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Solar Power for BGAN, Laptop, etc...

I’m currently looking for a lightweight, 50-plus watt solar array to charge/power a BGAN, Macbook, and 5DII batteries (not simultaneously) in the field when power isn’t available or is unreliable.

So far, the only thing that I’ve seen that really fits the bill is the Brunton Solaris 62. This unit may be complete overkill, as I have no real point of reference when it comes to solar power, so any input would be appreciated.

The item in question- http://www.backcountry.com/brunton-solaris-62-solar-panel

Cheers,

Max

by Max Oden at 2011-03-22 17:43:27 UTC | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Has a good reputation.

by Daniel Legendre | 22 Mar 2011 18:03 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Thanks for the reply, Daniel. I’ve owned Brunton products in the past, and they’ve always served me well. I’d be interested to know if anyone here knows of a manufacturer that sells something comparable in quality/wattage. Just weighing my options. Thanks.

by Max Oden | 22 Mar 2011 20:03 | Alabama, United States | | Report spam→
See
http://www.solarcell.fr/

by Daniel Legendre | 22 Mar 2011 21:03 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Check out the gear from Goal0
http://www.goalzero.com

by PJ Heller | 24 Mar 2011 18:03 | Southern California, United States | | Report spam→
Thanks for the info PJ, Goal Zero has my attention now. Looks like they include an inverter with their arrays, too. Definitely a plus.

Robert- While I’d prefer to travel without solar power, many of the areas I’ll be in next year simply have no electricity available. I’ll be on the road for most of 2012 and there will be times when I have access to power and web, but those will be few and far between.

by Max Oden | 24 Mar 2011 20:03 | Alabama, United States | | Report spam→
Max:

If you decide to go with Goal 0, check out working-woods on eBay and make an offer on the gear you want. From your description above, you could probably get by with the Nomad 27M, Sherpa inverter and Sherpa 120 battery.

by PJ Heller | 25 Mar 2011 00:03 | Southern California, United States | | Report spam→
hey max, how we doing fella?

i have had the same drama as your having, i needed something lightweight, robust & something i can count on & if not be able to fix in the field.
i have a samsung nc10, small lighweight & does the job, i have 2 os, windows for the mediaplayer & ubuntu (linux) for the work, linux has to be used due to the low screen resolution. it only runs at 19v too. i also have 2 500G passport hard drives to back up all my work. i also keep copies of all the programs & the os ready for any drama.
as for the solar power i use a solar gorilla which will charge up all of my electrical equipment, camera, laptop, gps, phones & so on. i have found this to work spot on. the solar gorilla charges the power gorilla which is a 20’odd volt battery. all of this equipment has been tested & use by me in some rather demanding environments, from freezing cold & hot & dusty & still keeps me going.

https://powertraveller.com/iwantsome/primatepower/solargorilla/

http://www.ubuntu.com/

hope this has been of some use all the best danny

by Danny Liber | 26 Mar 2011 10:03 | | Report spam→
Solar panels are small, light and have no power to even carge your mobile or they are very big, heavy and very expensive. My experience is if there is no electricity there is a car. You find cars nearly everywhere in the world. I use a 12 or 24 volt converter to charge my equipment from a car battery. They are powerful and cheap. Something like

http://us.kensington.com/html/10359.html

Maybe a better solution.

by Hinrich Schultze | 27 Mar 2011 00:03 | Hamburg, Germany | | Report spam→
Wow, great advice from everyone. I’ll check out all of this stuff, and then report back with my decision.

Thanks.

by Max Oden | 27 Mar 2011 01:03 | Alabama, United States | | Report spam→
Max, Hinrich is right.

At NPR reporters working in locations off the power grid often relied on car battery inverters, using the auto battery as the key element for power. Indeed sometimes they pulled the battery from the car at night and used it for editing, then replaced it the next morning to get it recharged. It was effective and simple, and the inverter was pretty lightweight (though dragging the battery inside took a bit of muscle). But fully-charged auto batteries can general a lot of energy.

