Lost XP Password
| 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.
Tech Support Pits column from Dear Webby's Humor Letter of
09/30/04: Solar for powering a computer
Tech Support Pits:
Go to TOP
Is it possible to power a computer from solar panels?
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
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.
| Give a Gift Subscription | Unsubscribe|