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Bikepacking The Bikebacking forum is for discussion that relates directly to bikepacking (also known as bicycle camping). Subject matter should involve the backpacking/camping/bike gear and trip planning as it relates to mountain biking and bicycle touring.

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Old 01-18-2010, 10:16 PM
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richwads richwads is offline
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Originally Posted by big_load
You don't need to replace the full capability of your AC adapter unless you plan to operate continuously. Figure out how many Ampere-hours of use you need per day and how much charging time you need to replace it. That should set the required panel size.

That's true. I was assuming a few hours of use (after daylight charging time has passed), and only a few hours of charging time per day (riding the bike during the day and charging at non-optimum solar angles).

If you are careful to use it while it's being charged, between 10 am and 3 pm, however much you use it will be covered (at the full charge rate). At a lesser charge rate, you may need to charge it for a longer period than you use it. You can experiment one weekend at home by running on battery only, and plugging it in when needed, comparing the use time with the charge time. This will give you an idea how much "over-capacity" your AC adaptor's rating is, and how much less you can get away with.
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:42 PM
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WildlifeNate WildlifeNate is offline
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Originally Posted by Reality
I know what WildlifeNate means with regard to using a smart phone. These days they can provide email and relatively useful web access. But this assumes that Internet connectivity is the goal.

I also understand the need of those who use a laptop for video and still photography handling/management capabilities. Others travel in areas in which having their own computer along is the only way to access one.

The point remains, if you can manage with something smaller - with less power demands, you may wish to consider it. Depending upon where you're going, its become much easier to gain access to computers to do electronic chores.


Regardless of the op's goals, there is a MUCH smaller device out there that can handle them than a laptop (and will probably save money compared to the large solar array you'd need for a laptop). If the goals involve more data storage than just e-mail or web access for updating your blog, you can find a device for that.

The Archos 5 I mentioned before can be bought with a 500GB HDD and with the right accessory can be used as a USB host, which means connectivity to any usb device including cameras and external HDD's if the onboard storage just isn't enough. Only downside to this device is the apparently poor customer service stateside. It runs on Android, though, and is basically open to all those apps. There's a GPS dock if you need navigation. Basically, this thing could potentially work for any use. It's bigger than an ipod or smartphone and has correspondingly higher power requirements, but it's absolutely going to be better on power.

there are probably other devices out there with similar capabilities.
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Old 01-19-2010, 03:21 AM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Originally Posted by WildlifeNate
Regardless of the op's goals, there is a MUCH smaller device out there that can handle them than a laptop [...].
With all due respect, I do not fully agree. There may be smaller devices, but that does not mean it's what they want/need (i.e. that it will work for them). There are often lighter/smaller items, but weight/size is not the sole objective or deciding factor for everyone. It must work for them too.

The goal (or mere preference for that matter) is very important. The newer NETbooks and Media Tablets will not adequately handle the type of video editing that I and others do. [The resolution/video processing is FAR from adequate.] And I know of more than a few who do this sort of thing in the field - including those ranging from bike touring types to outback magazine/television journalists. [I know of a couple working on a documentary, and they must take their laptop along with them - based upon their computing needs.]

There are more than a few who must conduct business which involves the use of powerful apps and intense CPU/RAM resources, so they take laptops. It's not all about data storage.

Some choose to take a heavier laptop (though I use a powerful one that is quite light in comparison to those of recent years), and others may carry a tarp or stove that weighs two or three times that of what others carry. The goal is important - much like your recent goal in choosing (making/preferring) a tarp that is 2-3 times heavier than what many others use. Your goal does matter, even though there are lighter/smaller options -- other factors apply.

By the way, I use over 2 terabytes of disk space and 8GB of RAM with my laptop. Certainly this may seem excessive to some, but not to me. I'm about to take a business trip, and it's all coming with me. If I were doing a bike trip for a month or so, it would have to come along (based upon my current goals and requirements).

That media tablet will not even come close to how I'd have to use my laptop if I were away on a bike (at this time) for a significant length of time. This may or may not be the goal of DebKirk, but goals absolutely do matter for each individual - whether or not lighter/smaller options exist that do not meet the individual's goal.

Yes, many could consider smaller/lighter gear. But there's a little more to it than that. So, for me, I feel that the goal trumps size/weight at times.

[I should mention that if DebKirks goal does not require extensive use of video capabilities and powerful apps, then something lighter/smaller will work. But it would be futile, IMO, to take something that didn't work (defeating the goal/objective), simply because something else is smaller/lighter.]

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Old 01-19-2010, 10:36 PM
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richwads richwads is offline
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Well, I got to wondering about these portable solar panels, so read some details about the Brunton models Reality mentioned, and am amazed! The Solaris 52 weighs 3 lb 6 oz, folds up to briefcase size, unfolds to 54" x 32", and puts out 3.2 amps - just about right for my notebook. A downloaded spec sheet from Brunton indicates it is recommended for (among other devices) laptops, with an estimated 5 hour charge time, subject to the specific device used. This does indeed seem to be "the one".
Now I want one to take in my Element on desert excursions . A dead battery 20 miles from pavement can ruin one's day, and 3 amps for most of a day can put a pretty good charge into a little Honda battery.
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Old 02-09-2010, 02:30 AM
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George George is offline
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Don't know if these would charge a laptop, but looks like they'll do the biz on a cellphone. It's a gadget called a YoGen. Could be useful in low sunlight scenarios.

Haven't had experience of these, but they look interesting and pretty cheap.
Be interested if anyone has had experience of one.
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Old 03-05-2010, 03:41 AM
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Debkirk Debkirk is offline
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We found that anything that'll charge a laptop is going to be notebook size anyway, plus cords, plugs, etc. Plan B was to charge the Blackberry to run the web, navigator (GPS), and of course communications and music. REI (God bless those guys) offers a Solarmio gadget that charges these just fine. The deal maker/breaker is that a cell phone batt. runs at about 750 to 1100 Milliwatt hours (MaH), so one has to get a charger that has a battery bank that is in that range. For example my Blackberry battery is 1100 MaH, and the Solarmio battery bank is 900, so the charger comes a little shy of delivering a full charge, but hey, that's a lot of run time, whatever the application. Thanks guys for the input. Hope we learned something.
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Old 07-28-2011, 06:08 AM
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Saberman Saberman is offline
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Take a look at Goal Zero. They have many solar/power solutions. Some very cool stuff.
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