Recommend QRP Solar Panel

Discussion in 'QRP Corner' started by W7MDN, Feb 1, 2021.

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  1. KE8OKM

    KE8OKM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree with a bigger battery(s) over solar panel for one or two overnights. I have been using 2 Bioenno 4.5ah batteries with FT818 I would estimate that would give you 5-6 activations easy. Of course 1 9ah would do the same but if you have a connector/battery problem your time has been wasted as far as activating goes.
     
  2. W7MDN

    W7MDN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Shack. The idea of the solar panel sounds sexy. But in the ounces = pounds aspect of SOTA/QRP, the batteries option gets you more bang per mile.

    Solar cell technology is improving by the day. It won't be long before there are insanely lightweight panels with high outputs available. For now the batteries make more sense. I pack both the KX2 stock battery plus the LiFePo4 3Ah.
     
  3. AC1HJ

    AC1HJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm disappointed that Bioenno doesn't sell a smaller solar charge controller. The Powerwerx MPPT-150-14.6 looks nice physically, but it reportedly puts out nasty RFI.

     
    W7MDN and KE8OKM like this.
  4. K1GC

    K1GC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    As a once upon a time climbing guide I guess I am already in the habit of keeping it low weight. My entire KX2 rig with a carbon antenna support pole is in the 5lb range depending on how much power I opt to carry. In addition to what I am wearing, I can comfortably put together a winter pack (average conditions) for 2 nights with another 20lbs +-. If there is reliable snow to work with for shelter, I can make it even lighter. Obviosuly harsher conditions and more technical gear would easily drive the numbers up quickly, but that works for moderate conditions and snow climbing. You can add extra food and fuel for snow melting etc to be more comfortable, but it is still pretty easy to keep it all below 3olbs. Now that said, I already have some pretty expensive mountaineering gear that I am sure is a huge help in the weight goal. My zero degree Marmot sleeping bag for instance is under 3lbs, but is a pretty specialized and expensive addition for occasional users.
     
    W4ZNG likes this.
  5. KN6SU

    KN6SU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think most charge controllers do produce RFI. It's the nature of that beast. Maybe the ones made for Bioenno are better shielded but I don't know. In any case I just charge my batteries with the panels and don't actually charge them when I'm using the radio.
     
  6. KG7WGX

    KG7WGX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I understand this one is designed for amateur radio applications and is RFI quiet. It is much safer than trying to charge LiFePO4 batteries without a controller and the radio can be used while the solar panels are keeping the battery charged.

    https://www.buddipole.com/powermini.html

    For RV's , Morningstar is supposedly good. They can set you up with an "all stops out" charger/inverter/solar controller with auto generator start. Not inexpensive, but supposedly one of the few which meets FCC Part 15 for both RFI and radio frequency immunity.
     
  7. KK4YDR

    KK4YDR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Screw all the china crap, mono crystalline panels off Amazon as they are heaping piles of rubbish. I own about 4 of them and the problem with mono panels is a bumblebee could cast a shadow on the panel and you.lpse almost all voltage output.

    Spend a little money and get the best. 100% pure American made Amorphous panels by Powerfilm. You can literally shoot bullet holes through them and they still work fine. Yes thats proven on youtube.

    I have a 30 watt panel that can run literal circles aroind anything else you can think of watt for watt and im not exaggerating.

    The penalty for the best though is the price. 379.99 for 30 watts.

    Best QRP solar charge controller hands down is this, which I also own and use and love:

    https://www.buddipole.com/powermini.html

    Pwm is just fine for charging and powereringneven 100watt field rigs and batteries.

    A person only really should use MPPT if, and its only going to make sense when youre running say, 3 big 100 watt pole mounted perma solar panels and need to scavenge every watt for flooding big battery arrays with storable energy.

    Remember were talking qrp here.

    Batteries go with Bioenno power hands down (emphasized).

    They have internal charge and batt management systems. When I squeeze my 20ah out of all its juice I just hook it up to my shack power at 14.3vDC and its full and safe in about 2 hours. I dont even own a Bioenno charger power supply.

    As far as gear, well thats where you make your own decisions. Depending on where I go in the forest to work qrp, I take my rifle with me. Bad animals and even worse humans might prey on me. But I always take a VHF DMR/FM HT, GPS, and a medical kit, and a lifestraw water filter.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2021
  8. W0RIO

    W0RIO Ham Member QRZ Page

  9. K1GC

    K1GC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I had seen that difference while comparing a friends generic imports with some Powerfilm panels. It was remarkably different in terms of performance, and when you add in longevity and durability, it seems well worth waiting for good panels. I just ordered a 30W foldable set made by Powerfilm. 1.4lbs, so very packable for SOTA or other more remote operations. Based on my calculations, along with a 3Ah battery to act as a buffer and a PowerMini +USB, I should have all day capability with that setup.
     
  10. KK4YDR

    KK4YDR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Awesome! Ill show you my setup for pota/sota later when I get a chance with some pics

    Im actually going to sell my 30watt panwl soon maybe. I want the 60 watter.
     
    KJ4KPW likes this.

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