Solar Generator - Pireps?

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Mtns2Skies, Jul 8, 2022.

  1. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Final Approach

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    Does anyone have experience with small "solar generators"? I'm thinking about getting one for OSH so I can power my laptop to get some work done and save some of my vacation days. The brand Jackery seems to have taken over the industry, displacing Goal Zero and a few others but was looking for some pireps on the proper sizing and if these are worth it or not. I was thinking about a 60W solar panel mixed with their 240 Watt/Hour Model.

    Screenshot 2022-07-08 6.55.54 AM.png
     
  2. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I generally prefer components to integrated solutions. I already have a deep cycle and an inverter that I can reuse, so I've been looking at panels & charge controllers. This caught my eye a while back:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079JVBVL3

    That said, the Jackery has a lithium battery, so it's probably a pretty good all-in-one to get started with. What happens when the battery ages out? Do you toss the whole thing? :(
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2022
  3. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    4-5 years ago I brought a little cheap Amazon foldable solar panel that I had hopped to use to charge my battery pack during the day so I could charge my phone at night. Obviously something went wrong because it fried a brand new battery pack and it's self. I suspect it's because there was no charge controller built in. Otherwise I have no experience with solar so I am of no help.
     
  4. Llewtrah381

    Llewtrah381 Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    We’ve been using a PortaWattz 12v jump-starter for over a decade with good results. At first we had one of these 7w solar panels: https://m.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200832935_200832935

    We ultimately got a second one and basically just plug both into one of those 12v cigarette plug doublers. 14w has been more than enough to recharge the battery after charging phones, running small fans in the tent, etc. Even one panel was enough, really.

    The integrated ones would work fine but, sadly, there’s some level of theft at OSH and it may be more tempting than my low-brow setup.
     
  5. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    Buy a 1000w inverter type generator. Honda and Yamaha lead the pack. Small. Light. Quiet. Sips gas. And they work in the dark.
     
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  6. idahoflier

    idahoflier Cleared for Takeoff

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    I rolled my own solar solution a few years ago for my last OSH trip. Flexible 100W solar panel, charge controller and 18Ah SLA battery. All in < $200. I needed this for my CPAP and did charge mobile devices. It was cheap and light. It worked. But if it had been cloudy, IDK? FWIW, if (hopefully when) I make another OSH trek I would instead purchase a small generator like @stewart mentioned. It's a little bulkier and heavier, but you have so many more options. The little Harbor Freight model looks hard to pass up and can be had for ~ $400.00...
     
  7. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    How many days are you going to be there and how much energy do you think you'll need? Maybe you can just bring some topped off storage and forgo the solar portion. Or downsize the panels and only use them if you miscalculated.
     
  8. rwellner98

    rwellner98 Line Up and Wait

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    I will never buy anything that bills themselves as a "solar generator".

    Anker is a new arrival to the market and they generally make excellent gear. So maybe look at their solutions.
     
  9. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Final Approach

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    That's the industry term these days....
     
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  10. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    Kind of bulky and heavy, but my old removed-from-service Concorde lasts a LONG time in charging service, and it’s paid-for.
     
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  11. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

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    To the carry-with solar panel thing? I have a Goal Zero panel. Never used it, but the way the other products from Goal Zero have worked? I’m confident it’s top shelf gear. Maybe just take a solar panel to charge and feed off the airplane battery. Laptops don’t consume much power. Beware of your inverter. Some are energy pigs.
     
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  12. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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  13. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I would really stay away from those that bill themselves as lunar generator....
     
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  14. N4984R

    N4984R Pre-takeoff checklist

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    [​IMG]

    Got the Bluetti EB70S with a 200w Solar panel array. 37.5 lbs for the whole system. Going to be giving this a test run at Boy Scout camp this week. Seeing if it will keep up with an Engle 40qt 12 volt cooler/fridge while we are there. When i set it up in this picture it was late in the day 6pm or so. It was pushing 163watts charge to the power station


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2022
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  15. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Final Approach

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    It's "Prime day" on amazon so there are some really, really good deals on Jackery products. I went ahead and snagged the 240 + the 60W solar panel. We'll see how it works at OSH.
     
  16. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Don’t leave it out in the traditional Oshkosh afternoon monsoon!

    -Skip
     
  17. GaryM

    GaryM Pattern Altitude

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    This one works pretty well, but it's not for sale.

    ts-space-sun-and-solar-viewing-facts-versus-fiction.jpg
     
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  18. jsstevens

    jsstevens Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Hard to pack as well.
     
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  19. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    I bought the Jackery 300. I guess we’ll get a good comparison between the different models
     
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  20. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Final Approach

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    Mine came already. Solar panel is a couple days out. It's a pretty cool little unit!
     
  21. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It could be for sale. How much would you pay to take it home today.??
     
  22. cowtowner

    cowtowner Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I've got one of these

    https://us.ecoflow.com/products/riv...MI2Iv5zLf2-AIVVBXUAR0l_QjAEAQYAiABEgLiBPD_BwE

    I use a 60w flexible solar panel similar to this one

    https://www.invertersupply.com/inde...MIsoPA77f2-AIVeG5vBB2LNgjCEAQYBSABEgIsdPD_BwE

    The Lithium battery pack has a BMS that has a built in charge controller.

    I leave the flexible panel laying flat, or tied to my tent. It will recharge it before 2pm in the summer.

    I can charge my laptop, all my small battery packs, my cell, and power a 12v fan while I sleep. It will take it down to about 35% by morning.
     
  23. baboss

    baboss Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I normally take the Honda 2000 Generator to Oshkosh but I picked up an Ecoflow River Pro w/ solar panel on sale this week. Should be here tomorrow/Friday so looking forward to playing with it & seeing if I'll take it in place of the Honda this year. If so I pick up 20+lbs of useful load which gives me more gas for the unknowns on the Fisk arrival!
     
  24. N4984R

    N4984R Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I made it through the entire week at Scout camp without running out of power. The camp is in the Hoosier National Forest, and our site was surrounded by 100’ tall trees. At the end of each day the Bluetti was back up to 80-100%. I don’t think there will be any problem having plenty of power at Oshkosh


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  25. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Nice real-world test. Thanks!
     
  26. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Final Approach

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    This combo worked perfectly at OSH. I used the generator to charge phones at night and during the day while I was working remotely the solar panel was able to charge the Jackery battery while I was charging & using my big engineering laptop. Very impressed with the set-up and I will happily be using it on future camping trips! It's pretty light too.
     
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  27. Jim K

    Jim K En-Route

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    Taking another look at these things, I see that Anker uses lithium-iron cells, which as I understand it are heavier, but also safer and capable of more cycles. Looks like Bluetti does as well, but their smallest unit seems like overkill for my needs. One nice feature of the Bluetti units is that they have a bigger inverter so their AC outlets are capable of much higher output.
     
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  28. rwellner98

    rwellner98 Line Up and Wait

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    Yeah, I have a Honda that I'm not really looking to replace, but if I were in the market for a battery system that lithium-iron chemistry looks very appealing.
     
  29. ChopAndDrop

    ChopAndDrop Pre-Flight

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    yeah, the LiFePO4 battery chemistry (also called LFP) is great. The capacity of Lithium (mostly) without the fire risk, more tolerant to different charging methods, etc.

    we use them to power the electronics in our gliders. A single LFP battery replaces two sealed lead-acid bricks, can now be a single LiFePO4 and run the radio/vario all day on a long flights.