Solar power supply recommendations wanted

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Ken Lucke, Feb 6, 2007.

  1. Ken Lucke

    Ken Lucke Guest

    I'm going to be going on some extended backpacking trips this summer,
    trying to get in better shape, in practice, and ready to do the Pacific
    Crest Trail next year.

    I'm looking for recommendations for a solar charging setup for my
    camera & GPS batteries, etc. Because they use different batteries, I'm
    looking at probably having to get a generic 12v solar supply and using
    the 12v chargers for each (yeah, I know... weight, weight, weight -
    ugh).

    My other alternative is to go with all AA batteries and use the holder
    that goes in my camera's battery grip that holds 6 AAs instead of 2
    proprietary Canon (NB2L) batteries, then buy a solar AA battry charger.
    However, the difference of weight of 12 NiMh AAs (two sets) and one
    charger over 4 NB2L (2 sets) and 2 different chargers might be pretty
    minimal, plus the ability to be charging both AAs for the GPS and other
    things and NB2L camera batteries at the same time might offset the
    difference in the long run as well.

    Can anyone give any real-world actual usage recommendations for such a
    system in similar conditions (they'd have to be strapped on the
    backpack(s) externally to charge during the hiking day), and pointers
    to the products that are recommended?

    --
    You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a
    reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating
    the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for
    independence.
    -- Charles A. Beard
     
    Ken Lucke, Feb 6, 2007
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. Ken Lucke

    Matt Ion Guest

    Ken Lucke wrote:
    > I'm going to be going on some extended backpacking trips this summer,
    > trying to get in better shape, in practice, and ready to do the Pacific
    > Crest Trail next year.
    >
    > I'm looking for recommendations for a solar charging setup for my
    > camera & GPS batteries, etc. Because they use different batteries, I'm
    > looking at probably having to get a generic 12v solar supply and using
    > the 12v chargers for each (yeah, I know... weight, weight, weight -
    > ugh).
    >
    > My other alternative is to go with all AA batteries and use the holder
    > that goes in my camera's battery grip that holds 6 AAs instead of 2
    > proprietary Canon (NB2L) batteries, then buy a solar AA battry charger.
    > However, the difference of weight of 12 NiMh AAs (two sets) and one
    > charger over 4 NB2L (2 sets) and 2 different chargers might be pretty
    > minimal, plus the ability to be charging both AAs for the GPS and other
    > things and NB2L camera batteries at the same time might offset the
    > difference in the long run as well.
    >
    > Can anyone give any real-world actual usage recommendations for such a
    > system in similar conditions (they'd have to be strapped on the
    > backpack(s) externally to charge during the hiking day), and pointers
    > to the products that are recommended?


    I don't know where you're located, but here north of the 49th, Canadian Tire
    caries a number of solar-charging kits, including one that rolls up for storage
    and can roll out across a backpack to charge while hiking.

    Try starting here:
    http://canadiantire.ca/browse/subca...T<>prd_id=845524443281438&bmUID=1170802732723

    and specifically:
    http://canadiantire.ca/browse/produ...older_id=1408474396672503&bmUID=1170802764282
     
    Matt Ion, Feb 6, 2007
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Ken Lucke wrote:

    > Can anyone give any real-world actual usage recommendations for such a
    > system in similar conditions (they'd have to be strapped on the
    > backpack(s) externally to charge during the hiking day), and pointers
    > to the products that are recommended?


    Look carefully at the power output rating of your panels. Look at the
    assumptions behind those ratings -- latitude and season mostly.
    Consider how many hours you'll be able to expose the panels to sun each
    day (at the very least, you lose optimum angle mounting a panel on top
    of your pack, and often you walk in the shade).

    Compare to the power requirements of charging the batteries you need.
    Last time *I* conducted this exercise, it became clear this wasn't a
    viable approach to powering cameras on a hike for me.

    I don't know if this is still true, or true for your hike plans, and I'm
    not an experienced hiker and not a solar panel expert, so *really*
    don't take any of this as information. Take it as a strong suggestion
    to really work through the math, though, to make sure you know what
    you're getting.
     
    David Dyer-Bennet, Feb 7, 2007
    #3
  4. Ken Lucke

    m Ransley Guest

    At alt.energy.homepower there are alot of off grid folks that know
    solar cells.
     
    m Ransley, Feb 7, 2007
    #4
  5. Ken Lucke

    Matt Ion Guest

    David Dyer-Bennet wrote:
    > Ken Lucke wrote:
    >
    >> Can anyone give any real-world actual usage recommendations for such a
    >> system in similar conditions (they'd have to be strapped on the
    >> backpack(s) externally to charge during the hiking day), and pointers
    >> to the products that are recommended?

