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#286190 - 09/13/17 06:17 PM Solar powered gear...
TeacherRO Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2175
Power outages for 1-5 days seem to be more and more common. What solar powered gear do you have or are you adding to your kit(s)?

fo us its:
-solar lights & lanterns
- two radios/ with cell phone chargers
- small solar panel for small electronics

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#286192 - 09/13/17 06:44 PM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: TeacherRO]
LCranston Offline
2
Member

Registered: 08/31/09
Posts: 147
Loc: Nebraska
In my garage
Aukey 21 watt USB charger. If camping, it goes in the car.

In Car
Solar powered am/fm/weather radio


For house
4- 48 watt 12 volt panels
2 charge controllers

2 105 AH golf cart batteries.

4 400 to 1500 watt inverters.

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#286194 - 09/13/17 07:14 PM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: TeacherRO]
bws48 Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/18/07
Posts: 812
Loc: Anne Arundel County, Maryland
Something to keep in mind when buying the next car, is that a hybrid (or even a full battery electric) car has a substantial battery in it, and can provide 12 volt power to recharge phones, etc. A lot of it. I'm sure it is not for everyone, but, it is a value added feature that one may not think about when buying a car.
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#286195 - 09/13/17 07:43 PM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: bws48]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5924
Loc: southern Cal
My solar stuff is all Goal Zero (no connection), primarily because the components work well without any math on my part (which is a good thing). Not cheap but simple to use. I am inclined to go deper into solar once I learn more, because I'll bet there are some good, relatively cheap items out there.

2 backpackable panels, and several power banks. I can readily keep my AA and AAA Eneloops charged up, as well as our cell phones, so we have light and means of communication, if cell towers are operating. One of the best is their Mini-Lighthouse lantern - variable brightness levels up to 250 lumens and the 3000mah battery can also charge a cell phone a time or two. I have spare proprietary batteries for the two units I have.

I have used this stuff on field projects and it seems to work pretty well. I can store all the components, including the panels in an ammo can,so the system should survive a quake.

Second the comment about the Prius. It will serve multiple purposes if ever need be. For that matter, get a USB outlet for your power port on a conventional vehicle and you can easily keep small stuff running.
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#286202 - 09/13/17 09:05 PM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: TeacherRO]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1308
Over the years, much trial and upgrades when it comes to solar. Still not done - but here is the cumulative list.

2 x 100 watt solar panels
30 amp controller

2 x Group 27 / 12 volt deep cycle batteries in parallel (12 volts but double the amps.)

1 x Group 27 / 12 volt deep cycle battery

2 x 7 AMH SLA battery (in parallel) in a small ammo box. Used to charge USB and power small 12 volt devices and also to provide portable light when/where needed.

1 x 75 watt modified sine wave inverter
2 x 300 watt modified sine wave inverter
1 x 750 watt modified sine wave inverter
1 x 600 watt pure sine wave inverter
1 x 1000 watt pure sine wave inverter

As solar is not always an easy option in my area;

1 x 2000 watt inverter (pure sine wave) generator
1 x 12 amp battery charger (plugs into the generator to charge the batteries when the sun is not cooperating. Will be upgrading to a 25 amp charger this week as it comes on sale this Friday.

Enough miscellaneous 12 volt LED lights, 120v LED lights and wiring to easily light up a couple of houses.
_________________________
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

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#286203 - 09/13/17 09:36 PM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: TeacherRO]
Tjin Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1680
I just have a 24watt panel and powerbanks to charge from them.

Not much to loose in my fridge/freezer (it's a small one, with my stove on top of it). Do not own a tv or much other electronics, so power is just for a few led lights, a phone and maybe a few small things.
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#286207 - 09/14/17 03:41 AM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: TeacherRO]
LesSnyder Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 1454
Loc: New Port Richey, Fla
I have a GoalZero 7w unit with which I can charge AA Eneloops, but after giving my two generators a pretty good trial the last 3 days, will be relying on them for weather emergencies

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#286230 - 09/14/17 08:18 PM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: TeacherRO]
DesertFox Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 01/04/07
Posts: 338
Loc: New York, NY
Goal Zero here too. Agree that it is a bit on the expensive side, but as you expand, components are compatible. Also recently had a friend of mine put together a wind powered charger. Low power at 1-2 amp. But it was less than $40 in parts, available through Amazon, with some available at the hardware store, and the charge controller can be used with solar panels.

