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eHam Forums => QRP => Topic started by: N2RRA on December 03, 2012, 12:04:18 PM



Title: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: N2RRA on December 03, 2012, 12:04:18 PM
I'm curious to hear from owners than actually own solar panels and put them to use. My thread is focused specially on foldable compact solar panels and not stationary solar panels to narrow down the topic.

All though I appreciate suggestions those with out experience in the field of actually putting to use these types of products really are going by hypotheticals and technical data that I can figure for myself which is not the issue. I really would like to hear real world claims of worthy products that actually work well and last the rugged abuse that comes along with traveling and putting to use these folding panels in the field.

The solar panels focus is to charge SLA and LifePo battery's even while still operating a device like a transceiver, laptop, or any other device like them.

I'd like to hear about charge rate times with and without operating the devices to the type of solar cels used and how each type seems to react to different levels of sun light exposure. Of course as I said before the durability of the solar panels casing, connections and panels themselves.

Thank you for reading and hope to get some good feed back.

73!
N2RRA



Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: KB1GMX on December 03, 2012, 04:55:59 PM
I have no use for those very expensive folding panels.  They may work well but you want watts
and those folding panels are in the far greater than $10/watt range.  For example I did a quick
search for a 75W foldable panel and it was listed as $895.  At the current prices I can buy
eight 80W panels maybe more as at 10 I can get the buy a pallet price.  That's 640W for
the price of 75W.  Portability is very costly.

Standard aluminum framed panels seem to be in the under $3/watt range and some
places far lower so for the dollars you get more watts which is what you need.

I might add most of the panels I bought new I paid less than $2 watt for the older ones
(new but bought years ago) and the latest buy got me two more 80watt panels for less
than $0.86 (eighty six cents) per watt shipping included.

For other this to charge a SLA you need to be more clear, a little one like a 7AH size or
a 100AH? makes a difference as to how much solar power you will need to do the job
and how fast you want the battery to recover to a full or nearly full charge.  For example
the little 7AH battery does fine with a 3W volkswagon surplus panel to charge it, where
the 100AH that panel its only good for keeping it topped... barely.

What I do.  I have two 80W 12v panels and a 50W in parallel (230W total) that's about
15A of charge current and enough to usefully charge my 150AH NiCds (large ALCD units).
I use a MPPT controller to maximize the power out and also protect the battery and radios
on it.  It runs all the 12V powered solid state radios, a small ITX computer, and amps
(to 100W) all the time (effectively off grid). 

FYI the high power amps and older tube radios eat far too much power for battery ops
(My Tempo-one wants 5A to light the tubes @12V and 4A for the RX high volts and 27A
on TX) so I run them off the mains or genset.  Their demands would suck down the 150AH
batteries fast where the solid state gear can go for days (and have for field day) for the
same power out.

For portable ops I use one or more (I have 3) smaller 20W panels good for about 1.25A
each in good sun and 4 of the surplus Volkswagon panels (about 3W each).  For small
batteries like my 2200mAH NiMh and Gell-cells the smaller surplus Volkswagon panels
are big enough and I have 4 of them (they can be in parallel for about 12W).  I've done
various combinations of this for field day weekend.  This year a QRP field day was done
with battery and solar with better than average success.

Yes, you have to size to the task or larger.  If you carry more than you need you need a
charge regulator is a must to protect the radios/gear and the battery. But if your serious
about doing work with solar panels a few watts may keep your Iphone or Android happy
 but a 100W panel can keep the battery running your 100W radio operational and maybe
even run a few LED lights.

If your prepping...  You need enough battery to run what you think you require for at
least 3 days and in some parts a week or more as the solar system is useless without
sun and at least here in New England I've seen 10 days in a row with the solar panels
barely putting out power due to overcast skys.  The in the winter you only get maybe 4-5
hours of useful sun due to the low angle and shading where in the summer it might be
as high as 8 hours.  And for really big battery arrays (200AH and up) you need a
DC genset to occasionally top off the batteries and equalize them (for best life).

