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Author Topic: Seeking advice for portable solar panels  (Read 10435 times)
AndyF2
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« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2008, 11:51:47 AM »
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No. Im suggesting that unless he gets extra triple remote (which he may be) people who live in huts usually use Photovoltaics (solar panels) or wind for power


SMM
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The thought had caught me as funny, though I expected you hadn't actually meant that.

It would be interesting to know how much energy is needed to charge a type of battery, how efficient the charger is, and so on.  Then we would know how much propane, liquid fuel, or other source is needed per charge.  

A flexible solar panel would be the lightest to carry, but how many hours of clear sky is needed to charge on battery.

Wonder if anyone has written up those experiments?

I did look around and fuel cells seem to be too expensive or too new to be the single power source to depend on.
Andy
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robertjm
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« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2008, 02:14:46 PM »
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I searched for this some time ago in another forum, but now can't find the results  .
I remember there wasn't much enthusiasm for using solar recharging on trek.

Someone in this thread suggested trying to recharge in villages. My experience is that on many treks, you don't allways camp near a village, which means you may not have enough time to do a recharge. It would be different if you were saying in lodges, they may have *some* electricity from solar or a generator.

Even for long treks I relied on batteries and this worked out fine so far, even for a period of three weeks. I computed the number of shots I'd expect to take [based on previous experience and the card capacity], and made a rough estimate of how many batteries I'd need.
You are probably limited in the weight you can take, but I'd look into this option.

BTW: someone in this thread suggested using the dual slots in the D3 for your file back-up. Seems like an excellent idea to me.
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John Camp
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« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2008, 04:25:27 PM »
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I just spent two weeks in Iraq, didn't know what the charging possibilities would be (they were actually pretty good) and so took three batteries along for my D3. I did recharge, but it wasn't absolutely necessary. I took several hundred shots, raw+jpg, and may have used the equivalent of one whole charge. I think the lightest solution for you might be to take as many batteries as you think you'll need, and then add one or two. If you're actually trekking for two weeks (that is, spending most of the daylight hours moving, rather than shooting) I can't see you using more than two or three batteries, unless it's really cold. If it's cold...that's another problem. You might need to rig something to carry the batteries close to your body...Under normal conditions, though, two batteries would get you probably at least a hundred shots a day, for all fourteen days. Add what you need to that...Or, you could send me a few hundred dollars, and I'd fed-ex you a perfectly good F5...

I also took 32 gigs of memory, and didn't get close to using it. Left the photos on the cards as my "backup" to my laptop.

JC
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2008, 12:33:36 AM »
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Bernard:

This may be a stupid question, but are you going to be making day trips from one base camp, or traveling every day?  The reason I ask is that solar panels obviously only work with daylight, so unless you can leave the solar panel somewhere to charge things while you're out making photographs, its not going to be a lot of use to you.  I don't know how long it takes to charge, say a D3 battery from a solar panel, but it may be longer than you want to sit around and wait.  Just a thought...

Mike.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2008, 02:10:19 AM »
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Bernard:

This may be a stupid question, but are you going to be making day trips from one base camp, or traveling every day?  The reason I ask is that solar panels obviously only work with daylight, so unless you can leave the solar panel somewhere to charge things while you're out making photographs, its not going to be a lot of use to you.  I don't know how long it takes to charge, say a D3 battery from a solar panel, but it may be longer than you want to sit around and wait.  Just a thought...

Mike.
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We'll be moving almost every day.

The thing I was considering was to find a way to stick the panels to the outside of my day pack so that it works while I am walking.

All in all though, I am slowing getting to think that taking additional batteries is in the end probably the better option. I will probably in fact be lighter and it is true that the D3's batteries are outstanding.

Thanks all for your kind feedback.

Cheers,
Bernard
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Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2008, 09:20:04 AM »
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I will probably in fact be lighter and it is true that the D3's batteries are outstanding.

