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Plugs for our cell phones and portable electronics are a dime-a-dozen these days when it comes to our motorcycles, but what about portable solar panels.
Anyone who commutes on his or her motorcycle regularly probably has a plug, connected to the battery, that will charge a cell phone.
Something to keep in mind though is that these chargers only work if the bike is running (or if the engine is not running, the charge being pulled is draining the battery).
This is where the concept of portable solar panels come in.
After Irma, my wife and I were without power for almost a week (short enough to survive on a decent stash of those battery power-packs). Now, consider Hurricane Maria and the devastation to Puerto Rico – it could be months there before the power grid is restored.
Bottom line, post-disaster, fuel will be in limited supply and so will electricity. Therefore, the idea of an off-than-grid way to keep those electronics powered (portable solar panels) doesn’t seem like a bad idea. I want to give the same disclaimer in this post that I did in an earlier post about the perfect hurricane motorcycle communications equipment – I am NOT an expert in green technologies or solar panels.
That said, I can throw out some research I have done on portable solar panels. I think it would be really neat to wire up two panels to both charge cell phones, but also keep the battery topped off when parked. Think about mounting two small portable solar panels – one to each side panel/cover, with a hinge (i.e. a way to flip them up toward the sky when the bike is parked). I think this is all possible and would be super cool.
From what I can tell, there are a lot of junk portable solar panels out there; and the very last thing anyone wants is a cheap, made-in-china panel when it really counts. Below is an cross-referenced list from a bunch of reputable sites. My methodology was simply if a panel made multiple lists it was worth a mention. These are the top ones I found.
Spoiler-alert, the Anker products seem to be the top picks on multiple websites, while the EnerPlex Kickr II and Renogy E.Flex5 look like the most appropriate for my hinged-side-panel installation idea 🙂
Cross-Referenced Top Portable Solar Panels List
Poweradd Apollo 2
ALLPOWERS™ Solar Panel Charger
Instapark Mercury 10 – seems to be a top pick
Anker Dual-Port Solar Charger or any Anker Powerport – seems to be a top pick also
EnerPlex Kickr II
Goal Zero 11800 Nomad
Poweradd 40W Foldable Solar Panel
If you missed the first five parts of my series of the perfect hurricane motorcycle, you can get to them here.
Come back for more related posts in the weeks to come. Also, please forgive any typos, I wrote a good portion of this post from my phone.
–Part 4: Communications Equipment
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