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Any Experience with Solar Powered Battery Chargers

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  • Sally Kelley
    I am in the process of backpacking for two weeks on the AT and intend to use my digitial camera and radio. Does anyone on this list have experience with solar
    Message 1 of 11 , Apr 22 7:09 AM
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      I am in the process of backpacking for two weeks on the AT and intend to use my digitial camera and radio. Does anyone on this list have experience with solar rechargers? I'm interested in one that does not have much weight increase (Still Light) and is not toooo expensive. I hate carrying extra batteries all the time. Any help will be appreciated. Sally


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    • Sally Kelley
      I am in the process of backpacking for two weeks on the AT and intend to use my digitial camera and radio. Does anyone on this list have experience with solar
      Message 2 of 11 , Apr 22 7:13 AM
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        I am in the process of backpacking for two weeks on the AT and intend to use my digitial camera and radio. Does anyone on this list have experience with solar rechargers? I'm interested in one that does not have much weight increase (Still Light) and is not toooo expensive. I hate carrying extra batteries all the time. Any help will be appreciated. Sally


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      • Mark Bayern
        When/where do you expect to use the solar recharger? The sections of the AT I have hiked, really live up to the AT s nickname the long green tunnel -- not a
        Message 3 of 11 , Apr 22 8:00 AM
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          When/where do you expect to use the solar recharger?  The sections of the AT I have hiked, really live up to the AT's nickname 'the long green tunnel' -- not a lot of direct sunshine available.

          Mark




          Sally Kelley wrote:
          I am in the process of backpacking for two weeks on the AT and intend to use my digitial camera and radio. Does anyone on this list have experience with solar rechargers? I'm interested in one that does not have much weight increase (Still Light) and is not toooo expensive. I hate carrying extra batteries all the time. Any help will be appreciated. Sally


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        • Sally Kelley
          I plan to hike the Smokies from Fontana up to Roan Mountain. The ridgelines should provide, IMHO, at least something to recharge don t you think. Sally Mark
          Message 4 of 11 , Apr 22 9:23 AM
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            I plan to hike the Smokies from Fontana up to Roan Mountain. The ridgelines should provide, IMHO, at least something to recharge don't you think. Sally

            Mark Bayern <mark@...> wrote:
            When/where do you expect to use the solar recharger?  The sections of the AT I have hiked, really live up to the AT's nickname 'the long green tunnel' -- not a lot of direct sunshine available.

            Mark




            Sally Kelley wrote:
            I am in the process of backpacking for two weeks on the AT and intend to use my digitial camera and radio. Does anyone on this list have experience with solar rechargers? I'm interested in one that does not have much weight increase (Still Light) and is not toooo expensive. I hate carrying extra batteries all the time. Any help will be appreciated. Sally


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          • ra1@imrisk.com
            ... Sally, I have lots of experience with solar recharging. Simple answer: Don t. All the options for solar charging small batteries are expensive and heavy
            Message 5 of 11 , Apr 22 10:29 AM
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              Quoting Sally Kelley <sallylou302004@...>:

              > I am in the process of backpacking for two weeks on the AT and intend to use
              > my digitial camera and radio. Does anyone on this list have experience with
              > solar rechargers? I'm interested in one that does not have much weight
              > increase (Still Light) and is not toooo expensive. I hate carrying extra
              > batteries all the time. Any help will be appreciated. Sally
              >
              Sally,

              I have lots of experience with solar recharging. Simple answer: Don't.

              All the options for solar charging small batteries are expensive and heavy and
              nearly useless under all those leaves that are about to pop out of the trees.

              What works is buying batteries along the way, after selecting equipment that
              does not use much power. One other option is to carry rechargables, but to
              charge them while eating at restarants and spending the night at hostels.

