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Posted: 2/18/2021 12:05:28 AM EDT
What's the go to system to have. For recharging batteries and cell phones.
I'm thinking it would be good to have after a big storm and loss of power for a few days.

Link Posted: 2/18/2021 12:27:37 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/18/2021 12:33:38 AM EDT by WWolfe]
Check out Renogy stuff.  They have folding setups.  You'll need an inverter, too.  Looks like they have USB charging ports on some setups.
Link Posted: 2/18/2021 12:28:07 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/18/2021 12:29:30 AM EDT by Eagle_19er]
I have and have used: Goal Zero Nomad 10, Anker 21w, BigBlue 28w (2 USB’s w/ammeter).

Goal Zero: May charge 4AA nimh in a full day IF the sun is out all day, maybe. The GZ was ahead of it’s time but is now expensive and underpowered with many better options out there.  

Anker 21w: Solid solar charger. Can and has charged an Anker 13,000mah USB battery for me. Gone from dead to full charge in a day.

Big Blue 28w: Is the nicest of the three because the built in ammeter shows you how much charge it’s putting out. I’ve taken this on a 4 day trip into the BWCA and kept 3 people’s phones and an Anker 13,000 battery charged in early fall sunlight/partly cloudy conditions.
Link Posted: 2/18/2021 1:10:50 AM EDT
I wouldn’t mess around with anything less than 45w charging a 35 ah battery.
Link Posted: 2/18/2021 1:12:28 AM EDT
Best bet is a medium output (30w-60w+)12vdc rigid system, a couple of12v AGM/SLA mother batteries in the 12-30Ah range, a smaller PWM digital charge controller and a 12vdc multi-chem battery charger. With a Battery Tender (Jr.) to keep them topped up when the power is on.

Chris
Link Posted: 2/18/2021 1:21:27 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/18/2021 1:25:23 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/18/2021 1:26:30 AM EDT by GlutealCleft]
Originally Posted By Harv24:
What's the go to system to have. For recharging batteries and cell phones.
I'm thinking it would be good to have after a big storm and loss of power for a few days.

View Quote


Your first line of attack should be a 20-23AH portable battery charger.  They're smaller than solar cells, work at any time of the day, and provide a lot more current.  One of them can charge several phones fully.... several times each.  They're about 10x more handy than solar cells.  Solar cells would be if your battery bank was empty, and you couldn't charge your battery bank or phone from a car.

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Link Posted: 2/18/2021 1:27:37 AM EDT
I have a jackery 500 lion pack and a sla goal zero I think 400. With a 100 watt folding panel  that the had to search for that keeps the panels on the inside when folded. Most I found have the panels exposed when folded. Works great with the jackery, lots of power and fast charging. Perfect to run consumer electronics and leds camping or power outages.
Link Posted: 2/18/2021 1:40:12 AM EDT
Just depends on your priorities.

If you want light, fast and minimal, Suntactics makes good panels (5/8/14w) so long as you're familiar with the tradeoffs. If your priority is a good compromise between output and portability, 21-28 watt panels are pretty common, though a bit larger and heavier still easily carried. For mostly vehicle but still portable there are 60-100w options out there, these can feed the thirsty "solar generators" (which are basically just a battery bank + inverter you can run both DC and AC off of).

A ~28w panel is my preference, not too heavy to carry but large enough that I get a decent amount of power throughout the day, even in less than ideal conditions like non-peak hours or winter months.  I usually get 5v and up to 3 amps in ideal conditions, though between 1-2 amps is more common.

Be wary of claimed wattage, realistically you'll get about half what the description says during ideal conditions.  In particular, when a temporary obstruction (such as a cloud) drops output, not all panels will check for this and ramp the power back up automatically when the obstruction is gone.  Make sure you read as many reviews as you can before purchasing.
Link Posted: 4/19/2021 11:04:11 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By jt526:
I have a jackery 500 lion pack and a sla goal zero I think 400. With a 100 watt folding panel  that the had to search for that keeps the panels on the inside when folded. Most I found have the panels exposed when folded. Works great with the jackery, lots of power and fast charging. Perfect to run consumer electronics and leds camping or power outages.
View Quote

I also have the jackery panels. I also have several power cells, plus the jackery 1000. It will be used mainly for charging things and running random items for short periods of time, like my waterpik. I also have a portable generator.
Link Posted: 4/19/2021 11:13:37 PM EDT
What do you want to charge?

"Just" a cell phone or two?
A laptop??
Radios, batteries for flashlights?
A lot depends on what you expect to charge.
Are you charging in winter or summer?
Link Posted: 4/20/2021 5:47:46 AM EDT
Make sure that your expectations are realistic.   During the Texas freeze recently a number of people that expected to use solar panels for backup power reported they were only getting 10% from the rated capacity of their panels.   It would be unfortunate to depend on 200 watts but then find that you only had 20 watts to work with.  

Whatever you buy, test it before you have to use it.   That way you will know how to use it and understand its limitations before you out and about with a dead phone.
Link Posted: 4/20/2021 11:19:05 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By 2Hut8:
Make sure that your expectations are realistic.   During the Texas freeze recently a number of people that expected to use solar panels for backup power reported they were only getting 10% from the rated capacity of their panels.   It would be unfortunate to depend on 200 watts but then find that you only had 20 watts to work with.  

Whatever you buy, test it before you have to use it.   That way you will know how to use it and understand its limitations before you out and about with a dead phone.
View Quote

I mentioned in a different thread concerning "solar generators" about how deceptive these companies are and how they will imply anything to make a sale.