    >
    >
    > Look carefully at the power output rating of your panels. Look at the
    > assumptions behind those ratings -- latitude and season mostly. Consider
    > how many hours you'll be able to expose the panels to sun each day (at
    > the very least, you lose optimum angle mounting a panel on top of your
    > pack, and often you walk in the shade).
    >
    > Compare to the power requirements of charging the batteries you need.
    > Last time *I* conducted this exercise, it became clear this wasn't a
    > viable approach to powering cameras on a hike for me.
    >
    > I don't know if this is still true, or true for your hike plans, and I'm
    > not an experienced hiker and not a solar panel expert, so *really*
    > don't take any of this as information. Take it as a strong suggestion
    > to really work through the math, though, to make sure you know what
    > you're getting.


    This is true - it's probably also a good time to think about power-saving
    strategies for ALL your gear. Use optical viewfinder(s) whenever possible, turn
    off LCD previews or set them for bare-minimum time, shorten the cameras'
    auto-off times, avoid on-camera flash at all costs, for starters....
     
    Matt Ion, Feb 7, 2007
    #5
  6. Ken Lucke

    Ken Lucke Guest

    In article <4payh.907721$R63.330227@pd7urf1no>, Matt Ion
    <> wrote:

    > David Dyer-Bennet wrote:
    > > Ken Lucke wrote:
    > >
    > >> Can anyone give any real-world actual usage recommendations for such a
    > >> system in similar conditions (they'd have to be strapped on the
    > >> backpack(s) externally to charge during the hiking day), and pointers
    > >> to the products that are recommended?

    > >
    > >
    > > Look carefully at the power output rating of your panels. Look at the
    > > assumptions behind those ratings -- latitude and season mostly. Consider
    > > how many hours you'll be able to expose the panels to sun each day (at
    > > the very least, you lose optimum angle mounting a panel on top of your
    > > pack, and often you walk in the shade).
    > >
    > > Compare to the power requirements of charging the batteries you need.
    > > Last time *I* conducted this exercise, it became clear this wasn't a
    > > viable approach to powering cameras on a hike for me.
    > >
    > > I don't know if this is still true, or true for your hike plans, and I'm
    > > not an experienced hiker and not a solar panel expert, so *really*
    > > don't take any of this as information. Take it as a strong suggestion
    > > to really work through the math, though, to make sure you know what
    > > you're getting.

    >
    > This is true - it's probably also a good time to think about power-saving
    > strategies for ALL your gear. Use optical viewfinder(s) whenever possible,
    > turn
    > off LCD previews or set them for bare-minimum time, shorten the cameras'
    > auto-off times, avoid on-camera flash at all costs, for starters....


    All good suggestions (both from you and David) that I was already going
    to include in the daily routine.

    I know I can go a typical 18 hour full-on day with the GPS, and that I
    won't need it /on/ most of the time (I'm actually quite adept at
    map-reading, orienteering, and course plotting), it's just for backup
    and to plot special points I find along the way for later return (say,
    a spot I think will look good in fall colors, etc). So I'mk thinking
    that I probably have 2-3 days use out of a set of batteries there.

    The camera will normally last me a whole day shooting on one [double]
    set of batteries, even when I leave it on, and let it shut itself down
    [which is probably a bad habit for me, but I'm so used to doing it that
    way that it's hard to change just being used to pressing the shutter
    button and being ready to fire], so with power consumption economy
    measures, plus the less frequent use it will get than when I am
    actually out at a pre-planned shoot, it will also probably go for 2-3
    days between battery changes.

    I was already thinking that it will be a two-day charge cycle for the
    batteries under most circumstances, considering light/shade issues,
    time, etc. I'm just looking for someone who's actually using some sort
    of system at this point to know what does and does not work.

    Thanks for the confirmatory input, though - and I'm still looking for
    someone actually doing this.... anyone?

    --
    You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a
    reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating
    the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for
    independence.
    -- Charles A. Beard
     
    Ken Lucke, Feb 7, 2007
    #6
  7. Ken Lucke

    Paul Furman Guest

    Matt Ion wrote:
    > Ken Lucke wrote:
    > ...
    >> backpack(s) externally to charge during the hiking day), and pointers
    >> to the products that are recommended?

