Daily Prep

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Best Solar Chargers to Have for Emergencies

Small portable solar charges for small devices
Monday, November 19, 2012, 3:26 PM

A review of some of the innovative small solar chargers to have available for emergency situations.

http://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/best-solar-chargers-have-emergencies.html

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1 Comment

gmeader3's picture
gmeader3
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 13 2009
Posts: 13
Inexpensive, practical solar chargers (not in this article...)

The chargers in this article are high-end, expensive, fancy - some are ultra-lightweight systems designed for backpacking. The smaller versions are often too low powered - with recharge times longer than one day's worth of sun - not too practical. They are very expensive compared to a budget charger you can put together that will work just as well at home.

Solar chargers are pretty simple. Here are some practical suggestions that will provide a reasonable recharge time and enough power to run devices for many hours.

You need three items:

  1. Solar panel - price varies depending on power requirements of what you are charging, see below
  2. Charge controller - about $35 on ebay
  3. 12V battery - varies, see below
  4. optional: automobile plug USB charger - attach to battery to charge USB devices - about $10

for charging cellphones:

  • 10 watt solar panel - about $30 on ebay
  • 5 Ah 12V sealed deep cycle battery = 5000 mAh will run a cellphone for many days - about $30 on ebay

for charging laptops:

  • 40 watt solar panel - under $100 on ebay
  • 25 Ah 12V sealed deep cycle battery = 300 watt hours will run a laptop for 6 hours or so - seen for $70 on ebay

Larger solar panels charge the battery faster. This can be important. Get the largest panel you can afford/transport/fit in your space. 100 watt panels with charge controller have been seen on ebay for $200. These would make a very robust laptop charging system that will work even on days with variable sunlight and quickly (a few hours) bring the battery back up to full charge in full sunlight.

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