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#286231 - 09/14/17 08:45 PM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: TeacherRO]
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 1913
Loc: Colorado
I don't have anything that I'd consider necessary in an emergency that would require the expense of setting up solar. Cell phones? If your area is going to be out of power for an extended period, those aren't going to work for long even if their batteries are charged. Charged flashlight batteries could come in handy, but for the cost of a solar setup you could buy a lot of Eneloops and charge them in advance. And then move on to candles after they're depleted. You're not going to be running refrigerators, air conditions or a washing machine unless you do some serious financial investment in your solar setup. And what if the sun is not shining after a disaster?

I would think a generator powered from your homes natural gas would be the best option. And if you lose natural gas, a backup smaller generator that runs off of gasoline that you have safely stored in advance. Or LP gas, if you happen to have one of those large stationary tanks in your back yard.

My thoughts are that the things you can power via solar are more convenience items than necessary items. Unless you really spend BIG in your solar setup. And be lucky enough that your big investment doesn't get destroyed by the same disaster that put you in need of that investment in the first place.

Charging some AA Eneloops with a small inexpensive solar panel is about as far as I'd consider. But I don't even have that - I just have a whole mess of already-charged Eneloops and LiIons and a couple of those gigantic Costco AA battery packages for backup of the backup, or to give out to neighbors.

Each person's situation is different though. I can imagine some medical devices might be functional on solar charging (if the sun is out after the disaster).


Edited by haertig (09/14/17 09:14 PM)
Edit Reason: spelling correction

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#286232 - 09/14/17 09:04 PM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: TeacherRO]
Montanero Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1118
Loc: North Carolina
Like Haertig, I do not have much that requires power which I rely on in an emergency. Communications be the key, and some GPSs (may be needed). I have the Goal Zero system and a stock of Eneloops.

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#286236 - 09/14/17 10:54 PM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: Montanero]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5924
Loc: southern Cal
Does anyone have recommendations for a good primer on solar power basics? (Solar power for Dummies??) I would like a more robust system, but also would like to keep costs in line, and retain the advantages of portability, at least for emergency use...
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#286240 - 09/15/17 01:11 AM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: TeacherRO]
Ratch Offline
Stranger

Registered: 08/05/17
Posts: 7
An excellent forum to consult is solarpaneltalk.com, go to the 12v rv and camping forum.

Lot of knowledgable people, number of engineers, but they can be grumpy when dealing with survivalists or environmentalists. Read the sticky posts on the various forums for a good education.

Myself, I have several small panels, 60 and 100 watt, some 40 or 50 Ah batteries, and charge controllers, plus D.C. Powered aa battery chargers etc. I standardized all my battery stuff on aa and have a supply of eneloop aa batteries.

Also a goal zero unit with some led lights. GZ tends to be expensive, so check out anker small solar panels.

Another source for,info might be modernoutpost.com, which sells stuff but has some educational articles. Also, thewirecutter.com has some ratings on some solar stuff.

Tim

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#286247 - 09/15/17 03:18 PM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: TeacherRO]
wileycoyote Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 266
Loc: eastern oregon
my buddy has a small solar system to recharge his portable CPAP machine. uses it when camping and blackouts.

i'm off-the-grid so solar runs this entire place, thus we don't have "black-outs" :-)

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#286248 - 09/15/17 04:48 PM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: TeacherRO]
Russ Online   content
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4554
Loc: SOCAL
I started with a Goal Zero Nomad 7 plus the Guide 10 charger. That's a nice, very portable system, great for charging AA batteries directly and other small devices through its USB output. I keep four Eneloop AA batteries in it to act as a power reserve when using the USB out.

The Nomad 7/Guide 10 is a small system though, only good for limited small items. So I recently upped the size to a 100 watt panel and a Goal Zero Yeti 400, truck portable but not something you can backpack. Quite a bit more energy storage and the ability to charge bigger items -- the Yeti 400 outputs 12 VDC, 2xUSB, 2x120VAC. But it won't run a refrigerator.

Eventually, I want a system big enough to run a refrigerator while charging a power pack large enough to run the 'fridge after the sun goes down. That's a goal, I'm not there yet.

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#286251 - 09/15/17 08:11 PM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: Russ]
Tjin Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1680
Originally Posted By: Russ
I started with a Goal Zero Nomad 7 plus the Guide 10 charger. That's a nice, very portable system, great for charging AA batteries directly and other small devices through its USB output. I keep four Eneloop AA batteries in it to act as a power reserve when using the USB out.

