Goal Zero or other compact solar panels

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by thesurvivalist, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. thesurvivalist

    thesurvivalist Backcountry Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    601
    Location:
    Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
    I need a compact robust solar panel to charge my galaxy s3 smartphone. Id like some feedback from those that actually own one and a timescale on how long it takes to charge a battery from empty.
    #1
  2. gozirra

    gozirra Spam?

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    176
    Location:
    the Kalifornia
    I have the Nomad 7 and the optional Switch 8.
    Nomad 7 panel only in sunlight can charge my phone (Iphone) or friends phone (samsung something within the last year) within 1 - 1.5 hours at most. The switch 8 is just a little battery thing that can hold a charge for one cellphone, it charges using the Nomad.

    This is in direct light in so. Cal, not really cloudy and not through a window or anything. I can use the phone and have it charging for light duty like a simple lookup but if I have bluetooth, wifi, web app etc running it does not pull enough to keep charging (seems to just kick off and on with the vibration feature telling me charging).

    Friend has the Larger panel attached to his jeep when offroading and it keeps his gps and spot fully charged, or so i was told.:lol3
    #2
  3. Racerman27410

    Racerman27410 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
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    Location:
    Greensboro NC
    I have had great success using the sunlinq flexible solar panels....

    i have the 25 watt version and use it to keep my 10,000 mah portable battery pack charged up.

    Dang best 40 bucks i ever spent....

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA1PP0FR0405

    i can charge my phone 3 times off the portable battery pack. (which is a good option to a solar panel for just keeping a cell phone charged)

    i usually recharge the battery pack with the solar panel... never really timed it but 1 day out in the sun had the battery pack fully charged from empty when i went to pack things up. Since its a li-po battery i now recharge it when it is half empty as this keeps recharge times to 1/2 day or less.

    i do recommend the use of the 44 dollar charge controller/ regulator as these solar panels are capable of some high voltages in bright sunlight which could easily damage electronics and or batterys. I learned this the hard way as the unregulated panel cooked my DRZ battery.

    good price on the panel and charge controller here....

    http://www.21st-century-goods.com/sunlinq-5-portable-solar-charger-25-watt-portable-solar-panel/
    #3
  4. Nwrider206

    Nwrider206 2012 Triumph Bonnie

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    25
    I use a Nomad 7 panel with the Guide 10 plus battery pack. Works awesome for me. using an Iphone 4s. The panel will charge the battery pack and my phone at the same time if needed. It will also charge my Ipad. Which means it puts out 2amps. And the battery pack is 4 AA batteries. So I can use those in a headlamp.

    Charge time depends on a lot of different factors. With some blazing sun it seems to charge very fast. Possibly under an hour. Normally I strap it to top of luggage, charging the battery pack. Then I can tie in to that at any time. If it convenient (such as sitting around camp while it is bright out) I will direct charge the phone, ipad or whatever. I just try to always be charging something since you do not know how long the sun might list perhaps.

    I see they also make small battery cables that will attach to it. I have considered that. So if you are in the middle of nowhere and get a dead battery, at least you have a shot (my bike is EFI so cant bump start). Not sure how long it would take though. But it would eventually work.

    There are a ton of other accessories.

    I would recommend them. Very portable. Like a small notepad.
    #4
  5. MightyMouse

    MightyMouse Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    93
    Location:
    Colorado
    Why solar? If you want a battery charger that has huge capacity in a very small package, you can't do better than this one for less than 12 bucks shipped. It will charge your phone or GPS ten times before needing to be recharged. I have one. It takes a few weeks to get here from China, but it works well. I have seen the same model selling for 3 to 10 times the price of this one, so it really pays to shop around online.

    Be aware you will need a standard 110v charger with a mini USB connector on the end (very common for charging cell phones and GPS devices), since this does not include one. You can also charge it on your bike using a standard 12v cell phone charger with mini-USB connector on the end, assuming you put a 12v outlet on your bike.

    This was a great find!

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/12000mAh-Po...ger-for-iPhone-iPad-PSP-GPS-40-/360666037788?
    #5
  6. Nwrider206

    Nwrider206 2012 Triumph Bonnie

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    25
    12,000 mAh. That is a lot. They are really packing the juice in. I might order one of those. Wow, just found a 50,000mAh
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/50000mAh-Du..._Phone_PDA_Batteries&var=&hash=item1e7d112ccb