So yes, I own small panels for mixed uses like portable ops and a small fixed array for power.
When the small 20W panels are idle I can also connect them into the main system for an
additional 60W (they are all the same voltage at max power).


Allison


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: K8AG on December 04, 2012, 03:58:38 PM
Also note that many of the cheap charge controllers are NOT without their RFI.  They usually switch voltages to regulate and limit.  This wastes less watts to heat.  But it can be very bad for reception.

I designed and built my own linear logic controller.  Seems to do the job so far.

73, JP, K8AG


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: WA2TPU on December 04, 2012, 06:32:21 PM
To Eric, Allison and JP.....
   
Very nice posts on solar panels. Thanks. Allison I had the same problem here at my Qth...I had a run of 9 days with no sun plus my solar panels were ruined in a bad hail event. Yep JP......had the same RFI problems too.Also I found that the 2 different controllers I used were NOT very efficient either. So I went with a 12 volt PMA home-brewed wind generator and rather large battery bank. Eric I think the folding types are way too expensive but if you're doing remote mountain-top trekking then probably a small folding type would work best since its so portable.
I'm glad to see there is an interest in alternate energy sources to help power one's station/qth here on this site.
My BEST regards and many 72/73.
Don sr. --WA2TPU -- A TRUE 5 WATT QRP GREEN STATION.


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: KQ6Q on December 04, 2012, 07:22:05 PM
I went with the GoalZero panels available at Sport Chalet and online through Radio Shack. got the 27W folding model, and a regulator, and use it with a 4Ah gel cell for my portable adventure radio setup. Of course it could also charge HT's for ARES support if I needed it. I use Powerpoles for the interconnections, including a 4-way junction unit.


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: AA4GA on December 04, 2012, 08:59:11 PM
I went with the GoalZero panels available at Sport Chalet and online through Radio Shack. got the 27W folding model, and a regulator

Is that the Nomad 27M?  What charge controller did you get?  Does it generate any HF noise?



Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: N2RRA on December 05, 2012, 06:52:26 AM
Also note that many of the cheap charge controllers are NOT without their RFI.  They usually switch voltages to regulate and limit.  This wastes less watts to heat.  But it can be very bad for reception.

I designed and built my own linear logic controller.  Seems to do the job so far.

73, JP, K8AG


Kb1GMX,

Clearly you are the man I want to take a page out of your book when I'm ready to place solar panels on my cabin and home, but as the others caught on I looking for folding panels for travel. We'll talk soon!

K8AG,

Like to know if you can school me a bit how that works and if you can email a schematic in case I have an issue with paticular choice of panel?

Thanks!
N2RRA



Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: N2RRA on December 05, 2012, 07:05:10 AM
I went with the GoalZero panels available at Sport Chalet and online through Radio Shack. got the 27W folding model, and a regulator, and use it with a 4Ah gel cell for my portable adventure radio setup. Of course it could also charge HT's for ARES support if I needed it. I use Powerpoles for the interconnections, including a 4-way junction unit.


WA2TPU,

The panels are expensive but as you well know they are for traveling with. If anything were to happen it's a must to have in your "go bag". Can't take panels like the one KB1GMX has on his home. The focus is all though on travel QRP.


KQ6Q,

Looked up the panels you purchased! I was looking at the Sunlinq 4 folding panels which is only a 12watt. 1000ma.

I know more wattage and that extra amp helps but isn't wattage based on charge time?

Basically I'm looking for a folding panel proven to charge in the lowest sunlight possible and not only charge the internal W4RT battery constantly at a rate of speed that it would be all I need. Not excluding if I use the 12v 7ah LiFe Po battery it charges also at a rate of speed to keep operational.

Does anyone know of any U.S.A. solar power company that make folding panels?

Thanks!
N2RRA




Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: KB1GMX on December 05, 2012, 04:59:20 PM
This old XYL learned from others, that and been in engineering for bunch of decades.

As to charge controllers I use Morningstar Sunguard for small stuff (its quiet) and a MicroM+
as that is also known quiet.  When I need to maximize power transfer I use a design I
cooked for MPPT  and it's a little noisey for lower HF use but for 10M and VHF its unheard.

