Radio > EmComm/Emergency Power

portable or long term solar installs


I have been trying to set up my radios to run on solar
and run that way with no battery if I need to,
one of the things I noticed is that the charge controllers need a battery to work,
if you have no battery it is going to break your radio or they are not going to work at all.

so I started looking at just making a voltage regulator to cut back the 22V open circuit that the 12V solar panels have out.
but that will be getting rid of quite a bit of heat unless the panel voltage drops, so I started looking for DC to DC converters to solve that issue, and there were a few, but they were not very efficient and they were very pricey

then I found ebay...
for $2.16 (and that is shipped)
I can get an efficient regulator that will let me power the HT radios (or my FT-817) direct off of a 30W panel
(or maybe smaller depending on my power out requirements) and I will need no battery if my battery fails at some point in the future.
now I know that on HF it is likely to make to much radio noise,
but should work perfect for UHF/VHF
and I can set the charge voltage if I am charging a battery with them
and I can set it to charge lithium batteries as well,
so I plan on ordering 10 or so of them.

and here are the 30W panels I ordered

and I already have a pile of 12W panels to play with
12W is enough to run my HT radios, but not at less than .9A that it can give,
so that DC to DC converter will be a huge help

Have you tried one of the MPPT Charge Controllers without Batteries.... I suspect you would have better luck with them, as they ARE a DC to DC Pulse-width Modulated Switching Power Supply, that is basically under uCPU control.... They are more expensive, but should work well for what you have in mind.

the problem with the MPPT Charge Controllers is that they can not give me 9VDC for my ft-817 (the ideal voltage for it)
or 6 volts for my icom w32a (sure it will run on 14V but needs way more power)
they are trying to charge a battery at 14.4 V
maybe it would work out well for a mobile radio setup...
I have also thought of using a super capacitor with a MPPT setup and that would for sure get me a solid 14.4V  (or somewhere near there) system
but they are more money and are not ideal for my goals

so I have an update,
the 30W solar panels got sent back to amazon by the shipping company due to the weather and I never reordered them,
the good news is that I kept testing with my smaller solar panels
and I added a 3.5F cap at the power side of the radio (it worked on the solar side of the DC to DC converter as well but got a tad to high voltage for the cap.)
now with only a 10W panel will let me transmit on 1W on FM and with 5W on SSB with my ft-817
the 3.5F cap is not light, but still not as heavy (or pricey) as additional solar would have been

so in future years I will be able to transmit way after all the batteries have failed.
ordering deep cycle batteries shipped dry to store for future years was my other idea, but never got to that option.


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