Tech Support Pits column from  Dear Webby's Humor Letter
widely read, forwarded, copied and imitated daily since 1994
Dear Webby's Humor Letter, daily since 1994

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DearWebby is actually Helmut Morscher, the CEO of Webby, inc.

Originally the "Tech Support Pits" were reports of the funniest tech support incidents, but over the years the column gradually shifted to answering tech support questions put forward by the readers of the Dear Webby Humor Letter.

This collection of computer and web advice was started partly because readers demanded an archive, and partly because some questions were asked again and again. Each page has a different day's Tech Support Pits column.

Have FUN!
Tech Support Pits column from Dear Webby's Humor Letter of
09/30/04: Solar for powering a computer

Tech Support Pits:
From Maryann=== Dear Webby, Is it possible to power a computer from solar panels? Thanks Maryann Dear Maryann Yes, sure. I have done that for years up in the arctic. Here are a few things to keep in mind: Don't charge a laptop directly. It needs 19 Volts to get fully charged, and only lasts 1 - 4 hours. Charge one or more marine or golf cart or wheel-chair batteries, then use a 12 > 110 Volt inverter like a StatPower to convert to regular household electricity. An automotive version that fits into a cigarette lighter works just fine. Get one of those quiet Yamaha briefcase generators to charge your batteries during cloudy days. NEVER, never, never leave your lead acid batteries sit in a fully discharged state for more than an hour. Every time you do that, the batteries are only 80% as good as they were before you allowed that. Next time it's 80% of 80%, and so on. The shorter your sunny periods are, the more important it is to precisely face the panels to the sun. No matter what the advertising says, output drops off sharply when they don't face the sun at a right angle. If you are dreaming that solar power would be cheaper, wake up! It's more expensive and a lot more hassle than just plugging in. Only if you can't plug in, then it becomes interesting. For a short term situation it's not worth it. For short term just get a briefcase generator, or bigger, a couple of wheelchair batteries, and a StatPower automotive inverter. With a bigger inverter you can power house lights and even small kitchen appliances. Have FUN! DearWebby
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