Gear Review Complete Solar Kit (for hiking)

Discussion in 'Functional Gear & Equipment' started by Brokor, Oct 11, 2015.

  1. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    This is the solar setup I have decided to implement. The solar panels are perhaps the most important, since you need a durable, well made item which is going to quickly charge your batteries and/or powered component. I did a great deal of research and testing and finally decided on the All-Powers 18W solar charger. I also went ahead and placed all my recharging kit inside a durable zipper bag, keeping it organized and protected.

    The components are:
    AP Solar Charger (with built in 6000 mAh battery)
    USB battery charger
    Sentey USB Power Bank 6000mAh
    Aweek USB charger for Baofeng UV5R
    Gomadic Charge Cable for Motorola iDen
    Your Choice of AA/AAA Batteries
    Cumberland Concepts Zipper Bag (buy from Wal-Mart in the school section also)

    You may trade out items for your own preferred ones, since this is only my choice based on my own preferences and research. The portable solar kit should consist of a rock solid solar charger, a charge component for your items you intend to use, and a sturdy container to store and carry them. Total weight of the solar panel is touch over 1 lb. (18 1/2 oz.), and the total weight of the charge kit in the bag is 14 1/2 oz., just under 1 lb. In total, the complete kit weighs 2 lb, 1 oz. --not bad at all. My weighing is a bit on the heavy side, so your exact weight may vary slightly. Specs for the size of the solar charge panel: Folded-- 232 x 160 x 13mm/ 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.51inch (Size as notebook) Opened-- 800 x 232 x 1mm/31.5 x 9.1 x 0.04inch. I keep the batteries and the power bank in a separate, small zipper bag and place this inside the large zipper bag so I can find it easily and keep my charged components separated.

    The solar charger has a control docking port with a red LED indicator, two USB charging ports, and a USB to mini USB cable.

    DSC00014.JPG DSC00021.JPG
    Above, you will see the solar panel laid out in the sun, and then fully closed and rested atop the kit packed inside the zipper bag. This is the full kit, as described.

    DSC00019.JPG DSC00024.JPG The Lingsfire USB AA/AAA battery charger. Fast, reliable charging with no overheating of the batteries. Built very well, and is easy to use. Blinking red lights indicate it is charging, and green lights indicate when complete.
    DSC00020.JPG The Baofeng USB charger with cigarette adapter plug. Simple, versatile, useful.
    DSC00017.JPG The Sentey USB power bank and batteries (field tested Rayovac). Quickly charges your components, and the indicator lights show you its charge state when activated. Small, light, sturdy.

    Packed up and ready to go.

    A complete list of all items (radios, flashlight, etc.) and the solar equipment can be viewed at this Amazon wishlist.
  2. Mindgrinder

    Mindgrinder Karma Pirate Ninja|RIP 12-25-2017

    needs moar youtube.
  3. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Nice setup Brokor. The specs and images are very helpful. :)
    Mindgrinder, Ganado and Brokor like this.
  4. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    Well put together!! Thanks for the Amazon quick links....I noticed an item or two off of that list, that I need to pick up. [winkthumb]
    Ganado, Mindgrinder and chelloveck like this.
  5. 3M-TA3

    3M-TA3 Cold Wet Monkey

    Exactly what I was going to research today. This is either a coincidence or I need to add another layer of aluminum foil to my hat to keep people from scanning my thoughts...

    Great job on this article!
    Ganado, Mindgrinder, Brokor and 2 others like this.
  6. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    @Brokor asked me to write up my set up as well. (Similar concept, different equipment)

    Solar panels are Mercury 10wt, three panel. 5vt USB output. Two output jacks. 1445102790346-699960660. one 10' USB charging cord, one 1', and one 6", one Baufeng charging cable for my baufeng UV3r ham radio (not shown)
    One AC two USB output transformer, one car jack 12vt transformer, (both with 1&2.1wt outputs)
    18,000ma output battery pack (USB in and output) 1445103275103251344724. 1445103326092-1342453243. Followed by the two outputs in the pouch from the panels. 14451034722961593321785. and all but the battery pack fits in the attached pocket. 1445103597554-774007730. 14451036733392143342500. this allows for AC, DC, solar, and night charging by battery pack. Suction cup will position it on any smooth surface.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2015
    Motomom34, 3M-TA3, Ganado and 2 others like this.
  7. 3M-TA3

    3M-TA3 Cold Wet Monkey

    @Brokor @kellory - how well are these systems holding up for you? Anything issues? Anything you would change?
  8. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    1464376841573-202635132. it is a backup system so it doesn't get used very often. The only issue I have had so far with it use the battery pack that came with it failed. I purchased a much larger capacity battery( pictured below), and I've had no issues since. 14643769776922115990873.
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  9. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    One recent issue. I will need another one with a 12 volt output due to a change in my tablet. I now have an HP tablet. And I was surprised to find it is 12vt, not 5vt.
  10. AD1

    AD1 Monkey+++


    I did not see your charge controler you mentioned listed as a link...... Can you please provide that?

