Solar charger for AA,AAA,C's?

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Re: Solar charger for AA,AAA,C's?

Postby Canoe » Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:41 pm

tattoogoddess wrote:... I have not dealed with LED's much so I don't know how fast they suck power out of batteries...

Electronics do not work well (or for long) with Heavy Duty batteries.
LEDs are electronic devices. Their wiring and/or the circuits driving them will be assuming you're using Alkaline. Hence the need for Alkaline or better. More expensive is Lithium or NiMH.

I've had several cameras, and when I was a pro I always got the extra battery holder that allowed me to use Alkalines, always loaded & available on a shoot in case the NiMH packs depleted, even with the F5. Of the many cameras I've had, only one old P&S camera had decreased life when using Alkalines. Others are fine. Whatever my current carry-around P&S favorite is, if it won't run on AAs I always have a P&S backup that runs on AAs, as I can get a spare set at any corner store.

My Sony P&S that only takes their NiMH pack was a pain trying to keep two packs charged on-playa. No one with solar or generator nearby; had to run the generator, which was a real waste as the chargers are consumer grade, not faster charging. I had two packs, now I got two more and a friend lends me his two - still a pain. Having sufficient AAs for an AA compatible camera makes you independent of needing to find a charge.

Some batteries may have, or appear to have, reduced usage life on-playa.
    Warning - Technical Stuff: Electronic devices will stop working once the voltage they get from their batteries drops below what the device needs to function (why electronic devices need Alkaline or better, not Heavy Duty which has a different voltage vs. capacity slope). Heat raises a battery's internal resistance when under load. In playa heat, this can happen sooner than usual, so the voltage the batteries present to the device under load is lower sooner, and the device stops working, even though the batteries still have usable capacity left. This is why if you pull the batteries and put a meter on them (a high resistance load), they show good voltage, yet won't drive the device. Some devices need more voltage than others or draw more current than others, so will be more sensitive to this.
If the device/batteries fail, after a brief rest, or out of the heat and cooled off, they may work again for a few more shots. And this may be repeatable a number of times.
So do bring extra batteries. Recommend carrying two spare sets for the camera on you when you're out and about so you don't miss anything.

Check under your camera's menu. It may have a power conservation setting(s), like turning off the display sooner, sounds effects off, etc.. There's usually a way to dim the display, but that can make it very difficult to see under the playa sun.

Don't leave batteries, or cameras, in the sun.
Batteries (and film, in the old days) stay cooler in a mylar foil wrapped camera bag (mine stayed cool enough all day in the desert, with temps ranging down to 2C at night up to 45C in the shade mid-afternoon).
A dollar-store micro-fibre cloth is a good thing to keep your camera wrapped in (scratches, dust). Some keep that or at least the camera, in a zip-lock bag or the fancy version from camera or outdoor stores.

P.S. as others have said, it's a participation event, not a photo op - although you'll grab snap shots of favorites, don't fall into photographing it instead of participating.
I left the DSLRs at home for that very reason, although it almost left me feeling naked.

P.S.S. points
  • as others said, you're not alone (in the middle of a desert with no stars) - search eplaya to find out what works for reflectors on tents & guylines - no point cursing the neighbours because you can't sleep due to the lights, only to find out its your lights (that you bought, carried to playa, installed, maintained, and get to carry home)
  • that said, a single solar-powered lawn light left to charge in the sun, placed in your tent before you go out at night ensures you're not returning to enter a dark tent with a surprise - before you enter, if it's not on, wonder why... the playa's a friendly place, but usual rules apply
  • and search for tent pegs/stakes advice
  • despite being a gear freak (I have a collection of flashlights, knives, compasses, fire-starters, fire-starting-compass-with-a-knife-and-LED, ...), I like the pair of $2 LED flashlights I got at HD
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Re: Solar charger for AA,AAA,C's?

Postby garyt » Wed Apr 04, 2012 4:54 am

[quote="tattoogoddess"]This is my math I did-
AAA Batterys for head lamp (3) and flashlights( 2 flashlight 2 in each) 28 needed
AA Batterys for camera 36 needed (15 days worth,4 per day or so. I dont think I will use full set for 7 of those days)
C Batterys 36 8 needed per day for Christmas lights (2 per line and 4 lines, for markers of tent so people can see it and dont run into it at night

So yeah Im thinking charger might be cheaper?[/quote]

I bought 100 AA batteries for last years burn and probably went through 40+ (most were not drained completely) for the 13 days I was there. Go to blinky.com and they sell them batteries for dirt cheap($16 for 100!!!). You don't need no energizer/duracell/good shit and like everyone else said, that many. However, for that price why the hell not? The one thing I made sure was to have all my electrical devices use AA so I don't have to deal with different sizes. I probably had 12 C batteries for my lanterns which was plenty for me.

