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1574 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 526986 28-Sep-2011 23:00
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Ah, that explains it.
Thanks Charles!! :-)

I suppose I tend to get a little cagey when the little things don't add up.

I actually just recently purchased some of the IMEDION batteries from another NZ supplier, and have found them to be pretty darn impressive. And your prices seem impressively competitive, so it looks like I might be heading your way fairly soon.

If you have read through the previous posts in this thread, you may have gathered that I already have a MAHA MH-C401FS charger. I've had it for a good 4 years at least now. Still going strong. It is a comparatively simple, yet superbly impressive charger. The C9000 is certainly catching my eye though. Especially with it's 12volt capability (it appears I'm not willing to consider anything unless it is 12volt capable ;-) ).
If finances allow, that is. ;-)



149 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 527031 29-Sep-2011 06:16
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Welcome too Charles. I did look at your site a few weeks ago and still am looking for a smart charger for the 12VDC output of my Nomad 7 PV panels. dontpanic42 uses one successfully (MH-C401FS), tho its not that blessed with screens/modes! I like the look of the C9000 - not sure how it would handle a 12VDC input, especially from the Nomad 7  low power 12VDC output.    

dontpanic42:  I already had one of these Maha MH-C401FS chargers from a while ago, and it has been an absolutely incredible charger. 4 independent smart charging channels, and it has manually switch-able fast (100mins) and slow (5 hours) charge options. Anyway, it runs off 12volts so have been testing this on the 12volt output of the Nomad 7 solar panel and it has been working like a dream. I'm even thinking that this could be a slightly better AA/AAA battery charging option as you don't have to always have 4 x batteries in the charger like you do with the Guide 10 battery pack. A little more testing is probably needed, but this could be a winner. In fact, I think I had both the Guide 10 power pack and the Maha charging at the same time, and they seemed to be working well. Not so much when the sun was not blazing, but good to see what the panel was capable of handling.
 :/
That Maha MH-C401FS may well be the only smart charger to work with the Nomad 7? Looks like you and the-crazy-guy-on-a-bike are the only ones who tried it:-) I too feel the pull of away-from-wall-socket power:)~
Q1:Have you had any issues at all with this system: sun behind cloud resetting, low light not charging etc? 
Q2: Same as you asked me - What is the input requirements of your MH-C401FS VDC and Amps.
Q3: Any problems charging 4 AAs from the Nomad 7?

PS this thread won't die will it ;-)

6 posts

Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 527109 29-Sep-2011 10:36
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PM me your address. I'll send you one of each charger to test it.

Charles

210 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 527159 29-Sep-2011 12:32
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Probably a bit late to jump back to the original topic but here are some prices that I didn't see in the postings, apologies if someone else has quoted it...

Shipbuktu charges $41 for 500g, $49 for 1Kg, $65.50 for 2Kg, $82 for 3Kg and $296 for 15 Kg.
BuyUSA charges $70 for up to 1 Kg, $77.50 for 2 Kg, $84.50 for 3 Kg and $204 for 15 Kg.

Hope that helps someone.




Michelsen Computer Services Whangarei
-----------------------------------------------------------
I was born in a cross-fire hurricane
And I howled at my ma in the driving rain,
But it's all right now, in fact, it's a gas...
-----------------------------------------------------------

1574 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 527206 29-Sep-2011 13:20
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Lol... this thread doesn't seem to want to die.

That crazyguyonabike website is scarily similar to what I am trying to achieve. I don't plan on going on a 7-week bike tour, but some of the things he is trying to do are exactly what I am trying to achieve. Freaky!!

Here's what I have found so far with the Nomad 7 system that I have been tinkering with.
(Note: Some observations may have changed from what I have said previously in this thread, because, as we all know, further testing usually gives more accurate results.)

First of all, the Nomad 7 solar panel is still the best portable panel I have come across, but like everything, it does have its limitations.

As previously stated in this thread, in full mid-day sunlight, I can get the following:

12volt cigarette lighter output (short circuit): 14.90volts @ 650-700mA.
USB output (short circuit): 4.92volts @ 650-700mA.
Guide 10 6.5v output (short circuit): 7.04volts @ 650-700mA.

I can't quite figure out what each half of solar panel might be outputting on its own. I am going to assume that each side of the panel outputs 6volts @ 0.7A. This would mean that both panel sides combined (in series) are capable of outputting 12volts @ 0.7A, which would work as it would be about 8.4 Watts total output @ 12volts. However, like crazyguyonabike pointed out, this could mean that at 6volts it is essentially only outputting 4.2watts (at my measured short circuit currents). If this is so, it's a severe limitation.
As with most things I own, I probably won't be able to resist the temptation to open the Nomad 7 up and figure out the true circuit configuration... so stay tuned. It might happen ;-).

