Portable Solar Power
We are all aware of the emerging advances in solar power systems for integration in the home and also for businesses but not a lot of people are familiar with the options available when it comes to portable power solutions for camping, hiking and general outdoor use.
There are a few basic fundamentals when it comes to choosing a system that is right for your particular application if it is a portable system. The following advice is just a general overview and it is up to the user to do their research in regards to their particular device they are requiring back up power for.
The fundamentals are as follows.
- Weight of the system– if you are hiking for example you will want to keep the system as light as possible while still storing and generating as much power as possible for basic essentials like cell phone. If on the other hand you have a car or 4wd with you can afford to go a little larger in size and hence have more capacity to generate and store more power as weight is not as much of an issue. This you will have to decide on based on how you prioritise your power usage needs. We have heard many stories over the years from customers who have told us they have to pack their playstation when camping.
- Storage- This refers to the battery you will be carrying. There are many different types sizes and brands of batteries available and your choice again will be determined by how large a cell you can carry and what device you want to recharge.
If you are charging smaller devices like phones or tablets these devices are quite small and only require 5v USB to charge from so most power banks on the market will do for these devices as the standard output is USB. Just ensure the power bank is large enough to fully charge the device you are recharging at least 1-2 times.
If you require power for larger devices like Laptops or devices that need a 240v plug end you will need a power bank equipped with an invertor and also the suitable plug connection. These power banks are generally a little larger in size and range from units suitable for Laptops up to base camp units large enough to power small fridges and other 240v devices.
- Harvesting power- This is where it starts to get interesting. If for example you go out camping or hiking with your given electronic device of choice you will eventually run out of power even if you carry a power bank.
If you do not have the means to recharge the power bank by mains power a solar panel will be required. This is where portable folding solar panels come in. You can now connect folding solar panels that are quite light in weight into your power bank and use it to recharge the device during the day when the sun is out.
A lot of adventurers and hikers now use solar panels strapped to their backpacks so they harvest power all day long and also can have devices connected while on the move. For example you could have your phone connected directly into the solar panel USB output and recharge during the day while also topping up the power in your power bank for use later in the evening when there is no sun to harvest.
- Picking The Right System- As mentioned above figure out what you need to charge and for how long and pick a system with a power bank that will give you enough charge time to fully charge your device 1 or more times. Check your device specs for battery size and get a power bank larger. With a folding solar panel again chose a panel you can handle weight and size wise and remember the more wattage the quicker it will recharge the power bank and also your devices.
And last but not least remember weight. The system needs to be within what you are comfortable with carrying. You wont be able to carry a 5kg power bank while hiking so you will have to compromise. Get a lightweight power bank enough to power a phone in emergencies and leave the playstation at home unless you have a 4wd to carry all the weight then go for your life and choose a system as large as you can fit.
If you need any advice or help in choosing an item or system for your particular application fee free to give the guys at Auspowerbanks.com.au a call Monday to Friday and they will be more than happy to help with any queries big or small.