I bought an ACER Quad core AMD A10 based laptop last summer to use with my Flex-1500.
Our local QRP group does an annual QRP camping weekend every fall and I brought along
the Flex-1500. I used a 22 Ah battery booster pack and a 3rd party DC to DC convertor
to power the Laptop (16v I think).
The Flex-1500 is vastly superior in performance to the FT-817 ! The guys in the next campsite were running 100w on 20m SSB and I was able to work 20m CW and never heard a peep from them.
I think that you will have a challenge finding a low power laptop with sufficient horsepower to run
the Flex. Perhaps going with a reasonably powerful laptop and replacing the hard drive with an SSD
might be a reasonable approach. I suspect powering a continuously spinning hard drive accounts for a lot of the power consumption in a laptop. SSDs are really coming down in price these days.
Unless you are planning to be out for many days I would also suggest the approach of using a bigger battery rather than trying to charge via solar. This is not such a big issue as you are car camping.
One other consideration worth mentioning; unless you have used a laptop outside, you may not be
aware of the problems with glare making it difficult to see the screen. In my case I operated from
the shade under a rather large tarp. If you plan to operate out in the open you will need some sort
of shade to significantly reduce the amount of light hitting the screen otherwise you won't be
able to see anything.
Best of luck
Several times a year the XYL (N8FPA) and I go car camping and I have been considering getting a QRP rig for use on the road.
The rig that I have mainly considering is the FT-817 and getting a NUE-PSK modem to use with it for CW and PSK31. I really like the FT-817 as I could charge the external batteries that I have (2 Quantum Ham Batteries) from a solar panels.
However the Flex-1500 has a lot more capability as it is running PowerSDR and I have been using a Flex-5000 for years and cannot imagine not having a waterfall to see activity.
So my question is there a decent low cost, low current drain currently available laptop that you would suggest to use with a 1500? Is there an easy way to charge one with solar panels?
For comparison a fully loaded FT-817 and NUE-PSK is $1400 and a Flex-1500 is $700. I figure that I could spend $500 for a low drain laptop and get a lot more capability.
Any suggestions will be most appreciated.