For instance, there are people that consider a generator the debil because it uses gas, so they get a "solar generator" because it's like free electricity. They think they can power an entire home for infinity on one charge. When it needs recharging some of them use their vehicle (it takes over 6 hrs for a full charge) and still consider themselves green and holy because they didn't use a generator.

I have 2 100 watt panels, they both input 125 watts on a fully sunny day, I'm told that to protect the battery.

The point is, these solar companies exaggerate if not outright lie. What works for an overlander living in a van doesn't necessarily work for a home during a prolonged outage.

The bottom line is we are sacrificing our infrastructure under the guise of being "green". The governments goal is to make it so expensive we have no choice.

What happened to those subsidized solar industries from the obama administration? They went bankrupt, took the money and ran, now most of the solar industry is made in china. It only lasts so long, then it goes in the trash and must be repurchased.

It's as far from "green" as can be.


Link Posted: 4/20/2021 11:22:10 AM EDT
Renogy or GoalZero.
Link Posted: 4/20/2021 11:30:23 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By gitarmac:

I mentioned in a different thread concerning "solar generators" about how deceptive these companies are and how they will imply anything to make a sale.

For instance, there are people that consider a generator the debil because it uses gas, so they get a "solar generator" because it's like free electricity. They think they can power an entire home for infinity on one charge. When it needs recharging some of them use their vehicle (it takes over 6 hrs for a full charge) and still consider themselves green and holy because they didn't use a generator.

I have 2 100 watt panels, they both input 125 watts on a fully sunny day, I'm told that to protect the battery.

The point is, these solar companies exaggerate if not outright lie. What works for an overlander living in a van doesn't necessarily work for a home during a prolonged outage.

The bottom line is we are sacrificing our infrastructure under the guise of being "green". The governments goal is to make it so expensive we have no choice.

What happened to those subsidized solar industries from the obama administration? They went bankrupt, took the money and ran, now most of the solar industry is made in china. It only lasts so long, then it goes in the trash and must be repurchased.

It's as far from "green" as can be.


View Quote


People don't think Ohm, Ampere, Volta and Watt be like the are, but they do.
Link Posted: 4/20/2021 11:35:24 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/20/2021 11:36:17 AM EDT by Desert_AIP]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By BLKVooDoo:
Renogy or GoalZero.
View Quote

Goal Zero is kind of the Bose of the solar/battery world.
Lots of slick advertising, but just OK products.
Until recently they didn't even have regulated 12V outputs.
They also typically take forever to charge on solar.

Other options like Bluetti and Jackery have some good products with better value.

What ever individual unit you're interested in, regardless of brand, look at the Youtube reviews.
Every brand has some hits and misses.
Link Posted: 4/20/2021 11:50:52 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Desert_AIP:
What do you want to charge?

"Just" a cell phone or two?
A laptop??
Radios, batteries for flashlights?
A lot depends on what you expect to charge.
Are you charging in winter or summer?
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Desert_AIP:
What do you want to charge?

"Just" a cell phone or two?
A laptop??
Radios, batteries for flashlights?
A lot depends on what you expect to charge.
Are you charging in winter or summer?


It really helps to define your power needs.  While I would normally say you can’t have too much solar power, you can have too heavy or bulky of a system for backpacking.  

Originally Posted By Burncycle:
Just depends on your priorities.

If you want light, fast and minimal, Suntactics makes good panels (5/8/14w) so long as you're familiar with the tradeoffs.


I did a ton of research and ended up with Suntactics.  It’s not a ton of output, but it’s robust and efficient.  I can literally use the 5W folding panel to charge my phone from dead and once I can turn it on, I can place a call (with signal of course).  I have the 8W (discontinued) and 14W panels as well; the 8W is my favorite for size, weight and output.  My primary power system is an Anker 1300mAh battery bank but I’ve found that if I can get a sunny spot for camp, even if for a couple hours I can pretty much top off my phone and my AA Eneloop for my headlamp.  

My needs aren’t much.  Phone is the primary and an LED headlamp (AA battery) and/or small AA flashlight.  Last trip I took both 8W panel and battery bank, I did 106 miles and my phone never dropped below 80% and my battery bank had just dropped below 75% (rough estimate).  I kept my mobile and WiFi off unless I need to check the weather or post an update.  I used a GPS trail app and offline topo maps the most followed by surfing ARFCOM and reading on the Kindle App at night.



ROCK6
Link Posted: 4/20/2021 12:18:41 PM EDT
Something like these lanterns are great for hiking because they are both lanterns and USB battery banks for charging phones, etc.



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Link Posted: 4/24/2021 9:16:55 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Eagle_19er:
Big Blue 28w: Is the nicest of the three because the built in ammeter shows you how much charge it’s putting out. I’ve taken this on a 4 day trip into the BWCA and kept 3 people’s phones and an Anker 13,000 battery charged in early fall sunlight/partly cloudy conditions.
View Quote


I picked one up because it wasn't that expensive and I had an Amazon gift card to use.  The only issue is that the USB ports are waterproofed.  What I really like about Suntactics is that the ports and electronics are sealed and waterproof; you need to let it dry out before using, but that's critical for the Southeast.  You can have full sunshine in the later afternoon, nod off for a couple hours with you panel out charging your phone and wake up to a thunder shower.  

One other aspect is to make sure your USB charging cords are long enough to get your electronics covered up and out of direct sunlight.  If the battery heats up, I've been told it will significantly affect charging.  

ROCK6

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