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Solar charger can work without sunshine?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Solar charger is convenient for people who usually travel out. But sometimes I want to ask such question “solar charger can work without sunshine?” Perhaps it is a stupid question. But I still want to know the answer. And if they can not work, is it still convenient. You can not use inside and you can not use in winter. Only without sunshine, it becomes rubbish. So is it worth for us to use?

post #2 of 14

Solar chargers can still work on cloudy days, but it just takes them much longer to charge up.  They're definitely most useful to have if you live in an area where it's sunny a lot of the time.

 

But for example, we've got solar christmas lights set up right now, and even on cloudy days they light up for a while at night.  I've also got a solar charger that I use to charge up my bluetooth headset.  I don't use the headset very often, and it just sits on the windowsill with my solar charger most of the time.  Even after a series of cloudy days it charges up the headset successfully.

post #3 of 14

I'm not trying to hijack the thread but....


Where did you get solar Christmas lights??  That sounds so cool!  We have regular lights up right now and I feel guilty about them.  I still want them, as it wouldn't be Christmas without the lights.  I'd love to go green with solar.

post #4 of 14

Hmm I don't recall exactly where I got them, because it was about a year ago and I think my wife found them.

 

However, before I knew/remembered that we had them, I did find some on Amazon (just do a search for 'solar christmas lights').  There weren't many available and not cheap (roughly $20 for 20 feet).  Or you could just do a similar Google search and find a few more options.

post #5 of 14

Thanks for the info dana1981. 

post #6 of 14

I bought my solar lights from Canadian Tire, so I'm not sure that does you any good.  They are made by Noma so they should be available at many locations, like dare I say it, Wal-Mart (ew now I feel dirty).

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by dana1981:

Solar chargers can still work on cloudy days, but it just takes them much longer to charge up.  They're definitely most useful to have if you live in an area where it's sunny a lot of the time.

 

Thanks for this information Dana. I just bought my husband a solar flashlight and I was worried that we are not going to get to use it since there is not much sun these days. So you think I could just put it on the window and leave it for a day or two and see what happens?

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by eris:
So you think I could just put it on the window and leave it for a day or two and see what happens?


 

Yeah for sure.  It might be a bit weak depending on the cloudcover, time facing the sun, etc., but it should charge up at least a bit.

 

It'll be a good test of how effective the solar panel is!

post #9 of 14

A solar charger will give us the same limiting voltage (maximum) with the light from  an incandescent bulb as from the sun. Same as with window sill  or overcast sky.

What does vary is the amount of Watt seconds produced and presented to the battery. So we may not be able to run a load very long unless we have had sunshine.

 

Many consumer products are designed so that the battery is too small to store the power you would get in full desert sun all day, but most of them will store half of that much energy. So, areas that have a low solar input may need a couple days to charge to maximum.

 

One little oddity. If one line accross a solar cell is in complete shade, the cell may produce almost no energy even if the rest of the cell is in full light. It appears that to allow any current to pass through a cell there must be illumination. One needs to mount the panel so that it is all in sunlight, even if that sunlight is from just a bright sky.

post #10 of 14

I have the Solio charger (classic model) - and I use it all the time to charge my cell and some other smaller gadgets.  It can charge without sunlight as it is a hybrid charger with an internal battery meaning if it is night, cloudy, etc. you can just plug it in the wall to charge it's battery up and take it with you on a trip for a charge later that can be done anywhere - like if you are camping or in a foreign country with no adapter for their type of wall outlets.  (My Solio came with multiple outlet adapters to help with this problem.)  Granted this negates the solar aspect - but you can still continue to charge up the battery with solar when sunlight becomes available, without compromising your devices ability to function in a difficult charging environment...

 

I have found it takes 3 days in my backyard to get to a full charge, in full sun.  The time in the sun is not a full day tho as there are trees and my house that block the morning and afternoon sunlight a bit - even distant shadows can cause a drop in charging - like power lines and branches that don't cast a specific shadow, but simply block part of the sun's energy.

 

When I leave it on a window sill - perhaps it is because I have double-paned windows, and cannot track the sun, and daylight time is limited from any of my windows - I find it very difficult to get a significant charge in a few days with the Solio on a window sill.

post #11 of 14

 Yes it can. Just like you still can get tan and have to wear sunblock even on cloudy days :-)

 

post #12 of 14

People who use sunblock in most cases will be severely deficient in vitamin D.

Our personal solar converter, our skin, works very well to provide us with D, but  most people using sun block would need 40 hours of sun every day.

post #13 of 14

I am happy to report that after being on the window sill since Christmas day, our new gadget works today! Even though only 2 of the 3 led lights work, so I'm leaving on the window sill until all 3 work. I suppose depending on the use it gets it probably won't need that long to fully charge in the future (it's just a small led flashlight).

post #14 of 14

I know all about low light solar cells. These type of solar cells were developed for solar calulators.  Cafeinta, There are CFL lights that mimic the sun without UV Rays. The results is the light produces Vitamine D. You can read better and is a health aid for your well being.

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