    >
    > I don't know where you're located, but here north of the 49th, Canadian
    > Tire caries a number of solar-charging kits, including one that rolls up
    > for storage and can roll out across a backpack to charge while hiking.
    >
    > Try starting here:
    > http://canadiantire.ca/browse/subca...T<>prd_id=845524443281438&bmUID=1170802732723
    >
    > and specifically:
    > http://canadiantire.ca/browse/produ...older_id=1408474396672503&bmUID=1170802764282


    Can you give us a Canadian postal code? The web site doesn't let me in
    without that.
     
    Paul Furman, Feb 7, 2007
    #7
  8. Ken Lucke

    Martin Brown Guest

    On Feb 6, 10:39 pm, Ken Lucke <> wrote:
    > I'm going to be going on some extended backpacking trips this summer,


    Your best bet might be to figure out where you can plug in a standard
    mains charger en-route or alternatively carry enough (expensive) high
    power primary lithium batteries to last out the time you intend to
    spend in wilderness.

    > I'm looking for recommendations for a solar charging setup for my
    > camera & GPS batteries, etc. Because they use different batteries, I'm
    > looking at probably having to get a generic 12v solar supply and using
    > the 12v chargers for each (yeah, I know... weight, weight, weight -
    > ugh).
    >
    > My other alternative is to go with all AA batteries and use the holder
    > that goes in my camera's battery grip that holds 6 AAs instead of 2
    > proprietary Canon (NB2L) batteries, then buy a solar AA battry charger.


    I have to say that all the solar powered chargers I have seen are
    fragile toys that are just about OK sat on a windowledge at home but
    will disintegrate if subjected to the rigors of outdoor life. Maybe
    some in the US are more robust, but the solar panel is quite
    vulnerable to impact and flexure. If you are going to try it I would
    look for the toughest cheap AA charger I could find and velcro it onto
    the top of the rucksack.

    > Can anyone give any real-world actual usage recommendations for such a
    > system in similar conditions (they'd have to be strapped on the
    > backpack(s) externally to charge during the hiking day), and pointers
    > to the products that are recommended?


    Consider using primary cells with the highest power to weight ratio
    you can find instead. It might even be cheaper... Depends a bit how
    long you are travelling for.

    Regards,
    Martin Brown
     
    Martin Brown, Feb 7, 2007
    #8
  9. Ken Lucke

    Ken Lucke Guest

    In article <LCdyh.16266$>, Paul
    Furman <> wrote:

    > Matt Ion wrote:
    > > Ken Lucke wrote:
    > > ...
    > >> backpack(s) externally to charge during the hiking day), and pointers
    > >> to the products that are recommended?

    > >
    > > I don't know where you're located, but here north of the 49th, Canadian
    > > Tire caries a number of solar-charging kits, including one that rolls up
    > > for storage and can roll out across a backpack to charge while hiking.
    > >
    > > Try starting here:
    > >
    > > http://canadiantire.ca/browse/subcategory_landing.jsp?FOLDER<>folder_id=
    > > 1408474396672503&PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524443281438&bmUID=1170802732723
    > >
    > > and specifically:
    > >
    > > http://canadiantire.ca/browse/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT<>prd_id=8455244
    > > 43281438&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=1408474396672503&bmUID=1170802764282

    >
    > Can you give us a Canadian postal code? The web site doesn't let me in
    > without that.


    Use the one it gives as an example if you put in an incorrect one: "M4P
    1V8" :^)

    --
    You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a
    reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating
    the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for
    independence.
    -- Charles A. Beard
     
    Ken Lucke, Feb 7, 2007
    #9
  10. Ken Lucke

    Ken Lucke Guest

    In article <>,
    Martin Brown <|||newspam|||@nezumi.demon.co.uk> wrote:

    > On Feb 6, 10:39 pm, Ken Lucke <> wrote:
    > > I'm going to be going on some extended backpacking trips this summer,

    >
    > Your best bet might be to figure out where you can plug in a standard
    > mains charger en-route or alternatively carry enough (expensive) high
    > power primary lithium batteries to last out the time you intend to
    > spend in wilderness.


    While that's an option for the [shorter] trips this year (I can carry
    enough spares to not need a charger for them), I'm using these trips to
    work out the bugs for the Pacific Crest Trail trip, so I don't want to
    lose the opportunity for trials.

