Most of our solar panels have an option of (or include) a female cigarette lighter adapter. This allows you to plug in your 12 volt appliance just like you would if you were plugging it into your car’s cigarette lighter adapter.
How do I make sure not to overcharge my battery?
Most solar panels have charge controllers built into them so you won’t overcharge your battery. And if you are producing less than 10 Watts of total power, then you really don’t have anything to worry about. But if the solar panel does not have a charge controller built-in, or if you want to increase charging power (to more than 10 watts) by linking multiple solar panels together, the best thing to do is use a separate charge controller to protect the battery from becoming overcharged.
How much power will it take to power my laptop?
While that answer can vary greatly depending on the model (and what functions the laptop is performing), it typically takes somewhere between 45 and 65 watts to power a laptop.
What’s the deal with DC vs. AC current?
DC stands for direct current, and AC stands for alternating current. The real difference between the two is how the current travels – all in one constant direction (in the case of DC current), or in an alternating back-and-forth flow (in the case of AC current). Solar panels (and batteries) create a DC current. The wall socket in your house is outputting an AC current. Consequently DC appliances work great with solar power. To use an AC electronic appliance on a DC circuit you will need to us an inverter. And it is definitely worth noting that there is usually an energy loss of 10% during the conversion process accomplished by an inverter.
Why would a backpacker want a rigid solar cell?
A rigid solar cell can provide a solution that is a little more cost efficient than one of the ultra-portable types. These cells are perfect to leave in your vehicle to keep the vehicle’s battery fully charged while you are away on your trek. The smaller units will maintain your batteries’ charge level, while the larger units can actually charge up a weak battery.
How can I use solar at night?
The best way to use solar power is to charge batteries during the day, and use the batteries at night.
What things do I need to consider when deciding how much power I need?
First you will want to check our charge time chart to see typical charge times in full sun conditions. Then think about the number of hours per day you will be able to collect full sun in your area, in your situation. The time of year may affect your available light conditions as well. If you think 10 watts of power will suit your needs, then you might want to get a 20 watt panel, so even during slight overcast time when the panel might only produce 50% of it's capacity, you'll still get the 10 watts you need.
your most adventuresome expeditions. The Solar Power Store is a division of ROC Gear, Inc., your online specialty gear supplier. In case you need other
outdoor gear, be sure to check out our other specialty sites at www.rocgear.com. ROC Gear is located at 116 Commerce Commons, Commerce, GA 30529.