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  #1  
Old 06-21-2012, 10:57 AM
Neal@F14's Avatar
Neal@F14 Neal@F14 is offline
 
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Location: Wichita Falls, TX
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Default Cheap(er) DIY solar charger...

Thinking about buying this 12v, 15W solar panel (on sale $60) and regulator ($26) from Harbor Freight to make my own solar battery charge maintainer rig for camping at Oshkosh, since I might need to charge my phone from the ship's battery via the cigarette lighter socket (wired to battery bus) and was thinking that such a solar charger might help keep the battery up, even if it can only muster one amp at best. The regulator claims overcharge protection at 14.5 volts so that should keep the sealed AGM Concorde battery happy since the raw output of the solar cell can top well over 20 volts.

http://www.harborfreight.com/15-watt...nel-96418.html
http://www.harborfreight.com/7-amp-s...tor-96728.html

Anybody ever try these solar products from HF? Yeah, I know that pretty much everything they sell is generally "not regarded very highly" but I'd like to keep this project under a $100 budget.
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  #2  
Old 06-21-2012, 12:04 PM
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az_gila az_gila is offline
 
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Location: 57AZ - NW Tucson area
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neal@F14 View Post
Thinking about buying this 12v, 15W solar panel (on sale $60) and regulator ($26) from Harbor Freight to make my own solar battery charge maintainer rig for camping at Oshkosh, since I might need to charge my phone from the ship's battery via the cigarette lighter socket (wired to battery bus) and was thinking that such a solar charger might help keep the battery up, even if it can only muster one amp at best. The regulator claims overcharge protection at 14.5 volts so that should keep the sealed AGM Concorde battery happy since the raw output of the solar cell can top well over 20 volts.

http://www.harborfreight.com/15-watt...nel-96418.html
http://www.harborfreight.com/7-amp-s...tor-96728.html

Anybody ever try these solar products from HF? Yeah, I know that pretty much everything they sell is generally "not regarded very highly" but I'd like to keep this project under a $100 budget.
One poor thing that might be a problem is the operating temp range for the regulator.

The max. is quoted as 108F.

Our forecast high for Tucson is 109F today, and if your regulator is inside a box in the sun it could easily be way outside it's operating range...
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  #3  
Old 06-21-2012, 12:19 PM
krwalsh krwalsh is offline
 
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Location: San Francisco, CA
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Default ebay "VW solar"

If you ebay "VW solar" you will find the solar panels that Volkswagen used to ship their cars with. They were supposed to be returned to VW for the next shipment of cars, but many of them ended up not going back. They come in two versions, one that has a cigarette power plug on the end, and one that plugs into the OBD2 plug. You want the former, not the latter. They are under $40, usually with free shipping.
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  #4  
Old 06-21-2012, 12:33 PM
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Neal@F14 Neal@F14 is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by az_gila View Post
One poor thing that might be a problem is the operating temp range for the regulator.
The max. is quoted as 108F.
I sure hope it doesn't hit 108+ at Oshkosh/Airventure this year

I'll be staying at home enjoying Texas' triple-digit temps for free instead if that happens.




Unfortunately the VW solar chargers seem to only be 3.2 watts. I'd like something more powerful than that, since the laptop charger will easily draw a couple amps, and I'd like to be able to push close to a full amp from the solar panel, back into the system. Various reviews of the HF panel put its real-world output at least 850 milliamps which isn't half-bad for the price.
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Last edited by Neal@F14 : 06-21-2012 at 12:38 PM.
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  #5  
Old 06-21-2012, 08:18 PM
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Location: Melbourne Australia
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I built in two solar panels into the wing tips. They are only 1/4" thick and produce around 800millamps when the plane is parked outside. When parked in the hanger they only produce around 20millamps. They weigh next to nothing as there is no glass but are covered in clear epoxy.
[IMG][/IMG]
[IMG][/IMG]

Mick
VH-ZWR

Last edited by mick : 06-21-2012 at 08:40 PM. Reason: add pictures
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  #6  
Old 06-21-2012, 11:45 PM
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flyboy1963 flyboy1963 is offline
 
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Default 1/2 way to solar powered RV!!??!

Nice work Mick!...now that's what I call thinkin ahead!
you will never leave your charger behind, either!
...now, glass half empty folk will say " what about when one of the tiny cells goes U/S, and potentially the whole array."
I imagine it could be replaced and refinished without much more drama than a paint touchup for hangar rash.
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  #7  
Old 06-22-2012, 02:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyboy1963 View Post
Nice work Mick!...now that's what I call thinkin ahead!
you will never leave your charger behind, either!
...now, glass half empty folk will say " what about when one of the tiny cells goes U/S, and potentially the whole array."
I imagine it could be replaced and refinished without much more drama than a paint touchup for hangar rash.
They are only Prosealed into a recessed housing. To replace them should be easy, and because I didn't paint the Proseal there is no paint needed.

Mick
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  #8  
Old 06-22-2012, 10:27 AM
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az_gila az_gila is offline
 
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Smile Flexible panels

Some sailplane owners have been using .008 inch thich flexible panels for additional power on long flights.

One common location is on the doors covering a retractable engine -





I think this are the expen$ive German Strobl panels, but others are available.
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Gil Alexander
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Half completed RV-10 QB purchased
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Grumman Tiger N12GA - flying
La Cholla Airpark (57AZ) Tucson AZ

Last edited by az_gila : 06-22-2012 at 05:18 PM. Reason: sppeling
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  #9  
Old 06-22-2012, 12:30 PM
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LettersFromFlyoverCountry LettersFromFlyoverCountry is offline
 
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Default

What can you power with what's produced? And how do you integrate it into the buss?
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  #10  
Old 06-22-2012, 12:54 PM
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Default Solar Panel and Regulator

Bob,
In regard to the original post about the solar panel and regulator available from Harbor Freight...the idea would be to plug your 12Volt Cell phone adapter into your airplane's cigarette lighter socket (you do have one of those don't you?) and then during the day while you're walking the Airventure grounds you can charge your aircraft battery by using the aligator clips from the regulator which is in turn receiving power from the solar cells.

One thing I noticed is that some reviewers indicate it is easy to connect the solar plug and battery plug to the wrong connectors (polarity reversed) and fry the regulator.
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it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living." Miriam Beard

Last edited by rv7boy : 06-22-2012 at 05:27 PM.
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