              Examples of great low consumpumtion devices are:

              - AAA powered Black and White Palm Pilots (6 weeks?)
              - PocketMail (6-12 weeks?)
              - LED headlamps (6 weeks)
              - digital cameras without a screen (Or where the screen can be turned off.)
              - phones kept in the off position except for short calls (3 weeks)

              Rick
            • Sally Kelley
              Thanks Risk. That s the input I was needing. I knew that light would be limited but the only problem is that there are no resupply areas in the Smokies. I ll
              Message 6 of 11 , Apr 22 11:02 AM
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                Thanks Risk. That's the input I was needing. I knew that light would be limited but the only problem is that there are no resupply areas in the Smokies. I'll try to carry enough extras to hopefully last until I get to Mountain Momma's near I-40. (I've been there before on a short to Max Patch. Thanks again. Sally

                ra1@... wrote:
                Quoting Sally Kelley <sallylou302004@...>:

                > I am in the process of backpacking for two weeks on the AT and intend to use
                > my digitial camera and radio. Does anyone on this list have experience with
                > solar rechargers? I'm interested in one that does not have much weight
                > increase (Still Light) and is not toooo expensive. I hate carrying extra
                > batteries all the time. Any help will be appreciated. Sally
                >
                Sally,

                I have lots of experience with solar recharging.  Simple answer:  Don't.

                All the options for solar charging small batteries are expensive and heavy and
                nearly useless under all those leaves that are about to pop out of the trees. 

                What works is buying batteries along the way, after selecting equipment that
                does not use much power.  One other option is to carry rechargables, but to
                charge them while eating at restarants and spending the night at hostels. 

                Examples of great low consumpumtion devices are:

                - AAA powered Black and White Palm Pilots  (6 weeks?)
                - PocketMail (6-12 weeks?)
                - LED headlamps (6 weeks)
                - digital cameras without a screen (Or where the screen can be turned off.)
                - phones kept in the off position except for short calls  (3 weeks)

                Rick


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              • Francois
                ... You might want to look in The Complete Walker IV , they have a chapter on solar chargers and how to make one really cheap and light. I suggest you go
                Message 7 of 11 , Apr 22 11:09 AM
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                  >I'm interested in one that does not have much weight increase (Still
                  >Light) and is not toooo expensive. I hate carrying extra batteries
                  >all the time. Any help will be appreciated. Sally
                  >

                  You might want to look in ''The Complete Walker IV'', they have a
                  chapter on solar chargers and how to make one really cheap and
                  light. I suggest you go check at 'solar world' for the solar panels,
                  the battery pack you could buy at radio-shack. It's just a matter of
                  wiring 2 panels in parallel to augment the output and rig it to the
                  top of your pack. You should be able to charge 2 AA batteries in
                  about 12h of dim light with a 4 oz unit. I'll try to get you the
                  specs tomorrow
                  -franc
                • Sally Kelley
                  Thanks Francois. Sally Francois wrote: I m interested in one that does not have much weight increase (Still ... You might want to look
                  Message 8 of 11 , Apr 22 11:32 AM
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                    Thanks Francois. Sally

                    Francois <franczazou@...> wrote:
                    >I'm interested in one that does not have much weight increase (Still
                    >Light) and is not toooo expensive. I hate carrying extra batteries
                    >all the time. Any help will be appreciated. Sally
                    >

                    You might want to look in ''The Complete Walker IV'', they have a
                    chapter on solar chargers and how to make one really cheap and
                    light.  I suggest you go check at 'solar world' for the solar panels,
                    the battery pack you could buy at radio-shack.  It's just a matter of
                    wiring 2 panels in parallel to augment the output and rig it to the
                    top of your pack.  You should be able to charge 2 AA batteries in
                    about 12h of dim light with a 4 oz unit.  I'll try to get you the
                    specs tomorrow
                    -franc


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                  • ra1@imrisk.com
                    ... I think you will find that it is VERY easy to get a ride from Newfound gap to Gatlinburg if you desire. It is slightly harder to get from there to the
                    Message 9 of 11 , Apr 22 11:36 AM
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                      Quoting Sally Kelley <sallylou302004@...>:

