The Long Riders' Guild
Solar panels, Laptop computers and Mobile telephones
left is a photograph of the state-of-the-art radio equipment taken on the
1923 mounted expedition which explored the Canadian Rockies. Click on
photo to enlarge.
Long Rider Comments
Because we have a camcorder and a laptop, we needed something to
charge batteries while traveling in the countryside. We bought a flexible
solar panel and a 12 Volt motorcycle battery.
We place the solar
panel on top of the packsaddle, so it charges while we are traveling!
solar panel is a flexible Uni-Solar
USF-11, 10.3 W. It
measures 400x550 mm. and weighs less than 1 kilo (about 2 pounds).
The battery is a a YUASA NP7-12, 7.0 AH. It
is sealed, rechargeable and weighs less than 2 kilos (about 4 pounds).
have a snap-connection between the solar panel and the battery, and from
the battery, it goes to two lighter plug outlets.
can charge the batteries of the camcorder without having the solar panel
connected. But when we want to charge the computer we need to have the
solar panel connected, so it charges at the same time.
If we use the computer while the solar panel is connected, it
provides sufficient power so we don’t use the computer batteries at all!
After a while we also bought a
12 Volt, 9 watt fluorescent light bulb, and that is our biggest luxury. No
more messing with kerosene or candles. We use the excess solar power for
light in the tent at night.
At night we have sufficient
light for as many hours as we want. More importantly, the 9 watt light bulb
illuminates as well a normal 60 watt bulb, which is even enough to break
camp and saddle the horses at night!
Howard Saether and Janja
note from the editors:
Battery Chargers convert sunlight directly into electricity reliably and
silently without fuel or moving parts. United Solar Systems manufactures
solar cells by depositing multiple layers of silicon alloy materials onto
a thin stainless steel substrate in a patented roll-to-roll production
process. The resulting solar cells are processed and connected in series
to provide the required voltage. Eleven cells are connected in series to
produce the required voltage for 12 volt battery charging. The cell
assembly is laminated (sealed) in flexible and durable weather resistant
polymers that provide long life, high reliability. Bypass diodes are
connected across each cell to produce exceptional shadow tolerance
Click on photo to enlarge
Howard Saether and Janja
|We are not sure if we will
recommend to carry a computer on a horseback trip or not. With all
the necessary equipment it weighs a lot, and it takes a lot of room, and
it steals a lot of your time. On the other hand, it is a very nice
thing to have. We use it for communication, our website, and to
store digital photos. We also have maps, 4 DVDs with the Complete
National Geographic and a DVD encyclopedia, that really keep us away from
a lot of arguing about things. If you choose to carry one, you also
need to bring with you all the original discs for your system, chargers
for 12 V and 110/220 V, and we also carry a small CD burner to make
back-ups and to store photos in a safe place. We don't think it
matters much what brand or make one chose. We ended up buying a Dell Inspiron 5000, Pentium III, 128 ram, 18 GB hard disk with a DVD-rom.
To protect it we bought a Pelicase "bomb-proof" case, and while
riding we put everything in one of our fiberglass boxes. In spite of
horses galloping, falling, banging in to trees and rocks, we haven't had
any major problems with the computer.
One thing that we would recommend, which we don't have, is to have a
network card installed. Many places it is difficult to find a
telephone line to connect to the internet, but today you'll find Internet
cafés almost everywhere, and with a network card they'll probably let you
connect to their network. We make a contract with a local provider
in every country, and that works well.
We are not sure if we want to bring all this equipment on another
horseback trip, but it has worked fine, so far!
|Satellite phone - a
luxury for most of us, but if you are travelling alone in remote country,
a satellite phone is worth considering. Mine was paid for by the
Leeds United Football Club - BUT make no mistake, the cost of making a
call is horrendous!!!!
|Cell phone/Mobile phone: I
am anti cell phone. First of all, I think it ruins the whole idea of the
trip, secondly, when you need it, say you break your leg in a wilderness
area, you won't have service. It's a bad idea to rely on a cell phone to
make you safe.
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