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Solar battery charger

Discussion in 'Touring and Expedition' started by jay clock, 23 Dec 2016.

  1. jay clock

    jay clock Massive member

    Location:
    Hampshire UK
    Technology seems to be improving and a huge array of well rated solar chargers and battery packs on the Amazon. Anyone actually used one for touring in real life and in what locations/sun levels?

    This looks good but heavy and huge when opened but this type of thing might be what I want https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01FH2HYCW/ref=ask_ql_qh_dp_hza

    comments welcomed
     
  2. Dogtrousers

    Dogtrousers Kilometre nibbler

    I think @steveindenmark has one ... Or had one
     
  3. Cunobelin

    Cunobelin Legendary Member

    Location:
    Gosport
    UK.... Sun

    Therein lies the issue

    No technological advance will sort out the fact that you only have sunlight (of any description) for 17% of the time, and only have bright sunlight (enough to provide a worthwhile charging current for a fraction of that
     
  4. I do have one. I bought it just as a trial. Its a cheap lidl/ Aldi buy, but it does work. I have not used it for touring but it usually sits on my shed window sill and always charges up ok. I have had it a couple of years As I type it is charging up my mobile phone. I have also used it to charge my Garmin Touring on local rides.

    It is a Silvercrest SLS 220 C2. It is only 2200 mAH. It is quite small and very light. It does not need much sun to get it charging up. For the price I paid, it was worth it, even for the interest point of view. I will give it a bit of a test over the next few weeks if the sun allows.

    I have just bought the Anker PowerCore 20100 and that will cover all my battery needs.
     
  5. jay clock

    jay clock Massive member

    Location:
    Hampshire UK
    Thanks but that sort of assumes I only tour in the UK whereas in fact i do 99% out of the UK - mostly in warm climates. Anyone actually used one touring and been successful and where.
     
  6. Cunobelin

    Cunobelin Legendary Member

    Location:
    Gosport

    My apologies

    It was a general comment
     
  7. jay clock

    jay clock Massive member

    Location:
    Hampshire UK
    agreed, UK less likely to work well
     
  8. Tigerbiten

    Tigerbiten Über Member

    I've have a 12 volt 20 watt panel on top of my trailer for the last two summers.
    I use a B&M Ewerks to step it down to 5 volts.
    It will charge in both direct sunlight and light overcast conditions.
    But it doesn't charge in heavy overcast or deep shade.
    I only needed to use the mains twice in 4 months last summer whilst cycling around the UK. But the weather was mostly good.
     
  9. jay clock

    jay clock Massive member

    Location:
    Hampshire UK
    Thanks but that B&N device adds £123 to whatever I have to pay for a solar panel. Very pricey....
     
  10. andrew_s

    andrew_s Veteran

    Location:
    Gloucester
    You need a large solar panel if it's to be useful - something that's rated at more than about 12 watts, and the more the better. Such panels are large enough to cause a packing problem if you are tight on luggage space.

    If you want to charge a small USB battery pack that's rated at 5000mAh, that's 25 watt-hours out, and maybe 40 watt-hours in. Then consider that you'll be doing well to get 1/3 of the rated output on average, what with clouds, charging at the ends of the day, and the panel pointing in directions other than towards the sun.
    That works out at 10 hours with a 12 watt panel, so you can see why these little panels that you get on the casing of a powermonkey or whatever are useless.
     
  11. Tigerbiten

    Tigerbiten Über Member

    It all depends on how you tour.
    If your only out for a couple of weeks at a time and stop at campsite and/or hotels then grabbing the odd charge to keep a big cache battery charged up is OK.
    If your out for months on end with a lot of wild camping, then grabbing a charge at the right time can be a PITA.
    After two summers, my solar setup now costs my less than one penny per day for when I'm on tour.
    I'm now adding a B&M Ewerks to my hub dynamo to help out when it's cloudy for the bets of both worlds.
     
  12. I bought a very cheap Aldi solar charger a couple of years ago and it still works. I leave it in the shed window and it charges up. I used it to charge my phone yesterday.

    It only has a power of 2100Amhz and I have just bought an Anker power bank with a power of 20100Amhz which will cover all my power needs. My solar charger does work but to be viable for a tour it would need a much bigger output.
     
  13. RobinS

    RobinS Active Member

    Location:
    Norwich
    We took one of these - http://www.portablepowersupplies.co.uk/solar-chargers/ the 11w version on a three month tour of France and northern Spain. Coupled with a cheap ebay powerpack it was more than adequate to keep two smartphones and one tablet in power. It could charge a 20000mAh in a day strapped across the top of the wife's panniers.
     
  14. froze

    froze Regular

    These portable solar panels are improving each year, I like that 24 watt one the OP showed, I think that's a great unit to have. Sure you could plug in, but I think if you're touring it's wise to have an extra backup plan just in case you don't get to a plug. It's kind of like saying, well gee you don't need to carry a spare tire when touring as long as the route takes you near bike shop or stores that carry those tire sizes!
     
  15. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Staff Member

    Location:
    Bristol
    We have one that we have used on a beach in Wales, which worked to charge a phone that was completely flat, though it's fairly large. (One of my children tends to forget to charge their phone all the time). IMG_0831.PNG