                      > Thanks Risk. That's the input I was needing. I knew that light would be
                      > limited but the only problem is that there are no resupply areas in the
                      > Smokies. I'll try to carry enough extras to hopefully last until I get to
                      > Mountain Momma's near I-40. (I've been there before on a short to Max Patch.
                      > Thanks again. Sally
                      >
                      >
                      I think you will find that it is VERY easy to get a ride from Newfound gap to
                      Gatlinburg if you desire. It is slightly harder to get from there to the gap.
                      However, the folks at the outfitter in town are usually in knowledge of someone
                      that will be going up a couple times a day. It makes a great mid point of the
                      hike and a nice dinner in town.

                      Have a great walk...
                    • thru_hike@yahoo.com
                      Can t speak to solar but can speak to cameras in general. I got them all, perhaps my quick characterization will help? - 35mm SLR (too heavy and delicate for
                      Message 10 of 11 , Apr 22 3:54 PM
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                        Can't speak to solar but can speak to cameras in
                        general. I got them all, perhaps my quick
                        characterization will help?

                        - 35mm SLR (too heavy and delicate for the trail)

                        - digital (also too heavy and sucks up batteries to
                        produce poorer quality pictures than any 35mm); this
                        is also the highest priced option

                        - Olympus Stylus 35mm "weatherproof", make sure to use
                        spot mode exposure, inexpensive ($100), lighter than
                        the other two options, gets at least 15 rolls to the
                        battery.

                        My experience is I take about one or two pictures a
                        day, but then I'm usually traveling alone; how many
                        pictures of trees or empty shelters can I stand - you
                        know?! Obviously this would change with a partner or
                        group or special interest; anyway I could get by with
                        a 36 exposure or 2x 24 exposure rolls for a two week
                        trip.

                        You didn't mention any special radio features, so I
                        don't know if this fits your needs but you might
                        consider this:

                        Product : Digisette FM-Xtra Radio
                        Price : $15.00
                        Item # : 708712

                        Click here to see it:

                        http://www.rei.com/webservices/rei/DisplayStyle/708712?source=9039
                        Here's what your friend had to say:

                        Don't know what (solar) radio you intend to take, but
                        this is only 1.2oz

                        Good luck.

                        SnakeBelly
                        --- ra1@... wrote:
                        > Quoting Sally Kelley <sallylou302004@...>:
                        >
                        > > I am in the process of backpacking for two weeks
                        > on the AT and intend to use
                        > > my digitial camera and radio. Does anyone on this
                        > list have experience with
                        > > solar rechargers? I'm interested in one that does
                        > not have much weight
                        > > increase (Still Light) and is not toooo expensive.
                        > I hate carrying extra
                        > > batteries all the time. Any help will be
                        > appreciated. Sally
                        > >
                        > Sally,
                        >
                        > I have lots of experience with solar recharging.
                        > Simple answer: Don't.
                        >
                        > All the options for solar charging small batteries
                        > are expensive and heavy and
                        > nearly useless under all those leaves that are about
                        > to pop out of the trees.
                        > <snip>

                        =====
                        A bad day of hiking is better than any good day at the office.







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                      • Crash
                        try http://windupradio.com
                        Message 11 of 11 , Apr 26 6:34 AM
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                          try http://windupradio.com

                          > Quoting Sally Kelley <sallylou302004@...>:
                          >
                          > > I am in the process of backpacking for two weeks on the AT and
                          > intend to use
                          > > my digitial camera and radio. Does anyone on this list have
                          > experience with
                          > > solar rechargers? I'm interested in one that does not have much
                          > weight
                          > > increase (Still Light) and is not toooo expensive. I hate
                          > carrying extra
                          > > batteries all the time. Any help will be appreciated. Sally
                          > >
                          > Sally,
                          >
                          >
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