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Solar power charger that works with the GH2 batteries
  • I wonder if anyone of you knows of a good solar powered charger (to be used while backpacking) that works (or is meant to work) with the GH2 (official and aftermarket) batteries. Thank you

  • 15 Replies sorted by
  • Thanks Meierhans, the panel seems good. Too bad it cannot be folded. I'll look into it.

  • http://www.solarzellen-shop.de/12v24v-solarkoffer-tragbare-solarmodule/4-watt-12v-solarkoffer-autobatterie-solar.html

    ;-)

    I would get the charger and the battery first, then measure how much is needed to charge one lumix battery. Then decide about solar panel.. you don´t want a solution that needs 2 days to charge one battery.

  • In fact my main concern about solar panels is the actual time they take to charge a battery. Unfortunately I don't know of any fast solar chargers. In addition to that they also should be portable and suitable to be mounted on top of the rucksack (or anywhere outside it).

  • I don't know if they would work for this need, probably a bit weak and inconvenient plug-wise, but there are many practical solar panel-battery packs on ebay. Perfect for rucksack charging

    EDIT: here is a cheap version of what I'm thinking of. The more expensive ones have a lot more connetions and power/capacity

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Solar-Battery-Panel-USB-Charger-for-MP3-Cell-Phone-PDA-Black-/170852950596?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27c7a12244

  • Thanks perder. In fact I noticed the one above outputs only 5.5 v. (plus they don't ship to Italy). The price is very cheap, but, again, would it charge a lumix battery in a reasonable time? Anyway thanks for the input, I'll keep looking :)

  • Once I took two 5w foldable solar panels to the mountain for a documentary, I had 4 batteries and there was plenty sun, I never run out of power but did not do a lot of filming per day. The batteries charged in 4 to 6 hours each that is why I had two of them. They where something like these: http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-PowerFilm-F15-300N-5W-Foldable-Solar-Charger-Panel-12v-/230799204291?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35bcb45fc3

    You could step on them and leave then in the rain, and most importantly they where really light.

    if you put them in parallel you have more watts so they charge faster

  • Hi andres, thanks for the heads up. So to sum it up, with 2 5w foldable panels you charged 1 Lumix battery in 4-6 hours? Or probably you mean that 1 panel charges 1 batt. in 4-6 hours?

  • I just posted on Voldemort and dpreview forums before I found this thread - and was wondering if there has been any better developments in lightweight solar rechargers for camera batteries, since when you all discussed this about 18 months ago?

    I have been looking for the best lightweight portable setup. I do alot of landscape and travel photography where I go in hiking for a few days etc. There is alot of stuff on the web and one that looks alright is the GoalZero Nomad 7. It has 7 watts so is stronger than the one Andre suggested, but it weighs almost twice as much (battery pack included).

    I have a Panasonic Lumix GH2 which has a mains plug recharger, but with no other outlets for USB recharging or anything like that. It seems that if I get a Panasonic DC coupler, which is used for linking to a rechargeable battery kit, then that should plug into the Nomad 7 kit, as it also has a rechargable battery kit. But I am not sure here either, whether the electricals are compliant.

    Also wondering about recharging times too. On mains power these batteries can take several hours to recharge depending upon how dead they are. I have seen reviews for some of these solar rechargers where recharging times have been very slow for some people. So, hoping someone here has some experience in getting the right combination of power and travel lightness. Thanks.

  • Hi Wildlark, being a hiker myself, I am too in the market for a good solar charger. So far however, I couldn't seem to find any which is lightweight, effective and reasonably fast. So at the moment I'm stuck with a bunch of batteries. So I really can't reply about the GoalZero Nomad 7. About how to couple such device to a battery charger for the GH2, I suggest you should check the ebay site for chinese rechargers. I own a couple and they work just fine. They can be powered through their mains plug, but also via a car cigarette lighter cord that will couple with your solar charger. Here is an example: http://www.ebay.com/itm/2x-DMW-BLC12-Battery-Charger-for-Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-GH2-DMC-GH2HK-DMC-GH2S-/270992157508?pt=Batteries_Chargers&hash=item3f18642b44 But, again, I don't know how fast the batteries would charge when connected to the Nomad 7, sorry. If it'd take a whole day to recharge a single battery I don't know if it's worth the trouble. Mike

  • thanks Mike, by the way, I posted "Voldemort", someone or some program has changed it to Voldemort, must be something from other world here . I have found so many different options with rechargable battery packs, solar cells etc, its really a bit bewildering and time-consuming going through all the conflicting reviews to figure out whats a good product.

