Solar Charging for Dummies

Oak City Tactics

Moderator
Moderator
#1
I’m very curious about solar charging possibilities but I really don’t need on the science. As a result I don’t understand the capabilities or my exact needs. I’d like a solar charging set up that’s relatively small (very specific right?) but reasonably capable. I’d like it to charge the following items:
Streamlight rechargeable lantern (8800 MaH battery), IPhone, at least one preferably two at a time Baofeng UV5R’s, 18650 batteries (at least 2 at once), and LFP 123A 3.2 V rechargeable batteries.

I’m thinking ideal is under 6hrs. Excellent is anything less, IDK what acceptable is. What’s out there I should look at or what specs do I look for with those needs. I don’t know how to translate those needs into the required capability. I listened to the modcast but I’m still not sure.
 

ggammell

Established
Network Support I
#2
Add this in. Charge battery packs (Anker, rav power, etc) then charge your devices off those. Solar is “dirty power” means the voltages etc can vary based on conditions. The battery packs will charge your devices properly.

chuck has some Patreon videos on this topic if your a member, or want to be. Very informative.
 

Oak City Tactics

Moderator
Moderator
#4
I’ve watched Chucks stuff. It was good but pretty immediately went well beyond my current needs (see what I did there) and was more illustrated by his Base camp needs. I’d love to have that big power box he had but it’s more cost and power than I need right now not to mention difficult to fund. I do remember now from that and modcast the dirty power dealio. I’d forgotten about that. So my needs may be a device that steals power from the sun (insert villain laugh), stores it, and then doles it back out to me in a regulated format. Maybe, but that’s the stuff I don’t really know. Of those devices, which are more susceptible to varying quality of available solar energy?

I’ve started a list of possible items I want to charge and what their individual draw needs are. So far it seems to be the lantern at 8800 mah which makes sense at it can itself recharge say your phone about 4x according to the manual. I’m not getting an exact requirement for the iphone6 in MAH.
 

Oak City Tactics

Moderator
Moderator
#5
The other issue with the batteries is they only push out power via usb, micro usb, etc. several of these items are charged via 3 prong systems. Is it just a matter of getting a USB to whatever size mm jack?
 

JimH

Regular Member
Network Support I
#6
Hopefully we can get some suggestions for you, but first a couple of questions....
What kind of budget are you thinking about?
What size/weight do you consider small?
Does your Iphone do a quick charge option?
 

Oak City Tactics

Moderator
Moderator
#7
Budget. I’m not sure what reasonable. Can it be done for under $100? Under $500?

So size wise, I think when it gets as big as say the small ultraquiet Honda generators and costs the same too, I’d buy a generator first. So ideally it’s smaller than that. Most of those are basically the same volume as a milk crate.

I have a 2 year old IPhone 6. I don’t know.
 

Oak City Tactics

Moderator
Moderator
#9
I think a car battery is again getting into the smaller Honda ultra quiet generator area. The generator may even be lighter than a car battery. What are you thinking of?
 

JimH

Regular Member
Network Support I
#10
Well, you can go smaller and lighter with one of the Apex or Yetti systems, but a good basic 12v system would be a sealed AGM deep cycle battery from a local warehouse club($150), a couple of 100 watt panels from amazon($150) and a charge controller ($50). I would suggest going with a basic charge maintainer($30), and 12v USB outlet pack ($15). If you are really interested in making something, I would also suggest buying the stuff that is made in China sooner , rather than later.