Small solar panel for charging 18650's+ question?

Scotty321

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I was wondering... In 2012, I tested a small GZ Nomad 7 solar panel for charging my phone and tablet if I had no access to power. It worked, albeit slowly (had to turn the tablet off to see any progress). However, with more modern power hungry devices, would this still work with the these solar panels?

I came across a review or two of newer models of my GZ solar panel. IIRC, the reviewers measured something like 0.9 amps with good sunlight. Would this work, for example, if plugged into one of these newer 18650's or 21700's with the USB connection on the protection circuitry? Does it matter whether it's USB-C or micro USB? I understand it would take a LONG time, just wondering if it's feasible.

Just things I'm thinking about that I can't really test outside while it's 0 degrees F outside... or don't feel like trying with this weather.

At the time, GZ suggested charging the 4xAA NiMH battery bank, and then charging the devices off the battery bank. I think the newer GZ battery banks are Li. Is there something in the newer models that makes it work better with the Li battery banks? I would assume this might also mean that it might work better with Li powered devices.

If anyone was wondering, I did charge my old Samsung Galaxy 5 phone when traveling a couple times with the old Nomad 7 setup.
 

Lynx_Arc

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Most people charge a larger power bank (lithium ion) and use that to power chargers for batteries or devices. As for testing a solar cell try going to the side of the house that the sun comes through on.
4AA nimh power banks are just not that useful as a single 18650 of 3000mah has more power than 4AA nimh cells and is smaller in volume and easier to deal with, a 2x18650 is even better and can be bought for under $10 if you shop around. You can get 10,000 and 20,000mah power banks that can be very useful.
As "romantic" as a solar cell panel sounds, saving the world by solar charging batteries may sound dreamy but in reality it can be a waste of money if you have access to power and proper chargers to take advantage of and extra batteries and power banks to charge up so you have power when away from a recharging solution.
 

Scotty321

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No romanticism here. I've used it when traveling when power wasn't available. Some places or remote areas simply don't have reliable nor constant electricity to rely on for week+ long ventures. I was just thinking if I needed to upgrade that kit, or if it would still work in a pinch with the newer phones, flashlights, etc. that I've switched to with USB C and 5000+ mAh batteries... mostly for emergencies.

For example, one trip I was on a small island where I had cellular internet and phone available 24 hours per day, but the power was only available a few hours per day. Sometimes having a portable power recharge source let me charge either my tablet, camera, or phone, and or backup a little when the power was down, so I could keep working with limited interruption.

Also, I don't know if they changed policies lately, but when I was flying, there were restrictions on Li power banks, hence the NiMH option... at least with the country or two where I was using local airlines.
 

Buck91

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I really enjoy using the xstar pb2 as a travel charger and powerbank. Charges fast, holds two removable 18650 cells and can recharge about 2 cell phones. Or the new version does 21700 for even more capacity. Match cell types with your primary light and your double good.

I also scored a “21w” triple panel solar usb charger on an amazon lightning deal a couple years ago that’s surprisingly effective. Looks like it’s no longer stocked but it was a “power green” brand and measures about 25x11 inches unfolded and open.
 

Scotty321

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I really enjoy using the xstar pb2 as a travel charger and powerbank. Charges fast, holds two removable 18650 cells and can recharge about 2 cell phones. Or the new version does 21700 for even more capacity. Match cell types with your primary light and your double good.

I also scored a “21w” triple panel solar usb charger on an amazon lightning deal a couple years ago that’s surprisingly effective. Looks like it’s no longer stocked but it was a “power green” brand and measures about 25x11 inches unfolded and open.

Thanks for the suggestions. Do you know if there is a similar product to the Xtar PB2S that fits the longer protected 21700's?
 

Scotty321

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I think I read in the reviews that the PB2S won't fit the 21700 protected cells like I use from Nitecore and Acebeam. I'll have to do more digging.
 

maxx44

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Scotty321, for the first time I would try something like 12V 30A dual battery charging 100w solar flex bundle, or couple of such solar kits. My neighbor has such panels, and it works perfectly for his needs, including basic appliances, as he says. You can take a look at this Renogy web resource I've found few weeks ago ( site: https://www.renogy.com/solar-panels/ ), and maybe you will find some great solar panels and inverters for your specific needs. I still hesitate and cannot choose between three different models of solar panels.
 
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5S8Zh5

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In 2012, I tested a small GZ Nomad 7 solar panel for charging my phone and tablet if I had no access to power.

Scotty321, Do these require direct sunlight? I know I can leave my Casio GW-5000-1JF next to a (non-direct sunlight receiving) sliding glass door and it stays charged at the full mark.

Or maybe direct sunlight charges faster?
 
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