Watts, the product of current times voltage.  If you add time to that you get watthours
which is current * voltage * time.

The ability to do work is watts, for charging batteries its Ampere-hours.  If you work in
watt hours you been converting units.

For charging batteries its all about current. 

To run things its about capacity ( in amp hours or watthours).  You must know what your
running and size things accordingly. 

FYI the 80W panels are fixed home use, though dismountable if need be for special events.
The 20W units are all loose for grab and go wit connector and matching long cables so they
can be in the sun when I'd rather not be.

Now I use non folding panels and the smaller 3W and 20W ones are not on the house and
smaller than the spread out folders.  You need about the same total area for the same
power and efficiency is roughly the same these days.  If you need to pack small the folders
work but the weight is not that far apart.  They are 18.72 x 14.04 x 0.975 (5 pounds) in
size for the 20W and the Volkswagon surplus are 13x10x.400.  Most of the weight is the
glass covering the cells.  My form of portable is get to a spot and work from there for
hours then pack out if the truck didn't follow me in.  Typically I go somewhere and the
distances are more like a few hundreds of feet and several trips.  But I pack a 3element
6M beam and mast!  I don't want to spend $80 for a 12W panel when for that I can get
three 20W panels.  Also I don't worry the HT as alkaline AAs do that work easier and
faster.  When I'm portable I'm running an HF or VHF (tentec 6n2 or HB 6M) and between
the radio, cable, antenna, guy ropes, mast and all it's not a backpack trip.  For a backpack
a radio (817, KX3,KNQ7A), and a PAR(LNR) EF40/20/10, 25ft of cable, 100ft of paracord,
and power (battery and ??charger).  Or a Alice pack with a PRC1099.  For overnight or
longer water, food, and all that are the priority unless I'm packing into a fixed location.


As to "Basically I'm looking for a folding panel proven to charge in the lowest sunlight possible"
keep in mind the sun is the fuel and less sun means larger collector and weight or lower output. 
So charging in low light generally means more solar cells in series and larger to get small amounts
of power from a weak sun..  The gotcha is in full sun the voltage will be excessive and could lead to
other problems (failed battery or radios) a charge controller is a must.  One last thing there is a
threshold that you need enough to excite the photovoltic process and more to get current.
most panels also require uniform light to get power, a dark corner may me NO SIGNIFICANT
output. That means partial shading of the panel is not good.

Lipo and Life have specific charge requirements.  Do it wrong and the battery dies or worse.
To charge them fast required lots of current and a very smart controller that is specific to the
battery.   They do last longer (charge/discharge cycle life) and are far lighter than gell cells.

NOTE: a 7Ah battery is not enough to run a K2, 817, KX3 for an entire field day alone and
there is no guraentee the sun will be there to charge it.  (a portable hand crank generator?)

Another solution for ARES/emergency work is disposable batteries.  My HT uses 3 AA alkaline
cells and gets twice the life of NiMh and those batteries are widely avaliable, have better shelf
life than any rechargeable and easy to keep a fresh set or three in my pocket or bag.  Those
radios with lithium types are a good choice but buy/carry multiple batteries and charge them
later (at camp).  Generally unless you're on a mountain or near repeaters HTs are mostly
short range. Most HF Emcom is done from fixed sites that need bodies with resources to
keep themselves going and man the station more than another HF go kit. 

Also use standard connectors (power poles), and plenty of adaptor cables with power poles.


Allison



Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: K5LXP on December 06, 2012, 07:43:17 AM
My input to this thread is that for portable solar power operation, a charge controller is superfluous.  You're either operating with deployed panels and using up all the power, or the stuff is packed away.  If you've got power to burn while operating, you're carrying too much panel around.  A small amount of capacity overhead can be good though, so if on occasion it's a bit too much it's a simple matter to tilt the panel to reduce output.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: KU7PDX on December 06, 2012, 09:24:46 AM
My input to this thread is that for portable solar power operation, a charge controller is superfluous.  You're either operating with deployed panels and using up all the power, or the stuff is packed away.  If you've got power to burn while operating, you're carrying too much panel around.  A small amount of capacity overhead can be good though, so if on occasion it's a bit too much it's a simple matter to tilt the panel to reduce output.

