Author Topic: Recommend a solar pane for a bicycle tour  (Read 1255 times)

ausvegguykk

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Recommend a solar pane for a bicycle tour
« on: November 27, 2016, 10:01:59 PM »
Hi everyone, i am going on a bicycle tour in january, middle of the australian summer, so i will most likely have ideal conditions for solar panels alot of the time, aswell as direct exposure

i want to get a solar panel or solar power bank that i can attach to the back of my bike, that i can use to keep an iphone 6s and a GPS unit (garmin) charged without having to stop for extended periods of time in town.

can anyone give me some suggestions on what i should look at? being in australia, i don't have access to amazon, so aliexpress.ebay are probably my best options.

shaun

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Re: Recommend a solar pane for a bicycle tour
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2016, 09:33:01 AM »
I don't know about a solar panel as that's what I came here to research also but I would recommend another power source - yourself.

I tour with a front hub generator or "dynamo" if you prefer the old school term. I use a Shimano 3N-DH80 hub which, like all hubs, is rated at 6v-3w. It's at the top of Shimano's range. They do cheaper hubs also. The SP dynamos like the PD-8 also get good reviews as do the expensive SON hubs.

From the hub you then need something to convert 6v to USB's 5v and regulate it. I use a Busch + Müller USB-Werk. This only outputs a USB friendly 5v at 500mA though I've seen it get up to 1A when pedalling faster. The also make a device called the eWerk which has variable output. Personally I don't see the point these days as almost everything I have takes a USB power supply.

The USBWerk also has a built in cache battery which is useful for cycling. When you stop, the hub stops charging of course. This causes some phones and devices to switch their screen on and warn you they've stopped charging. Some require you to press a button to continue. As you can gather, this is a major annoyance. The USBWerk has a very small built in cache battery which smoothes out this annoyance by storing a few minutes charge so you're not bombarded by messages. The eWerk relies on an addon cache battery or you can use a USB powerbank that allows 'pass through charging'. ie. it charges while discharging. Importantly, you need a battery that will automatically start charging itself when it has a power source applied and one that will charge your phone/device without you having to press a button to start. A lot of powerbanks have cut out circuits that switch off when the voltage drops. If you have to press a button to start them again - that's annoying fast.

There are other solutions such as Sinewave, ThePlug and a new device I'm looking into from Igaro which seems to allow up to 3A output.