Jul 9, 2018

IDEA: Chainable Solar Panels from Hiking to RVs

[topic also fits Ultralight, Photography, Auto, and Hobby Shop communities]
I'd like to find (or hack together) a set of lightweight, weather-proof solar panels with good efficiency. Each panel could be connected together (in parallel) to multiply the amperage while maintaining the same nominal voltages. While backpacking, one could strap one or two panels on with, perhaps, a 15W controller module with USB 5V. Then, while car camping, 10 or 20 of these small panels could be chained to supply a 150W controller supplying both USB and 12 to 18V for RV batteries or laptops.
As I understand it, any solar panel could be chained together but different smart controllers would need to be rated for each configuration and amperage. I'm not afraid of a soldering iron (though perhaps I should be). But it seems existing products like the SunJack Solar Chargers could easily be wired and attached together along with different controllers for different situations.
I see lots of possible applications as a backpacker, RVer, nature photographer, and drone enthusiast. I also like the idea that a single damaged panel could be swapped without replacing the entire system. Not sure if this something MassDrop would engage manufacturers around but perhaps if there's enough interest.
Thoughts?
https://www.massdrop.com/buy/sunjack-solar-panel-and-battery
https://www.amazon.com/Charger-Sunpower-Mono-Crystalline-Portable-Cellphone/dp/B07432VBX8
http://www.instructables.com/id/ARDUINO-SOLAR-CHARGE-CONTROLLER-Version-20/
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ltopper, AquaeAtrae, and 1 other
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