Because you don't operate at night? ;)

For those looking for an awesome, customizable solar charge controller, with no RFI, check out the CirKits SCC3 (http://www.cirkits.com/scc3/). I love that I can fine-tune the charging voltage for a wide range of battery types.


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: KB1GMX on December 06, 2012, 03:31:53 PM
Mark K5XLP hit the nail on the head.

You need excess for less than optimum sun, high trees, or terrain features
that limit the window for good sun.  The goal is to keep as much charge in the
battery for night ops and the sunless days.

In the end its what do you want to run? 
What is its power budget? 
What is your weight limit?


Allison


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: WA6MJE on December 06, 2012, 05:16:52 PM
Some time ago I purchased the Brunton Solaris 52 - 52 watt foldable panel and think I paid around $800 for it.  It is the second most expensive item in my bug out bag, next to the hand water purifier. The Brunton worked well the one time I took it out camping, but does not supply much power.  I see it as the last resort power source. If all else fails, over time I can store up some power with it. 

I have a number of storage methods, starting with 100 ah deep cycle, down to 20 ah gell cells and then many 2 and 3 ah lipos I use for flying model aircraft.  Depending on what I plan on doing, I can run my bigger rigs, (Icom 7000), smaller rigs (KX3) and even a 500 watt 12v linear if I had to.  Other than the KX3, they would take a big hit off my storage that I could replace a number of ways, including just using the alternator and engine in my car. 

The Brunton is just icing on the cake.  If I have to carry, and go it on foot without fuel, I would take it, the water purifier, shelter, the KX3, probably one or two lipos, and other necessities, and just wait out the recharge time.  Sooner or later, the Brunton would give me enough to communicate emergency needs. I hated what it cost, but am happy now that it is tucked in my garage.

I have been looking into a portable wind generator of some kind. What I have seen so far is not really that portable by foot, but perhaps by car.  I also looked into a human powered generator, but really a human (at least an old one like me) cannot generate much power.  I am worse than the Brunton on a rainy day :)

Rene - WA6MJE


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: LA9XSA on December 07, 2012, 03:24:47 AM
We should get K0MOS in here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsvPOyn0LeQ


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: N2RRA on December 07, 2012, 02:25:55 PM
We should get K0MOS in here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsvPOyn0LeQ

Thanks for that link!

That's what I'm trying to build as well. Still good to pick everyone's brain cause there's so many different companies making folding panels that maybe there's a difference in performance and quality.

Gonna email him!


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: AE5X on December 13, 2012, 06:01:01 PM
Just out of curiousity, what scenario do you guys envision that motivates you to make "bug out bags"?

A lot of thought, money and effort seems to be going into the whole prepper ideology (ham and non-ham) and I'm wondering what it is that might render a bug-out kit useful.

John AE5X


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: WA6MJE on December 13, 2012, 06:50:57 PM
Just out of curiousity, what scenario do you guys envision that motivates you to make "bug out bags"?

John AE5X

Here is the short answer to this question.  My interest in a "bug out bag" began some time ago when I was watching some extreme survival type TV shows.  I think it was "Man vs Wild" with Bear Grylls.  Each episode they would drop him off in some extreme wilderness with nothing but a knife, and he would find food, water and shelter and his way out.  Each episode made me feel totally unprepared for survival anywhere outside of a well stocked super market.   Grylls was an A, and I was a Z on a scale of survival skills.

While I was not interested in his extreme level of survival, I asked the question "would I be able to survive in my own home for say 30, 60 or 90 days without ANY form of outside support?"  Well, as you might imagine, I figured maybe could make one week.

