[amsat-bb] Very Small-Scale Solar Power for Ham Use?

Robert Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Wed Aug 31 20:28:58 UTC 2016

It is very easy to design a stand-alone solar power system.  Just add up the
power requirements of your loads, taking into the account the duty cycles.
Then multiply by 24 hours to come up with your daily AMP-hour requirement.

Then get a battery that is probably 5 or more times that capacity (to live 5
days with bad weather and to minimize daily discharge).  Then get a solar
panel that can provide at least 8 times that Amp rating (because you can
only assume about 4 solid sun hours a day (which has to provide 24 hours of
power)) and this gives you a factor of 2 margin.  Something like that


-----Original Message-----
From: AMSAT-BB [mailto:amsat-bb-bounces at amsat.org] On Behalf Of Scott
Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2016 3:20 PM
To: amsat-bb at amsat.org
Subject: [amsat-bb] Very Small-Scale Solar Power for Ham Use?

Greetings to everyone.

This is only satellite-related in the most peripheral sense, but since much
of our equipment requires electricity, I hope it’s a valid question.

I’m normally very good with Google searches, but for some reason I’m coming
up empty on this one.

In the U.S. (and probably elsewhere), it’s common now to see highway signs
and stand-alone telemetry installations installed with a small solar panel
and a utility box that I assume protects a charge regulator and battery for
night operations.

I have an interest in duplicating this type of setup for experimental
antenna installations that are too far from my house to conveniently run
normal power, as well as for portable use.

I don’t know if the installations that I see on the highway are turn-key
setups (solar panel, charge controller, battery) or if they have been pieced
together sized to fit the need.

Naturally, the question of power requirements would affect the response from
those of you who might be particularly knowledgeable about this kind of
thing.  I’m talking about the low end... just enough to power things like a
wi-fi router, USB webcam, or perhaps a small notebook PC charger or
Raspberry Pi... that kind of thing.  At the high end, perhaps a small
AZ-only TV rotator which would be a VERY intermittent draw.

Anyway, if anyone is already providing for small power needs in this
fashion, or is familiar with the installs that I see along the road, I sure
would appreciate your input.

Further, one would assume that it would be cheaper to DIY this... so
recommendations for small outdoor solar/charger/battery discrete components
would of course be helpful, too.


-Scott,  K4KDR
Montpelier, VA  USA
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