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Solar powered cooler Answered

I'd like to make a solar powered cooler, however, I am extremely new at this.  I was thinking I could just purchase an electric cooler and a solar panel with the voltage needed, and simply attach the wires.  I feel like that is way too simple to work but I don't know what else to do!  If anyone has any suggestions, I'd greatly appreciate it!

The cooler I was thinking of using is here: http://www.amazon.com/Koolatron-W75-Wheeler-Cooler-36-Quart/dp/B00267SQVU/ref=sr_1_11?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1340659801&sr=1-11&keywords=thermoelectric+cooler  and the solar panel: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Moultrie-12V-Solar-Panel/16386235



The solar panel you are looking at is good for connecting to your car battery and trickle charging it during the day. It is not large enough to supply 12V and any reasonable amperage to run anything on its own. Buy the time you get enough small panels together or a much larger panel you will have spent hundreds of dollars and the system wouldn't be portable.

The best way to do this is have one or more large 12V batteries with 2 or 3 panels wired in parallel charging the batteries. But this will only extend the life of the battery(s) and your usable time with the cooler. In the end you will have to either not use the cooler for a day or 2 to allow the batteries to charge or connect the batteries to a charger when no in use.

Thanks so much for your reply! But just so I understand -- your saying that a 12V solar panel won't actually put out the 12V needed to entirely run something - it will just slowly charge it? In that case, how many solar panel V would actually be needed then? And is there some sort of conversion?

Thanks again for all your help!

The panel will in fact give you as much as 15V in full sunlight. But you need more then voltage to make something run. You need current as well. At best that panel puts out maybe 20mA. And thats under ideal conditions.

So you'll need to know how many amps is needed by the cooler. Some of these coolers need 2 or 3 amps to run them. So if the cooler needs 2A and the panel only give at most 20mA then you will need more then 100 panels to run the cooler. Its all about knowing the specs of the panels and the cooler.

So like i said you'll spend hundreds of dollars trying to use panels alone or you'll have to use a battery system. In which case the batteries will need time to charge when not in use or the cooler needs to be left unused and outside for a couple of days to recharge.