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  • Integrate Solar Energy in your CarPC Project

    UPDATE: This thread originally started as a project to solar charge your laptop/netbook in the car. I now have a new CarPC project in progress and decided to update this thread to integrating solar energy in your CarPC project to make it more diverse. Stay tuned for updates. I will request for this to moved to be the Worklogs section of the forums.

    --------------

    Ok so my next major enhancement to my project is to use solar energy to keep my Eeepc charged. I thought I would post this here since its related to power and I will link to this post in my worklog.

    **Of course your car needs to be in good sunlight in order to use this and my car is always in the sun so why not use it.Where I live there is plenty of Sun to go around...maybe a little too much

    I will post my brainstorm diagram image later. In the meantime here are my source references on the major components I plan to use:
    1. Solar Battery w/ Charge Controller
    2. Two 6v flexible solar panel to equal 12v

    More or less...I am a newbie to Solar energy but I think starting small with a project like this one will be a great start...My car is green in color, why not make my electronics green


    ******** EDIT ***********

    Alrighty..here are my 'rough' brainstorm images/diagram

    One of my ideas for placement of the flexible solar panels is fused to the bra somehow. The company that manufactures these also does custom for OEM projects and I am hoping they can fabricate these in black. There may be a concern regarding pebbles or debris. These panels are supposedly designed with 'rugged' in mind. Why not put to the test and see. Fortunately for me I do not do a lot of highway driving so this may not be a huge concern for now.




    This is my ...more or less.. layout or scheme



    Any thoughts or other ideas please share and post away!
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  • #2
    just get a solar trickle charger... they're like $20 on amazon

    the main point of a laptop though is you dont have to worry about battery drain.
    Acer Netbook with 160hdd and 1.60 Ghtz atom - to be installed

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    • #3
      How do you plan to attach these to your hood...some sort of glue maybe? I would be worried about pebbles, rain, maybe even theft. Is there any reason why you need to keep the eeepc charged....shouldnt daily driving be enough?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Flaring_Afro View Post
        just get a solar trickle charger... they're like $20 on amazon

        the main point of a laptop though is you dont have to worry about battery drain.
        I thought about the trickle charger but....I prefer something not so bulky especially all up on my dash. I leave my eeepc in the car plus ensuring the laptop battery charge will prevent me from having to take it inside to recharge.

        Aside from all that.. I'm interested in this as something a little different and fun to do. I also want a more expandable solar setup (could be used for other devices or integrations apart from the eeepc) which is also why I chose against the trickle charger.

        I am still looking into connecting my eeepc directly to the car battery for now....but why limit myself to just that
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        • #5
          Originally posted by nobb View Post
          How do you plan to attach these to your hood...some sort of glue maybe? I would be worried about pebbles, rain, maybe even theft. Is there any reason why you need to keep the eeepc charged....shouldnt daily driving be enough?
          Yes the debris issue does pose a concern and rain is not an issue...the slim flexible panels are designed for ruggedness and are waterproof. They can even be "walked on" as they market it. I've had my bra for over a year and maybe the way the hood sits I have no debris damage on the top part...in fact..what little debris damage I may have on my hood is past the bra...(aero-dynamics I suppose)

          Theft is also a minor concern and hopefully I can get the panels in black which may be less eye catching..if anything people may just wonder what it is...and that it looks silly.. The panels will be connected to the bra..I may have to alter the bra...(cut and chop)..I am still brainstorming this and until I order one panel for testing and play its hard to determine exactly how I will be connecting it exactly.

          I also don't drive daily..I only commute like a few minutes to work and I work only 3 to 4 days out of the week. I have a 2G Surf and of course is bottom of the line and does not have great battery usage time.

          And.....I live in a loooot of sun so I want to take advantage of that source.
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          • #6
            So here is my 'REVISED' schema which I believe is the obvious choice for this type of setup. I will be getting a dash cover and will attach the two 6v flexible panels to the cover somehow. I can hide and run the wiring underneath the cover and down the side of my dash.


