solar power

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acrosome

solar power

Post by acrosome »

Does anyone have any recommendations for solar panels to take on longer trips to recharge radios, GPS, etc? Specifically, and obviously, something that will tolerate saltwater well. (It would be nice to mount it on the rear deck so things could recharge while paddling.)

Thanks.

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chrstjrn
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Post by chrstjrn »

Taking a page from my backpacking: take a Nikonos II and a bunch of film, instead of a digital camera-- no batteries to worry about!
Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: Early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift (prototype), as well as an '84 Hobie 16.

Alm

Post by Alm »

chrstjrn wrote:Taking a page from my backpacking: take a Nikonos II and a bunch of film, instead of a digital camera-- no batteries to worry about!
This is exactly what I do - waterproof camera and 3-4 rolls of film. Pentax 90WR with zoom, bought used for $90 more than 3 years ago, and even today the digital of comparable quality would cost me at least $300. Any supermarket will burn a CD when developing the films, if you need digital pictures. Developing +CD would've left me broke if I shot everything and everyday, but I'm using this WR it only on vacations and occasional weekends. And again, printing good color pictures from digital camera isn't totally free. WR is not for underwater shooting, but really waterproof (it dived once in the swamped boat). Only one problem - vignetting (I think this is how they call it) - darkened corners, especially apparent on blue sky. it does need batteries, but I've got impression that it will take a global circumnavigation and few kilograms of film to completely exhaust this battery (shorter and thicker than AA).

Acrosome, - forget about solars. It's a good thing if you live in a motor home, and somewhere in Baja, - not in WA. Compact radio like Sony SW 700GR runs dozens of hours on its 4 AA. GPS runs long enough on 2AA (alcaline) to complete 2-week trip, unless you want it to track your progress every few minutes, rather than just checking your location relatively to the next campsite when you don't have any visual reference, and/or paddle in unfamiliar place. With rechargeable AA the times are shorter than with alcaline (mostly because recharegeable lose the charge with time, even when turned off), but enough for a weeklong trip. On longer trips I keep a pack of spare AA in small drybag within my reach (and check the battery indicator on GPS before long passages).

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chrstjrn
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Post by chrstjrn »

Disposable waterproof cameras (film) work alright, also, as do "snapsights" cameras.
Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: Early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift (prototype), as well as an '84 Hobie 16.

acrosome

Perhaps I should be more specific...

Post by acrosome »

Point taken regarding the cameras...

My biggest concern, however, is my marine radio. I feel that I have to carry one in the areas that I want to do my 1 week+ trips, but a battery charge is only 11 hours and recall that by law if you carry a radio it must be on and monitoring channel 16. A AA-adapter is available for it, but the radio eats batteries and I'd have to carry a ton of the (non-recycleable) things.

Likewise, I may want to rent a satellite phone at some point.

The Solio, while a handy gadget, doesn't seem terribly waterproof. The Brunton SolarRoll looks like what I'm after, and is available is several sizes, but is rather expensive.

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krudave
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Re: Perhaps I should be more specific...

Post by krudave »

acrosome wrote:My biggest concern, however, is my marine radio. I feel that I have to carry one in the areas that I want to do my 1 week+ trips, but a battery charge is only 11 hours and recall that by law if you carry a radio it must be on and monitoring channel 16.
Is there a new law? IIRC, vessels which are required to have a VHF are required to monitor 16, but a sea kayak is not required to have a VHF, so I think monitoring 16 is optional for us.

I've paddled the coasts of BC and the Pacific Northwest for 10 years or so, and have never heard that before. In any case, almost all the sea kayakers I know or have met in other areas run with the radio on deck or in a PFD pocket, but turned off, and no one hassles them ... except me: I have tried, unsuccessfully, to get more of them to leave the radio on, to widen the safety net, but I think I am the ONLY sea kayaker among the 20 or so active paddlers onm the lower olumbia who does so.

Never heard that from CCG or USCG, either. Did something change?

As far as how long the battery will last, if you got the Li-ion battery, my experience is that I get about 3 days or more before I am anywhere close to running out. On a week-long trip, I'd take two Li-ion batteries, use the radio sparingly, and call it good. Can't have everything.
Last edited by krudave on Mon Nov 13, 2006 1:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
Dave Kruger
Astoria, OR
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Folbot Kodiak, Cooper, and Edisto; three hardshells; Mothership: Surf Scoter the Bartender; dinghy Little Blue Duck.

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chrstjrn
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Post by chrstjrn »

I agree that you'd have to be selective about when you turn your radio/satphone on.

Sea Kayaker did a comparison of solar-powered recharging a while ago-- sorry, can't say which issue. But it's probably just what you need for guidance.
Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: Early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift (prototype), as well as an '84 Hobie 16.

rasmusmoller

Post by rasmusmoller »

Another alternative:
SolarPac

- I have no idea if it works as advertised - but at least it ain't cheap :)

Alm

Post by Alm »

rasmusmoller wrote:Another alternative:
SolarPac

- I have no idea if it works as advertised - but at least it ain't cheap :)
What's the use... If you don't have enough panel area and enough direct sunlight (and in coastal WA you don't, especially in a moving kayak with random orientation to the sun), then having the panel flexible doesn't help. Dave is right, - there is no law to monitor Ch16, that I've heard of, and getting a spare Li battery will resolve the problem. Most likely, there will not be any problem to resolve, paddling alone or in a small group, where VHF is only used to listen to weather channels few times a day (or in emergency).

westcoastwill

Post by westcoastwill »

Here is what i use for charging my AA batteries for the VHF and GPS:

http://www.silva.se/outdoor/products/inst_solar1.htm

Its inexpensive, very small, waterproof and attatches to the rear deck and backpack ecet. Designed to hold 4 AA`s i use only two for charging, but have two Silva units.

