26 January 2007

Charging a Powerbook by Solar Power

The Panel: Solarius 26

The Equipment:

Powerbook G4 with a 15" screen
Input: AC 100-240V 50-60Hz / Output: 24.5V 2.65 Amps

Lithium Battery Charger for the Nikon D50
Input: 100-240V 50-60Hz / Output: 8.4V 0.9 Amps

Charger for Ni-MH/Ni-Cd Batteries
Input: 100-240V 50/60Hz
Output: 2.8V 450 mA (2 AA's)
2.8V 180 mA (2 AAA's)

The Problem:

Needing to find a 12 Volt Power Adapter for each of the above electronics.
The battery charger should be easy enough at an electronics store. However, the Mac adapter poses more of a problem. Apparently, there is no DC car adapter made for a Powerbook that doesn't have an inverter. Using an inverter as the connection from your solar panel to your computer is not an option. The panel can only provide a trickle current. This type of current is not strong enough to power the inverter's needs and feed the remaining electricity into the device.

I have purchase a small 12v battery that weighs about 3 pounds. Using an adapter on the battery, I will attach the battery to an DC/AC inverter. I will then plug my laptop's power adapter into that. This approach has the benefit of limiting the exposure of my electronics to the harsh weather conditions.

The Solution:

Modern Outpost. They have kits where all you need to have is your computer. This is the kit I could use with my Powerbook G4 if I had the time to purchase it. Gram, the gentleman I spoke with guided me through building my own but if you have the time/money to have them ship it to you (They are located in Canada) do so. Problem Solved. If you have a Powerbook it would be better for you to get this DC/DC adapter here at Xterasys.

Here a visual guide from Modern Outpost:

Contact Info


"Notify the office of Special Services immediately if an emergency arises, such as a serious illness or death of a family member. During normal business hours, the number for the Office of Special Services is 1-800-424-8580 select option 2, then extension 1470. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, the Special Services duty officer can be reached at 202.638.2574...

For nonemergency questions, your family can get information from your
country desk staff at the Peace Corps by calling 1.800.424.8580.



PCVs assigned to outer islands will be issued a satellite phone that
they might occassionally use to call home (special occasions such
as birthdays), which costs about $3.00 US a minute. You CAN'T call them
on this phone, however. Only they can call you. It is VERY DIFFICULT
to get and keep a connection on these phones, however, so they are by
no means a reliable source of communication. If you wish to send brief
messages (120 character limit) to their sat phone, ask your volunteer
for his/her sat phone e-mail address.

Now and then, like during conference times, the volunteer
will be staying at the Peace Corps dorm. Friends and
family can call that number (011-686-21572 or 011-686-21573) when they
know their volunteer will be there.


Volunteers/trainees will have very limited access to e-mail,
so opportunities for them to write personal e-mails and
respond to e-mails will be few and far between.

However, when the trainees will have completed training and been sworn in as PCVs, you may e-mail them at pcv@tskl.net.ki. You must always write "[the full name of the volunteer]" in THE SUBJECT FIELD in order for the Peace Corps office to know who should receive the e-mail.

In the past, the Peace Corps Volunteer Leader has printed out the
e-mails and sent them to the respective volunteer once a week with the
Peace Corps mail (assuming this practice still continues). This should
hopefully speed up the communication process, since regular mail
typically takes a MINIMUM of 4-6 weeks to and from Kiribati. However,
the time it takes for mail to travel from island to island
(especially registered mail coming from Peace Corps, Tarawa) and actually
get into the volunteers' hands once it is one their island...it could be
slower than just sending mail.

Keep in mind that e-mails sent to this address are viewed by the
other volunteers and project leaders, so please keep the cursing
and obscenities to a minimum. Also, no attachments, please.

If the subject matter is of a private nature, please send it on to the email listed on this site under Contacts in the sidebar. It will eventually be received, about once every 6 months or so.


You may also contact volunteers/trainees via snail mail(as this
will likely be their main way of communicating with people back
home). The address during training is:

Rhiannon Doherty PCT
PO Box 260
Bikenibeu, Tarawa
Republic of Kiribati, Central Pacific

Trainees will not be given their specific assignments (or assigned
island) until May, and therefore do not yet know their mailing
addresses for May and on.

To send a letter (from the U.S.): $.81 for normal weight from U.S.

Marshall Islands" below the mailing address.

MAKE SURE TO NUMBER YOUR LETTERS (e.g. "letter#1," "letter #2," etc.)