But let’s say you want to create enough solar power to run your laptop – not just charge it up slowly. When you feed the laptop with enough wattage to run (from your solar panels) all by itself, you are really just feeding the laptop’s battery with energy, and letting the battery run the laptop. So while it appears that you are powering your laptop you are just charging the battery (at a rate faster than the laptop is consuming), and the battery is doing the work of regulating the energy for you.
In fact most of the electronic devices you want to power already have batteries built-in to regulate the power. Electronic devices like a cell phone, GPS unit, PDA, digital camera, MP3 player, camcorder, portable DVD player, or even a satellite phone – all have the rechargeable battery built-in, and are solar power ready.
And finally, how much power is needed for your charging needs? The chart below shows typical charge times (measured in hours) for various wattage solar panels in good sunlight conditions.
The information in the above chart represents typical charge times in good sunlight conditions. These approximations may not be suitable for all electronic items in all sunlight conditions. For real world varying light conditions you may want to plan for as much as double your anticipated wattage needs.
(C) Typical charge time, measured in hours
(R) Typically enough power to run constantly (charging faster than usage)
(T) Only enough power to trickle charge the battery to slowly gain power
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