Solar Battery Chargers

The Best Guide To Solar Panel ConstructionA solar battery charger is a popular portable device to charge pretty much anything, including rechargeable batteries, digital cameras, cell phones, laptops, PDA, MP3, and much more. Solar battery chargers are lightweight and foldable devices that can be used anytime the sun is out. Many solar chargers will also charge in overcast conditions. Solar chargers are a perfect portable application, which can be used for hiking, camping, and any other outdoor activities.

There are automotive solar chargers (great for cars, trucks, RV's, ATVs, tractors, mowers, and motorcycles), marine solar chargers (weatherproof designs for boats), PDA solar chargers (shatterproof devices for multiple charging units can be used to charge your PDA, iPod, cell phones, or any other low voltage battery device), and travel solar chargers (compact solar chargers for travel). Solar powered chargers can even be set up to supply your backwoods cabin with electric.

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The size of a solar battery charger will vary based on the intended use. For instance, a cell phone solar charger is very small, while an auto battery charger can be huge. Large or small, solar chargers are extremely easy to use and maintenance free.

What you need to remember is that even the almighty solar energy has its limits. For instance, if you need to recharge a battery for an RV, boat, backwoods cabin, or house, it may take several days to charge such a large battery, even with direct sunshine and under ideal summertime light conditions. Overcast sky, shadows, or improper mounting angle will reduce the solar panel output.

Here are a few tips for those who wish to construct a solar battery charger with their own two hands:

  • Before purchasing solar cells or panels for your solar battery charger, calculate how many watts you will want it to produce per day. First estimate your electrical requirements, and then check the amount of watts that a panel is rated to produce. Base your solar panel efficiency calculations on direct sunlight, but also compensate for clouds, shade, panel angle, etc. Note that solar panels are rated for bright direct sunlight, so it's a good idea to always over-size your solar array to compensate for any possible variables that would decrease the output.

  • Remember that you'll need to use a solar charge controller with solar panels that have over 5W rated output. A charge controller will help to improve charge quality, as well as to prevent battery overcharge and discharge (under low light conditions). Solar controllers act similar to an on/off switch for the power passing into the battery.

  • Even though most solar devices are 12-24 DC Volt panels, solar panels can be wired in series to deliver 24, 36, 48, and more DC Volts.

  • The solar-generated 12 VDC power can be converted into regular 110 VAC with the aid of an inverter. However, note that changing power types wastes generated power.

  • Can you operate devices directly from your solar battery charger? Yes, you can, if these devices are not sensitive to voltage sags. The best way to operate most electric devices would be through a battery, which would provide stable and reliable power.

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