    >
    > > I'm looking for recommendations for a solar charging setup for my
    > > camera & GPS batteries, etc. Because they use different batteries, I'm
    > > looking at probably having to get a generic 12v solar supply and using
    > > the 12v chargers for each (yeah, I know... weight, weight, weight -
    > > ugh).
    > >
    > > My other alternative is to go with all AA batteries and use the holder
    > > that goes in my camera's battery grip that holds 6 AAs instead of 2
    > > proprietary Canon (NB2L) batteries, then buy a solar AA battry charger.

    >
    > I have to say that all the solar powered chargers I have seen are
    > fragile toys that are just about OK sat on a windowledge at home but
    > will disintegrate if subjected to the rigors of outdoor life.


    Seen, or actually used? There's often quite a bit of difference one
    way or the other between perceptions and actual experiences in quality.

    > Maybe
    > some in the US are more robust, but the solar panel is quite
    > vulnerable to impact and flexure. If you are going to try it I would
    > look for the toughest cheap AA charger I could find and velcro it onto
    > the top of the rucksack.


    I've seen a number of them that appear to be robust enough, and roll or
    fold up well enough to be stored when not in use. They are, however, a
    modest investment, so I want to see which one(s) I should be looking
    at. As I keep saying, I'm looking for actual experience from someone,
    not suppositions or theory.

    > > Can anyone give any real-world actual usage recommendations for such a
    > > system in similar conditions (they'd have to be strapped on the
    > > backpack(s) externally to charge during the hiking day), and pointers
    > > to the products that are recommended?

    >
    > Consider using primary cells with the highest power to weight ratio
    > you can find instead. It might even be cheaper... Depends a bit how
    > long you are travelling for.


    As I said, I'm using shorter (3-10 day hikes) this year as a testing
    ground for the longer PCT hike that I plan next year.

    Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail generally starts at the Mexican border
    in mid-late March and ends at the Canadian border in mid-late
    September. It's not like it's an overnighter that I could take enough
    spares with me.

    --
    You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a
    reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating
    the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for
    independence.
    -- Charles A. Beard
     
    Ken Lucke, Feb 7, 2007
    #10
  11. Ken Lucke

    AZ Nomad Guest

    On Wed, 07 Feb 2007 09:43:01 -0800, Ken Lucke <> wrote:

    >Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail generally starts at the Mexican border
    >in mid-late March and ends at the Canadian border in mid-late
    >September. It's not like it's an overnighter that I could take enough
    >spares with me.


    The solar solution might easily weight more than batteries for such a trip.
    Are you taking enough food for the entire trip as well? If you stop for food,
    then you can stop for batteries.
     
    AZ Nomad, Feb 7, 2007
    #11
  12. Ken Lucke

    Al Dykes Guest

    In article <>,
    AZ Nomad <> wrote:
    >On Wed, 07 Feb 2007 09:43:01 -0800, Ken Lucke <> wrote:
    >
    >>Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail generally starts at the Mexican border
    >>in mid-late March and ends at the Canadian border in mid-late
    >>September. It's not like it's an overnighter that I could take enough
    >>spares with me.

    >
    >The solar solution might easily weight more than batteries for such a trip.
    >Are you taking enough food for the entire trip as well? If you stop for food,
    >then you can stop for batteries.



    If you can use them, Lithium batteries last much longer and weigh
    *much* less. I'm not talking about rechargables.

    There is drop-in lithium replacement for the 1.5v AA battery.

    They are famous for the shelf life, so they will keep if you buy more
    than you use.




    --
    a d y k e s @ p a n i x . c o m
    Don't blame me. I voted for Gore. A Proud signature since 2001
     
    Al Dykes, Feb 7, 2007
    #12
  13. Ken Lucke

    Ken Lucke Guest

    In article <>,
    AZ Nomad <> wrote:

    > On Wed, 07 Feb 2007 09:43:01 -0800, Ken Lucke <> wrote:
    >
    > >Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail generally starts at the Mexican border
    > >in mid-late March and ends at the Canadian border in mid-late
    > >September. It's not like it's an overnighter that I could take enough
    > >spares with me.

    >
    > The solar solution might easily weight more than batteries for such a trip.
    > Are you taking enough food for the entire trip as well? If you stop for food,
    > then you can stop for batteries.


    No, of course I'm not taking that much food -no one could - there are
    pre-planned "food drop" points along the way - some merely PO boxes at
    small towns a mile or two off of the trail where I can mail provisions
    to, some actual drop sites where people will meet me, etc.

