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solar charging devices

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Bob Lacourse
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solar charging devices

Post by Bob Lacourse » Jan 28 2015 10:17 am

I've been researching solar charges to charge my smart phone, Delorme Inreach Explorer, and my Garmin GPS watch while hiking the AZT in April and the PCT in 2016.
Have been looking at the Goal Zero 10 solar charger that I can attach to my backpack.
Is anyone familiar with this particular solar panel, or are their better options.
Will it charge the 3 devices I have with no issues.

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Grimey
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Re: solar charging devices

Post by Grimey » Apr 14 2015 8:10 pm

I like the Anker batteries. They charge a phone fast, are easy to use, cheap. The newest ones with the LED ring are nice, although I have the older ones with the built in LED flashlight, it is fine too.

Just my :M2C:

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nonot
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Re: solar charging devices

Post by nonot » Apr 14 2015 9:59 pm

Ah, those things are interesting, It's like bringing extra batteries of one type to recharge all your various batteries of a bunch of other types. Not the most efficient, but if you have a wide variety of batteries it makes sense. If you are going to carry 4-5 of them though perhaps you should upgrade to 1-2 of the larger models? The 6400 mAh seems to have about the best ratio of capacity to weight - twice the capacity of the mini for only 1.5x the weight.

[quote="chumley"]@nonot
Thanks nonot. I agree and that's sort of where I'm leaning. As I mentioned above, I can carry 4 or 5 Anker Minis for less weight than 1 mini and a solar charger. I can't think of any time yet where I would have needed more than 2 or 3 on a trip.
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chumley
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Re: solar charging devices

Post by chumley » Apr 14 2015 10:17 pm

By having several minis you have the flexibility to bring just one, or five depending on the length of your trip. It would be a very rare trip that I would need that much extra power, which would make lugging around just one of the larger models unnecessary size and weight on 80% of my trips.
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Bob Lacourse
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Re: solar charging devices

Post by Bob Lacourse » Apr 18 2015 9:50 am

Hey Guys: I want to thank all of you for your input. A lot of fantastic ideas. I hit the trail back on April 3rd. Prior to my start date I bought the Solarmonkey Adventurer charger.
I've used it from the border to Summerhaven so far.
I don't find the weight of the unit (265G) a problem at all.
I attached the unit with 1 small binner to top loop of my ULA Circuit pack and another small binner at the bottom loop. This stops it from flopping around while I'm walking.
The panels have had a full charge every night to charge my cell phone and Delorme Inreach Explorer.
After 5 days on the trail I did notice a few pits on the lower panel. I'll keep an eye on that.
The only issue I have with this unit is the case. The open pocket is completely useless. The 2 small straps that attach the panel to the case come undone easily. I had to wrap them with duct tape to keep the straps secure. That has worked great so far, and I check it periodically during the day.

To date I like this unit. It has performed as expected with no complaints.

Again, Thank you for all the great input.

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Bob Lacourse
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passage 10 hiking partner

Post by Bob Lacourse » Apr 18 2015 11:11 am

April 14 I had to get off trail due to foot injury. Looking for anyone who wants to join me at Molino Basin CG April 21 or 22 so I can continue my Nobo thru hike.

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alkuhni
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Re: solar charging devices

Post by alkuhni » Apr 30 2015 6:24 am

I have a Goal Zero Nomad 7
I charge a battery pack during day.
Takes 8 hours to fully charge it.
Then at night i recharge my Delorme inReach and cell phone
I love it
May 3rd I am starting from Roosevelt lake to Flagstaff (solo)
will see how it works in northern AZ forests.

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Re: solar charging devices

Post by Baudelaire » May 21 2015 8:58 pm

@te-wa
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chumley
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Re: solar charging devices

Post by chumley » May 21 2015 10:42 pm

Ja vi elsker dette landet

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JimAH
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Re: solar charging devices

Post by JimAH » Feb 04 2016 8:42 am

The key with solar chargers seems to be orientation to the sun. I'm preparing for a NOBO AZT thru this spring and decided to give Bushnell's solar wrap mini-MAX a try. This is the big brother of the smaller and generally panned Bear Grillis model. It weighs 5.1 oz and stores as a very compact 1.25"x 7.75" cylinder. Unrolled, I've found it secures easily to the top or back of my pack for changing the integrated 2,600 mA battery. (An InReach SE's battery capacity is 2,450 mA an iPhone 6 is 1,810 mA). Bushnell claims it will fully charge in 6 hours. I've verified that at home, at rest, on my porch.

