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#291986 - 03/17/19 12:00 AM Re: New portable Solar charger [Re: Russ]
haertig Offline

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2047
Loc: Colorado
I have toyed with the idea to get some solar panels for use at home (last ditch backup). I haven't acted on that yet. Prices are definitely coming down these days, and that is making the idea much more attractive then when they first came out. If I buy them, they will probably be fairly large, higher capacity, marginally or non-portable devices for use only at home.

A friend of mine has a setup of some panels permanently mounted to his roof that charge a large bank of deep cycle golf cart batteries. And inverters for getting 120vac out of the batteries if needed. A very enviable setup. But it's not portable. Actually, the batteries and inverters are on large multi-shelved wheeled carts, and those can be moved around (but very heavy, and it isn't going to do well being rolled through the mud). The solar panels are fixed to the roof though. During normal times (when mains power is available) those golf cart batteries are charged off of the mains. The solar panels are a backup charging system for when the power is out. My friend has 12vdc lighting installed alongside the normal 120vac lights so he can run directly off the batteries and not waste power due to inefficiencies inherent to an inverter. This is obviously a hunker down at home setup, not a bug out setup.

#291988 - 03/17/19 01:40 AM Re: New portable Solar charger [Re: haertig]
Russ Offline

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5029
I like it. My hunker down at home set-up is a single 100W panel plugged into a Goal Zero Yeti 400 power station. I havenít needed it yet, but that should power all I need other than a refrigerator. A single 100 watt panel doesnít seem like much, but most of the year SOCAL has great sun and the panel can easily be moved to optimize its orientation throughout the day - itís not on the roof.

That said, more panels, a lot more storage in the form of deep cycle batteries and a largish inverter to power a refrigerator would be nice.

#291994 - 03/17/19 05:01 PM Re: New portable Solar charger [Re: Russ]
Russ Offline

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5029
Just noticed in my second post above I mentioned storing a 3Ē USB cable, when I should have said 3í (tightly wrapped). As it is, Iím keeping a braided 1í (12Ē) USB cable in that pocket ó small, well built and necessary to move the 5 volts from panel to phone/power bank.

#292002 - 03/18/19 05:12 PM Re: New portable Solar charger [Re: Russ]
Russ Offline

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5029
For anyone on the fence regarding buying a small portable solar panel ó take a good look at the Renogy E.Flex5 ó relatively inexpensive, $23.98 on Amazon ó mine arrived yesterday.

The panel is a small, lightweight, simple design with no moving parts. There is a single USB port mounted on the rear with an output of (5 volts x 1 amp =) 5 watts max, which with good sun should be enough to charge most cell phones ó when I hooked up my iPhone 6s Plus just now it immediately went into charging mode. Iíll run it up to ~90% and unhook it. Rough charging rate with the iPhone: it charged from 65% to 72% in 20 minutes ó ~1% every 3 minutes in good sun. That should be excellent in an emergency.

After I charge the iPhone, Iíll hook up my Anker PowerCore+ Mini, 3350mAh Portable Charger.

The panel is hyper-portable, small, thin & lightweight. It should be great for emergencies, or to have while hiking and sensitive to extra ounces. This may become my primary hiking set-up for small, lightweight power ó small solar panel to keep a small power bank charged, or hook-up directly to the cellphone or GPS (if it can take a USB input).

Note: I unhooked the phone at 82%, 50 minutes from 65%. So 17% in 50 minutes is still still about 1% every 3 minutes with an iPhone 6sPlus. The percentage charge should be quicker with the smaller flip-phone I carry when out & about. YMMV

Edited by Russ (03/18/19 06:01 PM)

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