Orion Arm

Product Details:
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Product Code: OA-1


$3990.00

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      Orion Arm portable solar power system   

Portable Solar Panel System

     Orion Arm portable solar power system that is designed to recharge the rechargeable BB series military batteries using solar energy in the most efficient, fast, clean, and silent manner possible.  When used to recharge or deliver power to a BB2590 battery, it can also recharge the following batteries: PRC-152 (MBITR) lithium ion battery, RCR-123A, AA, and AAA.  When used to recharge or deliver power to a BB2590 battery, it can be used to provide power for the battery charger for the Secure Key Loader, power up one or two standard female USB ports, provide power for one or more standard 12-volt cigarette lighter sockets, and provide power for a variety of LED lighting fixtures.  The SKL battery charger and battery are not included in the Orion Arm system.  A USB port and a cigarette lighter socket adapter are included in the system.

     In the presence of sunshine, this Military Battery Solar Charger System allows one to recharge compatible, rechargeable, BB-series lithium ion, nickel metal hydride (NiMH), and nickel cadmium (NiCad) batteries.  We favor the BB2590 lithium ion battery because of its lighter weight (higher energy density) and much lower self-discharge rate.  This system is the most powerful and fastest solar charging system available for the BB2590 battery, and includes the most powerful and efficient charge cap available, and the most efficient, lightweight, foldable solar panels available.

     The brain of this system is the Charge Cap, a fully-ruggedized, sophisticated, solar-powered battery charger that meets or exceeds Mil-Std-810F standards, connects to the solar panel(s) and BB2590 battery, processes voltage and current from the solar panel, and uses it to recharge the BB2590 battery as quickly as possible.  The Charge Cap is able to recharge the BB2590 battery using up to 8 amps of current (4 amps per string) or 132 watts of power, and uses MPPT technology to accelerate the charging process by up to 30% compared to other chargers.  The Charge Cap fits directly on top of (plugs into) the BB2590 via replaceable gold-plated contacts/sense pins, connects to the solar panel(s) via a built-in connector-cable, automatically recognizes the chemistry-type of the user-chosen BB-series battery, and requires no user input.  Important features include the "smart charging" technology which does not allow the battery to over-charge, a DC-IN port that accepts a wide range of DC voltages from a variety of sources of DC current (20-60VDC; solar panel open circuit voltage < 60VDC), a fully-protected and separate auxiliary DC-OUT port that delivers up to 8 amps of current @ nominal 12-volts DC to a connected device, a LED bar graph that calculates and indicates Time to Charge or Time to Discharge under steady state conditions, and a full set of LED lights that indicate the status of the system.  A wide variety of optional accessories are available to broaden the end user's applications, for example, an attachment that allows the end user to recharge a PRC-152 handheld radio battery, or an attachment that allows the end user to recharge the battery from the 24-volt DC NATO connector/port in an available HumVee.  In the presence of strong peak sunshine and the solar array, but in the absence of a battery, the Charge Cap will deliver 14.4 volts of DC current, up to 8 amps via its accessory DC-OUT port.

     In the presence of strong peak sunshine, and using this system, the typical complete solar recharge time for one BB2590 battery is 3 hours, to 85% charged is 2 hours, and to 100% charged from a 24-volt DC HumVee NATO plug-in is 2.5 hours.  In less-than-optimal conditions of sunshine, it will take longer to recharge the BB2590 battery.

     Using two or more Y-connector cables plus an assortment of available optional accessories, one can set up a network of electronic devices simultaneously according to one's needs in the field.  A typical network may include any or all of the following: standard female 12-volt cigarette lighter socket(s), standard female USB port(s), PRC-152 battery charger, RCR-123A battery charger, AA/AAA battery charger, 24-volt NATO power input cable, and/or a variety of extension cables, all of which are included in Orion Arm.


Orion Arm Portable Solar Power System Details

Orion Arm comes with: Charge Caps x 2 - described above; Solar Array - high-efficiency, foldable, small-footprint, 120-watt/nominal 24-volt unit in black.  The solar panel fits inside of the hard case; connector-cable x 1 that links the solar panel to the charge cap is built into the solar panel unit; Y-connector cables x 4; NATO connector cable x 1 (the NATO power plug allows one to access a mating NATO 24VDC port in a HumVee in order to recharge a BB2590 battery in the absence of sunshine); PRC-152 battery charger connector cable x 1; AA/AAA battery charger x 1; RCR-123A battery charger x 1; 25-foot extension cable x 1; USB port adapter x 1; female cigarette lighter socket adapter x 1; and, protective mil-spec Pelican 1520 hard case (DEF_STAN_81 and IP-67) that encloses the entire system.  The approximate external dimensions of the Pelican hard case are 19.7 x 15.3 x 7.3 inches.  Other and/or custom arrangements and numbers of components are possible, for example one charge cap instead of two.  Inside the hard case, there is a User's Instruction manual along with a color photo-diagram of the contents of the system.

