Solar Battery Charger for AA and AAA batteries

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Johnny Oxygen's picture
Johnny Oxygen
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 9 2009
Posts: 1443
Solar Battery Charger for AA and AAA batteries

Solar Battery Charger for AA and AAA batteries

I'm being proactive here and trying to find a solar charger as described above but the ones I'm seeing online look really crappy (poorly made) and expensive. Should I just get a smallesh solar panel and rig up some sort of connection? And how in the heck do you do that?

I just want to charge up my AA and AAA that run small electronics and headlamps.

Dogs_In_A_Pile's picture
Dogs_In_A_Pile
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 4 2009
Posts: 2606
Re: Solar Battery Charger for AA and AAA batteries
Johnny Oxygen wrote:

Solar Battery Charger for AA and AAA batteries

I'm being proactive here and trying to find a solar charger as described above but the ones I'm seeing online look really crappy (poorly made) and expensive. Should I just get a smallesh solar panel and rig up some sort of connection? And how in the heck do you do that?

I just want to charge up my AA and AAA that run small electronics and headlamps.

JO -

I suggest you PM rhare or Mike Pilat.  Both are very knowledgeable wrt solar.

Rob earned the nickname "Inspector Gadget" at the Lowesville Seminar and Mike is a good source of info despite being a University of Virginia grad.

Go Hokies!

Saffron's picture
Saffron
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 29 2009
Posts: 250
Re: Solar Battery Charger for AA and AAA batteries

JO, if you do PM them, perhaps you could ask them to answer here? I'm sure many of us would appreciate learning this too.

 

-s

nickbert's picture
nickbert
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Joined: Jan 14 2009
Posts: 1208
Re: Solar Battery Charger for AA and AAA batteries

JO,

My small-scale charging solution is a couple Brunton 26-watt Foldable Solar Panels, a 400-watt power inverter, a Brunton Solo mini-storage device, a few used (but still good) car batteries, and a mess of rechargeable AA and AAA batteries with the plug in battery charger (it's a store-bought Duracell brand I think).  Sure it involves buying and connecting up separate components rather than a simple one-piece solution, but it has the advantage of flexibility.  With this setup I can charge/power devices using a variety of power inputs (USB, standard power plug, car cigarette lighter, battery clamps), and the inverter gives the additional option of charging or powering an AC device using your car's battery or cigarette lighter. 

Now for AA and AAA battery charging you'd only need a panel , the inverter, and the battery charger & batteries.  And you might be able to get away with a smaller portable solar panel... these larger Bruntons are admittedly expensive at $270, but cost-wise they were the biggest bang-for-the-buck.  The Brunton solo storage device is just a very-nice-to-have (good to charge small electronics at night or on the go), and I just keep the car batteries around for a little extra power storage (they were free anyway).

Hope that helps!

- Nickbert

LG's picture
LG
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 6 2009
Posts: 59
Re: Solar Battery Charger for AA and AAA batteries

Sir,

I use the "AccuManager20" and "AccuEvolution" batteries.  It is AC or 12VDC. Being 12DC there are multiple combinations that will work.

www.bearwobble.com

Try the above site.

LG

joemanc's picture
joemanc
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 16 2008
Posts: 834
Re: Solar Battery Charger for AA and AAA batteries

I'm using the iSun BattPack by ICP Global, with the AccuEvolution batteries. I bought mine at www.realgoods.com  Their not cheap, but it's a one time expense and I have peace of mind.

yoshhash's picture
yoshhash
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 20 2008
Posts: 271
Re: Solar Battery Charger for AA and AAA batteries

I've found the same dilemma of a sea of cheap chargers which claim to do the job, but don't.  After the first rip-off, I made a point of bringing my phone (or dead batteries or whatever) right into the store, asking what the return policy is, and trying it out right at the counter, in front of their eyes.  Finally found a cheap one that works fine (sorry, no brand name- just a $15 Chinese made one, store was called "Canadian Tire").

(Sorry, I realized just now you were specifically asking about solar- I am talking about crank chargers, but there may be others out there looking for this.  PV is an expensive and intensive way to charge such a small amount anyways, that's like buying a computer to use as a clock, you'd probably be better off using crank or an adaptor to something you already have, like an automotive cigarette lighter.)

aggrivated's picture
aggrivated
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 22 2010
Posts: 543
Re: Solar Battery Charger for AA and AAA batteries

This looks way overkill for just your little batteries, but if you are looking for a home installation, this is a good value and is a turn key product.

I bet you'd grow into it quicker than you expect.

http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11298029&whse=BC&topnav...

roncastle's picture
roncastle
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Joined: Nov 24 2010
Posts: 14
Re: Solar Battery Charger for AA and AAA batteries

My recommendation is to purchase an AC powered charger branded for the batteries you are using, so if you are using Duracell get a Duracell charger.  A small inverter, 100 watts or thereabouts will operate the charger from direct current.  Small hard panels are much less expensive than the flexible folding panels.  I recommend using a small 12 volt AGM battery (absorbent glass mat) like a wheel chair battery and a small charge controller to charge the battery and run the inverter from the battery rather than from the panel directly.  Depending on the size of the battery the hardware should cost less than $200 excluding the charger.

The all inclusive chargers you see that are made mostly in China do not have good charge controller design and could very likely shorten the life of your batteries.  They also have very low watt output from the small solar panel that is typically self contained.

I have a set up like what I am describing here.  Using an Everready quick charger I can charge four AA or AAA in less than an hour with a good state of charge in the 1.53-1.54 volt range.

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