What started as an awareness raising and ethnographic styled walk through Sierra Leone, this site now details the encounters of a not so academic academic who spends more time occupying Wall Street and squats than a university...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Let there be sunlight!!

So on Friday my solar panel arrived.  It was a cloudy day that I spent pretty much entirely with my family, so I didn't get to experiment with it that day.  Saturday however, was a bright beautiful sunshiny day.  I had run my phone all the way down to one bar out of seven on the battery meter and figured... what better way to experiment!!  I started it charging at 9am and set the timer... 

It was quite discouraging at first.  It took about one hour to go up to the second bar, and then at 3 hours we were still stuck on two bars.  It also seemed that every time that someone sneezed near the solar charger (or the sun went a bit behind a cloud) the phone would stop charging and not pick up the charge again automatically.  We (my entire family was monitoring it) were getting NO WHERE!!  But then the day started to heat up, by 3 and a half hours we hit three bars, then four, five, six, and up to seven at exactly the 5 hour mark.

Simply put, when the sun was low in the northeast United States' autumn sky, we weren't getting much of a charge.  But once the sun got closer to us and heated up, it charged quickly.  I think that in good sun in Sierra Leone I should be able to charge the phone in about two hours, maybe three at the most. 

After initial frustration, this turned out to be a very rewarding conclusion!!  At three hours I was thinking I was screwed..  but two hours later, I had one more box ticked!!  Nice. 

However... the computer is a different story.  It does not even register as being plugged in when on the solar panel.  Yeah we were experimenting with an "inverter" as we didn't have the right plug yet, and that needed to be powered as well.  But regardless, it doesn't look like we will get far with charging the computer this way.  It looks more and more like the computer will end up having to be left at home for this trip.  We shall see, I can get a charger specifically for this model of computer and try it.  But when do you stop spending money!?!  I do need to eat over there...  :-/

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