Anyone successfully using solar panels?

Specifically for cycle touring subjects & questions
1982john
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Re: Anyone successfully using solar panels?

Postby 1982john » 17 Jun 2020, 10:03pm

Morzedec wrote:Without fail, every American cyclist that I find touring in France has one of these panels - but why, I have no idea.

I just don't get it: cycle touring is supposed to be easy out of the way fun, so leave all your gadgets behind, look around you to enjoy the landscape, and try to engage with the locals. Got lost? - no probs, keep going until you find a signpost, then ignore it and take the best looking road - who knows what you might find?

Ah, touring: happy days.



Normally I might be partial to this view but most places are going to be closed. Moreover, I think gadgets can work for or against. Taking a camera can help you notice more about the environment.

mercalia
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Re: Anyone successfully using solar panels?

Postby mercalia » 18 Jun 2020, 11:57am

I'll get a solar panel when they are good enough to power an ebike.....

hamster
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Re: Anyone successfully using solar panels?

Postby hamster » 18 Jun 2020, 1:35pm

mercalia wrote:I'll get a solar panel when they are good enough to power an ebike.....


:lol: You will still be limited by the 120W/sqm of sunshine (at the Equator, rather less in Europe!)

Tangled Metal
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Re: Anyone successfully using solar panels?

Postby Tangled Metal » 18 Jun 2020, 2:09pm

It sounds a difficult problem to run a laptop of solar power in northern Europe. I've no idea if it's possible in as practical way. If it isn't you might spend a lot to find that out. Is there not another solution to what you need the power for?

Instead of a laptop how about a tablet or phablet when a keyboard? Might be less power intensive. Plus a lot of campsites, especially in Europe I've found, have charging cabinets capable of taking phones, power packs and even tablets.

If you want the laptop for screen size, say if it's eyesight related reason which I can relate to, then perhaps a magnifying lens with a smaller screen. You can get relatively flat rectangular lenses for aiding reading. I do not mean offence by this I'm just trying to understand your requirements in case there's an alternative that's easier or cheaper. Just trying to help.

BTW I got a solar panel and power pack, gorilla pack IIRC, decade or so ago. It was just about the only solar power it outdoor shops sold back then and was new out. Trail or tgo raved about it and I got it for my first Scottish, solo trip. It simply didn't work. My lg phone, pre smartphone era, simply couldn't get enough charge from it. There was an irregular or insufficient current warning on the phone and it prevented what little charge it produced being used in order to protect itself. I know things are a lot better now but not good enough with our sun levels.

PaulaT
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Re: Anyone successfully using solar panels?

Postby PaulaT » 19 Jun 2020, 3:58pm

I've just over the last few days been experimenting with charging a laptop from a 25000mAH power bank. It wouldn't do it. Maybe the power bank's 2 amp maximum output is too low for my laptop? It's hard to know. Not that taking a laptop on a cycle tour is something I'd personally consider. I just did it out of curiosity.

Jdsk
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Re: Anyone successfully using solar panels?

Postby Jdsk » 19 Jun 2020, 4:07pm

What voltage was that using to charge? And which laptop?

Thanks

Jonathan

RobinS
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Re: Anyone successfully using solar panels?

Postby RobinS » 20 Jun 2020, 12:27pm

I've just over the last few days been experimenting with charging a laptop from a 25000mAH power bank. It wouldn't do it. Maybe the power bank's 2 amp maximum output is too low for my laptop? It's hard to know. Not that taking a laptop on a cycle tour is something I'd personally consider. I just did it out of curiosity.


How did you even try that? Powerbanks normally have a 5volt usb output at max 2amp - a tiny output. My laptop charger is 20v at almost 4 amps, way beyond what you can get from a powerbank.


And by the way - earlier I said we had successfully toured using solar for power - that does not include using a laptop. To use a laptop mains power, or at least 12v car battery power is pretty much essential. Smartphones use vastly less power, and using a powerbank intermediary you can successfully manage on just solar.