 

Images of the Orion Arm Solar Power System

In the photo below, one can see the hard case opened and the 120-watt foldable panel that sits on top of the stored electrical components inside the hard case.

In the photo below, one can see the hard case opened, the 120-watt solar panel sitting on the grass to the left of the hard case, and the electrical components stored inside the hard case.

In the photo belpow, one can see the hard case opened with all of the electrical components stored safely inside the hard case.



    The performance and durability of some of the components of Orion Arm originally underwent testing by a group of Army Rangers at Ft. Benning in Columbus, GA.  As a direct result of their testing, certain changes and upgrades were made.  Over time, additional changes and upgrades were made.  The entire system is enclosed in a proven superior mil-spec hard case by Pelican.  The electrical components are ruggedized, fast and simple to assemble, polarity correct so there is only one way to interconnect components, waterproof, dustproof, and easily replaceable.  The solar panel is the most efficient panel available...anywhere...and far exceeds the efficiency of any of the mil-spec foldable solar panels currently available.  That is why it was chosen for this system.  Higher efficiency decreases the weight and surface area that are necessary to recharge the BB2590 battery in a timely manner.  The solar panel is also waterproof and dustproof.
    

     Orion Arm is a powerful, efficient, and durable integrated solar charging system that allows its end user to recharge the military BB2590 battery using solar or another source of DC power faster than any system available anywhere.  The individual components in Orion Arm are modular, inter-connectable via the built-in and/or included SAE connectors, and each component has at least one built-in SAE connector.  The polarity of every SAE connector in this system is correct, and that allows the end user to connect the components in a variety of configurations or custom arrangements, all with correct polarity.  See the photo below of a SAE Connector.

  

     Orion Arm is enclosed in a mil spec, waterproof, dustproof, and crushproof hard case.  The brain of the system is the Charge Cap.  See the photo below.

      

     When connected to the included solar array or a source of 24-volt DC power, for example, the NATO connector in a HumVee, the Charge Cap makes it possible to charge a BB2590 battery and to operate the other components included in the system.  When connected to a BB2590 battery, with or without a source of incoming DC power, the Charge Cap is able to draw energy from the BB2590 battery and makes it possible to operate the other components included in the system. 

     The Charge Cap fits precisely onto the top of a BB2590 battery via a set of gold-plated, easily-replaceable metal contacts and one round 6-pin connector.  Align the under surface of the Charge Cap with the top surface of the BB2590 battery, then gently push the two together.  See the photos below.

 

    

     The Charge Cap automatically recognizes the chemistry of the BB-series battery, and can be used with BB390, BB590, BB2590, and other BB-series batteries.  Integrated into the Charge Cap is a Time-Until-Charged and a Time-Until-Discharged calculator with LED bar display.  Under steady-state conditions, the LED bars indicate the approximate time remaining until the BB2590 battery is either fully charged or discharged. 

     Once the Charge Cap is applied to the top of a BB2590 battery, its LEDs will cycle and indicate the status of the system.  On the left hand side of Charge Cap when the Charge Cap faces the user,  and labeled “DC Source”, there is a short cable that ends in a SAE connector that is used to connect to INCOMING power (solar array, NATO connector from HumVee, or the Auxiliary Output SAE connector from a second Charge Cap).  On the right hand side of the Charge Cap when the Charge Cap faces the user, and labeled “ Auxiliary Output”, there is a female SAE plug-in port that is used to connect to OUTGOING power loads, and that mates with other SAE connector in the system, EXCEPT those from the solar array or the NATO connector cable.  The solar array and the NATO connector cable are considered to be INCOMING power only, and plug into the SAE Connector that is labeled “DC Source”.  See the photo below.

  

How to set up the solar panel 

     One lightweight, foldable, 120-watt, 36-volt solar panel in solid black is included in this system.  The solar panel has a built-in power output cable that ends in a SAE connector.   The solar panel is set up and ready to use.  Position the solar panel in direct sunlight.  The panel will produce more power if it is tilted so that it faces perpendicular to the sun.  See the photos below.

