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Recommend me a solar charging system
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Author:  Mollycollie [ November 3rd, 2019, 9:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Recommend me a solar charging system

Hi all!
I’ve been doing some looking into solar charging systems. I’m a little old school and unfortunately electronics, batteries and all that stuff kind of just flies over my head.
I’m looking for a light weight system to charge an inreach, a small camera, maybe a few aa batteries for the gps and perhaps a sat phone on extended trips.
I’ve been considering the BioLote 5 and 5+, and a Goalzero nomad 7 kit.

Are there any other units out there I should be looking at?
What systems are you using?
Appreciate all reply’s and recommendations.
Thanks in advance. :thumbup:
MC.

Author:  recped [ November 3rd, 2019, 11:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Recommend me a solar charging system

How long is an "extended trips"?

For 6 - 7 week trips I just take power banks to charge my Inreach, Still camera, 2 GoPro's, music player. For my old Garmin GPS I just use Lithium AA's, I get about 10 days per set.

The biggest power users are the GoPro's by far so If using them I need more than one power bank.

I'm using an Anker 20,000mAh bank, plus I have a couple of 10,000 from lower grade manufacturers. Only downside to the power banks is weight but you will need at least one to run a solar charger.

https://www.amazon.ca/Portable-Charger- ... B00X5RV14Y

I do have a Biolite solar rechargable lamp, it needs a lot of sunlight to get a good charge.

https://www.bioliteenergy.com/products/ ... 2597386254

At one time I tried a Brunton solar panel, it was heavy and took forever to charge a it's relatively small power bank.

https://www.rei.com/product/800500/brun ... olar-panel (discontinued)

For best results you need a thin-film panel, not cheap!

https://www.modernoutpost.com/product-c ... es-canada/

Author:  Mollycollie [ November 3rd, 2019, 11:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Recommend me a solar charging system

Good stuff. Thanks Recped.
Extended = 5 to 6 weeks.
The Anker stuff seems pretty popular. How many charges would you get out of a 20000 ah on say an inreach?
I’m pretty low tech so the power banks would probably suffice I suppose.

Author:  recped [ November 4th, 2019, 2:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Recommend me a solar charging system

An InReach doesn't use much power if the proper settings are applied and if you don't have or don't use the mapping GPS functions in the newer Garmin units. I have a Delorme SE, it's on for about 6 - 7 hours per day in tracking mode plus at camp I turn it on quite a few times to send or receive messages, I generally recharge when I hit 50% and charge to about 95%, maybe once a week. A 20,000 power bank would probably keep it going at that rate for 3 - 4 months!

If you have a Garmin unit and use the mapping and/or have bluetooth enabled and/or leave it on 24/7 checking for new messages you might only get a few days of use between charges. Screen time is a big power user, my unit is normally set at 50% brightness or even 25% at night.

Author:  gnatwest [ November 4th, 2019, 7:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Recommend me a solar charging system

I have the biolite 5+ and power banks. I think recped is right in that the powerbanks end up being way better. I have charged my inreach and other things on the biolite by having it out as we paddle and setting it up as we get to camp but its no better really in terms of weight and bulk to the powerbank.

Author:  Splake [ November 4th, 2019, 9:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Recommend me a solar charging system

I basically went through one 21,000 mAh Anker Powercore on a 10 day trip in 2018. That was charging at least 2 GoPro batteries per night, charging at least 1 DSLR battery, and charged a couple of batteries for my waterproof point and shoot. Didn't charge the inReach at all, but was only using it for a couple of messages at night. I had my iPhone along to pair with the inReach, but I don't think I charged the iPhone at all. I ended the trip with all camera batteries fully charged (except the ones I used on the last day). I did start on the 2nd Powercore but didn't really need it.

As a comparison, 1 21,000 mAh Powercore = 10 full iPhone charges (yes iPhone version matter, but that one had about a 2,100 mAh capacity).

