solar charging

Teresa

Member
Has anyone tried anything like this:

(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)

I've been using my electric bike for bikepacking and pulling a bob trailer with it and that has been great but range has been limiting. I know I could create my own solar panels but frankly, I'm just not that handy and I think I go over far to much rough stuff to have it on a rack on the bob and charging all the time so the idea of pulling it out and taking a nap and having it charge up the battery is pretty appealing.

Anyone doing anything like that or have used these folks before?

Teresa
 

vincent

Well-Known Member
i have used folding solar panels in the past but not in a set up where they would have to do as much work as you need probably

that being said i think solar has probably advanced a good bit too so they may be more efficient

when i looked at that stuff a few years ago soft folding panels were not as efficient as hard type panels, dont remember why

any good solar place should be able to work out what you need and if it is doable....

let us know how your search goes, it will be very interesting
 

Jz1276

Member
Hi, I'm currently getting ready to build my 6th electric bike and I've been toying with the idea of trying to set up a portable solar panel to connect somewhere inconspicuous while riding or even while parked...
For a 52 volt battery I don't know if the panels that I will need are going to be as small as I would like them to be. I will be doing more research and if anyone has any questions please feel free to reach out as I will post any info that I have. Jason
 

Donny

Active Member
You are going to need a relatively generous solar panel set up to get any real charge to a battery. The small panels that can fold up that you can put into a backpack generally do not put out enough voltage to charge the battery and if they do, it isn't going to be done fast enough for most people's uses. The few that I have seen that worked were big enough that they had to be carried on a trailer towed behind the bike. I've also seen a company that makes an enclosed type bicycle with solar charging, but the panels cover the entire curved roof of the bike.
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
I probably shouldn't post since I don't have e-bike yet (hopefully soon). But I'm living several weeks a year off solar.
Brief answer - charging on the road is usually not worth the trouble.

In more details:
Folding 120W panel linked above, is huge when unfolded - 5ft long and almost 4 ft wide. And ridiculously expensive. Normal rigid 120W panel costs about $200 including 12V charger, and is 2 times smaller - approximately 2.5ft by 4 ft. Still pretty big.

Alright, lets ignore $$$ cost because it has 36V charger so you don't have to scratch your head how to make 36V out of 12V.
The problem is that this huge 120W panel will barely harvest 400-500 WH on a sunny day. This is, more-less, the capacity of an average e-bike battery, yes. But you won't be able to tow 6ft by 4ft monster. You will only use it when stationary.

On the road you will be able to use max 50-60W panel, and then it will harvest only 200 WH a day. I'm not sure that this extra energy is worth extra efforts of towing it.
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
@Alex M, you have the numbers right; I've dabbled in smaller (semi) portable solar charging systems that are reasonable with a rigid panel & Morningstar controller so direct sunlight is dumping into a big marine lead acid battery for storage. Used an inverter and charged scooters, bikes & cell phone during the night time. If the system isn't something you plan to tow behind the bike all day, then think of a portable design as realistically a trickle charger that adds to the overall charge but isn't the primary charger.
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
For an overnight weekend trip the easiest way would be carrying a spare fully charged battery. Still expensive but cheaper than $1,000 folding solar - that you will only be able to use while on the camp. People are carrying externals for laptops ans smartphones. 400 WH external Li battery for laptop or smartphone is relatively cheap, about $100, but it only has USB output ports and low DC voltages.