    I can't see how one charger (or even two) plus a double set of
    replacements would weigh more than the dozens of batteries I might need
    as replacements for a intra-drop point interval, though, which is why
    I'm trying to do this way. Remember that even though I might use them
    up, I've still got to pack the dead ones out to the next garbage drop
    point as well. The method I am going to use has already been
    determined - I'm trying now to work out the best /implementation/ of
    that method.

    --
    You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a
    reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating
    the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for
    independence.
    -- Charles A. Beard
     
    Ken Lucke, Feb 7, 2007
    #13
  14. Ken Lucke

    Al Dykes Guest

    In article <070220071037158998%>,
    Ken Lucke <> wrote:
    >In article <>,
    >AZ Nomad <> wrote:
    >
    >> On Wed, 07 Feb 2007 09:43:01 -0800, Ken Lucke <> wrote:
    >>
    >> >Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail generally starts at the Mexican border
    >> >in mid-late March and ends at the Canadian border in mid-late
    >> >September. It's not like it's an overnighter that I could take enough
    >> >spares with me.

    >>
    >> The solar solution might easily weight more than batteries for such a trip.
    >> Are you taking enough food for the entire trip as well? If you stop for food,
    >> then you can stop for batteries.

    >
    >No, of course I'm not taking that much food -no one could - there are
    >pre-planned "food drop" points along the way - some merely PO boxes at
    >small towns a mile or two off of the trail where I can mail provisions
    >to, some actual drop sites where people will meet me, etc.
    >




    On a tangent, it sounds like a great trip. Get a copy of Colin
    Fletcher's "The Thousand-Mile Summer: In Desert and High Sierra" any
    way you can. (Or any other book of his for that matter.) This is the
    telling of his walk from Canada to Mexico. (In another book we
    describes his walk along the bottom of the Grand Canyon.)

    Fletcher is a wonderfull writer. In the early 70s he wrote "The
    Complete Walker", which was the bible on the new backpacking
    technology as well as the hiker's ethestic. Now in it's Nth revision.
    Maybe he didn't invent untra-lightweight backpacking but he developed
    the art and explained it to a mass audoence.

    Back to topic, he *does* talk about photography in his books. Of
    course the cameera was (ISTR) a half-frame Pentax.



    --
    a d y k e s @ p a n i x . c o m
    Don't blame me. I voted for Gore. A Proud signature since 2001
     
    Al Dykes, Feb 7, 2007
    #14
  15. Ken Lucke

    Paul Rubin Guest

    Ken Lucke <> writes:
    > I can't see how one charger (or even two) plus a double set of
    > replacements would weigh more than the dozens of batteries I might need
    > as replacements for a intra-drop point interval, though, which is why
    > I'm trying to do this way. Remember that even though I might use them
    > up, I've still got to pack the dead ones out to the next garbage drop
    > point as well.


    Why dozens of batteries? How many photos do you plan to shoot? Think
    about enjoying the scenery and taking a picture once in a while when
    you see something interesting, instead of spending every waking moment
    snapping away. You mentioned PO boxes--would there be an AC outlet
    available? You could consider an Energizer 15 minute NIMH charger (it
    actually takes about 20 minutes for high capacity cells).

    Anyway, yeah, there are solar chargers around but you'd need a fairly
    large one to use while hiking, at least given that you'll be under
    tree cover a lot of the time.
     
    Paul Rubin, Feb 7, 2007
    #15
  16. Ken Lucke

    ASAAR Guest

    On Wed, 07 Feb 2007 10:37:15 -0800, Ken Lucke wrote:

    > I can't see how one charger (or even two) plus a double set of
    > replacements would weigh more than the dozens of batteries I might need
    > as replacements for a intra-drop point interval, though, which is why
    > I'm trying to do this way. Remember that even though I might use them
    > up, I've still got to pack the dead ones out to the next garbage drop
    > point as well. The method I am going to use has already been
    > determined - I'm trying now to work out the best /implementation/ of
    > that method.


