Author Options:

going on a 36 hour high school band bus trip, any idea how big of a solar panel is need for................ Answered

going on a 36 hour high school band bus trip, any idea how big of a solar panel would be needed to keep a car battery charged with an Ipod, laptop, phone on it to keep them charged?



9 years ago

There is no need to keep the battery at full charge. If it is charged fully before you leave on this 36 hour trip, it will have more than enough reserve power to keep an Ipod and phone charged even if you constantly use them. As for the laptop, it will keep it charged but if you are using it then you have to know the power consumption of that laptop. Suppose it's 40W, then you need a 40W solar panel and due to inefficiencies of conversion to battery power then back to laptop power, that will run down the battery still but at a low enough rate it should still have enough charge at the end of the trip. If you really need it fully charged, and for some margin, you will have to determine how often you'll use the laptop, how much sun the panel will actually get (will it be roof mounted? Don't expect much sun at all if it's sitting in the side window of a bus.) considering # of hours, geographical location, weather during that period. In poor conditions you may need double or triple the size panel you would otherwise, but figure about 60W in good conditions. In case you were not aware that is a relatively huge and expensive panel to take on a bus trip. I recommend you forget about the solar panel and just limit your use of the laptop to what the fully charged (when the trip starts) battery will allow. A good thing to take instead is a multimeter so you can monitor how drained the battery is, or a 2nd fully charged battery to double runtime. Solar panels larger than a single-digit # of watts just aren't good travel companions unless it's a special military design that folds up and you're outside all day long to use it.

Can you just make solar chargers for each peripheral separately? Or just one, and trade it between them as needed? You'd be able to get away with a much smaller panel that way. Is the trip to somewhere with absolutely no outlets/walls?

I sorry i wasn't clear only one thing will be in the charger at a time. The trip is on charter tour buses with one outlet for 45 people. So I thought a solar panel in the window running to a car or deep cycle battery would be ideal, as it is a reststop only trip with no recharge time. I was needing to know how many watts/amps i would need to keep the car/ deep cycle battery at or near full charge