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Good economical portable solar chargers?

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by Kadetklapp, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. Kadetklapp

    Kadetklapp Methberry PD

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    I'm having a hard time finding a reliable solar source to charge AA batteries, electronics like laptops, radios, cell phones, and perhaps more importantly, 12v batteries. A lot of the stuff I find on the net is ChiCom junk. Anyone have any recommendations that are not cost prohibitive?
     
  2. cowboy1964

    cowboy1964

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    I'm looking too. The problem with solar chargers is they are just so weak. You need really strong sunlight and even then they take forever. If you have dependable wind a small micro-turbine would be a better option, though a little more expensive (you can build them yourself if you're up to it).
     

    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011

  3. JDSTG58

    JDSTG58

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  4. Lone Kimono

    Lone Kimono

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    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011
  5. BORNGEARHEAD

    BORNGEARHEAD

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    If most important is 12v batteries, I would recommend you simply buy a decent sized solar panel/s. After that, anything else can be charged easily.
     
  6. Kadetklapp

    Kadetklapp Methberry PD

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    I was thinking along the lines of something Black & Decker had been selling at Wal-Mart for a couple years, then suddenly quit. It was a solar trickle charger that could be used to charge 12V batteries and other devices. While B&D quality severely lacks, and I don't think they make them anymore, i was looking for something similar.
     
  7. cowboy1964

    cowboy1964

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    I noticed this Coleman solar unit at Lowes' web site. Don't know how good it is.

    http://www.lowes.com/pd_322515-11338-58050_0__?productId=3439256&Ntt=coleman&pl=1&currentURL=%2Fpl__0__s%3FNtt%3Dcoleman&facetInfo=

    I'm considering lighting for loss-of-power situations. I have an oil lamp but they are pretty dim and emit fumes. I like the idea of a 12V car battery-powered large LED light. Guess I'll have to research those.

    Here's another site with panels I just found:

    http://www.bluepacificsolar.com/cheap-solar-panels.html

    That site also has some nifty looking 12V battery packs with 120V inverters.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2011
  8. Bolster

    Bolster Not Ready Yet!

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    Warning:

    You're getting some advice above that could kill your batteries in short order.

    Remember:

    A car battery (lead acid) is fine with start-and-stop charging like you'd get straight from a solar panel (or an alternator).

    Many other batteries are not, they want uninterrupted charges. I would never try to recharge my NiMH AA or AAA Eneloops or anything Li Ion (ie, my ham radio, my computer, my cordless tools) with a solar panel going straight to the batteries. That would be battery murder; those cells do NOT like interruptions, and interruptions basically define solar charging.

    All I'm saying is, (1) make sure you have the right kind of battery to take interrupted charges or (2) use a charging system with a deep-charge mediating battery* (best) or (3) make darned sure no clouds are in the sky and watch your setup like a hawk.

    *This means the solar charges an intermediary battery that can handle interruptions, and that intermediary battery in turn charges your other batteries without interruption. Notice the Goal Zero setup uses just such an intermediary battery. That's what you want.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2011
  9. Kadetklapp

    Kadetklapp Methberry PD

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    Jan 2, 2007
    So a simple setup would be find a solar charger for the car battery, and charge individual devices off of the car battery separately. Right? What about those chargers used on CUCVs and other military vehicles? They are about 8 inches square and are mounted to the roof. Keeps the battery charged so it's ready for use.