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Home Forums General Discussion At home solar for phones, laptops etc?

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    Hi guys, just new to this whole off-grid thing but really getting in to it!

    I have a question though..It seems to me that you can either buy small solar power gadgets or the big systems for your whole house? Because what I would like, just as a small start, is a solar system which I can just use to recharge my phone, laptop etc at home. Does anyone know of such a thing, especially not too expensive <1000dollars)? :) Or am the only one looking for such a device haha

    any comments are very much welcome, thanks alot!

    regards, Quinten


    I am not sure what is commercially available to accomplish the tasks of cell phone charging, laptops, etc. However, building something up to accomplish the task could definitely be done for under $1000. Depending on how many phones and laptops you are trying to charge at once would define what size(power rating) of a PV panel to use.

    If I were doing something like that it would have a panel(sized accordingly to some other factors), charge controller, a to be defined small 12 volt battery. As long as the devices you need to charge have 12 volt adapters available then by having your “system” have its own 12 volt battery you could charge your cellphone/laptop at night or on cloudy days by using the stored energy in the systems 12 volt battery. One definitely would want the power system protected with fuses for safety.

    I started out eons ago with a single 18 watt panel(circa 1980), a RV/marine battery to run a single radio and light for “fun”. Now living ‘almost’ off-grid with 2200 watts of PV, 300 watt wind gen and 20kwh of batteries.


    Marshall, IL


    Hi Bob,

    thank you for your reply! Your own example is quite impressive btw!

    Although it sounds like a great setup, I was more looking for a pre-fab

    system, one that can be installed by a-technical people like me;)

    Anyone else has a clue as to any commercial products for the recharging

    of mobile phones, Ipods, laptops etc?



    Amsterdam, Netherlands


    Hi Quinten,

    For cell phone charging, there are a number of small PV panels that will output slightly more than 5 volts. Look at any sporting goods store or recreational equipment store.

    For laptops, if you don’t want to do any assembly, check out the Powergorilla and Solargorilla line of products. [U.K.] Looking at the specs, this would good for intermittant use. Not suitable for MacBook. About twice as much cost for half the capability of the do-it-yourself system. Reviewed favorably by

    For my cell phones and laptops, I am using a standard 40 watt panel with SunSaver charge controller and 100 amp hour lead acid battery to power lights and two 12 volt car outlets. You can use a small inverter to power your AC laptop charger or in the case of some small netbook computers, just plug the 12 volts directly into your 12 volt netbook with the correct adapters (warranty invalid). Car chargers work for the cell phones. You might also look at the IGO ( line of products to go from 12 volts to various other electronic equipment.

    I also power a Wilson Electronics cell-phone amplifier connected to a Yagi antenna with this system to provide remote internet connectivity.

    My power tool batteries are recharged from a 12 volt power tool battery car charger which recharges 14.4, 19.2 and 24 volt power tool batteries. You can use up your reserve battery power if you are not careful.

    I did have to fire up the generator once in July 2008 due to extended cloudy weather.


    near Wasilla, Alaska


    There are possibilities to have these gadgets which will allow the use of solar panels. These gadgets will help save lots of energy and save the earth from global warming.

    I’ve been promoting and making people aware of LED bulbs. With replacement of energy efficient bulbs like the LED bulbs, even the solar energy panels will store more power. We must bring the change and start right from our homes.


    Betty Lowe

    Be Energy Efficient

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