Solar generators are fascinating to me and here is what I have learned about them so far.
The biggest problem I have had has been the display on my Beaudens solar generator. It doesn’t show the percentage or any details about charging and discharging, but just 5 symbols or parts of a battery. This just isn’t enough information to use it reliability and causes some issues.
The first issue it causes is that you never know how much the devices you are using are taking from the battery. I charge up my smartphone, solar lights, ipad and sometimes connect my laptop to it. Due to factors that I forget about, like how much I have used it, and how much the sun might have charged the solar panels on the solar lights, its never clear how much charge I will take from the battery. Why is this important? The battery serves two purposes. 1. Emergency power, 2. Daily power. Those are at odds with each other.
For this reason I want to get a larger battery which will allow me to have more stored emergency power, but still be able to use it for daily power requirements. I must admit that not knowing for sure how much charge I can use makes it hard to budget my solar power. Today for example I am at my lowest on my battery. It has only 20% remaining and I don’t want it to get too low. So until I get more sun, I can’t charge my devices. With a larger battery this won’t be an issue.
It also didn’t help that I had several cloudy/rainy days which put the power down on my unit. I am trying to be 100% solar so I had to budget my power usage since I can’t trust the display to accurately reflect the state of charge. It is not the end of the world, but it is the end of buying this particular unit.
Don’t misunderstand. I am still glad I bought this unit. I can use it for easy and quick power in a variety of situations. However it is clearly insufficient for the growing role I want it to play. I knew that when I bought that, I just needed to have some experience so that I would know what works best for me.
I think also when you have a hobby you want to learn and see what is possible. It has been lots of fun to experiment and explore with solar power. I am looking at a 1000W unit which is 10 times the power of my current one. I would just love to have that, but it costs about $1500 and its a big decision for me. Will I save enough to justify the cost, or is this just another more subtle form of materialism?
I don’t have all the answers, but I have plenty of questions and that makes life interesting doesn’t it?