PaulaT
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Re: Anyone successfully using solar panels?

Postby PaulaT » 20 Jun 2020, 6:17pm

RobinS wrote:
I've just over the last few days been experimenting with charging a laptop from a 25000mAH power bank. It wouldn't do it. Maybe the power bank's 2 amp maximum output is too low for my laptop? It's hard to know. Not that taking a laptop on a cycle tour is something I'd personally consider. I just did it out of curiosity.


How did you even try that? Powerbanks normally have a 5volt usb output at max 2amp - a tiny output. My laptop charger is 20v at almost 4 amps, way beyond what you can get from a powerbank.


This particular laptop has USB-C charging.

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mjr
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Re: Anyone successfully using solar panels?

Postby mjr » 20 Jun 2020, 9:38pm

RobinS wrote:How did you even try that? Powerbanks normally have a 5volt usb output at max 2amp - a tiny output. My laptop charger is 20v at almost 4 amps, way beyond what you can get from a powerbank.

The veho pebble power bank had 19v output for compatible laptops and that was maybe ten years ago or more. There are many more on sale now. I'm not sure why you think this is impossible.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Jdsk
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Re: Anyone successfully using solar panels?

Postby Jdsk » 20 Jun 2020, 9:46pm

PaulaT wrote:This particular laptop has USB-C charging.

Thanks.

Do you know which charging modes each supports?

Jonathan

RobinS
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Re: Anyone successfully using solar panels?

Postby RobinS » 21 Jun 2020, 1:01pm

There are many more on sale now. I'm not sure why you think this is impossible.


It is just that I have had several powerbanks, and they all have just USB output, and I have had experience of many Laptops (used to work in IT), and none of them had USB charging. Obviously things have changed - though I still wouldn't anticipate using a laptop from Solar on a long tour.

Jdsk
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Re: Anyone successfully using solar panels?

Postby Jdsk » 21 Jun 2020, 1:29pm

I asked about mode because there's now a lots of USBish high power protocols...

"USB Power Delivery"... up to 100 W:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB_hardware#USB_Power_Delivery_(USB_PD)

"Quick Charge"... up to 100 W:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quick_Charge

Jonathan

1982john
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Re: Anyone successfully using solar panels?

Postby 1982john » 21 Jun 2020, 2:16pm

RobinS wrote:
There are many more on sale now. I'm not sure why you think this is impossible.


It is just that I have had several powerbanks, and they all have just USB output, and I have had experience of many Laptops (used to work in IT), and none of them had USB charging. Obviously things have changed - though I still wouldn't anticipate using a laptop from Solar on a long tour.


When I say laptop I mean Chromebook. Which tend to be much less power demanding.

But there also things like the surface tablet which can charge from USB c.

You probably wont get enough power to say charge and use at the same time but it will charge it.

PaulaT
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Re: Anyone successfully using solar panels?

Postby PaulaT » 21 Jun 2020, 9:07pm

Jdsk wrote:
PaulaT wrote:This particular laptop has USB-C charging.

Thanks.

Do you know which charging modes each supports?

Jonathan


Sorry no I don't.

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Anyone successfully using solar panels?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 21 Jun 2020, 11:21pm

Hi,
One thing I have noticed is that if you discharge power banks at higher current their capacity drops quite considerably.
I wonder if this is why apple have modified their charging via ios 13?
I have been using a gismo I bought of ebay which gives mAh consumption for 3-4 quid.
I am sorry for the poor quality of assessment in the table below, I will try and clean it up at a later date.
Bottom 5k pink seems to good to be true? Will have to redo that.
Best is the middle blk & chrm crivit off ebay which seems to out perform the newer grey blk.
The blk cuts off at 20-30% left on the lcd so is failing.
Best reading on the blk chrm is at 4.95 v output and Iphone will only charge at 0.05 mah later in the charge.
20K top one is poor and is probably 7-8K. free off ebay.
Yellow boxes are suspect readings.
Pink boxes is charging iphone, blue is charging power banks.
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