The Nomad 7/Guide 10 is a small system though, only good for limited small items. So I recently upped the size to a 100 watt panel and a Goal Zero Yeti 400, truck portable but not something you can backpack. Quite a bit more energy storage and the ability to charge bigger items -- the Yeti 400 outputs 12 VDC, 2xUSB, 2x120VAC. But it won't run a refrigerator.

Eventually, I want a system big enough to run a refrigerator while charging a power pack large enough to run the 'fridge after the sun goes down. That's a goal, I'm not there yet.


i used to have a Nomad 7 and Guide 10+ combo, but it won't charge mine phone. the max 1 amp output can't be sustained for long, so rather poor performance for anything that want more than 0.5 amp's from the USB.
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#286252 - 09/16/17 01:14 AM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: TeacherRO]
CJK Offline
Addict

Registered: 08/14/05
Posts: 492
Loc: FL, USA
Any thoughts on the Harbor Freight solar panel set? Any hands on experience? Was thinking of them with a deep discharge battery (ie boat) or someone said a golf cart battery. Thoughts?

I also heard that the Harbor Freight 'whisper quiet' generators are actually made by Honda. Can anyone confirm this? Would be very interested in knowing?

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#286257 - 09/16/17 05:33 AM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: TeacherRO]
wildman800 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2800
Loc: La-USA
There are a few positive reviews on the Harbor Freight 100 watt solar chargers on YouTube.
_________________________
QMC, USCG (Ret)
The best luck is what you make yourself!

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#286264 - 09/16/17 07:42 PM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: TeacherRO]
CJK Offline
Addict

Registered: 08/14/05
Posts: 492
Loc: FL, USA
Thanks Wildman. Good to know. I'll check on it.

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#286265 - 09/16/17 08:07 PM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: CJK]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1308
Originally Posted By: CJK
Any thoughts on the Harbor Freight solar panel set? Any hands on experience? Was thinking of them with a deep discharge battery (ie boat) or someone said a golf cart battery. Thoughts?

I also heard that the Harbor Freight 'whisper quiet' generators are actually made by Honda. Can anyone confirm this? Would be very interested in knowing?


You are better off with with a Renogy Panel Kit. This is what I purchased (need to purchase MC4 cable separately) then purchased another 100 watt Renogy panel. Both easily charge 2 x Group 27, 12 volt deep cycle batteries (from Costco) from which a 1000 watt pure sine waver inverter feeds 120v electrical.

At home testing has found that during long summer days, this solar system will keep a 15 cubic fridge and a 5 cubic foot freezer running on alternate times with timers. At our property up north which has no power, this system easily powers a 4 cubic fridge and all other electrical needs.

In the event of cloudy or rainy days and at night, also have a 2000 watt invertor generator (mine is a slightly different model) to help top up the batteries. Plenty of good reviews on YT of this generator.

I went with both the Renogy and Champion brands as both are US companies and offer North American support. When I first purchased my generator, it had a slight miss at idle. I called Champion Support and they sent a new carburetor which arrived in 4 days to Canada - which is impressive.

As for the golf cart battery, they certainly have their advantages but you will need 2 of them wired in series to get 12 volts to power an inverter or power 12 volt devices.

Much more info here:

https://www.solar-electric.com/learning-center/batteries-and-charging/deep-cycle-battery-faq.html

https://www.batterystuff.com/kb/articles/battery-articles/

http://www.marxrv.com/12volt/12volt.htm
_________________________
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

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#286278 - 09/17/17 09:36 AM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: TeacherRO]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 2762
Loc: USA
My generator is a Champion and it's been great. The CERT I volunteer with owns a Honda EU2000i and its legendary reputation is not exaggerated.

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#286517 - 09/29/17 01:01 AM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: TeacherRO]
TeacherRO Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2175
I've been testing my solar yard lights - most are still working after two years of regular use. Rather amazing for a $6 light.

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#286522 - 09/29/17 03:26 AM Re: Solar powered gear... [Re: TeacherRO]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5924
Loc: southern Cal
I've had good experience with solar yard lights as well. Another impressive, reasonably priced solar product is the inflatable cylindrical lights (one common brand is Luci). Dependable, bright, and cheap. Great for area lighting, especially.
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