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Thread: Solar Cells

  1. #1

    Default Solar Cells

    I'm wondering if anyone here has had any experience using portable Solar Cells (like those sold by Brunton) in the back country for charging phones, GPS systems, batteries and the like. Please share your comments good or bad. Thanks

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    Personally, I just carry enough batteries to keep me going for the duration. I just finished a three week trip in the Grand Canyon and had plenty of batteries to spare. But I packed 16 rechargable Lithium Ion batteries for two cameras. I know most people wouldn't think that reasonable so...

    There another boater with us that had a plastic fold up solar panel about 3x5'. He draped it over the back of his raft when traveling and quickly folded it up and stuffed it in a bag before running any big rapids. He used this panel to charge a moderately large 12 volt battery pack with 120 volt converter built in. From that he managed to charge batteries for one sat phone (that he used every day), and two laptops. (Don't ask.) He had enough spare power to charge video and digital camera batteries for several other members of our party who had not planned so well.

    The flexible solar panel and battery cost him nearly $1000, but it seemed to work quite well, in spite of the fact that we only got about 3-4 hours of direct sunlight in any one day. This guy has a wilderness guiding service and a web design business and likes to combine the two. But it just goes to show that with enough money "you can take it with you."

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    Member WinMag_300's Avatar
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    Good question. I have a Brunton portable solar cell but I have never used it. My hunting and camping trips seem to be too fast-paced and all I ever have time to do is change batteries.

    I would also be interested in knowing how it has worked for others.
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. - Henry David Thoreau

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    A friend used to use solar for his sat phone. It's too much to carry unless you're stting up a base camp. Look here for another alternative.
    http://www.ccrane.com/more-categorie...e-charger.aspx

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    Default Power source

    What I would do, is use one battery as a power source to charge the other battery.

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    Member WinMag_300's Avatar
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    Mr. Pid, the crank up charger is a good idea. I use an Eton FR250 radio to charge batteries and cell phone. It is larger than the one you showed, but it has shortwave which is a big plus because it means you always have news and entertainment wherever you go.

    http://www.etoncorp.com/US/products/...ID=7&prodID=19
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. - Henry David Thoreau

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    i use the brunton solar roll for several years now, it charges my sat phone and it will run my DVD player and charge the barrerty as well. runs about one lb and i'll carry it everywhere sometimes, with clients and bad weather i can't afford to miss a decent windo to fly out. worth its weight in gold if you ask me. water proof so rain dont' hurt it either.

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Brunton solar recharger experience, same as Buck Nelson?

    BrwnBr - Sounds similar to Buck Nelson's foldable Brunton Solaris 12; 29 x 17.5 inches open size. Buck also rated his charger, "outstanding".

    More solar recharger info:
    1. Another thread on solar rechargers:
    http://www.forums.outdoorsdirectory....d.php?p=162165
    2. From Brunton catalog:
    http://www.brunton.com/catalog.php?cat=8

    The list of battery-fed tools we might carry is getting longer; lights, phones, sat phones, GPS, bear fences... If you can't bring along Jim's float partner (post #2) as a power source, then a foldable array like the Brunton might work well and weigh less than a supply of batteries. Are you still using yours?

    Thanks.

  9. #9

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    Talk to Marc Taylor, he used a solar charger on his Kodiak brown bear hunt and raved about it, he know sells them in his store.

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    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    I have used the plastic roll up Brunton solar cell to recharge a sat phone during hunting trips to the Far East - just like pluggin' into the wall. Took less than 4 hours to completely recharge dead sat phone battery - worked great, no complaints.

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Deciding factors...

    Looking back at Buck Nelson's gear review:
    http://www.bucktrack.com/Alaska_Back...st_Review.html

    he weighs the solar panel with case at 13 oz, plus "Charging Misc" (Weight: n/a).

    Whether weight is the deciding factor, might depend on how many batteries you need. Using a pan scale (pounds), estimated number of batteries (I didn't have enough batteries for some) for each pound/16 oz:

    D cells: 3
    C cells: 6
    AA cells: 14
    AAA cells: 34

    My GPS (Lithium CR2) battery prob weighs closest to AA cell.
    Sat phone batteries ? Don't know.

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    Iridium batteries last forever, or so it seems. I've never needed two, but I always take two.

    Solar charger? Frigid North.

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Season could make all the difference...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Pid View Post
    Iridium batteries last forever, or so it seems. I've never needed two, but I always take two.

    Solar charger? Frigid North.
    Good point, if I understand you correctly -- a charger could be great for a July/August float fishing trip with 4 people. You have enough demand to justify considering chargers and enough daylight for them to function.

    Not necessarily so on a late September, October, especially November or later hunt. Like other things, depends on the specifics of each situation, plus with experience helps too (what you don't really need).

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