The MAHA MH-C401FS charger.
When charging 4xAA batteries from a regular 12volt battery source using the MAHA 12volt cigarette lighter, I measure current draw off from the battery @ 0.09A for the 'slow' setting, and 0.23A using the 'fast' charging method.
When the MAHA is hooked up to the Nomad 7 12volt output, and under optimum sun conditions, it can adequately charge 4xAA batteries using the 'slow' charging method, but just cuts out as soon as you select the 'fast' charging method.
This I find odd because apparently the 12volt Nomad 7 output is capable of 0.7A. However I think the highly crude method I used of measuring the current outputs is just that, crude and inaccurate.
Re: Cloudy. When the sun goes behind the sun I have sometimes found the MAHA charger goes a bit wonky, and even when the sun comes back it sometimes doesn't reset and go back to normal charging. But only half of the time really. It will quite often go back to normal when the full sun re-appears.

USB Phone battery charger
Now, similar to what crazyguyonabike was trying to achieve with his camera battery, I have done something similar with my cellphone battery charging situation.
I have an IDEOS X5. I also have two of the HB4F1 Li-Polymer batteries and a USB charger. One battery that came with the phone originally, and one that I purchased off eBay along with a ZTE USB charger.
This ZTE USB charger runs off the Nomad 7 USB output brilliantly. No problems whatsoever with anything cutting out. Although, everything usually cuts out when it gets overcast enough.

The Nomad 7 Guide 10 AA/USB unit.
After further charging and testing, I too have similar findings to crazyguyonabike.
First of all, the fact that you have to charge 4xAA, or 4xAAA at the same time is slightly annoying. Hence why I have started using the MAHA paired with the Nomad 7 solar unit to charge batteries in combinations that suit my needs at the time. i.e. the 3xAAA that are used by the Petzl Tikka XP that I also own, and that crazyguyonabike also uncannily owns. Maybe we both only go for the best of the best in the products we buy. Settle for nothing less!! ;-)
Anyway, when the blinking light on my Guide 10 unit stops blinking and becomes solid, apparently the batteries are fully charged. However, when measuring the resulting voltage immediately after this supposed full charge, it's usually sitting at about 1.41volts per AA battery. When I charge the same AA batteries using my MAHA charger they will get to around 1.45volts per cell. So I suspect that the Guide 10 unit is falling short of charging the batteries to their full capacity.

@Charles
- I wonder if you could chime in here and give us an idea of what the optimum resulting "charged" voltage should be for an AA or AAA cell.

So there you have it. A few of my observations there. I will continue tinkering and testing and will let all know if I come across any further relevant findings.

Long live Helios!!!
(The Greek personification of the sun)

Oh yeah, and there is also one other fatal flaw with the design of the Nomad 7 panel.... it doesn't have its own kick stand. I fixed that with the help of a few BBQ skewers, some insulation tape, two shoelaces, and two cable ties. Fully tilt adjustable too. In true MacGyver style!! ;-) See below.
If you like, play the MacGyver theme song at the bottom for full effect.






Wink

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  Reply # 527223 29-Sep-2011 14:05
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IME running LIPO chargers off a solar panel looks like it is charging, but really there is stuff all going into the battery unless there is enough light for a proper charge.

Also the charge current off the cheap ebay desktop chargers is about 80mA when I measured it, thats over 12 hours to charge. I gutted the insides and soldered a JST plug to match my hobby charger, so I can charge at an amp which is closer to what the phone charges with. Funny thing is the knockoff ebay battery will only charge at 300mA even when flat, going straight to constant voltage mode at anymore.




Richard rich.ms

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  Reply # 527231 29-Sep-2011 14:25
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richms: IME running LIPO chargers off a solar panel looks like it is charging, but really there is stuff all going into the battery unless there is enough light for a proper charge.

Also the charge current off the cheap ebay desktop chargers is about 80mA when I measured it, thats over 12 hours to charge. I gutted the insides and soldered a JST plug to match my hobby charger, so I can charge at an amp which is closer to what the phone charges with. Funny thing is the knockoff ebay battery will only charge at 300mA even when flat, going straight to constant voltage mode at anymore.