So over time, I purchased what ever it would take to simply live in my home for an extended period of time.  This started with a water supply.  I learned that my neighborhood water supply was pumped in from a reservoir, that required electricity, and it would fail with a massive power loss. So I bought a back packers hand operated water filter where I can make any water I can find potable. I had ham radios for communications.  I have a solar panel I discussed above.  I have firearms for security. First aid equipment.  Off grid power.  Food.  Equipment for a nuclear incident.

When I was a kid, every neighborhood had a fall out shelter with high range geiger counters and pocket dosimeters, and we had sirens outside. We did duck and cover exercises at school.  Decades later, FEMA sent all that equipment to the dump, and the government has NONE on hand. AND you cannot buy any new, because no one makes "high range" equipment.  Just low range. I was able to buy some of the equipment FEMA threw away on eBay, so there is some way to know where to sit in your own home if there is fallout. Without this equipment, there is no clue.

All of this is in my garage in a bug out bag.  Not that I want to bug out. But, specifically to answer your question, I am simply prepared for what we saw in hurricane Sandy. No services of any kind for several weeks or so.  I can hole up in my own home, have water, food, security, power, a way to call for help, and I can just wait it out.  If for any reason I have to leave my home, what is in the bug out bag, goes in the car, along with some meager camping gear. 

I am no  Bear Grylls.  On the other hand, I have some staying power in my own home.  I have no expectation of any particular extraordinary event. But I am prepared for severe natural phenomena.  In California this is mostly fire or earthquake.

Also, I think it is likely that a terrorist may smuggle a small nuclear weapon into U.S. borders in the next several decades.  A small weapon will have a small blast zone that I think statistically is unlikely to effect me. BUT, since I live near Los Angeles, fallout can drift for several hundred miles.  If LA is a target city, there is a chance the fallout will drift my way.  I studied this carefully. If you have the old equipment I bought on eBay, you can make a safe place to stay inside your home by using say your fireplace with bricks around it, trash cans with water on the exposed side can protect from radiation, and a make shift fallout shelter can be made inside your home as long as you have high range measuring equipment to test it out.  Within five days, the half life of the fall out dissipates, and the threat is over.

The likely hood of any of this is remote.  But it was fun and satisfying thinking out what to put into a bug out bag.  So that is what I am expecting and what I did.


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: W1JKA on December 14, 2012, 02:31:46 AM
RE: WA6MJE

                  Prepare for the worse and hope for the best.It is unfortunate that other people in this country lack the common sense and foresight in dealing with potential natural disasters such as you have.Well written.


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: N3YZ on December 14, 2012, 06:59:54 AM
Check out http://www.ctsolar.com/solarpowerforamateurradiofaq.aspx

I have their 32watt folding panel, into the Sunguard4 controller, into 7 and 12 amp/hr gel cells.

Really works great.

Connect the hardware with Anderson PowerPoles.

Get two batteries, one to charge while you have the other connected to the QRP rig.

Have fun es 73!

John N3YZ


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: LA9XSA on December 14, 2012, 04:30:29 PM
WA6MJE, note that radiation meters need regular calibration - they are otherwise useless. There actually are companies in the US which provide this service to the public. Also, the Department of Energy still has radiation detection and response teams.

If you haven't already, I recommend introducing formal risk assessment into your prepping: Score various hazards by probability and consequence, and prioritize your risk reduction and mitigation strategies accordingly. If banal stuff like house fires or traffic accidents don't end up near the top of the list, you're probably doing something wrong in your assessment, or have already done much of the right things to handle the risk.

As for Bear Grylls, in a real survival situation you'd never take the sort of risks he demonstrates, even though it's good TV. I tend to prefer Ray Mears' approach to the subject of surviving in the wild. Les Stroud is mostly OK too, or those guys on Dual Survival or Man, Woman, Wild.


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: WA6MJE on December 14, 2012, 09:16:42 PM
WA6MJE, note that radiation meters need regular calibration - they are otherwise useless. There actually are companies in the US which provide this service to the public. Also, the Department of Energy still has radiation detection and response teams.
I found companies who could calibrate the equipment.  But, it was expensive, and the calibration did not last long and had to be redone. Also, I worried that when I got the unit back, I had no way of knowing what they did to it, if they really calibrated it, or just turned it around as-is and sent it back claiming it was calibrated.