Hope this helps.

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Re: Solar charger for AA,AAA,C's?

Postby SuperNakedGirl » Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:21 am

Today and tomorrow on Groupon under Goods section. Can get 48 AAA batteries for $10...might help out a little...
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Re: Solar charger for AA,AAA,C's?

Postby Homiesinheaven » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:21 pm

in my experience it's waaaaaay cheaper to use disposable batteries than buying rechargeables. solar stuff is very expensive too and often doesnt work as well as you think. i suggest you try ebay, i found a BUTTLOAD of batteries for surprisingly cheap. just make sure you check the expiration year and that they're a trusted seller. also, leave your LEDs on for a few days (hours) and see how much power they drain. as with food on that playa, chances are you wont need as much as you think!
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Re: Solar charger for AA,AAA,C's?

Postby theCryptofishist » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:31 pm

Putting aside "cheaper" as a criterion, it's less resource intensive, less polluting, to buy batteries than to buy rechargeables and a solar charger. We don't think well about this sort of thing. (Culturally or biologically, I'm not sure.) Basically, if you're trying to live a less carbon intensive lifestyle, or whatever, changing what you do for 51 weeks of the year is going to do much more than changing for the other one. Last I heard, it was also better to go with single-use batteries if you were using them year round. Solar as an investment is long-term. Manufacturing the componants uses a lot of resources.
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Re: Solar charger for AA,AAA,C's?

Postby tattoogoddess » Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:51 pm

Hey Thanks for the groupon skinnynakedgirl! That is a great deal if the work. I ordered some as AAA in like a 4 pack are almost 10 as it is! plus it was free shipping. :)
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Re: Solar charger for AA,AAA,C's?

Postby gyre » Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:59 pm

Duracell AAA shouldn't be over 60 cents each anyway.

Cheaper for AA.
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Re: Solar charger for AA,AAA,C's?

Postby tattoogoddess » Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:06 pm

Hell the button cells from one are like $2.50!
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Re: Solar charger for AA,AAA,C's?

Postby gyre » Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:26 pm

One what?
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Re: Solar charger for AA,AAA,C's?

Postby gyre » Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:37 pm

Look at bulk hearing aid batteries rather than watch batteries.
There may be a difference in performance.
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Re: Solar charger for AA,AAA,C's?

Postby tattoogoddess » Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:38 pm

button cells. like the ones that go in those LED glow sticks.
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Re: Solar charger for AA,AAA,C's?

Postby junglesmacks » Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:43 pm

tattoogoddess wrote:button cells. like the ones that go in those LED glow sticks.


$2 for a pack of 10

http://www.extremeglow.com/Merchant4/me ... ode=STICKS
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Re: Solar charger for AA,AAA,C's?

Postby tattoogoddess » Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:46 pm

but you have to spend 25 min on that site. Booo
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Re: Solar charger for AA,AAA,C's?

Postby gyre » Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:48 pm

Different things use different batteries.

Check the bulk packs, even at grocery stores.
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Re: Solar charger for AA,AAA,C's?

Postby junglesmacks » Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:51 pm

tattoogoddess wrote:but you have to spend 25 min on that site. Booo


Ok.. how about 50 of them for $4.49 with free shipping?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/50-AG13-LR44-35 ... 3371de8f8e


It's really not that difficult. :D
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Re: Solar charger for AA,AAA,C's?

Postby gyre » Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:01 pm

Famous goodluck happytime Tianqiu brand too.
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Re: Solar charger for AA,AAA,C's?

Postby tattoogoddess » Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:22 pm

Oh I know there are other site for them I have looked that them Jungle.
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Re: Solar charger for AA,AAA,C's?

Postby some seeing eye » Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:35 pm

Snow Koan Solar will be back this year. You can find them in the theme camp list and email them with specific questions on charging. They are large at over 30kW peak. When you get home, you can recycle batteries after use, many of the Batteries+ chain take them back free.
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