How to charge a BB2590 battery using the solar array  

     Apply the Charge Cap to a BB2590 battery.  Using the solar panel set-up above, connect the SAE connector at the end of the built-in solar power output cable from the solar panel to the SAE connector cable on the left hand side of the Charge Cap that is labeled “DC Source”.  As sunlight strikes the solar array, the BB2590 battery will begin to charge.  The two photos below show the solar panel, battery, and charge cap.

 

 

In the photo below, the charge cap is applied to the top of the battery.

  

Remove the built-in solar power output cable from the pouch that is built-into the closure flap of the solar panel.  The cable ends in a male SAE connector that plugs into the female mate in the charge cap.  See photos below.

  

Unfold the solar panel and place it in strong direct sunshine.  See photos below.

 

 

     In conditions of intense sunshine and high ambient temperatures, the battery and charge cap may be shaded underneath the black flap of the solar panel.  This may serve to keep the battery and charge cap a little bit cooler.  See photos below.

 

The two photos below show the battery being solar charged.

  

The photo below shows the charge cap removed from the battery.

 

    Operational tips - On the right-hand side of the Charge Cap, there is a green LED that corresponds to the label “85% Charged”.  In the time required to charge a BB2590 battery from 85% to 100%, an empty BB2590 battery can be recharged to 50%.  If there is another empty or almost empty BB2590 battery to recharge, once the connected battery achieves the “85% Charged” mark, one should disconnect the “85% Charged” battery and connect the lower charged battery.  If there is no lower charged battery, the connected battery may be recharged to 100% (solid green charging status LED). 

     Under conditions of optimal strong peak sunlight, the included solar array can recharge one BB2590 battery by Bren-Tronics from empty to full in 2.65 hours, and from empty to 85% full in 1.75 hours.  The BB2590 battery by UltraLife charges at a lesser current than the BB2590 battery by Bren-Tronics, so will take 20% longer to recharge.

     When reharging a BB2590 battery, do not remove the Charge Cap from the battery that is being charged to check the progress by looking at the state-of-charge indicator on the top of the BB2590 battery.  To do so will re-set the charging algorithm of the Charge Cap and lengthen the charging time.  The LEDs on the Charge Cap will inform the user when the BB2590 battery is fully charged.

 

How to Charge a BB2590 Battery Using the NATO Connector Cable 

    See the photos below of the NATO Connector Cable.

 

 

     In the presence of a HumVee vehicle, one may charge the BB2590 battery using the included NATO Connector Cable.  Apply the Charge Cap to a BB2590 battery as above.  Connect the SAE connector on one end of the NATO Connector Cable to the SAE connector on the left hand side of the Charge Cap labeled “DC Source”.  Plug the NATO connector plug end of the NATO Connector Cable into the mating 24-volt NATO connector in the HumVee.  The BB2590 battery will begin to charge.  See the photos below.

 

 

  

How to Charge a PRC-152 Battery Using the Solar Array and Charge Cap 

     Set up the solar panel as above.  Connect the SAE connector on the end of the solar power output cable to the SAE connector cable on the left hand side of the Charge Cap labeled “DC Source”.  Plug the round 6-pin connector of the included PRC-152 Battery Charger Connector Cable into the corresponding round 6-pin connector on the under-surface of the Charge Cap (instead of a BB2590 battery).  Attach the other end of the PRC-152 Battery Charger Connector Cable to a PRC-152 battery.  As sunlight strikes the solar array, the PRC-152 battery will begin to charge.  See the photos below.

  

How to Charge a PRC-152 Battery and a BB2590 Battery Simultaneously Using the Solar Panel and Two Charge Caps 

     This set-up requires two Charge Caps.  Apply the first Charge Cap to a BB2590 battery as above.  Into the “Auxiliary Output” port on the right hand side of the first Charge Cap, plug in the SAE connector from the left hand side of the second Charge Cap.  The two Charge Caps will be in series.  Set up the Solar Panel as above.  Connect the SAE connector on the end of the solar power output cable to the SAE connector cable on the left hand side of the first Charge Cap.  Plug the round 6-pin connector of the PRC-152 Battery Charger Connector Cable into the corresponding round 6-pin connector on the under-surface of the second Charge Cap.  Attach the other end of the PRC-152 Battery Charger Connector Cable to a PRC-152 battery.  As sunlight strikes the solar array, the BB2590 battery and the PRC-152 battery will begin to charge.  See the photos below.

