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I'm a newbie, looking for a good 12V battery & AC outlet to use with my 80W panel.

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  • I'm a newbie, looking for a good 12V battery & AC outlet to use with my 80W panel.

    Heya! I recently bought an 80W solar panel to use to charge my laptop as well as a few other small appliances if need be. This is my first experience using solar power.

    Now I'm looking for a battery, but am unsure on what to look for. I wouldn't mind recharging the battery every 2 days if need be.

    Also, I'll need to plug my laptop's charging device into a 3-pronged AC outlet. How does this work? Do batteries come with AC outlets or will I need to get something to connect to the battery?

    I would love the help of someone with more experience to point me in the right direction.

    Any help is much appreciated, thank you so much!

  • #2
    Without going nuts over any sort of power budget and all that, we're going to wing it to have some fun. Expensive, and you may kill the battery, but it's a start:

    1) Charge controller. Morningstar Sunsaver SS-10L-12v. Remove the jumper because....

    2) Generic 35ah agm 12v battery. The UPG-12350 is common. Many are similar. Don't buy a gel. Get the agm. Jumper on Morningstar needs to be removed to properly charge the generic agm.

    3) a 12v dc charging adapter for your laptop. If that is not available, we're talking about using a pure-sine wave ac inverter.

    3A) Samlex SSW-350-12A pure sine dc-ac inverter. dc adapter for laptop is obviously cheaper!

    4) Voltmeter. Make sure your battery does not drop below 12.2v under load. Or under 12v at rest. Higher is better. If you don't want to use a handheld, you can get in the ballpark with something like a little DROK voltmeter with leads you can hang off the battery.

    OH, don't use the "load" terminals on the controller for now. Attach all loads directly to battery.

    That's quite a laundry list just to solar charge a laptop. But it's a start. Don't cheap out on the componentry, because it actually costs MORE in the long run, when the cheap stuff breaks, and you either buy it again, or get the good stuff afterwards.

    Welcome aboard! Wallet too ..

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    • #3
      Most Laptops are 19 volts, If you run a 24v battery bank you can purchase a nice 24v to 19v step down converter for less than $20 or run a 12v battery and purchase a 19v step up cigarette lighter adaptor for a little more. Since your loads are DC only, you have no real need for an inverter. You likely do not have enough solar panel wattage for a 12v 100AH deep cycle battery much less 100AH @ 24v. You should obtain a 110v Watt meter and do some testing so you know the Laptop's actual daily power usage. They also make a DC watt meter that will give you a more accurate reading for a proposed inverter less system. Do not use car batteries, often marked with CCA numbers, you want batteries with AH rating. You will also want a Terminal fuse mounted directly to the battery terminal, it could save your life or serious injury. There is so much more you need to know, so before you buy anything, do your research so you know what you really need. I have a closet of junk solar gear, wish I had known before I bought it, lol Take your time, and save your money.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Logan5 View Post
        Most Laptops are 19 volts, If you run a 24v battery bank you can purchase a nice 24v to 19v step down converter for less than $20 or run a 12v battery and purchase a 19v step up cigarette lighter adaptor for a little more.
        You are generally better off with a 12V laptop adapter, because that presents the right voltage/current profile to the laptop and provides the right handshaking signals. The DC/DC converter might not have the VI curve that the laptop needs, and it definitely won't provide the handshake for laptops that need it.

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        • #5
          That is something to consider, although I have had good luck with Dell and Lenovo on the sealed step down converters. I also just noticed the cigarette lighter adaptor I have states that it is also 12/24 volts, I guess manufactured to also work in trucks with 24v at the cigarette lighter. It does not say if it can also handle the charge voltage of an unregulated 24v circuit. Since I only use the sealed 19v step down for my equipment, I may consider connecting it to my 24v battery wile charging and see if it blows.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Logan5 View Post
            That is something to consider, although I have had good luck with Dell and Lenovo on the sealed step down converters. I also just noticed the cigarette lighter adaptor I have states that it is also 12/24 volts, I guess manufactured to also work in trucks with 24v at the cigarette lighter. It does not say if it can also handle the charge voltage of an unregulated 24v circuit.
            If it works on a truck 24V circuit, then it can generally handle 18-32 volts. That's a standard truck power spec most people work to.

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