Step 7: Applications for small solar panels
The solar panels I made and pictured generate around 1 or 2 watts generally.
These are the applications I use them for:
In the blackout of 2003, those batteries ran our blackout party,
which included black lights, fans (it was a hot day), radio, small TV, and low voltage lights.
And an AC inverter.
(I go to the rechargeable battery recycle bins with a meter and if they are not really dead
then I borrow them until they are. I didn't buy any of these batteries.)
Solar night lights - nowadays a very common thing where I live.
Solar powered fans - although my solar panels run computer fans directly when it's hot,
(The sun makes it hot, and the sun runs the fans!)
I notice that solar charged battery powered fans are MUCH MORE POWERFUL.
Solar powered radios - including my ham radio shack.
ABOUT SOLAR POWERED COMPUTERS
I guess people don't leave their laptops in the sun...
My approach to designing a solar powered computer,
(and my definition of computer is a processor with memory
and a keyboard and a screen that runs not-necessarily-an-operating-system)
is to use very high resistance CMOS chips which use very little electricity,
just like watches and calculators... a computer is also a calculator with lots
of memory, and CMOS memory is a common thing!
At night time, the computer has not used up all it's solar power so it uses
what is stored in the rechargeable battery.
There is simply no demand for the solar powered computers,
nor any obstacle to solar powering a PDA or a laptop with similarly sized panels.
In simple theory, if you get eight hours of sun and need one hour of power,
you can get by with one eighth the solar power by saving it up in batteries.
Also, if LED lights should run all night, it's easy to collect more than enough
solar power during the day in batteries with the right sized panel.