Published Date 2/15/12 12:57 PM

The solar vagabond. Move your office to a beach or mountain-top far away from the power lines and keep connected. I have been testing and working with solar tech for years and will do a presentation of new and old toys.  With advice on which gear to buy/not buy for your laptop/mobile. Feel free to bring your own gear! 

The exampes I give here are from two of my less successful solar experdions. 

Fri 17th February 6.30pm

This is 32W soild panel with 2nd generation lithium battery

This was a more robust solution, but it had many problems, the second generation battery would not pass throug power while charging thus was very limited in use. And the set-up was 3x as heavy as the flexible panel limiting its use to more long term set-ups rather than vagabonding. This set-up hasn’t been fully tested yet.

Equipment: Thinkpad T410 and Panasonic 900 AVHCh

Not used yet due to carrying weight issues.

0.2w USB 4xNiMH phone charger

A very cheap, 10 and 10 for the battery’s. This worked, but it would take 2-3 days of sun to power the phone for one charge, and the NiMH battery’s had a high self discharge rate thus would lose power as fast as they gained it on low sun days. This kit kinda worked, so I bought a second one, I use it mostly as a USB backup charger for my citizen journalism work – with the recharging coming from the laptop USB not the solar panels. On the Greek island trip I would use a car lighter USB charger to recharge the NiMH battery pack for later phone charging, with the solar part being marginally useful.

HTC Desire Z and Nokia 95B

Used on wild camping trip to Greek island beach for one month.