KDR, one of four hunters, needed a means to recharge small batteries that are used to power up the portable electronic devices that he and his co-hunters take on their frequent hunting sorties in remote regions of Alabama. According to KDR, excellent wild boar hunting can be found 20-30 miles north of Abbeville, Alabama. The next hunting trip was scheduled to be one month away and would last for 8 days. KDR approached Powerenz for a portable solar power solution.
The electronic devices that are used during the hunting trips include:
Cell phones recharged via USB,
flashlights and headlamps, powered by RCR123 3-volt LiFePO4 batteries rechargeable via 12-volt DC,
2-way handheld radios, powered by lithium batteries rechargeable via 12-volt DC,
handheld GPS, powered by AA batteries rechargeable via 12-volt DC, and
rifle-mounted, green LED flashlights, ideal for hog hunting at night, powered by 18650 3.7-volt lithium batteries rechargeable via 12-volt DC.
The battery chargers used by the hunters came with standard automobile cigarette lighter plugs. KDR requested that the camping solar charger system include 4 or 5, 12-volt, female cigarette lighter sockets that could be used simultaneously. Cell phones would not be used much, and would need to be recharged only occasionally. Four flashlights would be used an average of 2 hours/each per night. Two-way radios would be used frequently, and would need to be recharged daily. The GPS would be used for several hours each day, and its batteries would need to be recharged every 2-3 days. The green rifle lights used energy-efficient LEDs, would be used for 3 hours every night, and the batteries would need to be recharged every 2 days.
The peak power draw when recharging multiple batteries would be 44 watts with an average of 25 watts. The total energy required each day was calculated to be 180 watt-hours. We estimated 5 hours of optimal sunshine per day.
The weather during hunting was expected to be clear blue skies, warm, and little to no rain. Base camp would be located ½ mile from the location where they parked their SUV. They would not have to haul a lot of weight over a long distance. KDR stated that the weight of the camping solar charger could be 40-45 pounds. Base camp would be set up in the shade. There would be a location adjacent to their camp that would receive sunshine 8 hours/day. The backpacking solar charger could be set up every morning with the main electronics sheltered inside of a tent, and with the solar panels deployed in the sunny location, connected via extension cables. The backpacking solar charger could be left at camp, set up morning and afternoon while the hunters were away. While hunting, the hunters would bring fully-charged batteries for their devices, hunting gear, water, and snacks. When they returned to camp in the evening, they would expect that the camping solar charger battery would be recharged. At sundown, they would fold the solar panels, and store them inside the tent with the remainder of their gear. After sundown, they would set up their small battery chargers, and recharge their device batteries all night until sunrise. During hunting trips at night, they would set up their small battery chargers while they were gone.
Powerenz assembled a LFP-40 Sling Pack System along with custom wiring and connections to support five 12-volt DC female cigarette lighter sockets. The system would include a pair of 88-watt foldable solar panels in jungle camouflage, 25-foot heavy-duty extension cables, a 40 amp-hour, 12.8-volt LiFePO4 battery, an energy-efficient MPPT solar charge controller, proper protective and safety circuitry, spare parts, fuses, etc., all enclosed in a durable carrying pack. The weight of the system was 41 pounds. Four days later, the system was hand-delivered locally to KDR, tested and ready to operate.
Two months later, upon return of the hog hunters to Georgia, it was reported that the performance of the camping and backpacking solar charger exceeded expectations. It did not rain, and they never ran out of power. I asked that they please mention Powerenz to all of their wild boar hunting friends.