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Topic: how to make a solar messenger/laptop bag?  (Read 1024 times)
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ruis2002
« on: December 15, 2005 09:12:13 AM »

I saw this on the smallbiz page of Business Week, in a slideshow feature called "entrepreneurs' wish list". I would love to know how to make my own knockoff solar-powered laptop bag. Anyone with solar techology smarts who might suggest a how-to?

<<<<<<<<<<<<<It's the ultimate road-warrior accessory: A solar messenger/laptop bag that charges your phone, PDA, camera, or iPod even as you try to hail a cab. www.voltaicsystems.com; $239. >>>>>>>>
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ruis2002
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2005 09:17:10 AM »

oops, that link wasn't working, here's one straight to the details about the solar bag:

http://www.voltaicsystems.com/bag_messenger.shtml
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WizardGlick
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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2006 11:53:54 PM »

Wow. That is awesome. Rather lofty for me, though. I have a friend that is studying mechanical engineering for solar powered machines and such. I'll have to show him this. I don't know how much money you have to spend, but I'm guessing that solar panels (even that size) aren't cheap. You might be better off buying it than making it. But you could get someone who really really knows what he/she is doing with electronics and engineering to get it working correctly. Otherwise, it's a waste. Please keep us updated. I'm curious to know what you're going to do.
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HardCandy63
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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2006 12:31:34 PM »

affix solar panels to the front of a normal messenger bag , with a flap over top to hide them when nessecary. you can probably buy wiring and small solar panels off the internet. that's...about all i know. buttt...with all the money you'd spend/the chance of wrecking it and having to start over, it might be easier and cheaper to just buy that bag instead.
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Geobabe
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2006 01:46:00 PM »

As a boat dweller depending partially on solar, I think it very optimistic that this would actually work, especially with a price tag of $239.  flexible solar panels are pricey! and they are not very efficient.  also, to work well, nearly all solar panels need to be pointed so the sun is shining straight on them.  even a tiny shadow can really drop the ability of the solar panels to work.  I think maybe you could get enough power to charge something small, like a cell phone, if you left it plugged into the bag all the time you weren't using it.  but a laptop seems out of range of the solar cell technology I'm familiar with.

Not too be a downer, because I think this idea is AWESOME!  and I can't wait until it comes down to my price range!  there is good indication that soon, the biotech industry will be making photovoltaic cells utilizing photosynthesis - harnessing cyanobacteria who chemically store the sun's energy as part of their natural metabolism anyway.  "sorry, I have to get home to feed my batteries"...  we boat folk are really looking forward to that.
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James1488
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2006 04:59:02 PM »

Hi, just wanted to add my $0.02 worth.  I have been interested in building electric scooters and electric cars lately.  Have not done so, but have been reading quite a bit.
Regarding the solar messanger bag, yes, the solar panels are undersized for powering a laptop, but the keys is the battery, preferably lithium ion.  the battery is holding all the power generated by the solar panel(s) so when an appliance (cell phone, MP3, laptop) is plugged in, it draws the stored power in the battery as opposed to relying on output from the solar panel.  This allows for a smaller panel and hence cheaper price.

This is the same concept as a water tank atop a tower.  A small pump is constantly filliing the water tank, while the water demand is not consistant.  Usually more water is drawn in the morning (showers, kitchen) and evenings (food prep, bathrooms).  The lull times allows a small pump, working costantly, to filll the water tank in anticipation of demand.

The trick to the solar messanger bag is to balance size of battery (costly), size of solar panel, and weight.  All this hardware will add about 2 lbs which can start to get pretty heavy at the end of a long day.

Hope this helps.
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