    The charger may not be particularly heavy, but the solar panels
    that would be needed to supply sufficient current might be. You
    can't rely on peak output unless the panels are stationary in a
    location that's pretty much guaranteed to have bright sunlight most
    of the time. A solar panel mounted on a moving, swaying backpack
    that can't be precisely aimed at the sun will produce a much lower
    average current. Also, you need to estimate the number of AA cells
    that will be charged each day, and based on the number that will be
    charged simultaneously, you can easily figure out the current that
    the charger will require. This may be much higher than even fairly
    large solar panels can provide. You probably will also want to use
    an old style "dumb" charger, since the varying voltage/current
    supplied by a solar panel may cause a "smart" charger to frequently
    restart. Smart chargers usually charge quickly, and can require
    *many* amps to operate, so a "dumb" charger that charges at not much
    more than a trickle charge rate may be a good match for large solar
    panels. C.Crane (ccrane.com) sells a small solar powered battery
    charger that's probably much too limited to be useful, but they also
    sell a fairly large solar panel that could probably charge all of
    your AA batteries in less than a day, if you could keep it supplied
    with enough sunlight. But that may not be easy to do.

    I don't know how efficient your camera is, but some DSLRs can take
    thousands of shots per charge. Using a battery grip that holds two
    battery packs would naturally allow twice the number of shots. Do
    you know how many shots you'd be able to take using 6 AA cells, for
    both alkaline and NiMH? I assume that most or all of the shots
    won't use flash, so you may be able to take many thousands of shots
    before needing to swap batteries. If so, how many days of shooting
    do you think this would be good for? One day? Two days? A week?
    If close to a week, the number of batteries you'd need for a couple
    of months of shooting may not weigh much more than a charger, a
    solar panel and a couple sets of rechargeable batteries. It may
    even weigh less.
     
    ASAAR, Feb 7, 2007
    #16
  17. Ken Lucke

    Ken Lucke Guest

    In article <eqd7t9$dj9$>, Al Dykes <>
    wrote:

    > In article <070220071037158998%>,
    > Ken Lucke <> wrote:
    > >In article <>,
    > >AZ Nomad <> wrote:
    > >
    > >> On Wed, 07 Feb 2007 09:43:01 -0800, Ken Lucke <> wrote:
    > >>
    > >> >Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail generally starts at the Mexican border
    > >> >in mid-late March and ends at the Canadian border in mid-late
    > >> >September. It's not like it's an overnighter that I could take enough
    > >> >spares with me.
    > >>
    > >> The solar solution might easily weight more than batteries for such a trip.
    > >> Are you taking enough food for the entire trip as well? If you stop for
    > >> food,
    > >> then you can stop for batteries.

    > >
    > >No, of course I'm not taking that much food -no one could - there are
    > >pre-planned "food drop" points along the way - some merely PO boxes at
    > >small towns a mile or two off of the trail where I can mail provisions
    > >to, some actual drop sites where people will meet me, etc.
    > >

    >
    >
    >
    > On a tangent, it sounds like a great trip. Get a copy of Colin
    > Fletcher's "The Thousand-Mile Summer: In Desert and High Sierra" any
    > way you can.


    Read it, long ago.

    > (Or any other book of his for that matter.) This is the
    > telling of his walk from Canada to Mexico. (In another book we
    > describes his walk along the bottom of the Grand Canyon.)


    Yes, there are lots of great books written about the hike, which is one
    of the reasons why I've been dreaming of it for over 30 years - I
    started reading about this trip back in my early teens. I finally
    decided that, as I own my own businesses and have the freedom to do so,
    I'm actually going to get my ass out there and actually do it as well.

    >
    > Fletcher is a wonderfull writer. In the early 70s he wrote "The
    > Complete Walker", which was the bible on the new backpacking
    > technology as well as the hiker's ethestic. Now in it's Nth revision.
    > Maybe he didn't invent untra-lightweight backpacking but he developed
    > the art and explained it to a mass audoence.
    >
    > Back to topic, he *does* talk about photography in his books. Of
    > course the cameera was (ISTR) a half-frame Pentax.


    --
    You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a
    reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating
    the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for
    independence.
    -- Charles A. Beard
     
    Ken Lucke, Feb 7, 2007
    #17
  18. Ken Lucke

    Paul Furman Guest

    Ken Lucke wrote:

    > In article <LCdyh.16266$>, Paul
    > Furman <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >>Matt Ion wrote:
    >>
    >>>Ken Lucke wrote:
    >>>...
    >>>
    >>>>backpack(s) externally to charge during the hiking day), and pointers
    >>>>to the products that are recommended?
    >>>
    >>>I don't know where you're located, but here north of the 49th, Canadian
    >>>Tire caries a number of solar-charging kits, including one that rolls up
    >>>for storage and can roll out across a backpack to charge while hiking.
    >>>
    >>>Try starting here:
    >>>
    >>>http://canadiantire.ca/browse/subcategory_landing.jsp?FOLDER<>folder_id=
    >>>1408474396672503&PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524443281438&bmUID=1170802732723
    >>>
    >>>and specifically:
    >>>
    >>>http://canadiantire.ca/browse/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT<>prd_id=8455244
    >>>43281438&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=1408474396672503&bmUID=1170802764282

    >>
    >>Can you give us a Canadian postal code? The web site doesn't let me in
    >>without that.

