I just helped Mick Bromley of Wilderness Trekking head off to Nepal on his latest excursion with two sets of portable solar power systems. One is designed to keep a videographer’s equipment charged while he chronicles Mick’s legendary attention to every aspect of the Nepal experience. The second is for Mick himself, so that he is able to keep his own camera, tablet, and communications gear charged. His system will also come in handy when his clients need a power boost for their own cameras.
Here is an overview of the systems…
The SunLINQ panel folds down small & light, and features CIGS efficient thin film cells that excel in the high-UV exposure at altitude, and at the higher ambient temperatures in the lower regions of the country. The Brunton Sustain is a ruggedized lithium pack that stores 75 Watt-Hours of power… enough for 5 full charges on a Canon dSLR battery, so there is plenty of back-up in case of several days of inclement weather.
The balance is in the logistics. With the panel deployed for several hours each day during stops, or at camp, the power produced will easily offset the power being drawn for camera battery charging & video editing/archiving. The power budget was designed around the need for 2-3 Canon LP-E6 charges per day. Because it is never a good idea to drain a lithium battery below 50% on a regular basis, the videographer will be bringing several battery packs that he will top-off at various times during the day & at camp at night.
Lastly, I do not like the DC input connector provided with the Brunton Sustain2. Too fragile, and introduces a mysterious voltage drop that makes it incompatible with slightly lower voltage panels like the Powerfilm series. So, I sent one of the Modern Outpost Solar Input Cables… a tougher & much longer cable that makes camp set-up options easier.
2016 UPDATE : NEW PRODUCTS REPLACE THOSE SHOWN ABOVE
Panel: Voltaic Arc 20W or Voltaic 17W or Goal Zero Nomad 20 or Enerplex Commandr 20
Battery: Voltaic V72 or Aspect EnergyBar 100 or Goal Zero Sherpa 100 or Enerplex Generatr 100
This is a fantastic solar kit. 10W of premium Bosch crystalline solar cells in a rugged encapsulation, set into a rugged case that can carry a laptop & tablet at the same time. The case features webbing on the back, so strapping it to the outside of a backpack is a simple task. Having all the solar charging gear in one place instead of being spread around with wiring has its advantages too. Mick simply opens the case and connects his camera charger, tablet, phone, radio, or virtually anything else he might need.
The panels produce the power he needs each day, and just in case he runs into bad weather, he has 60 Watt-Hours of power stored in the Fuse10W’s internal V60 battery pack.
While laptops, tablets, and USB devices can all be connected directly to the Fuse10’s internal battery pack, getting the power from the Fuse10 kit into camera batteries is done via an Ansmann Vario Pro universal charger. Plug the charger into the 12V socket on the Fuse10, snap your camera battery into the cradle, and the charger selects the correct voltage, polarity, and begins charging. It even shows you the state-of-charge so you can better manage your power usage.
Simple. Elegant. Functional. Reliable.
Mick and I talked about an option for his clients, should they want to bring a charger of their own. Something simple to use, simple to pack, rugged, and able to charge virtually any type of camera, phone, iPod, etc. The Voltaic Fuse 4W fits perfectly. 4 Watts of German-made Bosch panels in a small pack that straps to a backpack. Inside is room for small gadgets, & the 4000mAHr solar storage battery, capable of charging or powering everything USB including tablets.
The German Pixo charger is universal, adapting to all 3.6/3.7V camera batteries, plus all 7.2/7.4V dSLR & camcorder batteries (a neat trick not seen in other USB chargers).
This kit is able to offset approx 75% of a dSLR battery every day, or a mix of devices adding up to same.
2016 UPDATE: ANSMANN PL VARIO REPLACES PIXO C-USB
Well, that’s it. Trekking with electronics made easy.
Should you need any further details, or want help with the math concerning your own trekking power needs, please do not hesitate to contact me.
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