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Solar panel powered ebike - charge the battery or connect the power to the motor?

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    Solar panel powered ebike - charge the battery or connect the power to the motor?

    Hello,

    Was thinking about making a solar trailer for an ebike, would use a couple of cells and a boost converter. The question is do you plug the boosted solar power to the charge port of the battery or do you plug it in directly to the motor power alongside the battery? As I understand constant charging and re-charging of the battery will deplete it quite fast?

    Or is it just better to find a small gas generator?
    Last edited by brone; 06-13-2018, 04:27 AM.

    #2
    Charge the battery.

    While you might be able to get away with directly powering the motor if using one of those low power euro ebikes, that is assuming peak power production. Unless you are rocking something obscure like amorphous silicon it's not going to produce much in even partial shade, which is problematic

    Comment


      #3
      I think I'd probably use multiple batteries. Run the e-bike, when the battery goes flat, swap it--put the flat one into your solar-charger-trailer, and keep on rolling. As you ride, the angles will shift between your solar panels and the sun, and clouds, trees, bridges--other things will make shadows too. Because of that, I am pretty sure there's no way your solar cells will keep you rolling, unless you got something akin to a train-worth of solar-trailers behind you.

      Rather than having to constantly switch back and forth somehow between power sources--it seems just keeping your e-bike an e-bike, and then making your custom solar battery-charger-trailer set-up--is the simplest way to achieve what you want. Just charging your backup battery (or batteries) underway--rather than trying to propel yourself directly with the energy from your panels--is your best bet.

      Another thing to consider is this: For the days when you're not planning on an intercontinental voyage, you may not need to bring all your solar charging gear along with you--just however many batteries you need for the day. You could set up your solar-panel-set in your home or apartment, and just charge your batteries there. You're still 100% solar--if you think about it... Plus, you're not dragging all the extra weight around all the time. Just saying.

      I think it sounds like a neat idea though, and I hope however you decide to tackle it, that you keep us posted!

      Best of luck with your project!

      Take care,

      Tklop
      Last edited by tklop; 06-13-2018, 05:18 AM. Reason: for further clarity

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks for the replies, for the moment it really does seem like building a new battery pack would be the best choice and charging at home with solar/mains

        Comment


          #5
          Right on.

          I've already tossed around the idea of getting some kind of a portable solar-panel set-up too--so I can recharge my battery. Until I saw your post, I hadn't put much thought into charging while underway, rather more along the lines of something I could set up for my apartment, but which I could also take along when I'm camping, or if I'm going someplace "off the grid".

          Anyways, as the prices for solar-sets keep falling, and their capacities keep increasing--these ideas are emerging from "fantasy dreamland" into achievable realities. I think that's pretty cool.

          Take care,

          Tklop
          Last edited by tklop; 06-13-2018, 05:50 AM. Reason: for clarity

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by tklop View Post
            Right on.

            I've already tossed around the idea of getting some kind of a portable solar-panel set-up too--so I can recharge my battery. Until I saw your post, I hadn't put much thought into charging while underway, but more for something I could set up for my apartment, but which I could also take along when I'm camping, or if I'm going someplace "off the grid".

            Anyways, as the prices for solar-sets keep falling, and their capacities keep increasing--these ideas are emerging from "fantasy dreamland" into achievable realities. I think that's pretty cool.

            Take care,

            Tklop
            I saw solar cells sol on Ali which you can soldier them yourself to a desired shape - but the power generation is way too small for given space. I'll wait till the solar efficiency goes from ~20% to about 50% because there is no real on a bicycle to put them.

            Comment


              #7
              Shoot--I remember when the solar calculators' solar generation panel was three times as big as the display--and the things barely worked indoors--even under a really good desk lamp!

              Yeah--that says I'm old--okay. But my point was more that the tech has come a heck of a long way. Clearly though, in terms of efficiency and power, there's still a lot of room yet to grow.

              For now, I'll keep buying my power from companies that only generate with solar or wind. Yeah--the electrons are all the same--all the power goes through the same grid--but I can sure choose which company gets my money!

              One day, I'll be looking to generate my own--and then the power company will be buying the extra I generate--from me!

              Take care,

              Tklop

              Comment


                #8
                Both methods have advantages and disadvantages, but I think charging the battery will be better.

                Comment

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