Portable Solar charger that can run a 120v outlet

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Portable Solar charger that can run a 120v outlet

Postby media » Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:30 pm

Anyone aware of a portable solar charger that can run a 120v outlet. By portable I mean fit in a backpack.
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Re: Portable Solar charger that can run a 120v outlet

Postby Woodsman » Thu Aug 23, 2012 1:21 am

What kind of amperage (or total watts of the device) are you looking at?
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Re: Portable Solar charger that can run a 120v outlet

Postby ktrout » Thu Aug 23, 2012 2:09 am

What exactly do you have to run?
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Re: Portable Solar charger that can run a 120v outlet

Postby media » Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:15 am

Need to run camera battery charger and some USB stuff for sat phone, and smaller charger. I've found several that work for the later of that but one set of chargers just need a 12 volt continuous power feed.
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Re: Portable Solar charger that can run a 120v outlet

Postby thewalrus » Thu Aug 23, 2012 5:03 am

media wrote:Anyone aware of a portable solar charger that can run a 120v outlet. By portable I mean fit in a backpack.


Your main problem is going to be that photovoltaics are by their nature DC...

So for example if you were to get one of the 60W folding Powerfilm solar panels, or two of the 60W and connect them in parallel, you're then going to want:

a) a small solar charge controller. I recommend this one:

http://www.morningstarcorp.com/en/sunsavermppt


a1) one 10A DC circuit breaker wired inline as a disconnect on the hot line between the charge controller and the battery.


b) at least one 12V 8Ah AGM battery to store energy:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/UPG-APC-Replace ... 1c29e304fa


c) a small DC to AC true sinewave inverter, 300W rated, for example:

http://www.amazon.com/Power-Bright-APS3 ... B002RWKIJM


all of this adds up in weight and bulk but it is necessary if you want to run AC loads from a photovoltaic power system. the alternative is to get all of your gear to run directly off DC and use DC-DC converters only.
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Re: Portable Solar charger that can run a 120v outlet

Postby ktrout » Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:20 am

media wrote:Need to run camera battery charger and some USB stuff for sat phone, and smaller charger. I've found several that work for the later of that but one set of chargers just need a 12 volt continuous power feed.

Brunton has some good stuff. You don't need 120 for that. Get a 15w for each major gadget and call it good. Or you can try time sharing them. Just make sure it works before you set out.
I'd have a spare battery for everything and have one on the charger while you're using the other.
It will work but if you beat up the panels they will crap out on you. I've used the Brunton stuff on the back of my bicycle while touring. Worked fine until it didn't. Took a couple of weeks, though. If you're going to be hanging around camp it will be fine.
How long are you going to be in the field?
If you can get a 12v charger for everything you're good.
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Re: Portable Solar charger that can run a 120v outlet

Postby thewalrus » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:22 am

You can also get (expensive, $350-400) fat lithium ion battery packs which can be charged from a 10W to 60W size folding solar panel. These battery packs have multiple USB ports on them for charging cameras, phones etc and some have various DC outputs, such as 19-20VDC out which will work for most Thinkpads.
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Re: Portable Solar charger that can run a 120v outlet

Postby media » Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:24 pm

@Walrus: Wow thats a lot to carry. My solution in the past to is to have multiple camera batteries charged up. Heat kills that though. The Canon 5D batteries are small enough I can carry six rather easily. The Sony NX5U batteries last so long it's amazing I carry three extended ones and haven't run out yet.

@ktrout: 3 days to 3 week depending on the assignment. Usually I'll come across electricity at some point, I have a rig where I can clip it to a car, boat, or generator engine and run my charges off of that also a device where I can unscrew a lightbulb screw my device in and have a power source. But I am looking for something more reliable than the off chance I come across a motor or power outlet.
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