So I decided not to calibrate them. But I have several of them since the were about $10 each on eBay, and some were still in unopened packages.  While I believe that the calibration is way off, they still have value to me in that they can give me relative exposure.  By this I mean, I can tell if my front room has a higher exposure than my bedroom.  I could not tell in Rads, but I could decide where to sit.  The point is that it is the total exposure over time that matters, so getting into the lowest exposure gives longer time.  I feel comfortable that one of the units I bought would place me in the safest location.

Now here is a money making idea for entrepreneurial hams. I would easily pay a few hundred dollars for a modern device and those do not need calibration.  I just bought a FunCube Plus for a couple hundred bucks, and that was designed and manufactured by one man who is a ham, and it contains about 240 components and profound complexity.  He has a six week wait list to buy one. 

So, if one man can do that, I am sure a ham with engineering experience could design a high range meter, and in today's doomsday prepper culture, it would no doubt sell well.  Maybe my hint here, will give me a purchase option a few years from now.  That would solve the problem with calibration.   

It is just amazing that there is nothing I could find to buy (at least five or ten years ago back when I was looking.) By now I would have had them calibrated five times or so.

Rene WA6MJE



Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: AK4YH on December 14, 2012, 11:12:46 PM
Here's a great installation, with lots of comments and photos:

http://radiopreppers.com/index.php/topic,288.0.html (http://radiopreppers.com/index.php/topic,288.0.html)

Personally, I just built the CRKITS charger and plan on getting a 10W foldable panel. My battery is a 2.9Ah, and that should be a good combination...

Gil.


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: LA9XSA on December 15, 2012, 04:01:30 AM
WA6MJE, so you don't trust a company using reference radiation sources and the manufacturer's procedure of calibration, but you'd trust some random ham? Why not just build a Kearny Fallout Meter or something then? Sounds more reliable than a 30 year old meter that's never been calibrated.
A quick search shows that you can get your meter calibrated for about 90 dollars including shipping; that's not expensive at all to turn your potential hunk of junk into a meter you can trust.


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: KJ4AUQ on December 19, 2012, 08:51:31 PM
I have two solar panels that produce 23 amps of power at 13 v.  They charge/power two 150 amp hr gel batteries and run my kenwood ts 2000 at 100w quite effectively. I operated this system via hf NVIS while supporting Katrina.  For all you 2m folks, repeaters die when the power goes out and their generators run out of power.


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: K5TED on December 22, 2012, 01:49:49 PM
Here's my "portable" solar kit:

http://k5ted.net/slide_shows/2012_Field_Day/pics/solarcharger.jpg



Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: K0JEG on December 23, 2012, 09:08:26 AM
Here's my "portable" solar kit:

http://k5ted.net/slide_shows/2012_Field_Day/pics/solarcharger.jpg



I see you have the "new" Harbor Freight controller. Does it really control the rate of charge to the batteries? I ask because the old box that came with that kit really wasn't anything more than a switchbox and distribution panel. It didn't do anything to control the voltage or current going into the battery (but the panels didn't produce enough current to be dangerous anyway).


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: WA6KYR on December 26, 2012, 08:34:42 AM
Try this link for Power Film.   I bought one that was made in the  USA .
I called them and found out that some of the  panels are assembled in China
some in USA.  You might check what they are currently doing.
My panel was not listed anymore and worked exceptionally well. I got rated power out of it.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/browse.html?ie=UTF8&marketplaceID=ATVPDKIKX0DER&me=A1VOUFSIGRIGBC
also see
http://www.powerfilmsolar.com/products/foldable-portable-remote/f15-1200

Rich


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: REMOVED_ACCOUNT_2015-01-09 on January 01, 2013, 04:09:54 PM
Purchased a 4 solar panel pack in 2004 from CT Solar and still going with full output. It has performed flawlessly and provides 1120mA to recharge those batteries quickly. For the money you cannot go wrong. Tech and product support at CT Solar is first class.

http://www.ctsolar.com/208wfoldingbackpacksolarpanel.aspx

Sunguard Solar Controller rated at 4.5A 12V was purchased from Morningstar Corp.

http://www.morningstarcorp.com/en/sun-guard

Hope this helps.


