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Old 02-03-2014, 00:34   #1
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Dedicated Solar Panels for Laptops

There are quite a few small portable solar units available on the market for recharging iPads and iPhones (and I presume many other tablets and mobile phones)- roll out solar panels, small fold-out panels and so forth- but has anyone had any experience with portable solar units for laptops?

The was a company (called Gorilla Power or something like that) about three or four years ago that I came across who were making fold out panels that could be carried in a back pack that were specifically designed for recharging laptops, but they seem to have disappeared.

Anyone know of any products available these days?

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Old 02-03-2014, 02:31   #2
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Re: Dedicated Solar Panels for Laptops

In use I found my older Dell laptop used just over 2 amp hours depending on what the HD was doing and if the battery needed charging or was fully charged. This was using a 12 to 19v converter. If I used the house bank to convert to mains 230v and back to 19v it was even worse and used between 3 and 4 AH. In use the laptop did fluctuate quite a bit which meant measuring it at any one point difficult.

Based on this I think you will need at least 40w panel which means the smaller folding panels seen on ebay aren't going to do it for you unless you can leave the laptop charging all day somewhere secure and in direct sunlight.


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Old 02-03-2014, 04:21   #3
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Re: Dedicated Solar Panels for Laptops

As the previous poster noted, laptops need about 3 amps at 19 V. The problem is that small solar panels normally produce a maximum of 17 V. Might work and then it might not.

Someone might make a panel with extra cells that would get the voltage up to 19+ but it would be specific for charging laptops.

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Old 02-03-2014, 04:54   #4
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Re: Dedicated Solar Panels for Laptops

I picked up a Solar Gorilla a few months back as a back up power supply in the event of.... To test it out I put it out in the direct sun on my boats deck to charge the iPad from empty. It was advertised to charge from empty an iPad in 5-6hrs but I only got about 50% a full charge in about 5 hrs. While there are other factors involved in getting the optimum charge condition, it did work at the end of the day. It comes with an assortment of adapter plugs and also fits my Iridium.
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Old 02-03-2014, 05:45   #5
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Re: Dedicated Solar Panels for Laptops

The portable solar panels i've seen are either the small ones intended for charging the small devices (phone, tablet) and usually via a USB jack, or larger ones (eg 18" x 18") intended to clip across a 12v battery. I use one of the latter for topping up our trailer-sailor's single battery during the week.

The solargorilla looks neat, but they recommend that for alot of applications it's best when combined with their powergorilla which is a portable LI battery pack. For on-boat use, it would be cheaper (and more powerful) to buy a conventional 12v panel/controller and a small deep-cycle battery.
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