    >
    >
    > Use the one it gives as an example if you put in an incorrect one: "M4P
    > 1V8" :^)
    >


    Thanks... (case sensitive too) and here's the link again unbroken:
    <http://canadiantire.ca/browse/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524443281438&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=1408474396672503&bmUID=1170802764282>
     
    Paul Furman, Feb 7, 2007
    #18
  19. Ken Lucke

    Ken Lucke Guest

    In article <>, Paul Rubin
    <http://> wrote:

    > Ken Lucke <> writes:
    > > I can't see how one charger (or even two) plus a double set of
    > > replacements would weigh more than the dozens of batteries I might need
    > > as replacements for a intra-drop point interval, though, which is why
    > > I'm trying to do this way. Remember that even though I might use them
    > > up, I've still got to pack the dead ones out to the next garbage drop
    > > point as well.

    >
    > Why dozens of batteries?


    Because for a [sometimes] 2-3 week interval (you see, I'm _planning_ on
    taking it slow so that I can photograph), I calculate that I will be
    using one set of 2 AAs (for the GPS) every three days or so and one set
    of 6 AAs (for the battery grip on the camera, if I choose to go with
    thhem instead of the NL2B batteries) every three days or so (as I've
    calculated would be about right), plus batteries for the mini-HD
    storage unit, plus flashlight batteries (even LED flashlights DO run
    out of power), etc. Believe it or not, that comes out to "dozens".

    > How many photos do you plan to shoot?


    I'll never know until I get there, will I? This trip is not only for
    pleasure, but is a plannned photo shoot, with the full intent of coming
    back with useable photos. It's not just a casual walkabout.

    > Think
    > about enjoying the scenery and taking a picture once in a while when
    > you see something interesting, instead of spending every waking moment
    > snapping away.


    Uhm, you know, you can enjoy the scenery AND take pictures. I never
    said /anything/ about "spending every waking moment snapping away", did
    I? Besides, *I* enjoy scenery even /while/ I'm taking pictures -
    which is one of the reasons I /take/ pictures. And also besides, the
    trip is /meant/ to be a photo journey.

    But tell me - have you ever crossed the Mojave desert during full bloom
    of the cactus and wildflowers, as this trip, timed correctly, does?
    Have you ever walked a high mountain snow ridge in the deep High
    Sierras with the incredible vistas that result, right at the very first
    spring accessibility, as this trip, timed correctly, does? Have you
    ever spend days hiking through alpine meadows during wildflower season,
    as this trip, timed correctly, does? How about traversing around high
    mountain lakes with their surrounding peaks mirrored in the still blue
    waters? How about the abandonded mining & ghost towns you trundle
    through, with all their photo opportunities?

    Do you KNOW how many pictures that /you/ might take? *I* sure don't,
    but I know it will be lots, and I would not want to lose any to lack of
    foreplanning.

    Do some research on others that have hiked this trail, and I think you
    will find that photography is one of the major things that happens
    along the 2650+ mile trip. Here's one place to start:
    http://www.fs.fed.us/pct/ and another: http://www.pcta.org/

    > You mentioned PO boxes--would there be an AC outlet
    > available? You could consider an Energizer 15 minute NIMH charger (it
    > actually takes about 20 minutes for high capacity cells).


    That is an option, and I could mail the charger to be waiting for me
    there, and mail it on to the next drop point as well, so I wouldn't
    have to actually carry it. I can also use car chargers when I have
    people meeting me.

    However, that doesn't eliminate my need for power while _not_ in those
    locations, nor reduce the number of batteries I would have to carry for
    some of the intervals, which could be quite numerous. I will probably
    be adjusting my routine, depending on the duration of each leg, so that
    some of the time I might just carry spares, and some of the time I
    might carry the charger system, but that still doesn't eliminate my
    need for the charger system altogether for those longer legs.