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: KB2FCV on January 03, 2013, 01:02:33 PM
So over time, I purchased what ever it would take to simply live in my home for an extended period of time.  This started with a water supply.  I learned that my neighborhood water supply was pumped in from a reservoir, that required electricity, and it would fail with a massive power loss. So I bought a back packers hand operated water filter where I can make any water I can find potable. I had ham radios for communications.  I have a solar panel I discussed above.  I have firearms for security. First aid equipment.  Off grid power.  Food.  Equipment for a nuclear incident.


After some of the weather events that hit us and seeing some things we take for granted get interrupted for quite some time, I have been adding some supplies so that I could be self-sustaining for a little while at my house. I need to improve my water supply. Just curious, what back packers hand operated water filter do you have? I have a river in my back yard.. that could make a good source of water if properly filtered.

On the original topic, I like taking my KX1 out and about for fun out to different places. What's a good durable lightweight panel that will give me enough power to run 2-5w?


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: KB1GMX on January 03, 2013, 03:19:20 PM
To run a radio at any power the ttal needs have to be supplied and that will be greater.  So for
5W likely a 10W (or more) panel is needed if running directly from the sun (not advised).  Reason
is the radio needs more power then it puts out to the antenna.  However a nominal 12V panel is
about 21V unloaded and about 17V at max load and far less voltages at maximum current.  Think
of solar panels as unregulated, so running radios directly off one is likely to disappoint.

A smaller panel charging a battery is the usual way, the battery can be fairly small (for a K1 is could be 12V worth of NiMh AA 2000mAH cells) and a 3W panel. The batteries run things during low light or current peaks (like TX) and the panel recharges them while receiving when the power needs are very small (assuming the panel puts out more current then the receiver needs).

If the panel isn't needed as super light weight or portable there are standard panels that will
 be cheaper then foldable types.   I picked up two 20W on sale [still on sale as of writing] 
from SolarBVLD.com for 29.95 each and they only weight maybe 5 pounds each (14"x18.5"x1").
A 20W panel is usually good for about 1.1A (these test at 1.13A at 18.1V, max power point).  I
use them for utility and portable.   That firm sells panels from smaller 1W to over 240W usually
at attractive prices.  I don't get a discount for this.

One thing for most panels smaller is more costly per watt than larger as it costs almost as much to mount 36 small solar cells to the glass as it does to mount 36 bigger ones.

For running a K1 (or in my case a KNQ7A or my 6M HB SSB) a 3W surplus volkwagon panel
usually had for cheap to free with a suitable small battery [AA NiMh or 2.3AH gell cell) works for me. Last time I bought those I paid $25 at a flea for 4 of them all good. 


 Allison


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: WA6MJE on January 04, 2013, 05:31:15 PM
After some of the weather events that hit us and seeing some things we take for granted get interrupted for quite some time, I have been adding some supplies so that I could be self-sustaining for a little while at my house. I need to improve my water supply. Just curious, what back packers hand operated water filter do you have? I have a river in my back yard.. that could make a good source of water if properly filtered.
I bought the Katadyn Pocket.  I freaked a bit at the price of just under $300.  But, it seems like the right tool for the job.  It is hand operated, so I do not need a power source. It pumps about 1 quart/minute.  It has a .2 micron cleanable ceramic filter. It is small and portable, and can be easily carried in a back pack. It has a 20 year warranty.  The reviews posted by folk who understand these products were consistently high. I have a lake in my back yard, and this would clean the water of bacteria and protozoa and from what they say, I could drink it after filtration without problems.  I studied this purchase, and this seemed like the best choice. Humans have about a three day life span without water, so a water source seems like a high priority item.  This would give me and my family a water supply for months without any power source or cartridge replacement since the cartridge can be cleaned and re-used. Again, my "plan" is simply to survive in my home without outside support.