  

How to Use the USB Adapter Cable 

     Apply a Charge Cap to a BB2590 battery as above.  Set up the Solar Panel as above, and plug the Solar Panel into the left hand side of the Charge Cap labeled “DC Source” as above.  As sunlight strikes the solar panel, the BB2590 battery will begin to charge.  Into the right hand side of the Charge Cap labeled “Auxiliary Output”, plug in the SAE connector on one end of the USB Adapter Cable.  On the other end of the USB Adapter Cable, there is a single 2.1-amp, 5-volt female USB port that can be used to operate many USB-charged devices, like cell phones, Tablets, iPads, etc.  See the photos below.

      The system above will operate with or without the solar panel.  With the Charge Cap applied to the BB2590 battery, the USB Adapter Cable may be connected and used in the absence of the solar array.

 

How to Use the AA/AAA Battery Charger 

    Apply a Charge Cap to a BB2590 battery as above.  Set up the Solar Panel as above, and plug the Solar Panel into the left hand side of the Charge Cap labeled “DC Source” as above.  As sunlight strikes the solar panel, the BB2590 battery will begin to charge.  Into the right hand side of the Charge Cap, labeled “Auxiliary Output”, plug in the SAE connector from the AA/AAA Battery Charger.  The LEDs on the AA/AAA Battery Charger will indicate the status of the charging process (solid green = fully charged).  The  AA/AAA Battery Charger can recharge up to 4 user-supplied, rechargeable nickel metal hydride batteries simultaneously.  See the photos below.

 
     The system above will operate with or without the solar panel.  With the Charge Cap applied to the BB2590 battery, the AA/AAA Battery Charger may be connected and used in the absence of the solar array.

 

How to Use the RCR123A Battery Charger 

    Apply a Charge Cap to a BB2590 battery as above.  Set up the solar panel as above, and plug the solar panel into the left hand side of the Charge Cap labeled “DC Source” as above.  As sunlight strikes the solar panel, the BB2590 battery will begin to charge.  Into the right hand side of the Charge Cap, labeled “Auxiliary Output”, plug in the SAE connector from the RCR123A Battery Charger.  The LEDs on the RCR123A Battery Charger will indicate the status of the charging process (solid green = fully charged).  The  RCR123A Battery Charger can recharge up to 2 rechargeable 750 mAH lithium iron phosphate batteries simultaneously. Six batteries are included with each charger, and these batteries are compatible with SureFire flashlights.   See the photos below.

      The system above will operate with or without the solar panel.  With the Charge Cap applied to the BB2590 battery, the RCR123A Battery Charger may be used in the absence of the solar panel.

 

How to Use the Cigarette Lighter Socket Adapter 

     Apply a Charge Cap to a BB2590 battery as above.  Set up the solar panel as above, and plug the solar panel into the left hand side of the Charge Cap labeled “DC Source” as above.  As sunlight strikes the solar panel, the BB2590 battery will begin to charge.  Into the right hand side of the Charge Cap, labeled “Auxiliary Output”, plug in the SAE connector on one end of the Cigarette Lighter Socket Adapter.  The cigarette lighter socket and cable measures 12 inches in length, and can be used to power up a variety of electronic devices, such as computer DC power adapters and inverters.  The polarity of the cigarette lighter socket is standard center positive, and its voltage is a function of the state-of-charge voltage of the BB2590 battery.  The output voltage can reach as high as 16.5VDC when the BB2590 battery is fully charged, which is acceptable for most typical 12-volt DC automobile adapters, but may damage certain adapters which do not tolerate the voltage that is slightly higher than that of a 12-volt vehicle battery.   See the photos below.

 

     The system above will operate with or without the solar panel.  With the Charge Cap applied to the BB2590 battery, the Cigarette Lighter Socket Adapter may be used in the absence of the solar panel.

 

How to Set Up Multiple Components Simultaneously or Set Up a Charging Network 

     Using one or more of the included Short Y-Connector Cables, one may set up multiple components or circuits in parallel in order to operate several components simultaneously.  For example, one may set up two or three or nearly all of the above power-consuming components simultaneously using multiple Short Y-Connector cables in parallel or a daisy chain configuration. 

     Each Short Y-Connector Cable consists of one 6-inch input limb, one 6-inch output limb, and one 2-inch output limb. 

