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Do solar chargers really work?

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Do solar chargers really work?

Old 06-08-13, 10:03 PM
  #1  
Robert C
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Question Do solar chargers really work?

I am considering a long ride this summer which will leave my outside for several days. I will be relying on a GPS as I will be in China. I need some way to keep the GPS working.

This brings me to the question, do those battery / solar cell combos, like the one pictured, actually work?

I intend to put it on the top of the stuff on my rear rack on a recumbent and use it on a GPS like this one.




General

Product Name
Portable Mobile Solar Power Charger

Brand/Model
NA

Color
Black

Basic Specification

Battery Type
Lithium Battery

Capacity
2600MAH

Input Voltage
5.5V/300-500mA

Output Voltage
4.2V,5.5V,9V /400-800mA

Charger Time
Around 2 hours

Charging Mode
USB or Adapter

Port
1 x USB Slot

Dimension(L x W x H)
120 x 65 x 11 mm

Suitable For
iPhone/iPad/PDA/PSP/MP3/Mp4/Laptop/Notebook

Features
- Portable mobile charger for your item
- Easy to take and charge conveniently
- LED lights flash when charging the mobile.

Package Included
- 1 x Portable Mobile Charger
- 3 x Cables
- 1 x Charger
- 4 x Adapters
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
804422_4_s.jpg (3.2 KB, 157 views)
File Type: jpg
804422_1_s.jpg (2.6 KB, 161 views)
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Old 06-08-13, 10:15 PM
  #2  
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
I intend to put it on the top of the stuff on my rear rack on a recumbent and use it on a GPS like this one.
That things is Earthquake proof but not waterproof?

You're better off going for an AA powered GPS like an etrex.
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Old 06-08-13, 10:39 PM
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etrex does not have China maps. Part of the trouble is that maps are a state secret. As such, GPS units that are offered outside of the Chinese market will not do what I want. Also, the batteries purchased in China are of very poor quality. You cannot plan on a battery in China lasting more than half as long as a similar battery purchased on the US.

I have a small GPS with good battery life; however, it does not display maps. I actually doubt that I need the maps display; but, The last time I made a similar trip I ran into trouble when the road detoured at one point.
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Old 06-08-13, 10:50 PM
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Yes they work howbeit slowly and on sunny days.
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Old 06-09-13, 12:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
etrex does not have China maps. Part of the trouble is that maps are a state secret. As such, GPS units that are offered outside of the Chinese market will not do what I want.
Maybe the free open source ones?
https://garmin.openstreetmap.nl
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Old 06-09-13, 08:08 AM
  #6  
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I followed Mike's blog as he rode the Tour d'Afrique. His equipment page may be of interest - it mentions a Goal Zero charger.

https://www.bike2013.com/equipment/
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Old 06-09-13, 09:17 AM
  #7  
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I like using an auxillary AA battery pack like this one:

https://www.gomadic.com/garmin-edge-7...-extender.html

More Gomadic chargers/accessories for the 705, solar too...

https://www.gomadic.com/manufacturers...ame=Edge%20705
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Old 06-10-13, 03:24 AM
  #8  
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I just bought a Revolve Sol-sport 5 kit for $35. folding solar panel, cables & 2200mah lithium poly battery came with it.
Meijer.com has them on clearance.
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Old 06-11-13, 06:13 PM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by technoD View Post
I just bought a Revolve Sol-sport 5 kit for $35. folding solar panel, cables & 2200mah lithium poly battery came with it.
Meijer.com has them on clearance.
I check

I checked, it appears that they don't have them anymore.
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Old 06-11-13, 06:50 PM
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Some of these things are battery packs that you charge from mains power, that also happen to have a fairly useless solar panel on them.
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Old 06-11-13, 09:33 PM
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Try to get a solar cell with a bigger output than your GPS' power requirements and maybe you can keep it running properly through cloudy conditions. You will want a battery in there to get you through the dark spots too. You need to do some math to decide how big a solar cell and battery you need.
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Old 06-12-13, 08:16 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by ttakata73 View Post
Try to get a solar cell with a bigger output than your GPS' power requirements and maybe you can keep it running properly through cloudy conditions. You will want a battery in there to get you through the dark spots too. You need to do some math to decide how big a solar cell and battery you need.
Yes. You need a pretty large panel in the first place, and even larger to allow for non-ideal conditions (shade, clouds, not pointed directly at the sun). Check the spex of the Gomadic solar panel, 13" x 12" and weighs 4 lb. https://www.gomadic.com/garmin-edge-705-sunvolt.html



AAs are small, lightweight, universally available and can get you through periods where you can't charge from an electrical outlet. The 705 will run nearly 3 times as long on a set of 4 external AA batteries as it will off its internal battery.

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Old 06-12-13, 06:45 PM
  #13  
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Bigger the panel the better , bike trailer with a 4 square foot size perhaps?

I think the flexible brown cell is less efficient than the Rigid Blue ones.


maybe a Hub dynamo for juice when you are moving, the Panel for the campsite

Last edited by fietsbob; 06-12-13 at 06:49 PM.
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Old 06-12-13, 09:30 PM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Bigger the panel the better , bike trailer with a 4 square foot size perhaps?

I think the flexible brown cell is less efficient than the Rigid Blue ones.


maybe a Hub dynamo for juice when you are moving, the Panel for the campsite
??? Typically, one is at the campsite at night.
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