Thursday, September 4, 2008

Solar Powered EEE PC

A cheap easy solar charger for the Asus EEE PC.

I spent the summer in BC camping and hiking with some old high school friends. I brought my trusty EEE with me to check email on "borrowed" wifi whenever we ventured into a town. Finding a place to charge the EEE was always an annoyance and I kept thinking a solar panel would be a gread accessory. Well I did some searching and found one that works perfectly for charging in the wilderness.


It is available for purchase on ebay and even comes with the correct tip for the EEE along with many extra tips for your cellphones or other low power devices.

Here is a picture of an EEE happily charging using this panel.


This panel only provides 5 watts on optimal sunlight so while it will charge the EEE it will not let you use the EEE and charge it at the same time. So turn it off stick it out by your tent for the day and you'll come back to a full battery.

Panel closeup:

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

great review, but could you please tell me the brand and model name of the battery charger?

TIA

t.

The Ghost Of Eskrima said...

awesome, review on this subject however, can you provide more detail, for a fellow tripple e asus pc user?

Anonymous said...

ehm.... would you really like to leave your eee out in the sun though?

Auraomega said...

@Anon:
No, not like that I wouldn't, I'd bag it up or slip it inside the tent, I guess that picture was taken for display purposes. I'd have no problem leaving it outside my tent though on a mountain side and I plan on doing that exact thing soon.

It would be nice to find out what the panel was.

Oh, and this proves everyone wrong who said that you couldn't charge the Eee on solar panel less than 25w, you can charge you just can't use at the same time!

Anonymous said...

WOW - I'm off to Greenland next summer, now I'll be able to take my Eee and (hopefully) be able to send trip reports from the field via sat-phone. We'll even be off the map for a week!

SnowDog

Stehane said...

Hi, very good, I have a similar project in the UK (less sun) charging a battery and then charging the PC from the battery. It's not as mobile but was used as an experience before I transform my house into a Solar station...

Love your site,

Stef

Anonymous said...

The eeepc is ideal for this, because to my knowledge it needs only 12 V. Most other Netbooks require 19 V. All you may need is a 12 V lead acid battery, a 12 V panel (normally delivering even more than 12 V) and simple standard charging electronics.

Does anyone know, how this can be done with a Netbook with 19 V?

Marvin

Anonymous said...

Tekeon is one of the brand of portable battery able to deliver 19V to charge a laptop battery. Unfortunately, to charge the Tekeon, you need a solar panel of 25W It exist but it cost around 500 euros : look on the net for E-Sun, powerfilm,...

Anonymous said...

I would be afraid a bear would walk off with it.

Anonymous said...

hi
to get a 19V battery charged by solar panel, you will need to connect up a couple of solar panels in series (i think) i.e +ve to -ve, then to battery - so if you get 2 12V panels, then connect them in series to a battery. this should put out 24V maximum. you would also need more batteries, to get up to 24V say. then you can buy a voltage converter to get the right voltage. you can get them for a few £, designed for car or truck batteries.

Anonymous said...

Is it safe to connect a 12v lead acid directly to the EEEPC? It won't fry it??? Also, since the sun here in South Texas is *very* bright (I often get about 20V for my notionally 12V panel), would there be a danger from running off the battery while the panel is connected and presumably dumping a lot more than 12V into the EEEPC as well as into the battery?

I do have a regulator chip left over from a previous project that limits the voltage coming from the panel, but it does that by dumping the extra voltage across a resistor and the attached heatsink gets so hot it would melt plastic! (Certainly gave me a nasty burn first time I touched it without realising how hot it could get)

Anonymous said...

Get a switching type regulator chip. Linier regulators need some place to pump the excess energy. Switchers can just turn off the energy and then back on again. Output filtering is advised. Switch at 100 KHz and the output filter won't be so costly or onerous to construct. Lots of schematics for motherboard switchers, which for the latest motherboards have more than enough capacity to reduce your 20 volts to 12. Perhaps just loading the panel will reduce the voltage enough.

Paper121 said...

Cool! Bringing an eeepc is a good idea, but who would have thought about a solar panel!

If you wanna check out my fails,
feel free to go to http://myfails.blogspot.com/

kevin nelson said...

hey nick, thanks for the great info.

the panel is pretty easy to find on ebay, but can you comment on how the solar panel has held up with your eee over the past few months?

thanks!

-kevin

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Anonymous said...

Great review, thanks for this info :)

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