You're probably right, but to be honest I have found that my fully depleted IDEOS X5 battery charges in around 3-5 hours straight off the Nomad 7 USB output. And it seems to last just as long in the phone. So maybe the ZTE unit that I bought has slightly better electronics inside?
This one:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Huawei-HB4F1-Battery-E585-E5830-U8220-USB-Charger-/160468475831?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item255caa9fb7

Incidentally, and since you appear to be fairly knowledgeable with electronics, is there a standard/better way of testing potential voltage and current outputs?

Cheers :-)

21124 posts

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  Reply # 527244 29-Sep-2011 15:08
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Even with a meter on the input to the charger it still looked okish, but if you look at the design adafruit did for their solar charger they show the problem with the charger oscilating as they load down the panel. I dont have a scope so never looked into it beyond the "why is this damn thing not charging"

Also the light going solid green on those cheap desktop chargers just shows that you have entered constant voltage mode, so its holding 4.2 volts and the battery is still charging, takes way longer to get them to actually full. Main reason I hooked the charger up to my hobby charger was so I could do a discharge test on the knockoff cells that were now not performing very well at all. 200ish mAh now, vs the almost labled capacity that the 9 month old genuine one shows.




Richard rich.ms

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  Reply # 527249 29-Sep-2011 15:15
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bener: Probably a bit late to jump back to the original topic but here are some prices that I didn't see in the postings, apologies if someone else has quoted it...

Shipbuktu charges $41 for 500g, $49 for 1Kg, $65.50 for 2Kg, $82 for 3Kg and $296 for 15 Kg.
BuyUSA charges $70 for up to 1 Kg, $77.50 for 2 Kg, $84.50 for 3 Kg and $204 for 15 Kg.

Hope that helps someone.


OUCH! is that fedex gold plated service or something?




Richard rich.ms

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  Reply # 527268 29-Sep-2011 15:47
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Haha I know right!  I ordered a watch from a Singapore distributor recently (admittedly not as far-flung as the states) - the P&P was marginal and it was here within 3 days!




Michelsen Computer Services Whangarei
-----------------------------------------------------------
I was born in a cross-fire hurricane
And I howled at my ma in the driving rain,
But it's all right now, in fact, it's a gas...
-----------------------------------------------------------



149 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 527313 29-Sep-2011 16:52
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bener: Haha I know right!  I ordered a watch from a Singapore distributor recently (admittedly not as far-flung as the states) - the P&P was marginal and it was here within 3 days!

Thanks bender. I opened up another thread just for this - I'll add it to it - as this one is now totally and utterly off track, interesting and very informative and  derailed;)
How reliable were they, any problems? 



149 posts

Master Geek


  Reply # 527323 29-Sep-2011 17:03
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dontpanic42: Lol... 
Wink
Not gonna quote that book sized post. It'll crash the system ;) But there is something damned intriguing about the whole self contained, everything-on-your-back/bike traveling that makes you want to write books about it. I've done a few longish bike trips and week-long tamping trips, before the internet and too much technology (and kids/marriage) dragged me into its embrace:)
Anyway thanks for the info. Its basically all a compromise isn't it. Size, cost, capacity. Until we get something more efficient anyway, than present comercial PV and storage technology. Something the nomad7s size and punching out say 30W, or a 5AHr AA sized battery makes me drool a wee bit. Bring on cold fusion I say :)~
Good MacGyvering on the kick stand. Everything needs a kickstand I say!. My wife gave me an odd look when I just played that MacGyver video. Bought back memories of Magnum, A team and all this "great" 80s shows where the big hair was king and everything worked out in the end:)
 

355 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 528908 4-Oct-2011 11:06
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Just had a look at Allied Fusion. Their prices on their web pages do not include GST, and does not seem to state that anywhere, until you go to checkout, then wham, GST is added. I was about to buy a couple of things. Won't be now.

Isn't that illegal?

6 posts

Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 528946 4-Oct-2011 11:47
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??

...in bright orange text on the home page is the text "All listed prices Exclude GST" 

Most of our customers are bulk order customers (commercial and government - including Department Of Conservation and various high schools nationwide) who do not want to see GST inclusive buy prices as they reclaim the GST component.  They just want raw cost.

The "other" Maha reseller in Wellington is not GST registered, yet they include the "GST fat" in their retail prices and pass this onto their customers anyway.  Looking at their prices this way, they have very high prices with very high gross profit at the expense of you the customer and reduced tax revenue for the government to support small NZ import export companies.

All AlliedFusion prices are very low margin, with 100% transparency.

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  Reply # 528973 4-Oct-2011 12:13
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Only on the homepage is not good enough, needs to be clearly displayed beside each price when sold online, or at least on every page where people may land. Chances are people looking for a charger will never see the homepage.




Richard rich.ms

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