         Apply a Charge Cap to a BB2590 battery as above.  Set up the solar panel as above, and plug the solar panel into the left hand side of the Charge Cap labeled “DC Source” as above.  As sunlight strikes the solar panel, the BB2590 battery will begin to charge.   Into the “Auxiliary Output” port on the right hand side of the Charge Cap, plug in the SAE connector on the end of the 6-inch input limb from one Short Y-Connector Cable.  Now, there are two power output SAE connectors to use.  To one of the two power output SAE connectors, one may connect the SAE connector on the end of the 6-inch input limb from another Short Y-Connector Cable.  Now, there are three power output SAE connectors to use.  One may connect a USB Adapter, a AA/AAA battery charger, and a RCR123A battery charger.  Instead, one may connect another Short Y-Connector Cable to create a network of 4 available power output SAE connectors from which 4 devices may be connected.  See the photos below.

 

How to Charge Two BB2590 Batteries Simultaneously 

    Apply a Charge Cap to a BB2590 battery as above.  Apply a second Charge Cap to a second BB2590 battery as above.  Into the “Auxiliary Output” port located on the right hand side of the first Charge Cap, plug in the SAE connector from the left hand side of the second Charge Cap labeled “DC Source”.  This set up results in a pair of Charge Caps and BB2590 batteries in parallel.  Set up the solar panel as above, and plug the solar panel into the left hand side of the first Charge Cap labeled “DC Source”.  As sunlight strikes the solar panel, both of the BB2590 batteries will begin to charge.  See the photos below.

     Into the right hand side of the second Charge Cap labeled “Auxiliary Output”, plug in the SAE connector from any of the power output devices described above, or from a Short Y-Connector Cable in order to set up a network. 

What If There Is No BB2590 Battery? 

     Set up the solar panel as above.  Plug the solar panel into the left hand side of the Charge Cap as above.  In the absence of a BB2590 battery, but in the presence of uninterrupted direct sunlight that strikes the solar panel, the “Auxiliary Output” port on the right hand side of the Charge Cap will deliver a regulated 14.4-volts DC up to 8 amps in strong peak sunlight.  An example of where this might be useful is in charging or topping off a 12-volt lead acid battery, i.e. the individual 12-volt lead acid batteries that make up the 24-volt system in a HumVee.

      ***For those end users who must use a system that includes components that are mil spec, we can assemble a similar system that includes a pair of mil-spec 80-watt solar panels instead of the single 120-watt solar panel.  The 120-watt solar panel that comes with Orion Arm is not rated mil spec.  Please keep in mind that the two mil spec panels are much less efficient and much more expensive per watt than the standard 120-watt panel, though they are lighter in weight.  Therefore, they will take longer to recharge the BB2590 battery than the standard 120-watt solar panel.  The only component that changes is the foldable solar panel.  One can see photos of both systems at the bottom of this page.  Please call us at 770 639 2244 for pricing and additional information regarding the mil spec system.  If one chooses a system that includes a pair of mil-spec 80-watt solar panels, please read the following:    

In the photo below, one can see the hard case opened, and the pair of 80-watt foldable solar panels that sits on top of the electrical components that are stored inside the hard case.

In the photo below, one can see the hard case opened, the pair of 80-watt foldable solar panels sitting on the grass to the left of the hard case, and the electrical components that are stored safely inside the hard case.

How to set up the mil-spec solar array 

     Two lightweight, foldable, 80-watt solar panels in tricolor desert camouflage are included in this system.  Each solar panel has a short power output cable that ends in a SAE connector.  The two solar panels are connected together using the included Solar Panel Y-Connector.  The Solar Panel Y-Connector has one 12-inch limb and a pair of 36-inch limbs.  Connect the SAE connector at the end of each 36-inch limb to the SAE connector of one solar panel.  The solar array is set up and ready to use.  Position both solar panels in direct sunlight.  The panels will produce more power if they are tilted so that they face perpendicular to the sun.  See the four photos below.

 

How to charge a BB2590 battery using the solar array  

     Apply the Charge Cap to a BB2590 battery.  Using the solar array set-up above, connect the SAE connector at the end of the 12-inch limb of the Solar Panel Y-Connector to the SAE connector cable on the left hand side of the Charge Cap that is labeled “DC Source”.  As sunlight strikes the solar array, the BB2590 battery will begin to charge.  See the photos below.