solar power

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melon
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solar power

Postby melon » 29 Oct 2010, 3:48am

im going on a tour and i want to take a GPS and my iphone.

ive seen these small solar units, but are any of them really any good for keeping my devices alive?

any experiences/advice?

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: solar power

Postby [XAP]Bob » 29 Oct 2010, 9:55am

Solar cell efficiency is generally poor.

You might want to consider a (hub) dynamo an e-werk or similar charger
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

byegad
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Re: solar power

Postby byegad » 29 Oct 2010, 10:21am

How long will you be away from mains power?

I use a Power Monkey Explorer which charges from mains or Solar. The Solar will charge the unit but takes a long time, days, to get anywhere near a full charge. However the unit will charge my phone 3 times ad iPod twice before needing topping up. It will not charge a device needing more than 850mA input.
"I thought of that while riding my bike." -Albert Einstein, on the Theory of Relativity

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: solar power

Postby [XAP]Bob » 29 Oct 2010, 10:37am

My other advice is much more general - and possibly too late.

get stuff that either - all charges from miniUSB (or other common cable) and a single cable and mains adaptor will do you.

OR - get stuff that all runs from AA batteries.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

melon
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Joined: 29 Oct 2010, 3:38am

Re: solar power

Postby melon » 29 Oct 2010, 12:08pm

well id be away for a while, dont like the idea of having to to find a socket to charge the devices.

psmiffy
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Re: solar power

Postby psmiffy » 29 Oct 2010, 12:19pm

melon wrote:well id be away for a while, dont like the idea of having to to find a socket to charge the devices.


I was away for 5 months last year - I just found sockets when I could - and with careful management of the stuff I was using, none of it actually got round to being unusable

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=RrzKj&page_id=143993&v=3U

a few years ago I dabbled with solar panels for charging simple devices like my pda and phone - never really worked out - pretty much consistant with the oponions of a lot of tourists I have met on the road

I met a guy a few days ago going east to west across the UK who had both wind (x2) and solar and his oponion was that it was about as much use as a choclate fireguard

The hub dynamo option would seem to be the most promising - expensive but if I added up the money that I have spent on trying alternatives then it would be a no - brainer

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ersakus
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Re: solar power

Postby ersakus » 29 Oct 2010, 12:20pm

Depensd on your budget obviously but I'd second the hub dynamo+e-werk regulator combination which will cost you at least £200 (new wheel necessary). I just have one and preforms great so far. I have the power monkey solar charger system which is absolutely waste of time and money (for solar charging at least).

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horizon
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Re: solar power

Postby horizon » 29 Oct 2010, 12:36pm

I cannot add anything useful but I want to ask if anyone can spot a better way (I am very open to ideas):

1. Mobile phone is charged as and when at campsites by asking. Abroad, I take a plug adaptor so no problem there. The phone only lasts about 3 days but that seems OK. B&Bs etc the phone is charged in the room.

2. Lights are all AA and AAA rechargeables so I take a charger (again with adaptor if needed) and just remember to top up as frequently as possible (ask or in room). For short trips I just charge up before leaving home.

3. Camera and radio use AA rechargeables.

4. The tandem intercom is AAA rechargeable.

5. I have just acquired a wind-up tent light which I actually found really good, so even more battery life is saved.

So I would want to know from the OP: where are you going/what are you doing that would make recharging impossible overnight?

(Edited to add : would love a dynamo but that is going to have to be a very big Xmas present.)
Last edited by horizon on 29 Oct 2010, 1:01pm, edited 5 times in total.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

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horizon
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Re: solar power

Postby horizon » 29 Oct 2010, 12:39pm

melon wrote:well id be away for a while, dont like the idea of having to to find a socket to charge the devices.


Sorry melon - just read your earlier post! :oops:

I would say that it is another example of being dependent on the kindness of strangers - not a bad thing when you travel. But charging up in a hotel room doesn't even involve that.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

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horizon
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Re: solar power

Postby horizon » 29 Oct 2010, 12:59pm

Last point: will the OP be camping wild - this does present a greater challenge for recharging.

And final question: how will the OP charge other devices (I presume only lights though as all the other ones like a camera will be incorporated in the phone).
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

melon
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Re: solar power

Postby melon » 29 Oct 2010, 2:08pm

i plan to wild camp the entire tour. i could just seek out sockets, but i dont want to have to plan my journey around recharging points. i use a rear light running on 3AAA's which last a long time, and i only ride in the dark if im forced to. i have a an excellent wind up camping torch that ive been using for a while.


the iphone might seem like an extravagance, but its a great tool. camera, music, ebooks, video player, internet. id like to use it to write my travel diary which can be uploaded to a blog with the pictures and video ive taken. it is however very power hungry.

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horizon
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Re: solar power

Postby horizon » 29 Oct 2010, 2:25pm

melon wrote:i plan to wild camp the entire tour. i could just seek out sockets, but i dont want to have to plan my journey around recharging points. i use a rear light running on 3AAA's which last a long time, and i only ride in the dark if im forced to. i have a an excellent wind up camping torch that ive been using for a while.


the iphone might seem like an extravagance, but its a great tool. camera, music, ebooks, video player, internet. id like to use it to write my travel diary which can be uploaded to a blog with the pictures and video ive taken. it is however very power hungry.


Thanks melon - that explains a lot. I am now interested to see the replies on this. Have you checked out any other web resources (e.g. RTW'ers) who camped out complete with laptops etc?
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

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ersakus
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Re: solar power

Postby ersakus » 29 Oct 2010, 2:44pm

From my research laptops can't be recharged by bike dynamo. Perhaps small notebooks would be OK. Dynamo+Ewerk can give out from 2.8V up to 13.5V (with 0.7 V steps) and up to slightly less then 2A current. These values can be set on the device. This covers power requirements of almost all small gadgets nowadays including iphone (provided you ride fast enough obviously). Another advantage is you never have to think about charging your lights. There are people who used this set up and have done this unsupported and could charge their gadgets. (Here it matters how many gadgets are to be used and how frequently as well). I don't have experience with iphone but have heard that it has a high power demand. it is on compatibility list of e-werk so should be OK depending on your daily use..

TheBrick
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Re: solar power

Postby TheBrick » 29 Oct 2010, 6:42pm

Candle power forums have some circuits for charging usb and aa batteries off of a hub dynamo. worth a look. Cuts down a chink on the cost of the setup as it's only the front wheel + a few electrical components.

TheBrick
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Re: solar power

Postby TheBrick » 29 Oct 2010, 6:42pm

Candle power forums have some circuits for charging usb and aa batteries off of a hub dynamo. worth a look. Cuts down a chunk on the cost of the setup as it's only the front wheel + a few electrical components.