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Solar charger for VX-8DR

Discussion in 'Ham Equipment' started by N0WY, Aug 12, 2010.

  1. N0WY

    N0WY Member

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    All,

    I will be section hiking part of the Appalachian Trail in Oct with another Ham and was wondering if anyone had recommendations on how to charge my new (will be here Friday) 8DR.

    The main use of the radios would be for simplex between us if we are separated and to try to hit some of the repeaters for fun. Won't be using any of the advanced features (like gps)...



    Thanks,

    Michael
     
    #1
  2. Luke_C

    Luke_C KD0GBK

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    I've been trying to get set up like this as well. USB charging options are slim and hard to come by, and get figured out.

    Hope to see some great solutions, I'd like them as well.
     
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  3. Nursecosmo

    Nursecosmo Member

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    #3
  4. W5LZ

    W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

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    I can see two 'problems' with solar powering a radio. The first is that the solar panel will be larger than you might think to produce adequate power. The second problem is expense. After everything is considered, solar power runs about $5 per amp of current. That's a really 'general' sort of cost figure, but about typical. Especially when on foot, a 'third' problem is carrying all that stuff.
    Huge number of variables in all that, starting with sun shine. Absolutely NOT impossible, just not very convenient.
    - 'Doc


    (Not the same by any means, but the local club has been checking about solar powering a repeater. Solar panels are not cheap, but it's all the 'other stuff' that get's complicated.)
     
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  5. Deus

    Deus Member

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    Why not just get the AA Battery holder and bring AAs. One set will last 24 hours.
     
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  6. Mthead

    Mthead Member

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    Deus has the right idea. AA's are light and easy. The only problem with them is broadcast power. The 4.5v from AA's will only broadcast 1W. And solar power won't cross the threshold voltage, 12V, for charging.
    I use one of those small 12V lead -acid batterys. There nice because they will charge from a variety of sources, including solar.
    Get one of the universal power supply cords. Be sure to put a fuss inline. And if you use the lead-acid for operation,(rather than charging), keep an eye on your radios volt meter. Happy hiking.
     
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  7. Nursecosmo

    Nursecosmo Member

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    The first option which I listed in my above post is more than adequate for charging the radio's on-board battery. It has the same power output as the factory wall wort charger. You can even charge the battery while monitoring 146.52Mhz (it will restart if you attempt to transmit with the charger plugged in). At 3.5 x 6.5 inches, it will clip to the outside of your backpack, pannier, or even your hat.(y) Get two of them and operate your cell phone off of one, and your handitalkie off of the other. Get three and charge a small 3ah gel cell battery to power your 12V fan for comfortable sleeping at night. At $11.99 you can't go wrong.
     
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  8. KC8CAY

    KC8CAY Member

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    Inaccurate

    That charger does not work at all for the VX-8R. The MaH is not enough to charge the battery...it does not even bring up the charging screen in full sunlight at 12v. DO NOT buy this solar charger if you are trying to charge the VX-8R.
     
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  9. Nursecosmo

    Nursecosmo Member

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    Which one doesn't work? The first model listed? Just asking because by the specs, it should work. But then again it sounds like you actually have one and have used it, whereas, I haven't.

    BTW MaH generally has no meaning in regard to chargers. They are usually rated by instantaneous amperage, not by current delivered over time or reserve capacity the way batteries are rated.
     
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  10. office888

    office888 Active Member

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    For maximum battery life, be sure to turn the backlight off.

    That 1.5w panel is probably your best bet.

    Modify the cigarette (ACC) attachment..cut it off, get the EDC-6 DC cable and attach it to the internal circuitry.

    There should be a charge controller inside the box of the solar charger to prevent it from DRAWING electricity. So yeah, wire it in place of the cig plug.

    Place the panel on top of your backpack, and hook it up to your radio.

    It'll be enough to keep it powered on receive, and to provide a small trickle charge to slowly charge your battery.
     
    #10
  11. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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    I've seen these new Goal Zero kits at various outdoors shows and even Costco over the last year. They have different sized kits depending on your needs and are targeted at outdoor camping. Something like this 2.5 watt kit would probably work pretty good:

    GOAL0 GOAL ZERO Guide 10 Adventure Kit Solar Panel New! | eBay
     
    #11
  12. Walksindarkness

    Walksindarkness Member

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    I have to 2nd the GOAL ZERO idea. I have the Guide 10 Adventure kit and it works wonderfully. Also isn't to heavy for backpacking.

    73s
     
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  13. kc0zps

    kc0zps Member

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    Are you charging it using the 12V cigarette lighter adaptor adapter?
     
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  14. kc0zps

    kc0zps Member

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    So I got the Goal0 Nomad 7 and the 12V cigarette lighter adaptor. I am trying to charge the Yaesu VX8R using the EDC-5B car charger. Unfortunately, its not working for me. The VX8R is at around 6.1V's and I left it plugged into the solar charger for about 24 hours. When I turned the VX8R on and it was still at 6.1V's.

    Interestingly, when the solar charger had light, the charging cradle would show "green" instead of red, even when the VX8R was at 6.1V's. Anyone know what I am doing wrong?

    EDIT: someone just suggested this. I'm going to try and connect a multimeter to the charging cradle next chance I get and see how much power is being generated in full sunlight.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011
  15. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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    I was going to suggest the multimeter test as well. Let us know what you find out as I was considering one of these kits for similar purpose.
     
    #15

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