[pct-l] Solar chargers

James Vesely JVesely at sstinternational.com
Mon Apr 6 11:13:21 CDT 2015

I still have a few high grade solar panels for sale they are 7" x 10" in size and are made with high efficiency monocrystalline photovoltaic cells (17+ tested efficiency)  I have tested the panels on a clear winter day and they put out an amazing 750mah at 5 volts.    The panels weigh 5.5 oz and that includes a voltage stabilizing circuit board and housing with a standard  5 volt USB output plug.    I have also weather proofed the USB housing so as to be rain resistant.  I will punch 4 holes on the corners of the panel so you can secure  it to the top of your backpack 

The panels are not flexible because high efficiency monocrystalline cells cannot be made that way .   These photovoltaic cells are mounted on a lightweight circuit board material and then laminated with a PET material for durability.   They are very sturdy and would be rather difficult to break.

I have been researching this for a couple of years now and found that for their weight there is nothing more efficiency then monocrystalline cells except multi-junction cells which NASA uses and are in the $300-$400 per watt range.    The panels can charge any phone but I would highly suggest charging a portable 2000-3000 Mah USB backup battery instead especially  if you are going to hike and charge at the same time.  Direct charging of your cell phone is the most efficient method but cell phones do not like intermittent charging which can obviously occur whenever you pass shady areas.

I have also tested some USB battery backup options and all I can say is buyer beware.   Battery capacities are HIGHLY exaggerated for example I recently purchased some 18650 type Li-ion cells advertised as 5000 Mah only to be tested at less than 900 Mah (your cell phone battery is around 2000-3000 Mah).  I suggest looking at the reviews for any particular battery backup and look for the words "I tested the capacity".    The website Adafruit advertised a couple these as being acceptable.   Also all charge/discharge systems have inefficiencies so you probably will not get a full 3000 mah out of a 3000 mah battery backup.

If anyone is interested I am asking $75 each with postage included.

Pictures are at this link.


-----Original Message-----
From: Pct-L [mailto:pct-l-bounces at backcountry.net] On Behalf Of Roger Carpenter
Sent: Saturday, April 04, 2015 9:24 PM
To: 'Rebecca Mezoff'; Pct-L at backcountry.net
Subject: Re: [pct-l] Solar chargers

A week ago I purchased a Goal Zero Switch 8 solar charger kit with my REI dividend. Next week I will take it to Western Australia where I will hike for a few days before working for a week.  I will update everyone on how it worked.  

Roger Carpenter (Pinecone)

-----Original Message-----
From: Pct-L [mailto:pct-l-bounces at backcountry.net] On Behalf Of Rebecca Mezoff
Sent: Saturday, April 4, 2015 12:19 PM
To: pct-l at backcountry.net
Subject: [pct-l] Solar chargers

I was unable to find the time for a PCT thru this year, but I am going to do the Colorado Trail (500 miles). Any recommendations on the best and lightest solar chargers that would charge an iPhone and/or an iPad mini? I realize many of you will say, don't bring any electronics, but some things in my life at the moment mean that I am going to need at least one of these devices. Carrot Quinn used a Suncharger 5 portable solar charger on her 2014 hike and seemed to like it. Any other thoughts about this one? Others?

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