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Solar battery chargers that you can plug a plug into

 
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AllanH



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 76
Location: Stratford Upon Avon

PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 1:03 pm    Post subject: Solar battery chargers that you can plug a plug into Reply with quote

I wanted to ask about the availability of a solar battery charger that you can plug a typical uk plug into.
I've got a digital camera with a li-gon battery which can only be charged from its battery charger, which has a standard plug. So am I limited to only charging it from the wall socket or is there a product (portable if possible) that I can charge up from a solar panel & just plug the plug into?

On a slightly related question I've got a few bits of electrical equipment from the U.S.A. that I use a voltage converter & plug adapter to use here, some take a standard attaching lead that I could plug into a solar charger but I reckon this would break them - is there any type of voltage convertor that I could use with a solar charger?

Thanks, and apologies if these are really stupid questions.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 1:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Solar battery chargers that you can plug a plug into Reply with quote

AllanH wrote:
I wanted to ask about the availability of a solar battery charger that you can plug a typical uk plug into.
I've got a digital camera with a li-gon battery which can only be charged from its battery charger, which has a standard plug. So am I limited to only charging it from the wall socket or is there a product (portable if possible) that I can charge up from a solar panel & just plug the plug into?

.


It sounds as though you need not just a solar panel but also a battery and an inverter.

It appears that your digital camera battery charger requires a 230 volt ac supply as would be obtained from the mains.
To obtain this will require an inverter, the inverter requires a stable DC input, typically at 12 volts for small units.
The 12 volt supply should be obtained from a battery, which will be charged by a solar panel*, in most cases a charge controller will be required to avoid overcharging.

*The correct term is "PV module" in order to avoid confusion with air or water heating solar collecters, though in this case the context makes it clear what is being refered to.
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adam2
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Location: North Somerset

PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 1:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Solar battery chargers that you can plug a plug into Reply with quote

AllanH wrote:

On a slightly related question I've got a few bits of electrical equipment from the U.S.A. that I use a voltage converter & plug adapter to use here, some take a standard attaching lead that I could plug into a solar charger but I reckon this would break them - is there any type of voltage convertor that I could use with a solar charger?

Thanks, and apologies if these are really stupid questions.


I am not certain what is reffered to here, is the "standard attaching lead" a USA mains voltage lead? or a low voltage DC lead?

If a USA mains voltage lead, then you require the 12 volt battery and invertor reffered to in my first post, and also a UK 230 volt to USA 120 volt transformer. A simpler and more efficient approach might be to obtain a USA spec inverter, not readily available in the UK but mail order?

If however you are referring to low voltage DC leads, then all that is required is to ensure the solar panel/battery charger and the appliances are compatible. Neither the PV module nor the appliance "knows" what country it is in.
Note however that very few appliances will work directly from a PV module, the voltage varies too much and in most cases a battery is required.
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try here Alan

http://www.maplin.co.uk/Search.aspx?MenuNo=13001&MenuName=Solar+Battery+Chargers&FromMenu=y&doy=2m4

or if you're taking your car you can use one of these -

http://www.maplin.co.uk/Search.aspx?criteria=inverter&source=15&SD=Y
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AllanH



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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Location: Stratford Upon Avon

PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the comprehensive answer adam2

It looks like a bit of electronics would be required to fit it all together - panel & inverter but i'll look into it. Would it be ok to just connect an inverter to one of the 'Solar-Powered 12V 1.5W Battery Trickle Charger' or
'12V/ 12W Solar Battery Charger' posted by Kenneal or would I need to run them to a battery then to the inverter?. Its starting to look very unportable.

By 'standard attaching lead' I realise I'd meant an adaptor plugging into the mains & with one small cable from there to the equipment - I've checked it and its just an adaptor from AC to DC so I think I could run it directly from a solar charger.

Thanks for the links Kenneal, it looks like all of these, apart from the normal cylinder battery chargers, produce DC so I'd need to get an inverter to run a mains lead off them. Inverters do look a bit bulky though.

Thanks
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emordnilap



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can not the battery be taken from the camera and inserted into a suitably-sized solar charger when recharged?

For instance, mine has a lithium ion NP-120, marked 3.6V 1950mAh. It has three inset contacts on one edge. Is there a solar charger that these fit into?
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AllanH



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My battery is the same style - a small rectangle with 3 contact points where it fits into the recharger. I haven't seen any solar chargers that can accommodate it, I didn't really expect that there would be any as it has its own dedicated charger, though maybe someone can let us know if there is a direct attachment for a solar charger that these could be charged on?
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AllanH wrote:
My battery is the same style - a small rectangle with 3 contact points where it fits into the recharger. I haven't seen any solar chargers that can accommodate it, I didn't really expect that there would be any as it has its own dedicated charger, though maybe someone can let us know if there is a direct attachment for a solar charger that these could be charged on?


It's about time that designers got together and made things that use standard components. I've got a jumble of about a dozen different chargers for torches, phones, cameras, etc. when three at different voltages should be able to do the lot.

Perhaps post PO someone might realise their mistake.
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mikepepler
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a simple way, which I use.

I have my solar panel, 12V battery and charge controller. I've connected a couple of cables to the output of the charge controller, each with a car cigarette lighter styl;e socket on the end (get these cheap at Maplin). Themn I can plug in a range of appliances and adaptors that are designed for in-car use. No inverter required. I bought a charger for my camera battery on ebay for less than ?10 that came with a car adaptor.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AllanH wrote:
Thanks for the comprehensive answer adam2

It looks like a bit of electronics would be required to fit it all together - panel & inverter but i'll look into it. Would it be ok to just connect an inverter to one of the 'Solar-Powered 12V 1.5W Battery Trickle Charger' or
'12V/ 12W Solar Battery Charger' posted by Kenneal or would I need to run them to a battery then to the inverter?. Its starting to look very unportable.


I would advise against connecting a PV module directly to an inverter, the output of a PV module is too variable for the inverter to accept, and without any storage it wont work if the power demand exceeds the PV output even for a moment.

For a small inverter, used in sunlight, and not fully loaded, a 12 volt 7 A/H battery should be sufficient, these are cheap and portable.
An even smaller battery might be sufficient but these often cost more the 7 A/H ones.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AllanH wrote:
My battery is the same style - a small rectangle with 3 contact points where it fits into the recharger. I haven't seen any solar chargers that can accommodate it, I didn't really expect that there would be any as it has its own dedicated charger, though maybe someone can let us know if there is a direct attachment for a solar charger that these could be charged on?


I rather doubt that a solar charger is available for this type of battery.
Lithium cells and batteries require a dedicated battery charger with close control of voltage and current.
Improper charging can result in explosion and is strongly advised against.

You may however be able to obtain an in-car charger for the camera, this will require a 12 volt supply, which could be from a battery and PV module, if such is available it would avoid the cost/weight/bulk of an inverter.
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