Charging mobiles using solar...

Submitted: Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 16:03
ThreadID: 19150 Views:2290 Replies:3 FollowUps:3
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Afternoon all,

Hope everyone had a good Chrissie & New Year. While I was lounging around the shore of Lake Eildon over the break (and drinking copious amounts of alcohol - hmmm, could explain the question!), I got to thinking about charging a mobile phone using solar. Specifically, those el-cheapo 100 milli-amp jobs that you can get from the discount auto stores for around $30-$40... Has anyone had any experience with these? The way I understand it, the panel's output is in the form of a normal 12V cigarette lighter - can you just buy a female adapter to allow you to plug the phone charger in one end and the solar in the other, and away you go? Do they put out enough power to adequately charge a phone?

Thanks in advnace,
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Reply By: hl - Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 16:29

Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 16:29

The current rating would be adequate at 100mA. However, it may well put out too high a voltage on a light load, you need to check that. If you can measure more than 15V without a load, you may fry your charger.
AnswerID: 91798

Follow Up By: Member - T-bone (ACT) - Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 16:35

Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 16:35
Being the electronic-idiot that I am, I hadn't thought of that. Will tear myself away from Summernats tomorrow and check if the panels already have a limiter in place. Otherwise, Jaycar may have something similar... Thanks for the input hl.

FollowupID: 350595

Follow Up By: David Au - Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 16:41

Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 16:41
The majority of mobile phone chargers are 12v to 24vDC. Check to see the rating on the label. All the phone chargers I have are.
FollowupID: 350599

Reply By: David Au - Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 16:36

Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 16:36
Jaycar have the ZM9016 1.26 watt panel for $39.95 incl GST and would do the job admirably, or you can go for a better quality panel with a 20 year warranty Suntech 2 watt $59.00 incl GST
There is a large number of small solar panels sold for all types of applications. Touring cyclists have become an interesting use. They buy a 5w, 12w or 20w panel and gel cell to charge their mobile phone, power their radio, Casio LCD TV and run the fluoro light in the camp. Basically within reason nothing you cannot power from solar.
AnswerID: 91800

Follow Up By: Member - T-bone (ACT) - Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 16:59

Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 16:59
Thanks David, I'll also swing by Jaycar tomorrow and have a look...

FollowupID: 350613

Reply By: John - Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 19:40

Friday, Jan 07, 2005 at 19:40
Hi T-Bone
I dont think you find the current supply of a small panel wont be adequate to directly charge the phone.
My present phone _Affordable_Storage_Drawers.aspx 0.46 A when charging from 12V. My old phone was about 0.6A from memmory.
Each phone will be different but unless it has a very slow charge from 12V (say 15 hours to charge) I think the current supply will be too little. To connect a multimeter and measure the current is not difficult.
One way to overcome this would be to use a small solar panel to charge a small gel battery. These are quite cheap say $25 but you also need some a regulator.
Be carefull not to cut off the cig lighter plug as many of these contain some of the chargimg circuit.
Cheers John
AnswerID: 91834

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