Article: Portable Solar Panel use, thoughts and a review

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techguyone

Full Member
Jan 19, 2015
81
1
W Mids, United Kingdom
Interesting stuff, I like a mix of tech to go with the basics too, I've often wondered if Solar Tech had come along, I didn't really fancy the dinky handheld sized panels as I suspected they were little more than useless. It's still a sign that Solars got a way to go as even with that all spread out, in most conditions it will still only output the same as an average mains charger. That's a little disappointing considering the size of it, although it puts the claims of the smaller units into question.
 

mrcharly

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 25, 2011
3,246
33
North Yorkshire, UK
Interesting stuff, I like a mix of tech to go with the basics too, I've often wondered if Solar Tech had come along, I didn't really fancy the dinky handheld sized panels as I suspected they were little more than useless. It's still a sign that Solars got a way to go as even with that all spread out, in most conditions it will still only output the same as an average mains charger. That's a little disappointing considering the size of it, although it puts the claims of the smaller units into question.
I think you misread the article.

He got *double* the output of a standard USB charger. The same output as a 'fast' charger.

That is pretty damn good IMO.
 

ateallthepies

Native
Aug 11, 2011
1,558
0
hertfordshire
Nice article! I have the Anker 14 W panel coupled with a 20,000 mAh battery pack. I found this the best way to charge stuff too as my iPad and phone can be a bit finaky straight off the panel.
There are cheap USB digital volt/amp meters that you can plug into the panel then plug what your charging into the meter, it's a great way of seeing what's happening during the charge.
IME the voltage remains pretty close to 5 volts but the current can fluctuate wildly depending on the conditions. I did notice that if I plug my Apple gadgets into the panel in sub optimum conditions they may say 'not charging' but are in fact trickle charging. I see this as the battery meter goes up slowly and also that volt/amp meter is showing the device is actually taking a current.
Hope to put my panel through its paces this year and will share my findings if any new info becomes relevant.
 

mrcharly

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 25, 2011
3,246
33
North Yorkshire, UK
IME the voltage remains pretty close to 5 volts but the current can fluctuate wildly depending on the conditions.
That's normal behaviour for a PV panel.
Angling your panel so that the sun's rays are 90 incident to the panel can help a lot. Setting up a reflector to reflect more sun onto the panel should also make a large difference in less than bright sunny weather.