/ Expedition Solar Panels

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RKernan - on 26 Apr 2012
I'm heading with an expedition to the Tien Shan in Kyrgyzstan for a month in August. Currently organising logistics etc.
Does anyone have any advice for solar charging for a satellite phone, 6 2-way radios and cameras?
Is a freeloader globetrotter going to be enough? What about a solargorilla, and if so is some sort of battery storage (like the freeloader or powergorilla) necessary?
Lastly, will a freeloader battery work with a solargorilla? Powergorillas are bloody expensive!

Denni on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to RKernan:

Don't know anything about the Gorillas but the last 2 times I have been in the Himalayas, we used Brunton chargers.

Be buggered if I can remember the model but they worked for the phones, radio's, camera batteries and the laptops.

Good bit of kit and were abused and faired very well.

Have a good time!
Hope this helps, Den
AJ Trevor on 26 Apr 2012 - []
In reply to RKernan:

I used a FreeLoader with the supercharger add on panel to succesfully keep a copmact digital camera, a mobile phone, an MP3 player and a couple of AA rechargables topped up for 3 weeks on a cycle tour not long ago.

I think if you want to charge higher drain items like VHF radios, sat phones and DSLRs then you will need both a bigger panel and a bigger storage cell - which means a bigger price tag.

You are only going for 4 weeks so you may find it easier and cheaper to use disposable batteries. You can get AA trays for most good VHF's and many Sat phones. take a camera that loads standard NiMh or Li Ion cells
In reply to RKernan:

I've used the 12-watt version of this:

They're excellent.
matthewtraver - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to RKernan:

I've used a Brunton Explorer Foldable SP previously with similar charging requirements (sat. phone, 2-3 radios, cameras, iPods etc.). It worked well and I can't criticise it (will be using it again this summer). I've heard Freeloaders are little under-powered/not as efficient (apparently), but I don't have first hand experience with the Freeloaders.
butteredfrog - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to RKernan:

I used a Freeloader globetrotter in nepal last year to charge a camera and an ipod.
Thought it was rubbish, managed to charge the ipod 3 times, the camera battery (compact nothing massive) I had to resort to charging in teahouses.

cheers Adam
Mountain Llama on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to RKernan:

Used sun linq folding solar panel in Nepal for month long trip. Charged camera and headtorch batterys fine. Easy to position, ie just roll out on ground or use bunny to fix to tent etc Very lite and fairly indestructible but not cheap.

HTH Davey
sparkymark - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to RKernan:
Defo go with brunton. Had a freeloader pro in Nepal, totally useless, eventually died about 4500m. Just dead weight.
RKernan - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to matthewtraver:

Thanks guys!

Is this the Brunton one?

And did you use a battery device (like the freeloader or powergorilla) with it, or was it ok to charge directly from the panels?
matthewtraver - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to RKernan:

That's the one I've used. Nope, no storage/battery device. Just charged directly from the panels.
sparkymark - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to RKernan: Just testing the Brunton solaris 2, which might do you too, there's a range of sizes. Flexible panels, seem pretty hardwearing...
radson - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to RKernan:

I have the sherpa 50 with seperate inverter which is just manna from heaven. The new one out in June has a built in inverter which i think will just be perfection.
radson - on 27 Apr 2012
WILLS - on 28 Apr 2012
In reply to RKernan: i used a power monkey when in peru. worked great in the mountains and jungle. Bit strange to be in the middle of nowhere watching a film on your iPhone. The unit would charge the iPhone twice before being charged itself. The solar panel had a velcro strap so sat on the sun facing side of my rucksack. took a while may be 6 hours to completely re charge the unit. But we used it just to keep levels topped up. every day we were able to put it in the sun. Thought it was a great gadget for £60
AlH - on 28 Apr 2012
In reply to radson: Another vote for Goalzero Sherpa. Used one in Greenland last month- far superior to anything else I've tried.
SteveHolmes - on 03 May 2012
In reply to AlH:
Agreed Goal zero is the way to go. Mountain Boot Company are currently the UK distributor.
Nick Smith - Climbers - on 03 May 2012
In reply to RKernan: I've got a PowerMonkey Extreme solar panel + battery + leads for sale if anyone is interested:

RKernan - on 04 May 2012
In reply to sparkymark:
Thanks everyone!

I see the output on the Brunton solaris 2 is USB. DOes it have any other connections? or is best bet for other devices to use a battery device?

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