    Never mind i see its intergrated into the panels
    Last edited: May 27, 2016
    Brokor likes this.
  11. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I haven't tried to do anything extensive with this kit yet since I haven't had it long enough. I do not like to go out in the winter, and this week was the first time the temperature stayed above 50F --straight into the 90's. :ROFLMAO:

    The external battery pack will go first, if anything. Whenever I bring it out into the yard for a run it does fine. No complaints thus far.
    Ganado likes this.
  12. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

    I will dig mine out as well and get it posted.... forgot about this thread.
    Ganado and 3M-TA3 like this.
  13. Andy the Aussie

    Andy the Aussie Monkey+++ Founding Member

    This is the type of set up I am most interested in the moment. Have to power some AA/AAA cells and a couple of camera batteries during a 10day trip into the bush. Thanks for the info.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
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  14. Andy the Aussie

    Andy the Aussie Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Any idea (I am not electrically sound o_O ) what I can charge off a 6000mAh power bank or how to calculate the same. Tossing up in I need a larger size but I don't want the weight if I can avoid it. I am looking at the Swiss Mobility rugged power banks and the largest is 6000mAh. The only unusual charging need is the batteries for my Nikon DSLR.
    hitchcock4 likes this.
  15. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Just look at your device and find out the capacity of its battery. A power bank will charge your device until it is empty. Just remember, the bigger the power bank, the longer it will take to recharge, too. I like to find a comfort zone between what I need to charge and how long it will take my solar cells to recharge the power bank. There's no sense in getting a massive power bank if it takes 20 hours on a solar unit to recharge, unless you live in a tropical paradise or a desert where the sun is plentiful.
    Ganado likes this.
  16. Andy the Aussie

    Andy the Aussie Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Copy that, the DSLR batteries are 1900mAh each so the 6000mAh will easily cover that a couple over. There is a good bit of sun on the mountain tops of NZ (as long as it is not belting down rain)....
    Brokor likes this.
  17. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    I am looking for recommendations on a larger solar kit that has with a power bank. I just got a small solar charger and it is nice but I would like something larger. I like the Goal Zero brand but not the price plus their solar panels do not have a battery pack attached, those items are sold separately.

    This is what I bought:
    IMG_3608.JPG IMG_3609.JPG

    I put it next to my Kindle so you can see the size. It is small and the battery does detach. It was cheap so I thought I would try it. The panels that Brokor showed in the OP are no longer available on Amazon. What I am looking for are panels that are about the size of a laptop w/ power bank.
    Ganado, 3M-TA3 and Yard Dart like this.
  18. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus

    I don't know how much the original was, but there are some similar setups from the same brand (Allpowers) on Amazon below:
    ALLPOWERS 18V 36W Solar Charger (Dual 5V USB+18V DC Output) SunPower Solar Panel Charger with iSolar Technology for Laptop, ipad, iphone, Samsung, Acer, Asus, Dell,Lenovo and 12V Car, Boat, RV Battery
    ALLPOWERS 21W Solar Charger with 6000mAh Battery, 3 USB Ports(USB-C and USB-A) SunPower Solar Panel Power Bank for iPhone 7 6s 6 Plus, iPad Air mini, Samsung Galaxy and More Android Smartphone

    Both are a little more than the original 18W (or a lot more, like twice more for the first one), but maybe worth a look. Something interesting I noticed, they are only about 23.5% efficient.
    Brokor and Motomom34 like this.
  19. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    Motot @Brokor are you looking for something smaller?
  20. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    I want panels about the size of a laptop that fold and come with a power pack. The one I pictured can fit in your back pocket. But because it is small, you can hang it open on your backpack and charge while hiking.

    I have a couple of small power packs and they can barely charge a phone. Some are real garbage.
    Ganado, Brokor and Zimmy like this.
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