solar power to power phone and laptop

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Re: solar power to power phone and laptop

Postby John61CT » Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:14 pm

Yes of course **you** may need an inverter.

I was specifically referring to the needs stated by the OP, who does not.

And BTW an inexpensive DCDC boost converter can go from nominal 12Vdc to 18-19Vdc no problem, hundreds of laptop "car chargers" do exactly that.

Not an issue of course if efficiency is not a concern, but if you are trying to minimize consumption as with a solar-only setup. . .
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Re: solar power to power phone and laptop

Postby booyah » Fri Jan 24, 2020 8:36 am

John61CT wrote:Note the only downside to a higher capacity bank is weight / space taken.

Not really. Cost, and panels to charge go up with capacity. A 15w panel wont maintain a a 2xGC2 battery bank, but 200w of panels will run it nicely. The bigger the bank the bigger the panel load to charge/maintain it.

John61CT wrote:As long as you are balancing the energy you consume with the average daily inputs, more Ah capacity gives a longer buffer to be able to get past a few cloudy days.

And if you end up cycling shallower, that just accrues to a longer bank lifespan.

Lead GCs gets you that capacity **much** cheaper per Ah compared to an LI bank, like 80-90% cheaper.

Not saying it's "better" in all cases than a fancier LI bank, just best as a first bank while climbing the learning curve. And if you get it to last 6-8 years $25/year, all the better for saving up for the "better" option as your second bank, which your higher experience / skills / knowledge will then help you do it right and make it last maybe decades.


Everything else you said I agree with. Now to be practical if you are only charging a phone, or other USB options there are a lot of small battery banks with fold out panels, or plugs for small panels that can get you through a significant chunk of time. I used one on a kayak trip that had 4 small fold out panels on a large LI battery bank to charge camera batteries for a week long trip. Would it have eventually depleted beyond the panels ability to charge it? Probalby but I was there for a week, not 180 days :D
heres the one I used for that kayak trip
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FMFGGNR

If you are going off grid and only need to charge a few small appliances, batteries, tow vehicle, or even a small conventional gas generator are great solutions. If you are long long term boondocking sure solar works great, but the most important part is sizing for your use case.
My build, 5x8 modified benroy "Smiles to go". Started April 2nd 2015, first trip August 2nd 2015.

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Re: solar power to power phone and laptop

Postby flboy » Fri Jan 24, 2020 9:17 am

I agree, if you are really needing to charge just for a phone and laptop and a few dc appliances, a small quiet generator and/or charging from the Tow Vehicle are much better options as solar is not always dependable based on location, weather, etc.

For longer periods, some solar to supplement is good, but I'd always have a backup way to charge the bank.

Solar works great in full sun and I am a fan of solar; however, just can count on full sun where I live and camp. Trees, clouds, and the dark night do not stifle the handy Honda.

Get the right size batteries and you may only need to run the Generator for a few hours every other day.

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Re: solar power to power phone and laptop

Postby John61CT » Fri Jan 24, 2020 9:50 am

booyah wrote:
John61CT wrote:Note the only downside to a higher capacity bank is weight / space taken.

Not really. Cost, and panels to charge go up with capacity. A 15w panel wont maintain a a 2xGC2 battery bank, but 200w of panels will run it nicely. The bigger the bank the bigger the panel load to charge/maintain it.
Absolute poppycock.

Just having a larger bank need not imply **anything at all** about the Ah per day required!

As I very clearly stated it is the balancing of average daily inputs with the energy you consume that is critical.

And at this point those numbers are unknown.

As also made clear, I'm not even talking thinking solar yet, may not be needed at all, buying panels now might be throwing money away!

Higher Ah capacity bank plus a cheap coulometer (or quality BM) enables OP to get a pretty accurate **actual measured** Ah per day energy budget, maybe without leaving the driveway, so the rest of the system is properly sized.

And gives a **longer buffer** so maybe shore power is all the input needed, or that plus alt charging depending on the driving vs camping usage pattern.

And to be able to get past a few cloudy days if it turns out solar is needed.

And if you end up cycling shallower, that just accrues to a longer bank lifespan, possibly a decade or more.

And finally (again) starting off with the lead GCs gets you that capacity **much** cheaper per Ah per year compared to an LI bank, like 80-90% cheaper.
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Re: solar power to power phone and laptop

Postby GPW » Fri Jan 24, 2020 11:29 am

All really depends on your power addictions …. Whether you’re really “ Camping” or merely sitting quietly in a trailer somewhere in the woods telling everybody on FarceBook how wonderful camping is … Aahhhh , The Great Outdoors !!! 8)

We don’t depend on just one source and have many solar devices that can charge in the sun … Small solar yard-lights, solar flashlights , solar Lanterns, Radios , and fans . Solar Coffee still takes waaay too long in the morning , But the Solar cooker can have Lunch ready by 1:00 . Only thing left to charge is the TV , the computer, and the phone … a small solar setup like the one above should be Fine … You gotta have a phone at least , so you can call the Park Ranger about the Noisy campers next to you that keep laughing too Loudly at their own Farcebook posts …. scaring all the Fish away … :o
There’s no place like Foam !
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Re: solar power to power phone and laptop

Postby John61CT » Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:44 pm

OP seems to have disappeared?
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