Author Topic: Solar battery/charger?  (Read 4144 times)

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Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Solar battery/charger?
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2022, 07:53:31 am »
I just weighed my wheel replacements with the Schmidt hub and I am quite happy. I have a Surly Disc Trucker with 26" wheels that came with Alex Rims, that were not Tubeless Ready, and it was supposed to have shipped with Surly Extraterrestrial Tires, but they shipped with Conti Touring tires. The rear hub shipped was a Shimano Deore 525.

Anyway, the new setup is a Shimano Deore FM-M756 rear hub and a Schmidt SON hub in the front, (36 hole like the originals), Velocity Cliffhanger rims, laced 3X. and Surly Extraterrestrial 26X46 tires mounted tubeless (with Stan's).

I thought I would have a weight cost for the Schmidt hub but I actually wound up with a 1.8 lbs. savings on the pair by losing the tubes.
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline froze

Re: Solar battery/charger?
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2022, 05:10:03 pm »
Personally, I think solar is better than a dynamo. 

For one a dynamo system is a LOT more money to get going with it; the other thing is once you get to camp, and you figure out you need to charge something, now what? go ride your bike around the camp grounds for several hours?  Of course, the downfall with solar is cloudy days, which is why you get a power bank.  Also, there is zero maintenance and nothing to repair with a solar panel, a dynamo introduces a failure point because it's mechanical.

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Solar battery/charger?
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2022, 05:23:48 pm »
You charge your battery pack with your Dynamo while running your lights in day-time mode. Once you top off the bank you can charge your phone or GPS while you ride.
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline froze

Re: Solar battery/charger?
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2022, 05:44:07 pm »
You charge your battery pack with your Dynamo while running your lights in day-time mode. Once you top off the bank you can charge your phone or GPS while you ride.

Yup, and you can do that with the solar system as well except for a whole lot less money.

Offline canalligators

Re: Solar battery/charger?
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2022, 11:13:30 pm »
I'm still not convinced that solar charging is practical.  You'd need a fairly large array and have to keep reorienting it as you made turns.  And I don't want to take that extra five watts off my leg output with a dynamo, having only about 100 watts sustainable output.  I choose to use neither dyamo nor solar, take less electronics along and have a power pack that's large enough to charge the phone twice.  Well, I do bring a solar charged lamp for the tent.

HikeBikeCook, as for charging priority, I will do the opposite.  The phone is first prio, the helmet lights second (because they won't be used often), and the ham radio third (because it's recreational).  I take a two-outlet wall wart, so I can charge the phone and the power pack at the same time.

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Solar battery/charger?
« Reply #20 on: February 06, 2022, 08:40:32 am »
Different riders have different needs, budgets, and levels of fitness with which to carry a load. The old saying; "The less you carry the more comfortable the ride, the more you carry the more comfortable the camp." My younger self could cowboy camp with no sleeping pad and a cold breakfast and be happy. My older self needs to get a decent nights sleep before riding a loaded touring bike the next day. If you gave 10 people $100 and sent them into a shopping mall to spend it, the odds of any one of them buying the same item as another is pretty slim - we all make personal choices from a vast array of products and options.

That being said, when I think of budgets I always keep at least 2 in mind - financial and weight. As I have aged, the financial budget has become much less of a worry than the weight budget. As I mentioned in an early post, I actually saved 1.8 pounds from my weight budget when adding the Schmidt Hub as part of my conversion to tubeless tires. It was a considerable hit on my financial budget since the hub was around $330 and to get USB charging capacity I also added a Sinewave Beacon light which was another $350, but a net savings on the weight budget over my current lighting. In addition I added a Schmidt SON taillight - another $95 on the financial budget but a small savings on the weight budget. I added to that an Anker Powercore 10K power bank https://smile.amazon.com/Anker-Ultra-Compact-High-Speed-VoltageBoost-Technology/dp/B07QXV6N1B/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=30AZGV46S4HDH&keywords=anker+powercore+slim+10000&qid=1644153151&sprefix=anker+powercore+slim+10000%2Caps%2C101&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyTVc1TUlFSk1aTkRTJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwODAxNTcwMVZENDQ4SlAwUVVLSiZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwNjk0MzM1WFpGUFdPWExUUUQ2JndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==
- Financial budget = $22.00 - Weight Budget = 7.5 oz.

I also originally bought a 20,000 mAh multi-panel solar charger https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0882JLJC6/ref=ox_sc_saved_title_3?smid=A3587HXKN8D5H0&th=1 which was fairly easy on my financial budget at $60, but a big hit on the weight budget at 1.31 lbs.