            These are the panels I will be using because they a flexible, lightweight, and safer for a dash installation:



            You can find these on a few online stores but this is the one I am referencing: https://www.siliconsolar.com/flexible-solar-panels.html


            Just a rough photoshop'd diagram:
            Click the image for larger zoom




            This is a rough photoshop'd close up of the dash with the panels. Remember I plan on getting a dash cover and the panels will be attached to the cover not on the bare dash as displayed below.

            Click the image for larger zoom



            It will be interesting to see how expandable I can make this in my car..as in what other devices I can eventually integrate with this. Baby steps, right?


            For those of you who are interested in or have already "KILLED" your CarPC and replaced it with an ipod or other smartphone, this would be another great option for charging.
            "Live Free!!!...It's all about Open Source"
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            • #7
              You won't like the glare that will reflect from the solar panels if you place it on the front dash. You might want to consider moving them to the rear window. I installed a large 15watt solar panel in my back window area without sacrificing anything.

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              • #8
                It would not be good for me in the back because I have limo tint in my car.
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                • #9
                  My 20% window tint makes my solar charger ~50% less effective. No idea what 5% tint will do.

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                  • #10
                    Those panels are pretty expensive and i sure doesnt seem like they will pay for them selves in the long run.
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                    • #11
                      Could you remove the rear window tint and re-tint, installing the panels between the new tint and the window?

                      Do you have a sunroof? Or could you place the panels between the strip of tint and the windshield?

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                      • #12
                        I really like the idea of using solar panels to power your car pc. "Free" power

                        Definitely let us know how this works out for you... you've got me thinking of places I could put solar panels in my car...

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Xygar View Post
                          I really like the idea of using solar panels to power your car pc. "Free" power

                          Definitely let us know how this works out for you... you've got me thinking of places I could put solar panels in my car...
                          Yeah the other day when I was at the lake this would have been great to have. Not only free but portable power. I plan to do some testing with a few solar kits prior to installing/integrating in my car.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by hexxamillion View Post
                            I thought about the trickle charger but....I prefer something not so bulky especially all up on my dash. I leave my eeepc in the car plus ensuring the laptop battery charge will prevent me from having to take it inside to recharge.

                            Aside from all that.. I'm interested in this as something a little different and fun to do. I also want a more expandable solar setup (could be used for other devices or integrations apart from the eeepc) which is also why I chose against the trickle charger.

                            I am still looking into connecting my eeepc directly to the car battery for now....but why limit myself to just that
                            I went with a solar trickle charger, works good, but I doubt it would really
                            charge a dead or half dead laptop battery in under a few days to a week

                            I got a Coleman 5-Watt Solar panel, I put it under my rear window
                            its wired into a power distribution block, that connects the cars battery
                            to the amp and computer in my trunk

                            The only thing there good for, at least for me, is keeping the battery
                            topped off, and giving me a little more run time with the motor off,

                            BTW it also helps to replace any incandescent lamps with led ones, saves
                            a lot of power

                            Also the cars 12v system is noisy and can go way above and below 12v
                            so even if your EeePC takes 12v don't just plug it straight in, use
                            an automotive adapter made for your EeePC
                            Attached Files

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by will1384 View Post
                              I went with a solar trickle charger, works good, but I doubt it would really
                              charge a dead or half dead laptop battery in under a few days to a week

                              I got a Coleman 5-Watt Solar panel, I put it under my rear window
                              its wired into a power distribution block, that connects the cars battery
                              to the amp and computer in my trunk

                              The only thing there good for, at least for me, is keeping the battery
                              topped off, and giving me a little more run time with the motor off,
                              Yeah I am not using a trickle charger. Plus I have dark limo tint in my car so back window is not an option for me. But you did provide some useful suggestions and details that I will keep in mind.

                              My plan is to install a solar solution that is not limited to just powering or charging my eeepc.
                              "Live Free!!!...It's all about Open Source"
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