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Anyone use solar panel rechargers

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posted on May, 20 2008 @ 03:20 PM
Does anyone have experience using solar power rechargers that can recharge NiMH batteries and power some applicances.

If so, how well do they work and could you specify models/brands or list any websites that you're familiar with.

Any input appreciated.


posted on May, 20 2008 @ 03:32 PM
I've just bought a small solar charger/panel. It charges things reasonably fast in strong sunlight and sluggish when overcast.
Obviously I don't need to rely on it, but its useful for if I'm away and 'off the grid'

I've got a deep cell 12V battery that I'm gonna be modding to run appliances off and drawing power of the solar unit on a trickle charge basis.

Will be looking at getting the whole unit in a box with straps on it so I can carry it around to a hide or shelter.

[edit on 20-5-2008 by WatchRider]

posted on May, 21 2008 @ 01:34 PM
I have one of those panels and it works pretty well. I bought it from this Swiss homepage.

posted on May, 28 2008 @ 06:43 AM
Well bought, but does it come with leads to connect to a car battery?

That product is about eleven times what I paid for mine, but it the makers claim that it pumps out 10 W (mine is about 3W).
Plus the foldy in-out bonus means it's good to go on the move.

posted on May, 28 2008 @ 06:51 AM
I recently acquired a 5W PV trickle charger from Northern Tool, as well as a 12V water pump. BOth, with shipping were less that US $250.00. The pump will pressurize up to 40 psi and has a demand switch built in. I've plumbed this in-line with our standard electric water pump (and many valves) such that when our power is out, I just have to turn four valves, and pressure is restored. The pump is powered by a deep-cycle battery, which is charged by the charger. We use this array quite a bit for watering the garden & other plants, and drawing water from our shallow well. is a US company and ships internationally. Nope, I'm not affiliated with them, just a happy customer

posted on May, 28 2008 @ 07:28 AM
Solar PV is well out of my budget range at the moment on my very slender student budget, but I've been researching concentrated PV methods for building integration as part of my uni studies and wonder if anyone has tried to build a basic concentrator to boost power output?

This method would be ideal for something like the model that Swordbeast mentions...

At 10watts output it should be easy to boost that output x2 or x3 times at least by fabricating a very basic parabolic trough/dish from cardboard with a surface area 2-3 times greater than the surface area of the PV panels and lined with reflective mylar (the stuff plastic-foil survival blankets are made from) and the PV cell unit postioned facing-into-dish at the focal point...

...anyone willing to try boosting their cells this way in a field test?

incidentally, this wont damage the PV cells at a a few times magnification of cell surface area, but there is a tradeoff in that the cells will operate at a higher surface temperature, and as a result will cause a small drop in photovoltaic efficiency

[edit on 28-5-2008 by citizen smith]

posted on May, 28 2008 @ 09:38 AM
reply to post by WatchRider

Nope, but they are available as extras. It does have a built-in 12Volt plug, so you can connect it to the cigarette lighter and keep the car's battery charged if it has to stand for a longer period of time. And the fact that it's foldable is exactly the reason why I bought this thing. I don't think I will ever be in a bug-out situation, but you never know.

Reply to citizen smith:
I'd have to try this, it sounds promising. It will take some time though, neither our weather nor my schedule are too rosy at the moment.

I'm currently saving for the 55W piece, but damn that thing is expensive. It's also a folder and I will get the camo version in order to keep temperature lower when exposed to the sun.

[edit on 28/5/2008 by Swordbeast]

posted on Jun, 4 2008 @ 12:02 PM
My job is manufacturing and testing solar battery chargers. Harbor Freight has a 5 watt panel for about $40. It will recharge 8 C cell 5000 mAh NiMH (with a smart charger) in less than 4 hours. For the price this is one of the best panels I have tested yet. They also have a 1.5 watt panel that takes 4+ days to charge the same batteries(not recomended). The folding panels work well, but are really expensive.

5 Watt Panel

[edit on 4-6-2008 by hoppy]


posted on Jun, 4 2008 @ 12:27 PM
Harbor Freight also has a 45W kit. It was $199 a couple weeks ago but is now $219. Still, at five bucks per watt, including a (crappy) charge controller and a couple lights, it blows away anything else I've seen. The panels are above average in size but oh well. Can't beat the price.

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