In the real world, on a three day shakedown trip in the eastern Supes last weekend, the charge'rs orientation to the sun proved to be the key. It charged well as long as I was walking away from or perpendicular to the sun -- so that the sun could strike it directly. Over a full day of walking with intermittent sun, it gathered about a 50% charge.

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Spiced Rum
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Re: solar charging devices

Post by Spiced Rum » Feb 04 2016 2:27 pm

Traded in my Goal Zero for a SunTactics S-5. Much nicer, lighter and works a lot better.
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Re: solar charging devices

Post by rcorfman » Feb 04 2016 3:46 pm

Solar Paper looks promising. Not sure when it will be available, but I think soon.
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sandyfortner
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Re: solar charging devices

Post by sandyfortner » Feb 04 2016 8:05 pm

Has anyone tried an AMPY yet? New to the market but I've read great reviews in Popular Mechanics. When I get around to it - I think I'll order one and see how it works. If as good as it says, I'll never have to think about sun power or lack thereof.
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Thoreau
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Re: solar charging devices

Post by Thoreau » Feb 05 2016 3:55 pm

Definitely keeping an eye on this thread. I haven't been out on trail long enough on any single trip to really need to consider solar. The battery pack method has worked quite well though...

http://www.amazon.com/Jackery-Portable- ... ikearizona

One of those kept my headlamp (Petzl Tikka RXP), InReach SE (10min beacon, lotsa messaging in both directions, bluetooth on,) and Galaxy S5 phone (Gaia maps, GPS on, bluetooth on to control the InReach/messaging) with about half a charge remaining for 4 days in the blue range. Phone also served as a ghetto jukebox on a couple nights of drinking by the fire.

I'd imagine even a less beefy solar setup could extend that significantly by having it keep the battery pack topped off.

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sandyfortner
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Re: solar charging devices

Post by sandyfortner » Mar 25 2016 7:27 am

I received my AMPY just in t time for spring break backpacking. The box and enclosed propaganda assures you that you can drop it in your purse or computer bag and it will still charge - slower than if running or biking - but will still work. I left with it fully charged via the USB port and my friend used it that night to charge her phone. Left our camp site between Redington rd and Italian Trap, UP the Rincons to Manning - NO full charge - only 1 of 4 lights to indicate charge level. UGH. I had put it in my pack so that it set vertically. The next day we were hiking to our car - 16 miles out the Quilter and then west to the parking area. I packed the AMPY so that it set horizontally in my pack that day. Got to the car - NO change. Quite disappointing. I had high hopes for a simple charger that didn't depend on weather and didn't need to be on the outside of my pack. Not to be. I'm returning it today.
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Re: solar charging devices

Post by CannondaleKid » Mar 25 2016 4:17 pm

@sandyfortner Since it relies on motion, the more up & down it moves (or side-to-side depending on how it is oriented) the more likely it is to charge. So putting it on something that has more movement (like an arm or leg) may work better.
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sandyfortner
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Re: solar charging devices

Post by sandyfortner » Mar 25 2016 7:24 pm

@CannondaleKid
Yep, that is true for sure. And had it been advertised as NEEDING to be worn, I would never have bought it. I try very hard to not have things hanging off of me or my pack -sometimes I have to - but really try not to. Oh, well, it was worth a shot. Don't know if you don't try!
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Sredfield
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Re: solar charging devices

Post by Sredfield » Mar 25 2016 8:05 pm

This is intriguing. I don't like stuff hanging off the pack either, but if it charges the electronics, I could life with something swinging by maybe a foot of cord off the pack.
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sandyfortner
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Re: solar charging devices

Post by sandyfortner » Mar 26 2016 6:13 am

@SredfieldI'm betting there's a way to make it feasible. Thought about attaching it somehow to my hiking pole. They sell an arm band accessory so that you can wear it. It's definitely a good idea but I guess it needs some dinking around with to see what set up works best.
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Re: solar charging devices

Post by rcorfman » Mar 26 2016 3:42 pm

@sandyfortner
Just tie it around your ankle and drag it. ](*,)
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joebartels
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Re: solar charging devices

Post by joebartels » Mar 26 2016 3:54 pm

odd that it comes with a belt clip instead of an ankle clip
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