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Deer hunter Duck Shooter
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Solar panels
May 19th, 2019 at 4:48pm
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Just wondering if anyone has any recommendations on solar panels. I am going to do a fly in trip over summer and want to charge cell phones 18650 torch batteries. Maybe in reach, also maybe run a light. I can order on aliexprees but really am wanting recommendations/ reviews.
  
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XRhunter
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Re: Solar panels
Reply #1 - May 19th, 2019 at 6:55pm
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In all honesty unless you are flying in for a > 2 week long trip you will be better off taking in more batteries, instead of trying to charge stuff up in the bush. Or just take in a 20 amp hour gell battery and charge straight off that. All the claggage required to run a solar charging setup will take up quite a bit of room. A solar panel the size of an open laptop will only provide 20 watts in the absolute best of conditions, and only for a few hours each day. If you do wish to go solar remember that you also need a charge controller and a battery for your charging setup.
  
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JaSa
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Re: Solar panels
Reply #2 - May 19th, 2019 at 7:17pm
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This one has two USB ports and might do the trick without any additional gear for your phone and GPS.
  
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fat ninja
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Re: Solar panels
Reply #3 - May 19th, 2019 at 8:05pm
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Deer hunter Duck Shooter
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Re: Solar panels
Reply #4 - May 20th, 2019 at 6:39am
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Thank you for the replies, as usual I am learning.
XR have you used them, I can see now that it is not as easy as just plugging in to a plug. Sometimes they won't work.
I am going in for more than two weeks so there will be a lot more questions on gear from me, as I have never done a fly in trip, so want to get it right.
  
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Re: Solar panels
Reply #5 - May 20th, 2019 at 8:40am
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I live completely off grid. 7 KW of solar panels so I sort of live this stuff.  Those cute fold up panels setups do work, but only in good sunshine. In gloomy winter conditions a 300 watt solar panel may only produce 300 watts of energy for the entire day!!!, whereas in the middle of summer it'll produce 300 watts each and every hour Smiley
So you have to factor in poor sunlight days if you need to charge up something every day or so.
Watts = volts times amps. Do the calculations on your various appliances and figure out what your consumption will be ( take a typical 18650 battery of 3000mahr @ 4 volts= 12 watts of storage). Then factor in losses of 50%, and oversize your solar panel by about 300% and you should have a system that will cope day in day out Wink
Me, I would go with a couple of 40 watt panels (packs up smaller than a single 80 watt) wired up in parallel with a 10 amp charge controller dumping into a 12 volt 20 amp hour gell battery. Then run all your chargers off cigarette lighter style fittings  from the battery. To squeeze the most out of your system, move the panels every few hours to stay at right angles to the sun.
an 80 watt system will pretty much be guarenteed to keep producing 30 watts most of the day, unless it clags in where it'll produce 10-20 watts.
Helo pilots get arsey about lead acid batteries in their choppers, so have some nice wide duct tape there to cover the terminals to prevent arcing on stuff they could touch inside the chopper Smiley
When buying solar panels in qty, they sell for a dollar a watt. So when I see  those little 5 watt fold up solar chargers selling for close to a hundy, I wince Shocked
  
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Deer hunter Duck Shooter
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Re: Solar panels
Reply #6 - May 21st, 2019 at 6:46am
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Thanks for that XR I really do appreciate that, so I am looking at running all I need from 18650 batteries, I already use them extensively and like them.
I will get a nitecore charger that has usb input/output. You can charge the two batteries and also charge a cell phone off those two batteries at the same time.
Then I will plan on getting a 20 watt solar panel to try, if that works well then I will get another.  If not I will up it to a 40 watt.
  
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Re: Solar panels
Reply #7 - May 22nd, 2019 at 7:04pm
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you could save yourself a heap of hassle...... buy a cheap cellphone NOT a smartphone and a 2nd battery for it... they last a week if you arent txting or phoning every 2nd minute.....
torches still run on AAs or AAAs and some of the flash torches come with an adaptor so you can run AAAs.

part of the getting away from civilisation thing is to get away from the electronic leashes......
  
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Deer hunter Duck Shooter
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Re: Solar panels
Reply #8 - May 22nd, 2019 at 9:14pm
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I do hear what you are saying MD, and I definitely use my smartphone to much. I pretty much run anything I can in my life from it and it is only going to get worse. If I get a receipt I take a photo of it and through the receipt away. I pay with it, I even use the torch with it. Just heard tonight that a friends uncle has brought a BMW and he gets out of the car, stands on the sidewalk and parks his car.
Anyway I am getting off topic, I like the thought of a solar charging system, it is fun for me to work this stuff out. I will only use my phone for map Gps and camera. I won't be getting reception I wouldn't think so will probably get an in reach but will talk further with helicopter company about best way to have communication with the outside world, because there will need to be some. But it will be limited to letting people know plans, and maybe weather. Any suggestions always appreciated.
Cheers
  
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