHs ($1 ea.) and a decent 1-AA LED light, you have more-or-less perpetual light as long as you have sunshine. Naturally, YMMV.


Edited by dougwalkabout (04/24/11 03:57 AM)

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#222224 - 04/24/11 03:29 PM Re: Goal Zero - my new sustainable power base [Re: Alex]
adam2 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 348
Loc: Somerset UK
Small PV modules can indeed be very useful as disscused in the previous posts.
I would however suggest GREAT CAUTION, and considerable practice and experiment before becoming unduly reliant on such during an actual emergency.
The claimed output of some PV modules is in "chinese watts", and even the reputable ones will only produce the claimed output under ideal conditions.

As an example, consider the charging of 4 high capacity AA cells each of 2.5 amp/hours.
They take more than 2.5 A/H to charge as they are not 100% efficient, 3.0 A/H might be reasonable.
At a charging voltage of 6 volts for 4 cells in series, we need about 18 watt/hours to fully charge the cells.
If the charging circuit is about 80% efficient, then we need about 23 watt/hours of PV input to charge the cells.
That would probably take most of the day from a 7 watt PV module, remembering that the 7 watts is likely a peak at noon, not all day.
In dull weather it might take some days.

I would urge a practical test as follows.
Take 4 high capacity AA cells and fully charge them useing a good line powered charger.
Put the cells in an incandescent flashlight and run them down, notting the run time.
Now charge the cells from the solar charger of your choice, under the conditions in which you expect to use it.
Repeat the run time test.

You may be suprised !

PV can certainly be useful, but beware optimistic claims, hopes and assumptions.

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#222284 - 04/25/11 06:00 PM Re: Goal Zero - my new sustainable power base [Re: Pete]
Alex Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 1034
Loc: -
Originally Posted By: Pete
...How much voltage and power do the solar cell assemblies put out? Are you able to directly connect these solar cells to your batteries, or is there some sort of voltage converter that I'm not seeing? Did it just happen that the solar cells put out the right voltage for your needs, or are they actually designed to be the right zie for this job?...


I can only guess what are the panel's real specs are because everything goes through that tiny AC-AC adapter (voltage converter as you call it) pictured on the right side. It gives out 2 regulated voltages for 12V and 5V. The 5V one is 0.5A, nothing known about the 12V one. However, the AA battery pack is charged by the 6.4V dedicated outlet, which I believe is not regulated and most likely providing the raw PV power.

Originally Posted By: Pete

I've seen other people with larger battery charging systems for lead-acid batteries. And it usually seems that they need some sort of voltage or power converter to get everything matched up. So ... just wondering why you don't need that here.


For a lead acid battery charging the most important part is the automatic charger, which will control the charging current so not to overcharge the big battery and to provide the most efficient charging cycle. You definitely want one if you are going to charge your batteries unattended. Otherwise you have to monitor the battery voltage often. From other side, you might need to do that only once. Just note the necessary time for your particular battery, and charge it for the same time the next time. The regulated voltage is less important here, just keep it at 12-18 volt. Also for direct solar panel charging you might need to add a diode into the circuit to prevent a back flow current (from battery to PV) at night.

I think that this particular panel is not good for lead acids charging, because the 12V current should be quite low on its 12V port (0.4A or so). But that was expected. In fact, I've been looking for a thin folding panel to charge 4 NiMH fast enough to my applications and with USB out.

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#222289 - 04/25/11 08:11 PM Re: Goal Zero - my new sustainable power base [Re: Alex]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3077

Quote:
the AA battery pack is charged by the 6.4V dedicated outlet


This is the only thing I don't like about the design of the Goal Zero 10 charger/powerpack. If the dedicated charger/powerpack was to take a 12V input rather than the 6.5V input along with the USB input/output I would have actually purchased one to replace a Uniross X-Press 700 charger (requires 12v@500mA or 6W) that resides with an Sunlinq 6.5W folding solar panel. This combo works reasonably well in good sunshine but is a 2 or 4 cell charger not an individual cell charger. Is the Goal Zero charger a 2 or 4 cell charger or 1 to 4 individual charger? It is nice and compact though with an LED light which always a plus. I would assume that @ 6.5 Volts the current would be around 1 A. So for 4x2000mA NiMh Cells @80% charge efficiency = 10Ahr @ 1.4V or 14Whrs, 4 Eneloops would be fully charged in around 2 1/2 hrs. I can't really see the Eneloops being fully charged in less time.

The fast chargers that are available aren't really useful with the limited power solar PV panels as they cannot deliver enough amperage at 12V for these fast charger as most require around 1A@12V i.e. 12W minimum or a 15-18W solar panel.

Trying to find a charger/powerpack which will take both 12V, USB and mains is a little tricky although one of these might just do the trick for around $10.

http://www.7dayshop.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=777_3&products_id=105029

although it doesn't have USB output carrying one of these will give 5V USB to charge other devices that have their own charge circuitry and lithium battery.

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