Image

My friend Mark is using this:

http://www.canadiantire.ca/browse/produ ... Efolder_id
=1408474396672503&PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524443281867&ASSORTMENT
%3C%3East_id=1408474396670271&bmUID=1163448757388&assortment=primary
&fromSearch=true

It is not waterproof but folds down really small when not in use.

On my trips in Barkley Sound, i had the VHF allways on CH 16, you never know....

servus,

:wink:

Willi

acrosome

Re: Perhaps I should be more specific...

Post by acrosome »

krudave wrote:Is there a new law? IIRC, vessels which are required to have a VHF are required to monitor 16, but a sea kayak is not required to have a VHF, so I think monitoring 16 is optional for us.
I've read a couple of sources now that say that if you have a marine radio you must monitor 16. One was kayak-specific and did mention that personally owned (i.e. non-commercial) watercraft are not required to HAVE a marine radio unless they are of a certain size, but specified that if they DO have a marine radio then they must monitor it, too.

These sources were all websites, though none were official ones, like a USCG site or something. Or maybe I am misunderstanding what I'm reading. I'll try to find the references again.

Thanks westcoastwill, that looks like what I'm after. I can run the radio (and other things) off of rechargeable AAs.

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krudave
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Post by krudave »

acrosome,

I'm dead wrong in the US on the legal requirement to maintain a watch on Channel 16, and you are absolutely correct. Many thanks for updating the old, crusty ones, here! :lol: :wink: Following is the pertinent language, emphasis added by me; the requirement for recreational vessels to watch 16 apparently arose in 2004, and I missed it. The following is from this site: http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/marcomms/watch.htm

U.S. recreational vessels not required to carry radios, but if they do, they must be turned on and set to channel 16
Vessels not required to carry a VHF marine radio (e.g. recreational vessels less than 20m length and commercial vessels under 100 GT carrying less than 6 passengers), but which voluntarily carry a radio, must maintain a watch on channel 16 (156.800 MHz) whenever the radio is not being used to communicate. Effective 2004 if a radio is carried, it must be turned on and set to channel 16 whenever the vessel is underway.

Source: FCC 47 CFR 80.310

U.S. vessels required to carry a marine radio
U.S. vessels required to carry a VHF marine radio, such as commercial fishing vessels, must maintain a watch on channel 16 (156.800 MHZ) while underway whenever the radio is not being used for exchanging communications.

Source: FCC 47 CFR 80.148


I know for a fact this requirement is widely ignored.

I do not know if the Canadian marine regs on VHF watch have changed.

Alex? That's your bailiwick.

NB: I copied this post over to the Safety section, so it would get broader exposure.
Last edited by krudave on Tue Nov 14, 2006 1:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
Dave Kruger
Astoria, OR
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Folbot Kodiak, Cooper, and Edisto; three hardshells; Mothership: Surf Scoter the Bartender; dinghy Little Blue Duck.

mje
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Post by mje »

I have a flexible 10 watt 12volt solar panel I use to recharge a 7.5ah gel cell, and that it turn powers a small amateur radio (SGS2020) The whole thing fits in a small backpack. It occurs top me I could easily run a VHF rig and a GPS off it as well.
Michael Edelman
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VE3JC John

Post by VE3JC John »

With regard to obligatory monitoring of Ch 16, Canadian Regulations (as per RIC-23) are a bit more pragmatic: "When at sea, ships voluntarily fitted with radiotelephone equipment shoudl endeavour to keep watch on the frequency 156.800 MHz (ch 16 VHF) to the greatest practicable extent"

So this would seem to forgive "turning off the radio to save batteries". But logically, the more people monitoring, the safer we are. So if a solar panel strapped to the deck will help, its worth striving for.

In Canada, one of our favorite generic outdoor gear hangouts is "Canadian Tire", and they feature some very nice flexible solar panels that I've used for several years. The 6.5 W version is on sale this week for $80 CDN (I just bought a second one, at that price).
============================
Product #11-1856-2

* The world's highest-efficiency thin-film solar panel
* Charges most consumer electronics through barrel connector or 12V lighter adapter
* 80% lighter and 65% smaller than our Eliminator 5W panel - folds to the size of a paperback novel
* Can generate power even while strapped to tents and backpacks
* Works even in low light conditions
* Weights only 13 oz
* Converts sunlight to continuously charge Powerbox or electronics
* Includes: 12V lighter plug (male) and 12V lighter outlet (female), carrying sleeve that attaches to PowerBox 800, barrel connector to charge PowerBox 800, battery clips and extension cord
===========================

john allsop
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solar power

Post by john allsop »

If you can run a GPS from your car cigarette lighter socket, using the GPS accessory connector, why can,t you run your GPS directly from a water proofed flexable solar cell mounted on your deck, still using the connector as you would in your car. Of course you have to change the plug on the end of the solar cell from female to male. I did and it works for me. Now somone who knows about these things can tell me it should,t be done and why.

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