Solar battery chargers

Discussion in 'General Fitness' started by Howard Jones, Aug 1, 2004.

  1. Howard Jones

    Howard Jones Guest

    I'm going to Nepal in October. I'd like to take my GPS but it eats
    batteries. I usually use rechargeables but I'll be away from a source of
    electricity for a long period.

    I've seen a number of portable solar-powered chargers for AA batteries, in
    particular travelwithcare.com is selling one for £12.99 which will charge up
    to 4 batteries in a small box weighing 90g

    Has anyone on the ng any experience with solar chargers? Are they effective?
    Any recommendations?

    TIA

    Howard Jones
     
    Tags:


  2. > I'm going to Nepal in October. I'd like to take my GPS but it eats
    > batteries. I usually use rechargeables but I'll be away from a source
    > of electricity for a long period.
    >
    > I've seen a number of portable solar-powered chargers for AA
    > batteries, in particular travelwithcare.com is selling one for £12.99
    > which will charge up to 4 batteries in a small box weighing 90g
    >
    > Has anyone on the ng any experience with solar chargers? Are they
    > effective? Any recommendations?


    No experience yet, but got one for a little trip I'm planning next month
    - will be able to tell you more at the end of September :)

    The charger you mentioned takes three hours to charge each battery *in
    ideal conditions* so that's 12 hours of perfect sunlight to do all four.
    Not sure how fast your gps eats batteries tho.

    My charger has a much larger solar panel which charges 10 batteries.
    These can then be taken out and used individually, or with the supplied
    adpator the whole lot can be used like a car cigarette thingy - 10 x 1.2v
    = 12v. Maplins were selling them off a while ago. This hints that
    either no one bought them. Whether this is because there's not much sun
    in Britain or that they're pants I'm not sure yet.

    There're a few things I'm not too sure about with these things:

    1. The batteries look like they're made of cheese.
    - Ni-cads are pants. Go for NiMH (you have the choice of both)
    - The batteries are likely to have a low thingy rating (amps? Hours?
    something like that - how long they keep going anyway). Consider buying
    rechargables with a longer life - you can get the up to 2400 wossnames
    AFAIK. This will be expensive tho.

    2. There is no way of making sure you don't overcharge the batteries.
    Overcharging makes the batteries more likely to leak, and makes 'em run
    out sooner. Expensive higher capacity batteries will be less likely to
    be overcharged ('cos they take longer to charge) but will be expensive to
    replacr if you do end up overcharging the life out of them.

    3. Charging a mixture of dead and half charged batteries might not be a
    good idea. Make sure you can charge batteries singly rather than having
    to do the whole lot (you can with the one you mentioned).

    4. My solar panel thing can only power things if I have a cigarette power
    adapater dooberry or if it take AA batteries.

    5. Buying a cigarette power adapter thingy that has various voltage and
    thingy settings would solve that problem, but I'm guessing that these
    would be fairly inefficient.

    6. I live in Britain. Do I really expect to get much use out of this
    thing??!?! :)

    Mark.
     
  3. spongebob

    spongebob Guest

    "Howard Jones" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > I'm going to Nepal in October. I'd like to take my GPS but it eats
    > batteries. I usually use rechargeables but I'll be away from a

    source of
    > electricity for a long period.
    >
    > I've seen a number of portable solar-powered chargers for AA

    batteries, in
    > particular travelwithcare.com is selling one for £12.99 which will

    charge up
    > to 4 batteries in a small box weighing 90g
    >
    > Has anyone on the ng any experience with solar chargers? Are they

    effective?
    > Any recommendations?
    >

    We had a solar powered charger to charge the batteries of VHF radios
    we were using on an Arctic exped, and it proved very effective, but we
    were able to make use of the 24hr daylight. In your case you might
    need to turn your rucksack into a solar panel while you walk during
    the day.........Having said that, the maps in Nepal are fairly poor so
    perhaps you don't really need it?

    Graham
     
  4. John

    John Guest

    >I'm going to Nepal in October. I'd like to take my GPS but it eats
    >batteries. I usually use rechargeables but I'll be away from a source of
    >electricity for a long period.
    >

    Unless you are trekking well off the beaten track for long periods
    (not necessarily advisable with the Maoist situation) you will find
    electricity in most places. Many more villages each year get connected
    to hydro electric schemes. Nearly all the villages in the Annapurna
    Sanctuary and on the Annapurna circuit have electricity as do many on
    the way Everest base camp. In areas like Langtang you may be away from
    power for a few days but I doubt if it is sufficient to warrant the
    expense of a solar charger. Duracell batteries are easily available in
    Nepal (and much cheaper). My lithium camera battery gave up at
    Chomrong (a village on the way to Annapurna base camp). The local shop
    had a replacement at about half the UK price.
     
