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Does anyone have any advise about using a solar panel to recharge my tablet? I may find myself without a power source while traveling and I thought this might be worth looking into. Thanks
take a look at this:
Thanks for your reply. Presently I am working on how to navigate without wifi in Finland.
I traveled 1200 miles last year with a tablet (among other devices) and a goal zero solar panel. The 7 watt panel definitely can not charge a tablet, and cannot keep up with a blackberry or other smart phone. Along with a battery pack, it did keep my gps going. You didn't indicate where you will be traveling, but if you're going to be in the US or other relatively highly populated country, then you won't need to take anything with you other than a wall charger. I would recommend a battery pack for your devices just in case. You can recharge your devices at libraries, campgrounds, motels, internet cafes, and generous warmshower hosts.
Thanks for your reply. I will be riding to the artic circle in Finland,route unknown. Is your gps in a device or separate ? I thought I would download a map to my tablet to use when I don't have wifi. Thanks
My GPS is a garmin touring. I used a garmin map60gpx in 2013 with the same panels and battery pack with similar good results. I did not rely on the panels to charge my tablet that year either. I found that the tablet would keep a charge for almost a week if I didn't use it too much, and I could always find a place to plug it in within that timeframe. But I haven't been out in Lapland...
I guess the main point is that you need a rechargeable battery pack with your panels in order for them to be really useful, and once you have the battery pack, you can probably get away without the solar panel. There must be a forum out there for bikepackers where you can pose your question as well.
I have travelled with an USB battery charged by solar panels and my experience was really good.
My advice is that. Use a battery.
The sun will not have a regular impact on your solar panel (movement, clouds....). With the solar panel coneccted directly in your device, the charge will not be efficient.
With a battery, that power will be accumulating in the battery and you will make the most of the power you can get, and you can charge it when you need.
The one I'm using since 2012 is this one (if is not the same, is because they have improved it):
It says there that you can charge your smartphone 4 times and your tablet between 1 and 1,7 (depending on the size, 10" or 7"), but I have an 8,9", and with the battery completely charged, I charged my tablet more than 3 times and my smartphone around 10 times (maybe not completely uncharged, starting 20% or so but...).
Another great thing. When the device is full of charge, it automatically stops charging. so you can leave it charging while you sleep and it will not waste more than necessary.
If you have any question, they helped me a lot when i was needing to decide what was exactly what I need (how many solar panels and size etc), answering fast and kindly.
For other questions about using them as a bike traveller just ask ;-)
Have a nice journey
A solar panel deliveres good power if well aimed to the sun and without the least part of shade on it. This can be done if stationary while camping or resting. On the bike on a winding road with buildings or trees you will have shade on bigger parts of the solar panel most of the time and only a small fraction of the nominal output of the panel will be available even on a sunny day. So if you ride most of the time during the day, a solar panel won't help much.
A better solution might be a hub dynamo. You don't need it for lights during the day, so it can charge your mobile gadgets or a buffer battery. With a good charging adapter you get 3 Watt at 15 kmph and 10 Watt at 30 kmph from a standard "6V-3W" hub dynamo. The most efficient and powerful charging adapters are "E-Werk" by Busch&Mueller, the Sinewave "Revolution" and the "Forumslader". If you ride mostly in the 15 to 20 kmph speed range and like DIY my simple "Minimallader+C" solution will be as powerful and ultra-cheap: http://fahrradzukunft.de/12/minimal-lader/
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