You just had to be damn careful that you did not run the battery down at night! Good inverters have a meter to monitor that. Often the batteries belonged to drivers and fixers, who could be pretty grumpy when they couldn’t get going the next morning.

by [former member] | 27 Mar 2011 19:03 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
I would suggest – call and speak to the people at Brunton they were extremely accessible and helpful to me. I was in the Amazon,no cars,boats etc. to use just the sun for four weeks, it was very portable. What they suggested was perfect and worked well for laptop, camera, small video camera etc. no problems. In fact the indigenous people I visited now use it collect and store energy on a solar storage device for their GPS, Laptops and cameras and to run a TV for Video playback.

by Angela Cumberbirch | 30 Mar 2011 15:03 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Angela- Thanks for the reply. Do you have a contact number/email address for the Brunton rep you spoke with?

by Max Oden | 30 Mar 2011 16:03 | Alabama, United States | | Report spam→
Max . . .

Not pushing you toward Goal0, but be sure to search around for reviews on some of the Brunton stuff (I think the battery was one that got pretty poor marks).

Also, make sure that everything you buy will work together and that you won’t have any issues plugging in and recharging things like your Macbook or camera battery charger.

by PJ Heller | 31 Mar 2011 05:03 | Southern California, United States | | Report spam→
Sorry can’t remember was a while back – I just called the number on their site.

by Angela Cumberbirch | 18 Apr 2011 13:04 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Hi all,

Check this out: http://www.voltaicsystems.com/
Saw something like this backpacks for the first time in Lisbon during one of EU summits. Portuguese government offered some of this packs to journalists and I had the opportunity to try on my laptop and it worked fine. Though not sure if this is what you´re looking for.
All the best,
Cheers,

by Manuel Ribeiro | 28 Apr 2011 10:04 (ed. Apr 28 2011) | Sydney, Australia | | Report spam→
I’m prepping gear for a five-month trip on a 35’ sailboat and will be using a combination of inverted power off the diesel engine and solar panels. I’ve been exploring Brunton and Goal0; have heard good things about both.

Manuel, I’ve briefly checked out the Voltaic Systems – great idea. Thanks for the heads up!

Max, thanks for starting this thread – great info here.

by Jessica McGlothlin | 28 Apr 2011 16:04 | Austin, Texas, United States | | Report spam→
I’m prepping gear for a five-month trip on a 35’ sailboat and will be using a combination of inverted power off the diesel engine and solar panels. I’ve been exploring Brunton and Goal0; have heard good things about both.

Manuel, I’ve briefly checked out the Voltaic Systems – great idea. Thanks for the heads up!

Max, thanks for starting this thread – great info here.

by Jessica McGlothlin | 28 Apr 2011 16:04 | Austin, Texas, United States | | Report spam→
Manuel- I was familiar with the Voltaic backpacks, but hadn’t seen their universal panel/charger combo. Cool stuff. And light, too.

Jessica- I won’t be pulling the trigger on a setup until late September. If you purchase yours before that, let me know what you ended up with.

by Max Oden | 28 Apr 2011 16:04 | Alabama, United States | | Report spam→
Thanks for the great links.. I’m dropping into Tunisia/Libya and will definitely need solar power.

by Humphrey Cheung | 28 Apr 2011 20:04 | Los Angeles, United States | | Report spam→

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Participants

Max Oden, Photographer Max Oden
Photographer
Panajachel , Guatemala
Daniel Legendre, Photographer Daniel Legendre
Photographer
Paris , France
PJ Heller, Freelance Photojournalist PJ Heller
Freelance Photojournalist
(Freelance Photojournalist)
Southern California , United States ( SBA )
Danny Liber, Photojournalist Danny Liber
Photojournalist
(dannyliber)
Nsw , Australia
Hinrich Schultze, Photographer Hinrich Schultze
Photographer
Hamburg , Germany
Angela Cumberbirch, Photographer Angela Cumberbirch
Photographer
New York , United States
Manuel Ribeiro, Photojournalist Manuel Ribeiro
Photojournalist
(Photographer)
Wollongong , Australia ( SYD )
Jessica McGlothlin, Photographer, Writer Jessica McGlothlin
Photographer, Writer
Manchester, Vermont , United States
Humphrey Cheung, Freelance videographer Humphrey Cheung
Freelance videographer
(Body armor does a body good)
Los Angeles , United States


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