Light portable solar laptop power

Published Date 1/26/14 2:49 PM

This might be a good portable low powered laptop charging system.

Mercury27 Portable & Foldable 27 Watts Solar Battery Charger. I haven’t tested this and it gets mixed reviews but for bang for the buck this is a very good deal if it works. Get it here

MP3450E-60 27,000 mAh Dual External Battery Pack. For a more portable set-up you could use a single battery.

If anyone is doing a trip to the USA I would be up up for ordering one if they could brining it back to test.


Boat life ArrivIng in Little Venice

A river that needs crossing political and tech blogs – On the political side, there is arrogance and ignorance, on the geek side there is naivety and over- complexity

My videos are on these two youtube channels visionontv 3,832,876 views and undercurrents 22,689,976 views


A basic solar power setup for summer laptop use and winter lighting

Published Date 1/22/14 12:20 PM

Here are a list of components you could use to build a basic solar power set-up for powering a laptop in the summer, charging a phone and LED lighting. In the winter it would provide lighting and basic phone charging but would have problems keeping a laptop running. The images and links are just examples, you would need to research at time of buying for best cost/utility of components. Am up for consultion on this.

DIY setup

The panel goes in a sunny location (high up and out of the way) with no shade, the cable comes down to close to the battery (make up the connectors for the charge controller) connect the panel to the charge controller and the controller to the battery with as short wires as you can manage. Then the battery to the 3 way splinter, plug the 12v cigarette lighter plug into the splinter for laptop and USB charging. Wire up the LED light strips with cheap wire to the battery with a switch. Then connect the voltage meter to the battery its very important not to run the battery at less than 12v as it will permanently degrade its function after a while. Try and keep the battery full charged at 12.6v if you can, to do this it is best to use the power during full sun in the middle of the day and not at night, if you store the power to use latter you can lose as much as 40% of it…

100w solar panel from under £100

Basic Solar Charge Controller Solar Panel Battery Regulator under £20 (a 10amp charge controler is fine)

*** you will need to get the correct conecters for the cables for the charge controler you buy ***

Pre-Crimped 4mm solar panel PV cable MC4 Connectors x2  around £15


12V 110AH Leisure Battery at under £100 you could just use a old car battery, but it would degrade in 6 month to a year depending on use.

You need a “lug” to put on the top of the 12v battery to screw the connectors two and rings to put on the end of the cables




To connect things to it you need:

MULTI SOCKET CAR CIGARETTE LIGHTER SPLITTER USB PLUG CHARGER DC 12V under £10  you would need to cut the plug off and directly connect this to the battery (remmber red (white strip) goes to + and black to – if you do this wrong ones you burn out the USB sockit)

You need to make shore the 12v power suppy you get has the right tip conecter for your laptop £20-30

If you need to charge more power hungery USB devices around £10

Warm White LEDs Waterproof Flexible Strip Lighting12V, best off buying these from hongkong (less than £15) then cut it up to fit the space.


This would come to £200-250 with out the battery and take a day to put together with basic soldering/crimping skills. Probably a day to order from ebay and Amazon.


* use a volt meter to check polarity when connecting cables

* use your nose to smell for burning and look out for heat

* never plug any 12v components directly into the solar panel with out the battery in between (apart from charge controller)

* don’t run the battery under 12v for any length of time

* keep the battery full charged as much as possible

* in the summer make shore the battery is in a well ventilated space as it may produce explosive gases

* in the winter make shore the battery doesn’t freeze

* to conserve power run your laptop with its internal battery disconnected


Heading West

A river that needs crossing political and tech blogs – On the political side, there is arrogance and ignorance, on the geek side there is naivety and over- complexity

My videos are on these two youtube channels visionontv 3,832,876 views and undercurrents 22,689,976 views


Manually charging a 110 amh 12v lead acid battery

Published Date 1/7/14 11:20 AM

London hackspace is a creative space, I got the idea of manually charging the battery on the spur of the moment as the was a friendly guy doing the same “it better to do it manually” so took up the challenge, added a do-not hack sticker with contact info. Someone comment that you should mail the list, as it would be left overnight.

The “hack” bring a long term low battery back to life. It’s about 5 months old and has been running on nearly empty last 3 months due to winter sun and horizontal mounted 100w solar panel.

Observe amps coming in and voltage stability – how much has this period of light use and low power state affected it. The battery charging is more to do with learning the charge cycle of 12v lead acid battery.

Set me alarm to come back to the space at 5.00am in the morning to check: it had been charging (13.4v input) at about 1/2 amp. Somebody turned it off in the night, had left a don’t hack sticker! After turning it back on its charging at 1.14 amp so it’s recovering.  It holds voltage at 12.77 (up from 12.43)

Turn the voltage up to 14.2 in the morning and keep an eye on it, at over night rate of .5amp it would take more than 100 hours to charge to full… the ams goes up to neary 1.2 at this voltage.

Am practical learning volts and amps and charge cycles for lead acid battery’s

My gasing detector if the water goes down in the pipe… (and it dose if I increase the vots to 15 and amps to max 2.8) at low charging it doesn’t move, no need for the fire extinguishers (:

knowledge in theory solidified by knowledge by practice – exactly what a hackspace is for.