    I have various chargers (like Proporta's etc). And they all work fine. I really like my Goal Zero for the utilitarian aspect of it. I backpack and hike a lot, so then I just strap it to the outside of my pack. Bring it on the bike. Even car camping I bring it along. It allows me to keep my phone and wireless bluetooth speaker charged thru the day or whatever I am doing.
    so it works well for me just all around.
    #6
  7. thesurvivalist

    thesurvivalist Backcountry Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    601
    Location:
    Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
    I went with the 50000mah power bank. Chinese pos. It works sometimes and then it stops.Im going to leave it charging for 2 days, maybe due to its very large capacity it requires a long time to charge.
    #7
  8. Smoke Eater 3

    Smoke Eater 3 Been here awhile

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    Nov 30, 2012
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    Location:
    Lincolnville,Maine
    My gear charges in my tank bag off the stock charging system. Easy peasy.
    #8
  9. SgtDuster

    SgtDuster Long timer

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    Location:
    Province of Quebec!
    Be aware that these Chinese packs are:

    1. Highly overrated
    2. Using the total cells capacity as the claimed pack capacity. But the cells voltage is 3.7v, not 5v. So it's 50000(overrated)mAh @ 3.7v
    #9
  10. L.B.S.

    L.B.S. Long timer

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    Awesome, I just bought one, thanks! :D
    #10
  11. L.B.S.

    L.B.S. Long timer

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    Many years ago I rigged up a bulkhead 12v connector through my Wolfman Rainier tankbag for doing just that, and it works most efficaciously. But I'm both lazy and forgetful, so occasionally I will discover the particular device I happen to want to use first thing, was of course the one I neglected to charge while riding during the day, before last stop...

    It's when I'm all comfy in the tent and it's pouring outside or I fear for my life due to the bloodthirsty mosquito hordes, that I imagine being able to simply plug in the chargee to the charger, and not have to go out to the bike and fiddle with hooking up stuff, that sounds very appealing to me. :lol3

    For 10.00 dollars, I'm more than willing to see if this works. :1drink
    #11
  12. SgtDuster

    SgtDuster Long timer

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    I won't go the solar panel way unless I have to spend weeks in the wood.
    #12
  13. L.B.S.

    L.B.S. Long timer

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    Suitable ooohs and ahhhs, that's a pretty nice little kit of goodies there! :deal
    #13
  14. GSBS

    GSBS FunHog

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    Location:
    Blount Springs, AL
    ...on a solo (with two golden retrievers) canoe trip for 45 days and 650 miles last year.

    I had the basic kit, plus another of the battery packs and it kept my iPhone, iPad and camera charged when I wasn't around power. During the most remote part of the trip we went seven days camping primitive on sandbars and didn't see water or power and the Goal Zero stuff worked as advertised. It was a good thing too as I used the iPhone maps to navigate the entire way.

    Be advised that the charging falls off exponentially on cloudy days. Fortunately we had sunshine when needed and the trip was in May and June so I had long days. Typically I'd charge one battery pack before lunch, then the other in the afternoon, and recharge the phone, pad and camera at night.

    A full charge on the battery pack would do 2-3 phone or camera charges, one of the iPad (but it didn't run down as fast either).

    I tied a lanyard to the solar panels and would hang them over the guitar case behind me during charging. That way when it rained I could easily pull it off and put it into a dry bag until the shower passed. It did get wet a few times though with no harm done.

    Recommended.

    My crew and kit - solar panel on (carbon fiber) guitar case neck in rear of canoe:

    [​IMG]

    Another showing charging the phone:

    [​IMG]

    And one showing the panels (*here getting the last sun of the day at camp):

    [​IMG]
    #14
  15. mefly2

    mefly2 Long timer

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    Location:
    Big Sky Country
    Goal Zero +++1
    #15
  16. bobcat

    bobcat recalculating

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    Location:
    Austin City Limits


    That looks like a great trip. Happy dogs! :clap Do you have a paddling report for the trip posted somewhere? I would love to read about it.
    #16
  17. GSBS

    GSBS FunHog

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    Location:
    Blount Springs, AL
    It was a memorable trip - started in North Georgia near Rome and paddled all the Coosa and Alabama rivers in Alabama, then the Tensaw Delta and finished at Fort Morgan at the mouth of Mobile Bay.

    Book in the works; same publisher as my 2011 Motorcycling Alabama guidebook - The University of Alabama Press - who put up this website about the trip. There are pages showing pre-trip preparations as well as a page with selected images from our 6+ weeks on Alabama's rivers.
    #17
  18. bobcat

    bobcat recalculating

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    Great photos! I particularly like the one of Roscoe giving you the stink eye. :lol3

    Good info about the solar panel also. :thumb
    #18
  19. Balootraveler

    Balootraveler Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
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    366
    Location:
    mississippi of the west.
    On the bikes I charge off 12volts, camping when I need power,work, I use nomad7 and guide10 to charge phone,iPod iPad and help a laptop live longer. I like the set up.
    #19