Portable solar panel to charge AA batteries ok?

Discussion in 'Functional Gear & Equipment' started by Prepper12, Aug 27, 2021.

  1. Prepper12

    Prepper12 Monkey+

    I would like to buy a Nekteck 21 watt portable solar panel array mainly to charge AA batteries. I've heard many times how it's better to connect the solar panels to a battery bank, and then to a device such as a phone to charge that device. However, if I'm simply charging AA batteries, doesn't it make more sense to just connect the panels to the battery charger?

    IOW, would connecting solar to a AA battery charger run the same risks associated with connecting solar directly to a smartphone?

    Here are the solar panels and charger I'd like to get:


    Also, I have looked at dedicated chargers for charging AA and other conventional batteries. They almost all got bad reviews. Plus, the batteries would get really hot inside those chargers since they're within the same unit as the solar panel absorbing the sun's heat. I'd like to avoid that by having the battery charger separate from the panels.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2021
  2. Andy the Aussie

    Andy the Aussie Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Kind of depends. I base it on practically mostly. Having a couple of charged power banks allows me to charge the AA, AAA and bespoke camera batteries whenever I require without the need to be dependent on daylight/clear weather. When on an extended trip bush (living out of a pack) I tend to do any charging overnight and then I am able to leave the powerbank(s)to be recharged during daylight while I do other things. Less need to be around to rotate batteries etc on and off the solar panel. Also allows me a power option is weather causes issues.

    I have charged AAA/AA right off the panel with no issue, simply prefer not to. With my camera batteries (that can run $100ea) I like to keep them separate from the panel.
    ColtCarbine likes this.
  3. T. Riley

    T. Riley Monkey+++

    I have a battery between my panel and the device(s).
  4. Prepper12

    Prepper12 Monkey+

    Do you mean you connected the batteries directly to the panel, or were they in a charger that was then connected to the panel? I ask because my original idea (which I've abandoned now) was to buy a cheap small panel, or maybe a series of them linked together such as from solar landscape lights, and connecting them with wires directly to a AA battery to charge it. Everyone advised me to buy a larger panel system and use an actual charger connected to it. But now most people I've asked advise me against this as well which has me thoroughly confused.
  5. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Having a battery, in-between a Solar Panel and a charging Device really depends on how the Charging devise is designed… If it is a Shunt Regulator Design, where all the power generated between the Solar Panels output, and the Charging Devices output is wasted in heat…Or is the Regulator designed as an Active Type Dc to Dc Converter, that typically are 90-95% efficient, where most of the power Output of the Solar Panel is directly converted to usable Charging Power… If you are using the later there is really no need to deal with a battery in-between…
    beemerphill and ColtCarbine like this.
  6. Prepper12

    Prepper12 Monkey+

    Well, I'm not well versed in electronics lingo, but the features mentioned in the ad for the solar panels might help. It claims to have over current protection, over charge protection, over voltage protection, and short circuit protection. Do those things match up with what you mentioned?
    BTW, here's the ad: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017GQ7OEA/?tag=survivalmonke-20
  7. Andy the Aussie

    Andy the Aussie Monkey+++ Founding Member

    No I never just wire a battery to the panel. There is always an appropriate charger in between. They are cheap, safe, compact and honestly less time consuming.
  8. Andy the Aussie

    Andy the Aussie Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Below is my travelling kit....

    ColtCarbine likes this.
  9. Andy the Aussie

    Andy the Aussie Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Since that pic was taken I added another Swiss Gear Power Bank and obtained a smaller AA/AAA charger than the one on the far left (edit...I mean far right).
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2021
  10. Prepper12

    Prepper12 Monkey+

    Looks pretty nice!
  11. whynot#2

    whynot#2 Monkey+

    If you can find them Power Film made a solar charger that would do 4 AA batteries in approx 6 2/3 hours with battery holder and controller built in. Folded to a little bigger than your wallet. As my buddy Mark would say...Titts. I have 2 to charge AA's for ham radios and they truly are Titts. Last I looked they are no longer made but I would check Power Films web site and try ebay.

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