....i think you are thinking what i am thinking....
A SOLAR PANEL!!! What can be sweeter than having a solar panel and making free power, right?
So I went to canadian tire and bought a 25 watt solar panel for $100. In theory, i would have 2 amps of charging capability but im told to be careful because that is 2 amps in ideal conditions out in the arizona desert.
OK, I understand. YMMV, right? Buyer beware, right?
No problem. Even at 1 amp, i could recharge a 6 hour sleep with a 9 hour charge. And, Ive got almost 15 hours of daylight to get 9 hours worth of charging.
So off to my first campout i go....first night, wonderful...the next morning i get up early and put the solar panel on the battery, it charges all day until sunset..the next night, my battery goes dead just after midnight.....WTF!?!?!?!
Obviously, the solar panel isnt delivering 1 amp, ie half of its 2 amp rating.
So i go home under slept and grumpy. I pull out my multimeter. I want to do an experiment. How much current can i get from my solar panel when it is outside but not pointed directly at the sun?
In my case, i measured it, and I got 0.2 amps.
Yup. Only 10% of the rated capability of the panel.
So how long will it take to recharge 1 nights use of my CPAP? My math tells me it will take about 2 and a half days.
So what will it cost to buy enough solar panels to fix my problem? About $400 to $1000 depending on what i buy. But now im looking at a solar panel system so big, im stuck car/truck camping. But if im stuck camping near a car,then why wouldnt i just run the car for an hour? Or buy a lunchbox sized honda generator. Honda sells a 1000watt generator, it has a 10 amp charger on a motor that is quieter than most cars.
Friends, do you get the impression that solar panels are extremely wimpy and useless? I do. The next time someone tells me that solar panels are the future, i plan to tell them to stop try to blow smoke up my arse.