Monday, April 07, 2008

Solar powered radio update

It's a while since I mentioned the solar powered station(s) here. No news is good news, though. Though certainly it was a struggle through the mid-winter period, I've managed to keep the FT847/VHF station powered by solar energy throughout the winter.

The batteries didn't get so well charged during that time, so I found that every three weeks or so, the voltage would drop to a level that I'd take the cells offline and charge them up back to a reasonable level, which the solar panel would just about maintain for three to four weeks, before having to recycle again.

Now the days are getting longer and lighter, the effect on battery voltage is very noticeable - the panel is keeping the cells nicely topped up. Despite the same pattern of usage that I had during the winter, the cells haven't needed a 'mains recharge' for some time now.

Not entirely amateur radio related, but the FreeLoaders that Julie and I use to charge our mobile phones have been coming into their own in the last few days. These charge up, either powered from a USB port or more interestingly from the internal solar panels. Saturday was sunny enough here that I managed a completely solar charge for my phone. Yesterday, with the snow was poorer, but managed around 1/3 solar charge of the phone. Check out the FreeLoader here.

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