Portable solar charger for gadgets

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Portable solar charger for gadgets

Postby Lin » Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:39 pm

I have a Sunlinq 6.5 Watt foldable solar charger which I bought from the US about a year ago and I really love it. I never expected much of it and maybe it isn't really that useful as I could probably just charge my gadgets in the car. But that would mean having the car battery turned on and leaving the key in the ignition.

I use the solar charger to charge my (and my friends') phone, electric pump and our Nintendos. I love this photo of my daughter with the Nintendo she got from Santa when we were camping.

It works suprisingly well, even when completely overcast. It has a 12v 'cigarette lighter' socket and I bought a 12V cable that fits most of my gadgets from Dick Smith.

It really does produce very little power, but it never fails and it gives me a disproportionate pleasure to get free power from the sun. (I raved about the hot water on tap from our solar shower too the first time I used it!)

So much so, that I think it's a shame when it isn't charging anything and I'd like to be able to charge a battery so I can use the power later to maybe power a portable stereo or lantern. Any ideas how I would go about that? Alternatively I could use it to charge AA or AAA batteries to power other appliances... If I can do that, I may buy myself a second one and link them up.

Oh and I love the fact that it weighs nothing and folds up to a bit bigger than wallet size. Small car sydnrome...
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Re: Portable solar charger for gadgets

Postby cokebottle » Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:01 pm

I have a Kmart brief case style solar panel, which i bought for about $100, had it's first "in the field" test last week when we camped at Wangi Wangi on Lake Macquarie NSW.

I used it to keep a 12 volt gell cell topped up to recharge my Iphone/my wifes Nokia/step daughters LG phone & also charged a fluro lamp, performed flawlessly.

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Re: Portable solar charger for gadgets

Postby Lin » Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:24 pm

Is there a lighter alternative to the standard gel cell battery?
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Re: Portable solar charger for gadgets

Postby hoadie72 » Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:17 am

Hi Lin, what're you looking to power? If it's nothing too high-powered, perhaps something from these guys may suit? http://www.powertraveller.com.au/

Their products are on the pricey side though.

Alternately there is a 36ah battery pack from Waeco that while not mega cheap, and is heavy, doesn't take up a massive amount of space and is better value for money.

http://www.waeco.com.au/products4.asp?i ... CatId2=127

* I picked up 2 from their seconds stores for about $100 less than retail. They were re-worked units that have cosmetic damage. 3 years later they're still doing the job.
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Re: Portable solar charger for gadgets

Postby Lin » Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:34 am

Ooh, those Waeco batteries are very nice! Heavy, but small indeed. Will put it on my 'wants' list!

The Powermonkey chargers info doesn't mention how many Watts they put out... I think I'd be better off just buying one or 2 more of the ones I already have and link them together as I know they work. Not all of them perform well in overcast weather, I think. I also love the fact that mine is so tough: no glass and completely weather-proof.
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Re: Portable solar charger for gadgets

Postby hoadie72 » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:21 am

I was about to say "sure it does" as I'd seen specs on a website last night, but you're right, it's not there! From memory the Power Gorilla is around 2200mah which makes it quite expensive, though it is versatile.

What I like about the Waeco batteries is they're portable, they'll charge while driving or from a car battery charger, and because of their construction, can be used in any orientation (ie you can tip it on it's back or side if it makes it fit into your car better.
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Re: Portable solar charger for gadgets

Postby stevo. » Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:07 pm

Lin wrote:I'd like to be able to charge a battery so I can use the power later to maybe power a portable stereo or lantern. Any ideas how I would go about that?


I don't know much about solar / power / batteries, but .....

Does your solar panel have some kind of regulator? so when your stuff has been fully charged it stops charging?

I have a Ritar RT1270 battery which is pretty small, cost $40 from a boat shop, they probably have similar ones at BCF. I use it in the tinnie to run the GPS and fish finder. They have run those things for 2 days straight and haven't effected the power much.

You could buy something like that and connect the solar panel to it, it could be permantly set up at camp so it charges all day.

It kind of all depends on how much power you require, if you start running radios all day and lights at night your solar panel will not put in enough power to keep up with the accessories you're using and your battery may run low after a few days, BUT, if you're only there for a few days or a week you'll probably get away with it, and the solar panel will slowly charge the battery, and before you go camping next time, just charge the battery again.

I'm sure others here know more than me about power stuff, more beer :cheers

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Re: Portable solar charger for gadgets

Postby Titch2 » Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:40 pm

stevo. wrote:
Lin wrote:I'd like to be able to charge a battery so I can use the power later to maybe power a portable stereo or lantern. Any ideas how I would go about that?


I don't know much about solar / power / batteries, but .....

Does your solar panel have some kind of regulator? so when your stuff has been fully charged it stops charging?

I have a Ritar RT1270 battery which is pretty small, cost $40 from a boat shop, they probably have similar ones at BCF. I use it in the tinnie to run the GPS and fish finder. They have run those things for 2 days straight and haven't effected the power much.

You could buy something like that and connect the solar panel to it, it could be permantly set up at camp so it charges all day.

It kind of all depends on how much power you require, if you start running radios all day and lights at night your solar panel will not put in enough power to keep up with the accessories you're using and your battery may run low after a few days, BUT, if you're only there for a few days or a week you'll probably get away with it, and the solar panel will slowly charge the battery, and before you go camping next time, just charge the battery again.

I'm sure others here know more than me about power stuff, more beer :cheers

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Again, if anyone wants any of these battery,s in Sth East Victoria ask me.
We throw out 2 year old ones all the time.
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Re: Portable solar charger for gadgets

Postby stevo. » Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:54 pm

What ya use those for titchy? Send em up here! :armsup
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Re: Portable solar charger for gadgets

Postby Lin » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:54 pm

Oh cool, that's more what I'm looking for I think! They sell some similar ones at Supercheap Auto or I can buy them online.

The charger does have a regulator and I have read reviews where they use them to charge batteries.
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Re: Portable solar charger for gadgets

Postby GypsyLady » Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:03 am

You can also buy the little batteries in Battery World and BCF.

They are often used for emergency lighting when the power goes out hence the need to change them every 2 years.

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Re: Portable solar charger for gadgets

Postby Lin » Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:05 am

I was a bit too fast. I'm missing something here. "Me from Barcelona, I know noooothing!"

I can see how I can connect the charger to the battery as it comes with the red and black battery clamps, but how can I connect my gadgets to the battery???
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Re: Portable solar charger for gadgets

Postby stevo. » Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:50 am

How about something like this? If you can do some wiring, you could put together a bit of a harness to get rid of all the clamps and bits.

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Re: Portable solar charger for gadgets

Postby Titch2 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 8:19 am

GypsyLady wrote:You can also buy the little batteries in Battery World and BCF.

They are often used for emergency lighting when the power goes out hence the need to change them every 2 years.




Close enough GL.
Buy from Battery world,the batteries would be fresher from them.
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Re: Portable solar charger for gadgets

Postby Lin » Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:13 am

Cool. Shouldn't be hard to find a lead like that, it seems.
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