Keep in mind that most dynamo powered lights do not need to be recharged, so you save battery weight but also reduce the charging capacity you need when you get to camp. If you need to power the lights without the dynamo they can run off the power bank. Finally, I typically get 2 days out of my phone and 3 days out of my GPS unit. I ditched the numerous USB wall plugs for an 8 Port USB charger, since I have found the average user these days has more devices to charge than the average hotel room has plugs -- the net weight was about the same. Plus, when traveling with a group, and you are pirating power from an outside outlet at store, you can charge 8 devices from a single outlet. I do carry a single 110v to USB block as insurance.
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline froze

Re: Solar battery/charger?
« Reply #21 on: February 06, 2022, 04:13:22 pm »
I'm still not convinced that solar charging is practical.  You'd need a fairly large array and have to keep reorienting it as you made turns.  And I don't want to take that extra five watts off my leg output with a dynamo, having only about 100 watts sustainable output.  I choose to use neither dyamo nor solar, take less electronics along and have a power pack that's large enough to charge the phone twice.  Well, I do bring a solar charged lamp for the tent.

HikeBikeCook, as for charging priority, I will do the opposite.  The phone is first prio, the helmet lights second (because they won't be used often), and the ham radio third (because it's recreational).  I take a two-outlet wall wart, so I can charge the phone and the power pack at the same time.

No, you don't need a large array, you just need 3 panels for the perfect balance between weight, bulk, and charging times, anything less than 3 will weigh less, take up a little less space, but take longer to charge stuff; going with anything larger and the weight and the bulk is more but you will charge faster but only to a point.  I can currently with the 3-panel system charge my iPhone as fast as the wall can, due to circuitry inside the phone I would not be able to charge it any faster, however I could plug in 2 items to be charged at the same time and due to 4 panels instead of 3, that would be a bit faster than I can now with 2 items plugged in.  So, I'm good with a 3-panel system.  These panels are called backpacking solar panels, so they're not large cumbersome panels.

I also only use a small/thin lightweight power bank, because with it fully charged, I can charge my iPhone at least 3 times from it, so using something bigger is not practical for my needs.  I do have a small SE iPhone because it weighs less and takes up less space, it also doesn't require as much charge as a larger iPhone would.

And the pack packing panels come with eyelets built into the panels so I can strap it to a backpack, or to top of my tent that is on top of the rear rack, so I can be charging while pedaling.

Offline froze

Re: Solar battery/charger?
« Reply #22 on: February 06, 2022, 10:13:30 pm »
https://www.amazon.com/Anker-Charger-PowerPort-iPhone-Galaxy/dp/B012YUJJM8/ref=sr_1_15?adgrpid=1337006705866870&hvadid=83562990367752&hvbmt=bp&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=99044&hvnetw=o&hvqmt=p&hvtargid=kwd-83563270346784%3Aloc-190&hydadcr=15105_10539284&keywords=backpacking+solar+charger&qid=1644202096&sr=8-15

The above is the Anker model, it's more compact than most 3 panel systems, and they use a higher quality solar panel that puts out more watts than even larger ones.  It is highly rated in the camping world.

I combined that with this power bank:  https://www.amazon.com/Anker-Ultra-Compact-High-Speed-VoltageBoost-Technology/dp/B07QXV6N1B/ref=sr_1_4?crid=IM88V8GERZ6K&keywords=anker+power+bank&qid=1644202589&sprefix=anker+power+bank%2Caps%2C342&sr=8-4
That power bank is inexpensive but since my phone is a small phone this is one is plenty for my phone, I can charge it about 3 times off this power bank.  If you have a more demanding phone then you could double it to 20,000mAh, but keep in mind, the larger the bank capacity is the more it will weigh, so you have to determine if getting something bigger is going to be more weight than you want to carry.

Keep in mind too that most camp areas have electrical someplace, so if worse came to worse you can plug in.  Before I got the solar charger, I went to the camp host and asked if I could plug in and they were good about that.  So, using a Solar Charger combined with a power bank is for those times when you won't be near electricity, or don't want to walk or ride someplace to plug in, hang around till it's done, and then go back to your campsite.  There are a few bike campers I know that all they carry is a power bank, they figure they will always be near an electrical outlet and they will plug in and wait, and the power bank is for emergencies.  So you have to think about where you're going to be and whether or not electricity is within a day's ride, or if you want the convenance of the solar system.  As a side note, I used my solar system last summer when the electricity went off where I live, and my wife's phone was nearly dead, so I plugged it into the solar panel and charged it up.  The power only was off for 5 hours, but when something like that happens you don't know how long the power is going to be off for.  I wish I had that solar thing back about 7 years ago when a summer land hurricane (what they called it) came through and we were without power for 6 days, I could have charged up my phones.