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: K0JEG on January 05, 2013, 07:02:57 AM
After some of the weather events that hit us and seeing some things we take for granted get interrupted for quite some time, I have been adding some supplies so that I could be self-sustaining for a little while at my house. I need to improve my water supply. Just curious, what back packers hand operated water filter do you have? I have a river in my back yard.. that could make a good source of water if properly filtered.

I picked up a Sterri-pen last fall when they were on sale at Costco. Haven't tried it out yet, but the reviews are mostly good. I think it is going to be a little easier to operate, runs on AA cells (so potentially solar powered), and for where I live should work.

Downsides: It seems a little fragile, and won't do anything to filter chemicals/oils/etc, just biological nasties. I live in an area with a lot of snowmelt streams, so I don't think chemicals are as big a problem (although I kept my pump filter). I'm fairly paranoid about drinking water, so I might just do both as a belt and suspenders fix. I've heard that filters can actually make things worse becoming a breeding ground for microbes if you're not careful (which I'm not ;))


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: WA6MJE on January 06, 2013, 09:27:36 AM
I picked up a Sterri-pen last fall when they were on sale at Costco. Haven't tried it out yet, but the reviews are mostly good. I think it is going to be a little easier to operate, runs on AA cells (so potentially solar powered), and for where I live should work.

.........I'm fairly paranoid about drinking water, so I might just do both as a belt and suspenders fix. I've heard that filters can actually make things worse becoming a breeding ground for microbes if you're not careful (which I'm not ;))
This is a good tip.  I took a look at the Sterri-pen, and I agree it cannot hurt to treat filtered water a second time.  Also, I started looking at carbon filters as the last step to remove odors, and some chemicals.  So, to use your analogy, belt, suspenders and clean underwear.  Using the Katadyne, then the Sterri-pen, then a carbon filter.  It is also possible to chemically treat water or boil it, but those methods need supplies that can be limited.  I am also looking into a solar still to distill water, probably the cleanest you can ever get it.  I do not see anything interesting yet.  But the price of the Sterri-pen and carbon filters is reasonable. 

Linking this all back to Ecomm,  I do not know why the amateur radio Ecomm emphasis is on teaming up with first responders and government.  While that is important, every neighborhood needs ordinary communication during a crisis.  My "prepping" emphasis is on survival in my own home without outside support, and I would extend that to my neighbors, at least the communication component.  I would have zero problem communicating from my home for an indefinite amount of time, in an emergency, passing messages and email to others and so on.  Due to the hostility between some HOAs and ham radio, bringing Ecomm to the level of helping your neighbor, and letting the HOA organize the effort may lower the hostility. I hesitate to go tell them who I am, BUT I would not worry if my local ham radio club approached them, made the contact and arrangements, and then revealed my identity as the provider at the last possible moment in an emergency so that I can keep my anonymity and hidden antennas hidden.

I will be sipping nice clean cool water when they come knocking at my door. I might even offer them a sip if they are nice to me.

Rene - WA6MJE


Title: RE: Do you own a Solar Panel for QRP or Prepping?
Post by: WA6MJE on January 06, 2013, 12:20:56 PM
Ok, here is what I purchased today to add to the Katadyn filter.  SteriPEN makes a hand crank-able device called the Sidewinder.  No batteries needed.  I bought one for $75. Zerowater seems to have the best additional five step filtration system, so I bought the Zerowater ZD-023 23 cup storage unit with a package of 8 additional filters. I mainly wanted to filter through a carbon filter, and found that the Zerowater beat out the Pur or Brita filters, and is overkill, but I bought it anyway.

So, I would take lake water from behind my house, pump it using the Ketadyn Pocket into the Zerowater ZD-023 23 cup unit where it will undergo five more levels of filtration including carbon to remove odors.  From that I would pour into the 1 liter SteriPEN Sidewinder container, and turn the crank for 90 seconds neutralizing whatever else that might be dangerous.  If these three steps do no deliver potable water, I give it up.