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But will they LOSE thier charge


Maybe test some in the fridge

S
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snickgrr
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« Reply #26 on: January 26, 2008, 07:59:55 PM »
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Bernard.
Extremely long shot.  But a few years ago, a backpack manufacturer, Dana Design used to make external pockets that you would attach to the outside of their packs that had solar panels on the outside.  The idea of course would be that you would be recharging electrical things as you hiked.
Dana Design was located in Bozeman, Montana and eventually sold (out) to K2, which cheapened the packs by the way, but that's a different story.
Anyway, the Dana Gleason started another company.  The long shot is you email him and ask him there are any still available.  
Good luck.  I did an eight day solo backpack trip this fall carrying a Leaf A75 on a Mamiya 645 in the Sierra Nevada Mts of California.  On day four I awoke to this.  Battery life was indeed a problem.

http://www.mysteryranch.com/site/
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #27 on: January 26, 2008, 11:23:45 PM »
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Bernard:

Another possibility - a backpack with solar panels 'built-in' so to speak:

http://www.voltaicsystems.com/

Mike.
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #28 on: January 29, 2008, 04:46:27 PM »
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Thom Hogan has an article on how to charge things in the wild ....

http://www.bythom.com/solar.htm
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #29 on: January 29, 2008, 06:27:15 PM »
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Thanks, good timing on Thom's part.

The main problem remains that there seems to be no such DC chargers available for the batteries of the D3 as we speak...

Cheers,
Bernard
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stever
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« Reply #30 on: January 29, 2008, 08:36:22 PM »
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Nikon's omission of a 12V charger is amazing considering the photojournalist appeal of the camera.

there may be a work-around, but i'd not want to take it on a trek without a lot of testing - backpack fire not nice
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John Camp
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« Reply #31 on: January 29, 2008, 09:32:40 PM »
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Nikon's omission of a 12V charger is amazing considering the photojournalist appeal of the camera.

there may be a work-around, but i'd not want to take it on a trek without a lot of testing - backpack fire not nice
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=170807\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I have a small inverter that I carry in my car which converts 12v to 110, with standard outlets, so you can plug any device into it without adapters. It's one piece, and plugs directly into the "cigarette lighter" outlet, with a standard mains-type plug on the other side.

JC
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #32 on: January 29, 2008, 10:48:22 PM »
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I have a small inverter that I carry in my car which converts 12v to 110, with standard outlets, so you can plug any device into it without adapters. It's one piece, and plugs directly into the "cigarette lighter" outlet, with a standard mains-type plug on the other side.

JC
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John,

This could be the solution. Any idea:

1. Where you bought it from?
2. How heavy it is?

Thanks.

Cheers,
Bernard
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stever
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« Reply #33 on: January 30, 2008, 12:07:04 AM »
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good idea - Bernard, i suggest you just search for inverters with outpus (watts or volt-amps) slightly higher than the battery charger.  The trick will be to find one small enough as the current requirement of the charger should be pretty low.
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stever
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« Reply #34 on: January 30, 2008, 12:14:59 AM »
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just did a quick search, and there are several lightweight, cheap 50W (should be plenty for charging, but check charger) inverters - buy a couple and try them before you leave
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stever
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« Reply #35 on: January 30, 2008, 12:31:48 AM »
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the issue with these inverters may be efficiency as they're intended to plug into a car which is a very high current source

see if the solar panel manufacturer has any recommendations
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stever
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« Reply #36 on: January 30, 2008, 12:49:09 AM »
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i did a search for enel4a battery charger and found a 3rd party ac-dc charger

Google is amazing
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #37 on: January 30, 2008, 01:54:09 AM »
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i did a search for enel4a battery charger and found a 3rd party ac-dc charger

Google is amazing
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=170868\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Care to share the link?

Thanks,

Cheers,
Bernard
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stever
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« Reply #38 on: January 30, 2008, 08:37:09 AM »
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i googled "en el4a ac dc charger" and got several links - fotoconnection.com - looks like a legitimate seller, the brand appears to be CTA

there are a few sellers with at least one other brand

someday i'll learn how to paste links, but in this case you're better off googling
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stever
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« Reply #39 on: January 30, 2008, 08:44:44 AM »
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i didn't check specs, but it says "rapid charger" which is a red flag on current draw - means if nothing else that the solar cells will have to charge a battery that can supply enough current to the charger - may still end up with a relatively heavy battery to drive the charger

no charger specs on the site
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