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 Solar Panels

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bdquick
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PostSubject: Solar Panels   Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:13 pm

I'm just curious if anyone around here has experience with solar panels. I've been considering getting something small that could charge like AA batteries and cell phones. I see portable sets made for camping at outdoor stores. Something as a last means of use, if power was out. Hopefully would never need it, especially since I just bought a generator, but you can run out of gas.

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findoctr
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Panels   Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:34 pm

Yes, I bought a set up from Harbor Freight some time ago but couldn't get it work right. Now I only tried it once and kept meaning to get back to it again but I just didn't have time and supposingly it will charge a car battery.
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Panels   Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:44 pm

My experience has been limited to those little solar garden path lights and my wife's gate opener. In both applications I've found the solar chargers are not sized big enough for winter and that the batteries that come with them were garbage. In the case of the gate opener, I replaced the stock battery with a marine deep cycle battery at the end of summer, has worked great up until this week. There was a (relative) lot of traffic the week before, and a couple of weeks of mostly cloudy, some really stormy, dark days, and it's just now getting low. Need to get over there and put it on a charger, although we've had a couple of good sunny days this week with low traffic, so It may have caught up a little. The little garden path lights came with 400 mAh batteries (AA's) of dubious quality, replaced them with some good quality 2500 mAh, so that this time of year I need to collect them all about every two weeks and charge them up inside. That's for the one's with the worst exposure, but it's easiest to do them all at once, so I don't really know how long the one's with the best exposure would last. They all do fine in the summer. Have considered tying them all together to a marine deep cycle and a bigger solar panel, but I've got other things to do that are higher priority. But if I ever get around to that, then I could put some in places the sun don't shine, like indoors, for nightlights/power outage lights, so I don't have to play on the computer by candlelight when the power's down. Very Happy Have dreamt of a solar powered UPS that could take the desktop through 3 days of usage during power outages, but I don't think the cost would be worth it. Batteries are expensive. I don't even have a standard mains powered UPS for 15 minutes of shut-down power.I can always charge up the laptop in the car. But a solar charger for the laptop, hmm. Back to the drawing board! Smile

clown

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Laz
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Panels   Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:07 pm

Here is an item you might find interesting. Wakawaka power.

http://www.gizmag.com/wakawaka-power-solar-charger/25438/
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Panels   Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:15 pm

Is that just two little solar cells at the top? The little solar path lights have never impressed me much. I have them around my house, but I'm not dedicated enough to pull the batteries and charge them in the house.

I've heard good things about the panels from http://www.powerfilmsolar.com/, but they are a bit costly. What got me thinking was seeing this kit http://www.lowes.com/pd_22185-37277-19010_0__?productId=3565436&cm_mmc=SCE_PLA-_-Electrical-_-PortableSolar-_-3565436&%22cagpspn=pla%22 at a local store, and thinking that could be handy.

With the LED flashlights and laterns that I'm getting around the rechargeable batteries could be good for an extended power outage.

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PostSubject: Re: Solar Panels   Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:25 pm

bdquick wrote:
Is that just two little solar cells at the top?
If they are, I don't think they would produce enough juice. The power output is directly proportional to size as far as I know. Their first product, a solar powered LED has a 4"x4" panel which is more realistic.

The thin film product you were pointing to seems promising, but vulnerable to damage.
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Panels   Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:55 pm

Ok I missed that the solar panel was on the other side.

The film actually works very good, or at least their high end stuff. They make lots of panels for the military. They are sewn right into tents and will actually charge batteries and run air conditioners day and night. They are supposed to keep charging even if some of the cells get damaged.

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PostSubject: Re: Solar Panels   Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:36 am

That would take quite an array. Let's see: Each cell produces .45V at around 100ma....
It's a good thing the whole nation pays for it, it would not be affordable for the individual.

I had a look at the kit you were pointing to. In the specs they state 2 cells, 14 volts, but no power statement. There is something wrong with this. Perhaps they mean 2 arrays of 32
cells, but even that would only produce 200ma in optimum light.
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Panels   Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:39 pm

I'm no good at figuring out what it should make. It has some good reviews on amazon, but I'm not ready to invest yet.

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PostSubject: Re: Solar Panels   Sat Dec 22, 2012 1:56 pm

Well, I'm very interested in the subject, but living on the west (wet) coast, it's just not practical here. If it isn't raining, it's overcast. One guy down the street installed a couple of panels on his roof, but doesn't get much out of it except the excercise of cleaning the darn things. as dust and dirt reduces efficiency drastically.
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PostSubject: Re: Solar Panels   Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:04 pm

bozo wrote:
That's for the one's with the worst exposure, but it's easiest to do them all at once, so I don't really know how long the one's with the best exposure would last.

I found out that exposure is reallly critical with these. If just one of the cells is in shade, efficiency is cut 50% due to the way the wiring matrix is set up. It can be checked easily with a volt meter across the battery on a bright sunny day.
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