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Reviews Categories | Emergency/Portable Power: generators, solar, wind, thermal, etc | Global Solar - SunLinq Help

Reviews Summary for Global Solar - SunLinq
Global Solar - SunLinq Reviews: 3 Average rating: 3.3/5 MSRP: $$99.00 - $950.00
Description: Global Solar Energy produces lightweight, foldable solar chargers capable of charging most consumer electronic devices and batteris. We have 6, 12, 25, 30, 48, & 55 watt modules that can also be connected together to form a larger charging system. Our lightest panels, the 6 watt, weight .3lbs and the largest, the 55 watt, weighs 4.0lbs.
Product is in production.
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KB1QBZ Rating: 1/5 Apr 26, 2011 10:14 Send this review to a friend
Unreliable  Time owned: more than 12 months
My club bought three of the 12w/12v units about two years ago. Within two years, all three have failed. There's no damage to any of them, they were not misused, they were not folded incorrectly, they simply stopped supplying electricity.
K7DAA Rating: 5/5 May 7, 2009 01:16 Send this review to a friend
Very pleased with 6.5 watt version, and it's hackable too!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have the Model 22105 folding panel, which is the one rated for 6.5 watts. These are available at Fry's. I very much appreciate the previous review, alerting me to the potential noise issue, since I was going to do the exact same thing with my QRP portable station. The review gave me the courage to pop off the plastic cover--it's sonically welded, two pieces. Not hard to do with a flat-blade screwdriver. I can see how I can easily put it back together by trimming some of the plastic flash and with a little glue.

Frankly, I was surprised that a solar panel included a 3-terminal 15 volt regulator circuit. I was used to the idea of 18 volts or so open circuit, but I certainly see the wisdom in doing it this way, to prevent overvoltage conditions with certain types of sensitive products. You can certainly feel free to bypass the regulator and run "full tilt" if you know you don't need to worry about this.

Anyway, with the cover off, there is a small circuit board with a 7815-type regulator that's been shortened by cutting off the metal tab, two SMD diodes that look like they're rated for 1 amp, and a small-value 805-size SMD capacitor. There is also an 805-size fuse in series with the output. The diodes look like one is in series with the regulator output, and the other is there to protect the regulator from a powered or reverse-polarity load. The board is nicely coated with a clear conformal coat to prevent oxidation and resist moisture.

Although I haven't had any noise from this regulator yet, I'm planning to do the same modification the previous reviewer did with a lower-dropout regulator and proper bypass caps as well. If I haven't had any problems, then why? Because I'm an experimenter, that's why!

In case you don't want to disturb the circuit too much by attempting to desolder the nub of the regulator's tab that's surface soldered to the pcb, there is plenty of room to add a pair of 20-25V tantalum bypass caps on the regulator input and output (1 to 10 uF or so). Make sure you scrape the conformal coating away when you do.

It's possible that C1 might be sufficient to prevent oscillation, but due to its size, it's unlikely to be much more than .1 uF or so. It's certainly not a polarized cap. According to some manufacturers, .1 uF on the output is recommended, so don't assume that your unit WILL oscillate as mentioned below. It will very much depend on your load. The bypassing is to prevent oscillation and improve transient response with MOST common loads (whatever they are!).

The overall packaging is very nice, and it's a surprisingly light little bundle, making it an easy choice for backpacking. The connector is well anchored, and should stand up well to normal use and abuse in the field.

I haven't measured the output vs. illumination, but it's putting out pretty close to what I expected from something this size.

The unit comes with several nicely-made cables that mate with the commonly seen polarized connector I mentioned earlier.

Included is:

1. Cigarette lighter plug to charge your car battery.
2. Cigarette lighter socket to charge things that have a cigarette lighter plug on them.
3. A decent-sized pair of battery clamps for charging your typical lead-acid batteries.
4. A 2.5 x 5.5 mm coaxial power plug that fits in my Elecraft K2 (bonus!)
4. An eight-foot extension cord with polarized connectors on each end.

Overall, a great, foldable, very light, well-made product that should be a nice complement to QRP portable operation. With a 10 watt K2, it easily keeps my internal SLA battery charged while I'm operating.
NK7E Rating: 4/5 Jul 10, 2007 12:05 Send this review to a friend
Lust for Power  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought the Global Solar Sunlinq SP-12 panel in July 2005 for use with my Yaesu FT-817 QRP transceiver. I have modified the FT-817 to roughly double the battery charging current since it took forever to charge modern cells, but doing this raised the current required to simultaneously run the receiver and charge the battery to 750mA at a minimum of 12V (9W). Regardless of the specs, the panel I received was not quite able to do this in the field. Here in Arizona we get plenty of sun, but solar panels are black and they get hot as asphalt in no time. Heat makes the cells "leaky" and the efficiency plummets like a stone. I was only getting about 6.5 Watts at 12 Volts and over 120 Degrees F on the panel surface.

Luckily, I live in Tucson where Global Solar is located, so I called their Customer Service to ask about what I should realistically expect from the panel. They told me there is a fairly wide variation in the output of individual panels. The numbers they give in the datasheet are "typical" and there is no minimum spec. However, I did get to talk to the guys in Engineering and they were very helpful. They tested my panel and agreed that it was toward the low end and they hand-picked a better panel for me. The new panel still couldn't quite make the 9W spot in the Arizona summer sun and I noticed the panel was generating wideband RF noise when it was illuminated. Further discussion with Engineering revealed that they used a 7815-style 3 pin voltage regulator to limit the output, but there were no filter capacitors. A 7815 driving a remote load this way will oscillate. They also have a 2 Volt drop from input to output. A design improvement was obvious.

The guys in Engineering gave me another plastic cover for the regulator board and I pried off the old one. I replaced the 7815 with an LM2940-15 low-dropout regulator, added capacitors to the input and output, snapped the new cover over the board and took it outside to try with the FT-817. The panel hit 750ma @ 12v even with the ambient temperature over 100 Degrees and no RF noise! Mission Accomplished.

I really like these little solar panels. In the past I have used both rigid and bendable panels, and they are a pain to carry. The Sunlinq folds up into a flat envelope that slides into the pouch right under the FT-817 and makes the coolest portable rig for camping. The only caveat is to be skeptical of the specs for any manufacturer's solar panel, as most datasheets seem to be full of wishful thinking by the Marketing Department. I have no doubt Global Solar could find a stock panel that when lit brightly enough and kept cool enough would produce the curve they show, but it ain't gonna happen on Field Day baby. Its an interesting exercise to draw in the 12W load line on the datasheet I-V curve. Also, remember my panel was one of the early production models. Current models may not have the issues I ran into.

Here are some numbers from my modified panel:

Date: 22 June 2007 1200 MST
Sky: Clear
Ambient Air Temperature: 100 DegF (actual panel temperature unknown)
Collecting Area of Cells: 3.75"x7.0"x8cells = 210 inches*2 = 1.46 sqft
Solar Intensity: 950 W/M*2 or 88.3 W/Ft*2 (from an Eppley Normal Incidence Pyrheliometer at The University of Arizona in Tucson.
Incident Power: 129W
Max Power Out: 9.0W
Max Efficiency at Ambient Conditions: 7.0%
Open Circuit Voltage: 15.0V
230mA @ 14.5V (3.3W)
360mA @ 14.3V (5.1W)
620mA @ 13.9V (8.6W)
680mA @ 13.3V (9.0W)
750mA @ 12.0V (9.0W)
800mA @ 11.0V (8.8W)
940mA @ 1.7V (1.6W)


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