  5. In message <[email protected]>, Mark
    Thompson <[email protected]> writes
    >> I'm going to Nepal in October. I'd like to take my GPS but it eats
    >> batteries. I usually use rechargeables but I'll be away from a source
    >> of electricity for a long period.
    >>
    >> I've seen a number of portable solar-powered chargers for AA
    >> batteries, in particular travelwithcare.com is selling one for £12.99
    >> which will charge up to 4 batteries in a small box weighing 90g
    >>
    >> Has anyone on the ng any experience with solar chargers? Are they
    >> effective? Any recommendations?

    >
    >No experience yet, but got one for a little trip I'm planning next month
    >- will be able to tell you more at the end of September :)
    >
    >The charger you mentioned takes three hours to charge each battery *in
    >ideal conditions* so that's 12 hours of perfect sunlight to do all four.
    >Not sure how fast your gps eats batteries tho.
    >
    >My charger has a much larger solar panel which charges 10 batteries.
    >These can then be taken out and used individually, or with the supplied
    >adpator the whole lot can be used like a car cigarette thingy - 10 x 1.2v
    >= 12v. Maplins were selling them off a while ago. This hints that
    >either no one bought them. Whether this is because there's not much sun
    >in Britain or that they're pants I'm not sure yet.
    >
    >There're a few things I'm not too sure about with these things:
    >
    >1. The batteries look like they're made of cheese.
    > - Ni-cads are pants. Go for NiMH (you have the choice of both)
    > - The batteries are likely to have a low thingy rating (amps? Hours?
    >something like that - how long they keep going anyway). Consider buying
    >rechargables with a longer life - you can get the up to 2400 wossnames
    >AFAIK. This will be expensive tho.
    >
    >2. There is no way of making sure you don't overcharge the batteries.
    >Overcharging makes the batteries more likely to leak, and makes 'em run
    >out sooner. Expensive higher capacity batteries will be less likely to
    >be overcharged ('cos they take longer to charge) but will be expensive to
    >replacr if you do end up overcharging the life out of them.
    >
    >3. Charging a mixture of dead and half charged batteries might not be a
    >good idea. Make sure you can charge batteries singly rather than having
    >to do the whole lot (you can with the one you mentioned).
    >
    >4. My solar panel thing can only power things if I have a cigarette power
    >adapater dooberry or if it take AA batteries.
    >
    >5. Buying a cigarette power adapter thingy that has various voltage and
    >thingy settings would solve that problem, but I'm guessing that these
    >would be fairly inefficient.
    >
    >6. I live in Britain. Do I really expect to get much use out of this
    >thing??!?! :)
    >
    >Mark.



    I bought the Maplins charger when they were selling them off a few weeks
    ago. It works very well, and the blue poly-crystalline solar cells seem
    to work much better than the brown-ish coloured amorphous ones.

    I intend to replace the standard ni-cads with Ni-MH though, and I've
    already changed the car 12V socket for a 2.5mm small co-ax DC power
    socket.

    The charger's nicads power a USB GPS 'mouse' and iPAQ PDA (through a
    switch-mode regulator) superbly.
    --
    Chris Morriss
     
  6. On Sun, 01 Aug 2004 17:19:16 +0100, John
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >>I'm going to Nepal in October. I'd like to take my GPS but it eats
    >>batteries. I usually use rechargeables but I'll be away from a source of
    >>electricity for a long period.


    When I went on Everest Basecamp trek I took camera, GPSr and Archos
    (for saving pics) together with AA batts - mix of rechargeable and
    Lithium non-rechargeable (the best disposables you can get - last
    longer and at all temps).

    Also took iSun solar charger which I used to recharge AAs on our rest
    days. Everything worked well and brought the Lithiums back with me
    (took them as backups but didn't need).

    One word of warning: make sure you don't carry AAs on your person on
    any internal flights (they'll be confiscated)

    ..
    Mark Cavendish
    Cardiff, Wales
     
  7. Fran

    Fran Guest

    [email protected] said...
    > 6. I live in Britain. Do I really expect to get much use out of this
    > thing??!?! :)
    >

    I don't see why not. I once had the luxury of solar heating for
    water, and had hot water every day, even in winter. Only very
    rarely did I need to put the immersion heater on as back up.
    --
    Fran
    If you need my email address please ask.
     
  8. Dewi

    Dewi Guest

    On Sun, 1 Aug 2004 16:07:08 +0100, "Howard Jones"
    <[email protected]> uttered:

    >I'm going to Nepal in October.


    >Howard Jones
    >

    Are you going with the 4th?


    --
    Dewi,

    (remove spin for email)
     
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