General Question

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

Where can I get a solar panel to charge my electronics?

Asked by xxporkxsodaxx (1386 points ) July 16th, 2008

In about two weeks I am flying up to Oshkosh, WI for Airventure, a week long air show for aircraft owners and fanatics. For the people like me who fly there and camp out, they have a bathhouse to charge things like cell phones, laptop, etc. but I never have felt safe leaving my things there while they charge. So now I want to buy a solar charger so I can just let them sit in my tent with the solar charger in the sun while I go admire the air show and and planes on display on the tarmac.

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12 Answers

PupnTaco's avatar

Google “USB solar charger”

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

Already did, can’t find anything for my MacBook. Also I’m not sure how you can charge a laptop through a USB port.

PupnTaco's avatar

Ah, I thought you just needed to charge your miscellaneous electronics. Is there a USB to AC adapter you can hook the solar charger to?

The other question is: will a solar charger supply enough power to recharge your MacBook?

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

Well I might as well just find one for my MacBook because i can just charge my iPhone though my Mac.

I have no clue now much power a solar panel generates or how much power my MacBook eats up. I do have an AC-DC converter, so I could just plug that into the plane, but that would be bad for the battery and might cause complications when we decide to leave.

waterskier2007's avatar

im going to say no u probably cant generate enough power from the sun to charge a macbook. and no the idea u just said is bad because you lose power going from macbook to iphone

PupnTaco's avatar

I vote for a big-ass extension cord.

8lightminutesaway's avatar

you’ll need not only a solar panel, but also a charge controller too, so when the panel isn’t producing anything, the energy doesnt backwards. its recommended for anything above 5 watts, which a laptop definitely is. the problem is, since laptops have ac/dc adapters, you have to change the solar panels dc electricity to ac with an inverter, and the laptops adapter converts it back to dc to charge the laptop battery. someone should design something such that you can eliminate this silly step, but I’m afraid of damaging my laptops battery.

I built a solar powered phone charger, or rather it can charge anything that plugs into a cars cigarette lighter. This way I didn’t need an inverter. Solar panel—> charge controller—> battery. The charge controller also outputs 3, 6, and 12V via to 1/8 in jacks (3 and 6V) and a 1/4 in jack (12V). then I used a guitar cable (1/4 in) and soldered it to cigarette lighter type jack that I got at radioshack. works well.

If anyone has an old laptop battery that works but they don’t use I’d love to design something that eliminates the need for an inverter :) That way, we could all charge our laptops with solar power.

@ waterskier2007… the sun generates 1000W / m^2 on a perfect day at the equator. Thats a lot. and most importantly, free.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Real Goods. Nice people to deal with and they donate much of their profits to environmental and human-rights causes.

livingchoice's avatar

I bought mines from eBay. Be sure that the connection from the charger will fit your phone.
http://cgi.ebay.com/2600mAh-Solar-Battery-Power-Charger-4-Cell-Phone-Black-/350447860332?pt=PDA_Accessories&hash=item519851fa6c

They have different ones so be sure to browse before making your final selection.

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