Using Solar to Recharge Household Batteries
Kevin Felts 04.26.17
In a previous article we talked about using solar to recharge USB devices. Let’s expand on that topic and talk about recharging household batteries, such as AAA, AA, C, D, and 18650 li-on batteries with solar power.
To recharge batteries during prolonged power outages, I would use the generator and a battery charger. The generator is only used to keep the freezer and refrigerator cold. This gave the family a narrow window to recharge the batteries we needed for the night.
Rather than using the generator to charge household batteries, I decided to buy a 20 W solar panel. The one I picked out was a NekTeck foldable panel from Amazon.
Next came the chargers.
The plan was to go from the solar panel to a USB battery pack, and then to the battery charger. This meant the charger had to work off USB. In all honesty, I was not expecting very many USB battery chargers to be on the market.
Let’s just say that I was pleasantly surprised.
A few examples:
- Sycees 1000mA – AA and AAA batteries.
- SunJack USB battery charger – AA and AAA batteries.
- SOAIY – AA, AAA and 18650 batteries.
- AmazonBasics Ni-MH AA & AAA battery charger.
- XTAR VC4 – Charges a wide range of batteries, some I have never heard of.
With the solar panel going to a couple of battery packs, this allows a number of people to charge their flashlight batteries, cell phones, and lanterns all at the same time and at any time they want.
I ended up buying two chargers, the XTAR VC4 and the Sunjack.
The first charger I bought was the Sunjack. When ordering the Sunjack charger, I missed the part where it said 4-5 hour charge time for AA and AAA household batteries. The Sunjack does not have a charge meter to let you know how charged the batteries are.
Since I have several flashlights that use an 18650 battery, I ordered the XTAR VC4. The XTAR VC4 has a charge meter so you know how charged the batteries are.
Now all I need is another battery pack, but that will be for another article.