Print this Post

Baby Steps into Solar

Baby Steps Into Solar




Baby Steps into Solar.

The Tin Hat Ranch recently took the plunge into going solar which we shared with you in The Ultimate Guide To DIY Off Grid Solar Power.  We realize that while most preppers have a solar system in there ultimate prepping plans, it could be a far way off. This could be for a number of reasons. You may simply think that solar power is to daunting of a task or too overwhelming to take on. It may not fit your budget at the moment, and we understand that. The idea here, just like any other part of prepping, is to make a overall goal. Start small and over time, work till that goal is complete. You didn’t run out and buy your years supply of food all at once, right?

You can go about this a few different ways. If you feel you have a good grasp of solar power from our series, then you can start purchasing the parts you will need for your system as funds allow. Our downloadable schematic can make it easy for you. Doing it this way can be fun as you watch Amazon for the best prices. You may be able to accrue every thing you need on sale at a deep discount this way. The second way is to start out smaller. Start by purchasing solar powered items. Things like lights, small back-up power systems, and solar chargers. We already covered the the first way you can take baby steps into solar, now let us help you if the second route is your path. Allow us to share a few ways you can familiarize with solar power.


Solar Chargers

Since we know all of you have a at least a cell phone, or lap top, or e-reader, or GPS, or… you get the idea, we thought we would start by recommending a few solar chargers. After all, you need to be able to read THR even when the power goes out…


 Goal ZGoal Zero Switch 8 Solar Charging Kitero Switch 8 Solar Charging Kit. We like this kit for a number of reasons. You have the ability to charge your devices straight from the Nomad 3.5 solar panel and a usb connection, or you can use the panel to charge the Switch 8 battery that comes with the kit for charging items while the sun is down or on cloudy days. We did a goal zero of this item in the early days of the Ranch that you may find helpful. The compact size and light weight of the unit are a added plus. Finally, the price point for what you are getting is very fair and can sometimes be had for just over $80. Goal Zero Switch 8 Solar Charging Kit.



poweraddPoweradd™ Apollo 7200mAh Solar Panel Charger Portable Charger. This great little unit is a solar panel with a built in battery that will charge all of your tech gear. It can be charged using the solar panel or by any USB device to be used as a back up battery. The 7200mAh battery will fully charge a dead smart Phone at least three times, so if you are hiking in the shade or rain, you will still be able to charge your devices as long as the unit was fully charged at the start. It also comes with all the pins you will need to charge just about any device you already own. Perfect to hook onto your backpack and let the sun do its thing. Can currently be had for under $20.

Poweradd™ Apollo 7200mAh Solar Panel Charger Portable Charger.






blkboxBLKBOX Solar Chargers. These are stand alone solar chargers which means they do not have a battery. You would charge your device by connecting it directly to the panel through the USB port. They are very lightweight and available in different sizes and power outputs to meet any need:
5W Panel – 9 oz. Very portable, great for everyday phone and eReader charging. Fully charge a phone in about 4 hours. Good for eReaders. Not for iPads or tablets.
7W Panel – 11.5 oz. More Power- Best for everyday phone and eReader charging. Fully charge an iPhone in about 2.5 hours. Good for tablets and eReaders. Not for iPads.
12W Panel – 15 oz. Ultimate Power- Fastest charger for phone, tablet, eReaders and other USB devices. Fully charge an iPhone in about 2 hours. Great for tablets and eReaders and iPads. BLKBOX Solar Chargers.




Solar Lighting.

Being able to see at night after the sun goes down is important, especially if you are without power. Another easy baby step into solar is solar power lights. Some of you may have some already in solar powered landscape lights. These work well, but usually don’t last long and are not very bright. In an emergency or when you are away from home, you want lighting that will be up to the task.



Sunforce 82080 80-LED Solar Motion LightSunforce 82080 80-LED Solar Motion Light. This is a great little package! It contains 80 LED’s that produce 900 Lumins. It cast’s plenty of light where you need it. It also has a motion sensor so it only comes on when you need it to. Perfect for extra security or for places that don’t have power and you need light. One of the features we like the best about this light is that the solar panel isn’t attached to the top of the light like most solar lights. The kit comes with 15ft. of wire so that you can remote mount the panel. This opens up a world of  location you can mount the light. You can read our full review of the Sunforce here. If you have been struggling on how to get the light you need in a remote location, struggle no more.

Sunforce 82080 80-LED Solar Motion Light






LuminiAIDLuminAID Solar Inflatable Light. These things are just plain fun as well as useful. Its basically a solar charged LED light with an inflatable pillow attached. It measures only 5 x 3 x 0.25 inches when folded and weighs a feather under 2.9 ounces. They are perfect to attach to your pack for charging through on of the mounting rings. When the day turns to night and you need extra light for reading or other tasks, simply unfold and inflate it. The original design comes with 2 light settings, low and high. It can last up to 16 hrs on low and 10 hrs on high. Gen 2 has an added feature of emergency flashing which can last up 32hrs. These are water proof and float when inflated. Perfect way to safely add light to the pool, lake, tent, or just about any situation. Look for our full review soon. We have been using one of these for about 6 months now with good results.

LuminAID Solar Inflatable Light. 

LuminAID Solar Inflatable Light Gen 2.




These are just a few of the quality ways you can take some baby steps into solar. We bet that once you have taken the first step, you will be off and running with solar power in no time at all!!!

Permanent link to this article: http://tinhatranch.com/baby-steps-into-solar/