    >
    > Anyway, yeah, there are solar chargers around but you'd need a fairly
    > large one to use while hiking, at least given that you'll be under
    > tree cover a lot of the time.


    Which is why I'm asking for _real_ _world_, _actual_ _experience_
    recommendations, /not/ theory or unsupported opinions. It's not that I
    don't want input... really. Think of it this way - do you take the
    opinion of anyone who hasn't actually used, handled, or spent time with
    a particular camera, lens, or printer as knowledgeable a person about
    said item as someone who has? Yes, theory and opinions from
    inhtelligent people is valuable, but actual hands-on experience is even
    more so, in my book.

    --
    You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a
    reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating
    the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for
    independence.
    -- Charles A. Beard
     
    Ken Lucke, Feb 7, 2007
    #19
  20. Ken Lucke

    Ken Lucke Guest

    In article <>, ASAAR
    <> wrote:

    ><snip>


    > You probably will also want to use
    > an old style "dumb" charger, since the varying voltage/current
    > supplied by a solar panel may cause a "smart" charger to frequently
    > restart. Smart chargers usually charge quickly, and can require
    > *many* amps to operate, so a "dumb" charger that charges at not much
    > more than a trickle charge rate may be a good match for large solar
    > panels.


    Hmmm... that's an aspect I hadn't given any thought to. I'll have to
    check more closely into on how a smart charger operates, whether it's
    based on feedback from the battery or other criteria. My smart
    chargers at home all sense whether a battery /needs/ charging as soon
    as they power up.

    > C.Crane (ccrane.com) sells a small solar powered battery
    > charger that's probably much too limited to be useful, but they also
    > sell a fairly large solar panel that could probably charge all of
    > your AA batteries in less than a day, if you could keep it supplied
    > with enough sunlight. But that may not be easy to do.
    >
    > I don't know how efficient your camera is, but some DSLRs can take
    > thousands of shots per charge.


    I can get about 600-650 shots using zoom lenses and a 6 GB microdrive
    card, with normal usage of the display., i.e., it's on until you bring
    the camera up to your face, then it shuts off automatically, and of
    course does so when the camera shuts off (the 400D display uses a fair
    amount of power, but it can be turned off).

    For the trip, I'll be using standard CF instead of microdrive, just to
    reduce power consumption, and probably using the display turned off
    most of the time, even while shooting (gosh, I wouldn't want to be
    accused of "chimping", now, would I??? <g>). I'll also break myself of
    the habit of letting the camera shut itself off automatically instead
    of switching it off manually.

    > Using a battery grip that holds two
    > battery packs would naturally allow twice the number of shots. Do
    > you know how many shots you'd be able to take using 6 AA cells, for
    > both alkaline and NiMH?


    It's actually less than the using the two NL2B batteries - by about
    20%, using alkalines. About 15% less using NiMH rechargeables. All
    the mAh data on the batteries would argue otherwise, but that's actual
    testing.

    I've never tried it with lithium non-rechargeables.

    Then of course there's the reduced efficiency of the batteries at the
    lower temperatures that will be encountered in many of the locations.

    > I assume that most or all of the shots
    > won't use flash, so you may be able to take many thousands of shots
    > before needing to swap batteries. If so, how many days of shooting
    > do you think this would be good for? One day? Two days?


    I'm "guesstimating" about 2-3 days. This is based upon my normal daily
    usage (I can normally get by one day with about 600 shots on one
    battery change) when out and about spending an entire day shooting, and
    then reducing for the fact thaht I won't be spending as much time
    dedicated to actually shooting, plus factoring in the other power
    consuption adjustments (plus and minus) I outlined above.

    I'd also much rather err on the side of caution and have too much than
    to lose a perfect shot at the end of a day.

    I do have to actually move right along - I'll have to hike a little
    faster because I'll be stopping to photograph, or stay over a night
    somewhere to catch a sunrise/sunset, etc. There's a progression based
    upon the seasonal flow that you kind of have to keep up with to hit
    everything just right.

    > A week?


    Probably nowhere near that.

    > If close to a week, the number of batteries you'd need for a couple
    > of months of shooting may not weigh much more than a charger, a
    > solar panel and a couple sets of rechargeable batteries. It may
    > even weigh less.
    >


    --
    You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a
    reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating
    the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for
    independence.
    -- Charles A. Beard
     
    Ken Lucke, Feb 7, 2007
    #20
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