I do want one!

cleo
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Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:46 pm

I do want one!

Postby cleo » Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:54 pm

Hi,
I found out about you through a friend on a flashlight forum and am interested in getting one of your solar panels. I'd like to be able to charge 3 18650 batteries that are in a flashlight with a usb input and output, and some AA Eneloop batteries for my GPS. it uses up two of these each day. I'm not quite sure how often I'd need to charge the flashlight, maybe every 3 or 4 days. I'd mainly be using it to charge an iPad mini and cel phone, not as a flashlight except in emergencies. I saw your 4 panel usb charger that I think would work great, though if i could get away with three panels that would be better as I'd like to hike and camp with it also. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the possibility of this, or am I asking too much from a small solar panel?
Thanks!


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cottonpickers
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Re: I do want one!

Postby cottonpickers » Sun Jun 29, 2014 7:25 am

Hi,
I think you can get away with smaller.

Here's the math and then you can see what you think you need.

Each 1100ma panel in the folder can put back in 1100mah of energy an hour into your device. If where you are its sunny and you get 4 hours of sun in a day then you can put back in 4400mah
My phone has a 1500ma battery so you should be able to charge from flat at least a couple times on a sunny day. Or charge the phone then switch to the 3cell flashlight. So I think a 1 panel solution (either the 1100ma panel or the 1500ma) would sort these out. Moving up to a 2 panel solution would allow you to charge the iPad at the same time as both these going on - or if you don't need to use it much swapping half way to charge some AAs. The triple would give you 3 USB leads which may be handy and obviously give you a bit extra overhead. Personally I don't think you need the quad. -maybe don't need the triple either if you can a little frugal. Prices are $59 for a bare panel and li-ion charger (I need to check this first price) $139 for a folding 2 panel solution including Li-ion and cheap nimh charger. $169 for the triple with those chargers and $199 for the quad with chargers.
Biggest question I have is 'Do you have a good usb nimh charger' as I think you need a fast charger for those, and my including one is cheap and very slow at 160ma' - I do have an all in one Li-ion / nimh Soshine charger with cradle if you don't have anything suitable.

feel free to ask further questions or if you need a pic of any of this.

cleo
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Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:46 pm

Re: I do want one!

Postby cleo » Tue Jul 01, 2014 3:39 pm

Thanks for the information! Smaller would be great.
What are the weight and dimensions of the 3 panel vs the 2 panel? (approximate is fine!) After a few days of packing it, that might be what decides the size. Also, how good is it at charging on cloudier days?

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cottonpickers
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Re: I do want one!

Postby cottonpickers » Wed Jul 02, 2014 6:27 am

cleo: The 3 panel:
Weight including accessories: 1Kg
size folde: 30cmx22cmx2cm
Unfolded: 1meter x 30cm

The two panel is the same size folded, but unfolded is about 75cm x30c and about 700g

cleo
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:46 pm

Re: I do want one!

Postby cleo » Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:31 pm

Thanks, that helps!

I do have an AA USB rapid charger that I think will work fine.
Are the panels able to charge much at all when it is cloudy? What cords come with it. I saw photos in another thread with the canvas case and assume that's what it would look like. And I just wanted to confirm that it is the panels and cords only, no batteries.

I'm considering the three panel just to make sure I have enough power. I have a friend that would like to order a two panel at the same time and they can be shipped together. We are in Canada. We aren't in a rush as I don't really need it until much later this year. Please let me know how payment and shipping works.
Thanks for all the information.

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cottonpickers
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Re: I do want one!

Postby cottonpickers » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:22 am

When its cloudy about 8% of the sun gets through compared to when its not cloudy. So sadly these will generate about 8% of their rated current on cloudy days - so about 250ma. It will vary - when it very bright more can get through on a summer day - as much as 50% rated, and in winter its probably about 5%. all solar photovotaics will suffer the same issue - its a case of lack of photons getting to earth...

You have a few choices on the cloth. I can make in Red, Black or Blue cloth with trim in Black, Red, Blue, Yellow or Green. I can also make 'standard' length - this is the first two pics, or in 'minimalist length - last pic.

All will come with a number of accessories -
* 3 USB ports as standard. One is apple compatible.
* 3 USB lead -> 12 Car cigar socket for 12v stuff
* 3 USB lead-> USB for combining all panels into one USB port for when its cloudy
* Cheap nimh charger (160ma)
* Basic Li-ion Charger set to 700ma for Li-ion charging of 18650 batteries
Price for the triples is $169 which includes shipping.
Price for the double (same accessories and cloth choice) $139 incl. shipping. I may not be able to ship together due to weight, but if I can I will and will refund the difference on shipping.

Image
Image
Image

cleo
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Re: I do want one!

Postby cleo » Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:49 pm

Thanks, great info and very helpful photos. that's about what I thought I'd get when it's cloudy.
Just a couple more questions, sorry.
What is the usual life expectancy of this type of panel?
Because each panel has it's own cord, is it at all possible to make the case so that one can be removed so I can only take two if I don't need as much power and have to carry it on my back? If not, no worries, I just thought it might mage a good weight reduction option. I could also just get in better shape ahead of time!
Thanks!

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cottonpickers
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Re: I do want one!

Postby cottonpickers » Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:15 pm

cleo: sorry for missing this question.... It should be good for 10yrs plus. Likely it will lose 10%-20% capacity at that point. PET polycrystalline (which these are) are normally guaranteed to be 90% of rated efficiency at 5 years) I don't actually warranty them , but this gives an idea of what you should expect. I've got polycrystalline panels here that I've had for 15 years and still work nice.

If you are thinking of splitting the panels it may be better to get a single panel (much cheaper) without the cloth. These are linkable so you can later purchase a second one to link. Personally I like the cloth but its an option.

cleo
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Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:46 pm

Re: I do want one!

Postby cleo » Thu Jul 17, 2014 11:30 pm

That is a good life span! ok so I think we know what we'd like, my friend also decided on a three panel.

1. three panel short flap all black cloth
2. three panel short flap red w/red trim if it is the same colour red, otherwise black. really I'm not that particular so whatever is easiest for you.

Please let m know payment details etc. I can send you an e-mail or if you have my e-mail address from when I signed up for the forum, feel free to send me one.

Thanks, I'm looking forward to going solar!

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cottonpickers
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Re: I do want one!

Postby cottonpickers » Sat Jul 19, 2014 1:44 pm

cleo: great. The red trim is a good match for the Red so I can do that. My paypal address is cottonpickers@cottonpickers.plus.com (this is also my email address) It will take me approx. 2 weeks to make those up and send off. If that works for you please send paypaland I'll get building. Let me know if you want any Logo / Name embroidered on either /both. I'll update the thread here with a few pics as I go so you can see progress.


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