    Your link looks promising, so an ideal situation with the Lumix battery charger you recommended, would be the ability to hook it up to a solar cell charger, and/or a battery pack like this one at 23,400 mAh: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FDK2G2C/ref=ox_sc_act_image_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A1HG0SD62RRE2I.

    This pack might be far more than needed, about twice what someone recommended here earlier and it weights a pound, which would blow out to 2 lbs in your rucksack by the time you added the DC coupler, spare batteries and battery charger.

    From what I have seen on youtube etc (

    ), you can hook up a battery pack like this to a DC coupler and run it straight into the camera, and use the camera while it is charging, strapping it to your tripod head or something.

    It doesn't tell you if the battery can recharge by itself, simply hooked up to the Panasonic DC coupler (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004OZQIGW/ref=ox_sc_act_title_4?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER)

    A good set up might be: Lightweight solar panels >>>Hi Energy battery >>>panasonic DC coupler or battery charger.

    Of course you can get solar panel/battery pack combos like the Solar Gorilla (https://www.powertraveller.com/en/shop/portable-chargers/outdoor-adventure/), but again, not 100% certain how good it all is with Panasonic GH2's, probably does the job, one person said his 5DII batteries recharged OK on it. But Canon have a special relationship with this brand.

    Well this is a bit long, hope it can point others in the right direction, my guess is that there will be much more demand for lighter and more powerful units

  • PS - after that long spiel, I might have found a solution here at Voltaic Solar Kits: http://www.voltaicsystems.com/kits.shtml

  • they look pretty nifty and affordable

  • Yes I think this Voltaic Systems gear is definitely my solution! These are the people who started putting solar cells on backpacks. Their minimum system for charging a camera battery is the 4 watt solar charger/battery pack for under $100 (cheap!) depending upon which battery you want. Here are some specs:

    2.0-Watt Panel Specifications (many of our products have two of these panels)

    Dimensions: 135x112x5 mm (5.3x4.4x0.2 in) Mass: 105 g (3.7 oz) Substrate: 3 mm Aluminum/Plastic Cell Type: Monocrystalline Cell Efficiency: 18% Open Circuit Voltage: 7.0 V Peak Voltage*: 6.0 V Peak Current*: 333 mA Peak Power: 2.0 W Connector: 3.5x1.1 mm plug Mount: 4 stainless steel bolts

    *Panel output is computed based on cell manufacturer's data assuming 0% reduction of cell efficiency after packaging of cell strings. Electrical output tolerance +/- 10%. Under irradiance of 100 mW/cm2, absolute air mass of 1.5, at 25 °C, as per cell manufacturer's specifications.


    Applications and Charge Times

    This is our lowest power kit that will charge DSLRs. Learn more and select from our camera cradles here. You can also use this kit to charge smartphones and handhelds from the V15 battery.

    Approximate Charge Time from two 2-Watt Panels** Voltaic V15 Battery: 9 hours Smartphone via Voltaic battery: 4-5 hours Digital Camera: 4-8 hours

    **For maximum power output, orient the panels towards the sun. When not angled towards the sun, output will be reduced. Dirt and scratches on the face of the panels will reduce the amount of light hitting the solar cells. Clean the panels with a damp non-abrasive cloth. Charge times are estimated based on optimal conditions and may increase in cloudy weather, high temperatures, or when panels are not angled towards the sun.

  • The 12 Watt Solar Charger Kit (2 6w-panels in series for a 12 v output) is interesting. In theory it should charge a battery in 2-3 hours. But the kit needs to be placed on the backpack and ideally the hiker should walk with the sun on the back in excellent weather conditions. Far from a realistic situation. However it is encouraging.