Charging batteries off of a solar panel?

Austin Greene

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Jan 6, 2012
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Mountain View, California
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Update: link fixed

Hello everyone,

So I've got an interesting proposition for you to ponder. This spring break I will likely be doing a road trip or camping trip, and I don't expect to be near civilization too much. I also might end up doing a 3 month internship in Alaska's backcountry this summer, so the question I'm asking applies to both occasions.

Anyways, I have one of these portable solar panels. Just ignore the poor review, mine works great. The panel came with an adapter to charge things which have a car-charger end to them. My plan is to pick up one of these battery chargers, which I have had great success with in the past.

The idea is that since the panel obviously can't put out the 110 needed by the regular charger, it might be able to put out enough with the car-charger end on it to charge a battery over a day or so. Basically, while I'm out and about, I would likely have the panel back at camp setup with a battery charging.

My only concern, is if this would result in any negative effects on the battery from being drip-charged over a couple hours? While I could probably stretch a few batteries over my upcoming camping trip, I'm trying to come up with a workable solution for if I wind up in Alaska this summer. Its not like I can tote 3 months worth of batteries into the Alaskan backcountry should I get selected, and I would love a way to bring my T3i along along with a huge stack of memory cards. I'm just brainstorming right now, but do you see any problems?



P.S: In bright sunlight, the panel can charge a cellphone in 2 hours.
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I don't think you'll have negative effects by drip charging them. That being said, you can pick up a couple batteries for under $10.00 on amazon, so not much to loose even if it did have some negative effects. I would however make sure you do a good full initial charge if you do pick up those cheapo batteries.
I can't get the first link to work but you could get a small 12-volt battery (eg. motorcycle battery or 8 D recharable batteries hooked up in series) to hook the solar panel to and then run your camera battery off the 12-volt battery which should supply a constant charge...
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