Author:  Paddle Power [ November 4th, 2019, 1:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Recommend me a solar charging system

I’ve been using the Guide10+ Adventure Kit : Nomad 7 solar & Guide10+ battery which works well if you use AA or AAA batteries.
I upgraded to the Venture 30 Kit : Nomad 7 solar with Venture 30 battery because I no longer bring anything that uses AA or AAA batteries.
Using it for 3 to 7 week trips.
Charging iPhone, 2 point and shoot cameras, DSLR camera, Inreach, Polar watch, keyboard, etc.
The bigger battery pack is better for changing sat phone.
I use the iPhone for all my trip files (gear, food, menu, travel itineraries, manuals, backup maps, journaling and book reading, etc.) so it gets charged every day.

Author:  Mike McCrea [ November 4th, 2019, 1:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Recommend me a solar charging system

recped wrote:
For 6 - 7 week trips I just take power banks to charge my Inreach, Still camera, 2 GoPro's, music player. For my old Garmin GPS I just use Lithium AA's, I get about 10 days per set.

I'm using an Anker 20,000mAh bank, plus I have a couple of 10,000 from lower grade manufacturers.


My wife uses a lot more electronics than I; Kindle and I-phone and etc. I bought her a powerbank and she loves it, as do my millennial sons on family trips. It has a small solar panel on one side, which is kind of a joke for recharging outside of environments with no shade trees/all-day blazing sunshine, but even so helps keep the powerbank topped-off. I think, IIRC, it will even work with her chargable port Luci-lights.

I have friends who use fold out solar charging panels, mostly on long desert or on coastal sea kayak trips. The benefit of a Solar charging panel may depend on how much un-occluded sunshine is available, and how often you stick around camp on sunny days.

Best of both worlds might be an always-available power bank, and a small solar charger panel to top off the power bank on sunny days in camp.

Author:  Mollycollie [ November 4th, 2019, 9:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Recommend me a solar charging system

Thanks everyone!
Lots to stew on here.
I think I’m gonna start with one of the big power banks and mess around with it this winter charging various things and keep track of its volume, and then if I’m still not comfortable with it’s capabilities, maybe tinker with Mikes suggestion of a small charger panel to top it off.

You guys rock!
MC

Author:  TBW [ November 5th, 2019, 7:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Recommend me a solar charging system

I use an Axegear 20000 Mah water proof powerbank and solar charger, got it on sale from best buy for about $45. It does pretty well charging 2 cell phones and action cam. I recharge over night. During the day I recharge by solar by putting the battery bank in my water proof chart case on my foredeck (I am a sea kayaker). It does a pretty good job of maintaining a useful charge. My GPS and SPOT both take batteries, so no need to charge them.

Author:  Prospector16 [ November 6th, 2019, 8:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Recommend me a solar charging system

Anker is a really good name in chargers, batteries and such. The solar charger I use is no longer available but if I were to get a new one it would be this Anker.

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B012YUJJM8

A lot of chargers I see are either too big or too small - that one is about the same size as mine which can charger a power bank in a few hours of sun. I keep it open in the canoe while paddling, charging a power bank. That way if there is an accident you don't lose your good camera or other electronics.

Author:  recped [ November 6th, 2019, 9:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Recommend me a solar charging system

Prospector16 wrote:
that one is about the same size as mine which can charger a power bank in a few hours of sun.



What size (capacity) of power bank?

Author:  Daniel Odd Job [ November 7th, 2019, 12:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Recommend me a solar charging system

I realize the discussion is on solar, but I'd like to suggest the Biolite wood-stoves as well. They're rated at 3 watts through a USB outlet. My tech-head nephew loves his. I've no experience with it personally though, as I prefer my little Neufeld stove for
cooking and heat.

That said... I try to leave the bulk of the electronics at home. The saltwater is really hard on them. I prefer to write with a pen and paper, listen to nature, read books, and use paper charts. I do carry a VHF radio with extra disposable AA batteries, and a small PLB... neither of which I use.

Author:  Prospector16 [ November 8th, 2019, 7:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Recommend me a solar charging system

recped i use the smaller ones - don't have one on hand and not sure what their rating is but I think it is probably 10,000. I don't have a clear recollection of exactly how long it takes to charge I just know I can do it on a good sunny summer day with it open in the canoe.

Author:  Prospector16 [ November 8th, 2019, 10:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Recommend me a solar charging system

6000

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