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Survival and Preparations Long and short term survival and 'prepping'.

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  #1  
Old 09-15-2020, 1:21 PM
GreatScott113 GreatScott113 is offline
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Default Anyone made a small DIY solar power bank?

Hi everyone,

I've started to research what is involved with setting up a small solar power bank and was curious if anyone here has gone through it themselves. It would be used to recharge phones, radios, small things... not run a fridge or anything like that.

In my head I could set up a single small panel on my roof over the garage, wire it up to a controller/battery and then basically forget about it until the power went out. I have no experience with solar so not sure if there are maintenance things I'm forgetting about but figured this would be a good forum to ask.
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Old 09-15-2020, 2:39 PM
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For emergency charging of small items (e.g. phone, power bank) I use the GoalZero Nomad (or similar brands.) These solar panels have built-in USB ports, which they can directly charge phones, power banks, lights, etc.

The Nomad came in different sizes, for different needs.





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Old 09-15-2020, 3:12 PM
Duck Killer Duck Killer is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreatScott113 View Post
Hi everyone,

I've started to research what is involved with setting up a small solar power bank and was curious if anyone here has gone through it themselves. It would be used to recharge phones, radios, small things... not run a fridge or anything like that.

In my head I could set up a single small panel on my roof over the garage, wire it up to a controller/battery and then basically forget about it until the power went out. I have no experience with solar so not sure if there are maintenance things I'm forgetting about but figured this would be a good forum to ask.
Harbor freight has a 100 watt system that I have used the hell out of.
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Old 09-15-2020, 3:40 PM
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Something plug and play and designed to be completely mobile in a second is something like a GoalZero or Jackery type powerstation combined with a solar panel kit

They come in all kinds of sizes and power levels and are basically a big battery (li-ion) that is designed to keep lower power electronics powered ... combined with a solar kit they are a useful tool with a warranty but cost $ They charge in 5 or so hours depending on the solar setup and can be charged from mains or 12v car charger

You can McGiver a kit yourself with solar panels and batteries for way less $ if you are so inclined and do the research

https://www.survivalistboards.com/ Is a good place for interesting discussions on it
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Old 09-15-2020, 3:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duck Killer View Post
Harbor freight has a 100 watt system that I have used the hell out of.
Are the new 100w kits easy to connect together in parallel? I knew you could combine some of the old 45watt kits.
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Last edited by Adam25; 09-15-2020 at 4:23 PM..
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Old 09-15-2020, 7:03 PM
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Also checkout Costco for its 100W Solar Panel with Charge Controller (12V.)

It is on sale for $119.99 now. Just connect the two cables to a 12V car battery, for a simple solution.

https://www.costco.com/coleman-100w-...100389117.html

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The Coleman® 100 Watt 12-Volt Solar Kit features high efficiency crystalline solar cells and includes an 8.5 A charge controller to protect 12-volt batteries from overcharging and prevent battery discharge during the night. Ideal for boats, RVs, sheds, cabins or cottages where little electricity is available, this kit is easy to install and maintenance-free.
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Old 09-15-2020, 8:16 PM
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That costco deal looks good. About 10 years ago i put a 50 watt panel with charge controller with a quality 12v AGM battery. Knowing deep cycles need to be cycled, i put a 12v powered timer/relay on there to run my landscape lighting every night for about 3 hours to work the bqttery out. Charge by day, drain by night. I was always going to buy another 50 watt panel but never got around to it. The idea was to have reliable backup power when needed to run my laptop, etc. in an extended power outage. That darn thing has been absolutely reliable all this time. Every time i come home and see the landscape lights on in the front yard i am amazed...zero maintenance and counting but i figure that battery is on borrowed time by now.
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Old 09-15-2020, 10:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axhoaxho View Post
For emergency charging of small items (e.g. phone, power bank) I use the GoalZero Nomad (or similar brands.) These solar panels have built-in USB ports, which they can directly charge phones, power banks, lights, etc.

The Nomad came in different sizes, for different needs.





This. You can save money by doing it yourself, but there's a bit of know-how needed. A lot of new players emerged in the last few years providing OOTB solutions within a single unit. These are "solar generator" solutions that actually aren't generators at all-- they are a grab-and-combo of 1-battery, 2-charge controller (to manage input of power), and 3- inverter (converts battery power into usable 110v 3-prong plugs). Often they'll also have a 12v out and USB out.

Easy way to buy your way into a solution is to buy a 'solar generator' then buy a compatible solar panel (there are usually tons).

Building one yourself means you'll need to buy all 3 components and wire it yourself (4 counting solar panels), but will give you additional flexibility on solar panel brands and configurations.

Edit: if it's just for emergencies I wouldn't mount it for several reasons. Just keep it in storage and whip it out on a flat surface in the yard when needed.
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Last edited by envelope; 09-15-2020 at 10:25 PM..
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  #9  
Old 09-15-2020, 11:55 PM
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Made a solar power bank for about $100. Here are the specs:
-plastic 30 cal ammo can
-12v 16ah LiPo4 battery
-10amp solar charge controller
-QC 3.0 usb ports with voltage meter
-12V cigarette plug
-12V battery terminals
-LED light
-SAE plug for DC charging from wall or solar panel
-each accessary port/plug/terminal has it's own On/Off switch

For low draw accessaries and charging phones you are good to go. Just keep in mind this setup is just under 200wh and weigh less than 8lbs. Throw in a flexable $30 20 watt panel and as long as you have sunshine, you'll have limited power during day and night.
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Last edited by michaelf3; 09-16-2020 at 12:19 AM..
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  #10  
Old 09-16-2020, 9:24 AM
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I keep a deep cycle 12v batt with a wall trickle charger on 24/7 and a solar trickle charger when there's a need for it. Solar works, but is slow and cumbersome.

My batt is mainly used for jump starts and backup battery charges for AA's and the like when the need arises. HAM ht radios and radio AM/FM for info etc.

I made a power charge station with cig lighter receivers, so I can plug in and charge radio/ht batts faster. That 12v can run and do a lot of work before it starts to limp. Portable with a batt carrier and it'll fit in my truck in case that batt sheets the bed. I can break it all down and go mobile (vehicle). NOT pack friendly.
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Old 09-16-2020, 10:12 AM
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And keep in mind that most panels will, on the average, only produce half of the stated power. So, if you need 50 watts, buy a 100 watt panel.
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Old 09-17-2020, 7:31 AM
GreatScott113 GreatScott113 is offline
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Awesome info, thanks for the help everyone
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