Solar Chargers

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boydcster's picture
boydcster
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 8 2013
Posts: 12
Solar Chargers

There are a wide variety of solar chargers on the market. I'm looking for a high-end charger that can handle iPads and small laptops. Does anyone have any advice about the best models and deals. My preparation budget is limited, but this item seems critical to staying able to function. I'm looking at the Instapark® 10 Watt Solar Panel Portable Solar Charger with Dual USB Ports for iPhone, iPad & all other USB Compatible Devices. Any experiences with this or related devices?

A. M.'s picture
A. M.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 2367
Solar Chargers

I don't specific experience with the model you're considering, but I've been through a couple low-wattage solar chargers, and a close friend has been through a few more. 

A few important things to consider:
1. The wattage cited are "best case", your actual results will probably be less.
2. Positioning and angle of the cells will be critical in how much wattage you can collect.
3. Keep your cells clean, and unbroken.
4. Your inverter's Amp Hours is very important in determining what you can charge, and how long your battery will last. IIRC, ~66 Amp Hours is about the 'minimum' for something you intend to use around the home.

If you're interested in a setup that could double as emergency lighting, and provide you with charge for your electronics, you might be interested in reading here:
http://www.peakprosperity.com/wsidblog/80079/building-resilience-goalzero

This was my experience with putting together a small-scale solar setup for home use.
Cheers,

Aaron
 

boydcster's picture
boydcster
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 8 2013
Posts: 12
Solar Chargers

Thanks much, Aaron, for your detailed and helpful advice. I read the emergency lighting web site and the article on the GoalZero backup system from PrepareDirect. Both were very helpful. The GoalZero system looks like the right choice for someone who wants emergency backup for lighting and other low-wattage devices such as laptops and power tools. However, what I'm currently seeking is a way to get my electronics up and running fairly quickly in an emergency in a price range of $100 - $300. I have more ambitious plans for later and at that time, I would probably want to look at a large scale solar panel installation which would be connected to the grid.

This is a large and growing product category, so I'm happy to share my experiences with others in this group so we can all learn from each other.

james_knight_chaucer's picture
james_knight_chaucer
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 21 2009
Posts: 160
I wonder if you would have

I wonder if you would have any broadband or phone signal though, if the electricity was out?

boydcster's picture
boydcster
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 8 2013
Posts: 12
Good question and the answer

Good question and the answer is no, there would be no internet and likely no microwave tower access in the case of a power outage. However, I have downloaded a lot of resources onto my various devices - books on permaculture, music, stories, and many other items that could be useful and require no network access. The phones also have some of these resources such as music. In addition, I've been exploring the Commotion project which has created a low-end way to create local area networks. This would allow neighborhood sized web access and sharing resources at that scale. It's being used now in Athens and Detroit, as conditions in those places foreshadow what the future may look like. The future may well lie with low-power do-it-yourself networking.

SPAM_mariahoustone's picture
SPAM_mariahoustone
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 12 2013
Posts: 2
Hey,Here is product details i

Hey,Here is product details i think it'll useful for you.

Product Feature

  • 10 Watts high-efficiency mono-crystalline solar panel with foldable design offers excellent portability, ideal for emergency preparedness, backpacking, camping and other outdoor activities
  • Built-in dual USB charging ports for directly plugging in iPhone, iPad and other USB compatible mobile devices
  • Detachable high-capacity 5,200 mAh rechargeable lithium battery pack with two USB charging ports for easy & convenient power storage, compatible with iPhone, iPad and other USB equipped portable devices.
  • Measures only 9 X 6 X 2 inches and weighs less than 1 lb
  • 1-year manufacturer's warranty

Technical Specifications:

Power input: 10-watt Mono-crystalline solar panel
Power output: 5V Standard USB port x 2
Maximum output current: 2 amp
Operating temperature: 32 - 86 F (optimal)
Storage temperature: 32 -104 F (optimal)
Dimensions: 9 X 6 X 2 inches (folded)
9 x 22 x ½ inches (unfolded)
Weight: 12 Oz
Warranty: 1-year

------------------------------------------------

Miami Beach Florida Multifamily

boydcster's picture
boydcster
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 8 2013
Posts: 12
Solar Chargers

Thanks, Maria. This sounds like what I'm looking for. However, when I click on the link in the posting, I get an ad for a Florida apartment complex. Please let me know where I can do to check out this product. Thanks again.

JRB's picture
JRB
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: May 17 2009
Posts: 149
Instapark

I Googled on of the listed specs and found this

 

http://www.amazon.com/Instapark-Portable-Charger-Compatible-Included/dp/B006ZSFH6I

 

- Jim

boydcster's picture
boydcster
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 8 2013
Posts: 12
Solar Chargers

Thanks, Jim. I had already checked Amazon, but the one you found was a better buy so I appreciate the effort. I'm getting ready with small but steady steps.

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