solar power

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Re: solar power

Postby briggsy » 29 Oct 2010, 7:09pm

I tried a Freeloader Globetrotter on a recent tour. Unfortunately, even though I was very excited about the possibility of free power for my iPhone, it didn't work out as well as I'd hoped. It was possible to boost the phone but it didn't fully charge even if the panel was left out all day (in the bright Italian sun). In the end I managed to get a decent charge if I left the big panel out all day and added the smaller side panels every time I stopped and each evening.

If you were considering one I'd say to not rely on it. We managed to get stuff charged at campsites, most places would even let us plug things into the USB ports on their computers.

By the way, if you're travelling with an iPhone can I suggest 'offmaps'. It took a bit of setting up but it was invaluable on navigating small roads and the cheapest way of storing maps on your iPhone (with GPS functionality) that I could find. We didn't have any other GPS with us. I have no affiliation with the makers of Offmaps, by the way.


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Re: solar power

Postby melon » 29 Oct 2010, 8:47pm

ive actually been using offmaps for months now, its a very useful tool!

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Re: solar power

Postby horizon » 29 Oct 2010, 9:17pm

briggsy wrote:We managed to get stuff charged at campsites, most places would even let us plug things into the USB ports on their computers.


That's the problem - melon says he won't be using campsites. That leaves dubious day time stops - bars etc? He has a point - and so do you Keith (i.e. solar not that brilliant), which points the way to a dynamo being the only viable solution. I am quite interested to see how this plays out. I have wild camped enough to sympathise with the problem.

This is from Mark Beaumont's site:

Q - I've been wondering if you are using a dynamo or solar recharger for your laptop/mobile battery. I guess not?

A - I use a dynamo on the bike but only for the lights. I use a solar panel for charging the mobile, satellite phone, iPod, and most small electronics but it is not powerful enough to charge the laptop or satellite dish.
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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Re: solar power

Postby ersakus » 29 Oct 2010, 9:58pm

though Mark has travelled through Americas where those lands are blessed with sunshine unlike northern Europe.

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Re: solar power

Postby andrew_s » 29 Oct 2010, 11:45pm

I have heard of people using solar power successfully in Europe, but big panels are required so that you may well find a dynohub and eWerk cheaper.
eg for phones £190, for cameras £227, for laptops £512.
With smaller panels you need both sun, and the time available to lay your solar panel out so it's pointing at the sun (rather than any which way on the back of your bike).

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Re: solar power

Postby dinger207 » 31 Oct 2010, 5:20pm

Anybody know if the B & M e-werks unit could be adapted to work on Lightspin tyre-running dynamo? It seems a pity to have to replace a very efficient (and pricey) unit. It could also then be moved from bike to bike if necessary, even with different wheels sizes.

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Re: solar power

Postby andrew_s » 31 Oct 2010, 6:46pm

I wouldn't expect a Lightspin and e-Werk to work together.
Generally a normal dynamo will put half an amp through the load you give it, within reason, with the voltage going up to 15V or so.
On the other hand, the Lightspin will go up tp 6V and no more, but will give higher currents as demanded.

When running 2x6V3W halogen bulbs off a hub, you put them in series so the dynamo was giving 12V 0.5A. If you used a Lightspin, you had to put the 2 bulbs in parallel, so the dynamo was giving 6V 1A

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Re: solar power

Postby Vorpal » 1 Nov 2010, 9:32am

I carry a wind up torch with phone charger. They come with connectors for most electronic devices. I don't know how it would be for anything more power hungry than a mobile, but it works well for that.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
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Re: solar power

Postby vernon » 1 Nov 2010, 8:51pm

Anyone contemplating purchasing an e-work should have a look at ... ail2=25828

Where it can be purchased for £101 plus postage.

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Re: solar power

Postby ersakus » 1 Nov 2010, 9:32pm

star bike is not to bad either..

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Re: solar power

Postby b1ke » 13 Nov 2010, 12:44am

I've got a Solar Gorilla which anybody is welcome to buy if they want. I took it (plus various electrical devices weighing far more than was sensible) on a European tour this year. This included a netbook - hence the Solar Gorilla which I hoped would help keep it charged. It put about 3% charge into the (40 watt) netbook in a full day of bright sunshine. It did, however, work really well with the usb option, so anything 5v. We charged mobile phones and the digital camera with no problems in about 3 hours from flat(ish).

I considered the E-Werk, which will apparently charge a 12v device, but I'm worried about rolling resistance from the dynamo at that current. Does anyone have any experience of this?

From now on, I've decided to only take 5v electronic devices on tour. The I Pod touch is wifi capable and is sufficient for my web needs, plus is a lot lighter than a netbook. I've got a Schmidt dynohub and you can pick up the USB chargers on ebay for £25 (again - does anybody have any experience of these?). - Europe on a Tandem.... - West Africa on a Tandem....

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Re: solar power

Postby rollinbone » 13 Nov 2010, 11:53am

Sorry a bit late coming to this but ~

in 2009 i did 1000+ miles in england with one of these ... 164989.htm

to help charge my SatMap that can use 3x AA batteries at a time (about 9 per day)

This devise charges 4x AA batteries at a time

July 2009 was mostly rainy but found it charged up the AA's ~
in cloudy/rainy days it took about 2 days on the road
in sunny days it took about 1 day

a day being about 8 hours but you can also leave this outside
your tent in the evening

I also got a gadget from a phone shop that transfers juice from a AA battery
to my Nokia phone

Have just got myself a hub and an ewerk for my next trip because of the constant
issue about finding/changing batteries all the time.

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Re: solar power

Postby foxy12 » 14 Nov 2010, 9:19pm

I used a Freeloader Globetrotter Pack. It has a large solar panel which can be attached to the back of a rucksack or on a laggage racK. I found it very good in the summer and used it to charge my mobile phone and digital camera. It worked very well.

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Re: solar power

Postby Pizza_man » 15 Nov 2010, 11:48am

The combination I am currently testing.

Wind powered USB charger £4.99 with free delivery :) :-

Includes a handle bar mount (just fits my oversized bars). Also includes a “1200mAh rechargeable lithium polymer battery” which can be charged from mains or wind power. Not really tested yet, so cannot comment on how effective it is, but the fact it’s mounted on the handlebars in front of rider should not really add drag as wind would be hitting your body anyway….

With a backup of emergency AA battery USB charger £2.84 with free delivery :D :- ... 3806wt_997

This is slightly different from model I have but should work the same. I use with Energizer Ultimate Lithium Batteries, 2 *AA batteries recharge my blackberry (1400 mAh battery) from completely flat to 100%, with a little bit to spare. (£4.44 (or £4.99 from Maplins) for 4 ... B000IWW1G6 so costs about £2 charge my blackberry in this way).

Used my emergency charger allot on the road and has worked well, can buy batteries anywhere, so never worry about running out of juice when away from home. Wind charger recent addition worth a £4.99 punt.

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Re: solar power

Postby ersakus » 15 Nov 2010, 11:57am

Sorry but I think that wind charger will not do the job of charging a mobile phone. Just goes against science&engineering. The extra batteries on the other hand might top up. Only reliable/consistent way of recharging on the go at the moment is the hub dynamo solution. If you live in Morocco solar thing might help a bit as well.