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New distributors for PowerFilm Solar panels

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by OH8STN, Dec 17, 2021.

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  1. OH8STN

    OH8STN Ham Member QRZ Page

  2. K6MTS

    K6MTS XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have not doubt they make lots of great products, but man, I had bad luck with the Powerfilm SolarMax that I really wanted to like due to the power/ah/weight ratio. Got one last spring and during testing it stopped charging, submitted vids of issue, sent it back to Powerfilm, got it back weeks later. Unfortunately same problem. Every year I do an 8 day backpacking/qrp trip and really wanted this to work but glad I found out beforehand. Stuck with Lipo and oem kx2 batts. They were frustrated too, offered some other options but just too much weight. Maybe I'll try again in the future. Love all your vids, you do some really great work Julian.
    KN4JSB and OH8STN like this.
  3. OH8STN

    OH8STN Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is a real bummer to read. Did they ever diagnose the problem? Perhaps I'll reach out then try to get more information. These kind of fails are good to know about.
    I've got 3 Lightsaver Max models. One from the original series had a failure after an overcurrent experiment. That's the only failure I've had. The other two are the newest version switch have a reset button. This allows the end user to reset the device after something bad happens.
    You're used case, this 8 Day hike is interesting. There's been a lot of chatter on the channel about a new battery build. An ultra small, tough SOTA summit compatible battery build for radios like the kx2, 705,... Perhaps it should get pushed forward to sooner rather than later.
    Julian oh8stn
    KB2QQM, W0AMT, K1BQY and 1 other person like this.
  4. N1IPU

    N1IPU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just as an aside, Has anyone messed with Peltier junctions? Several in series on a plate with either a heatsink or water jacket and small 12v pump would generate consistent power from a camp stove. I recall there was an out fit making such beasts.
    Maybe I have found a new project for the winter. I have been slacking as late.
  5. WA2LXB

    WA2LXB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Apparently others have thought this to be a good idea as well. It would be tough to argue that any of these thermo-electric generators would be considered man-portable in either 50W or 100W versions.
    AA5BK likes this.
  6. N1IPU

    N1IPU Ham Member QRZ Page

    True but compared to any source but solar it won't be man portable. When I used to hike I had a caddy for gear allowing me to haul about a hundred pounds so its actually a better option than a genny or wind.
    My thoughts are I have been out with several cloudy days where solar just won't do the job so alternatives become attractive. If your lugging a camp stove and can get 100 watts from it your ahead of the pack.
  7. OH8STN

    OH8STN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Unfortunately he really is no point to Peltier based power generation for a portable work. As I've mentioned many times in my videos, it's better to reduce the power consumption than carrying an extremely heavy generator and its fuel to power it. The amount of wood required to keep that generator producing along with the amount of work required to collect that wood is ridiculous. The titanium camping stove is a good source of heat, but isn't always running. Solar power is definitely the best option for men portable Ops at reasonable latitudes.
    At latitudes and time of year where there is no light for solar power, it might be better just to use a small generator. I have experimented with small Nitro RC engines turning small DC motors to get one or two amps out for charging. If you have a low current consumption station, and a high-density battery, you don't have to run the generator all the time, just often enough to top it up. For the rest of the world, solar power is always going to be a better way when combined with low consumption stations.
    Julian oh8stn

    AA5BK, AB9A and KB7ZGB like this.
  8. N1IPU

    N1IPU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I monkeyed with modifying a Rokon So it could run stationary and power a charger. With the wheel tanks you have considerable range and/or the ability to charge. A friend takes his output from a side by side up in Maine. He has panels on top too. Problem is a side by side can't go where a Rokon can. Could also go with a pedal genny just like the Coast watchers did in WW2.
    OH8STN likes this.
  9. OH8STN

    OH8STN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have absolutely no idea what a side-by-side is but that Rokon is absolutely magnificent. I can't wait until my eFat Bike upgrade project is done in the spring. Can carry a little bit more, while going even further. All solar powered.
    Julian oh8stn

  10. N1IPU

    N1IPU Ham Member QRZ Page

    They are a big craze now here. Not saying they are not a good time but here in the woods they are limited. Rokons or even a KLR would be better. I used to hit the woods with a Trials bike back in the day. Loved that Triumph but it was limited in fuel capacity.

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