When you want to shoot in the High Himalayas in a remote place away from town and power sources, the first question which comes to mind is “How can I charge my camera batteries”
Yes very same question which haunted me when I traveled in the Himalayas to shoot my documentaries.
I ran between power banks and solar bags and a lot of stuff… All of them proved useless in the thin air. Most of these equipment doesn’t really work when you need. The solar panel bags takes days to charge a single battery: which is practically useless. The power-banks lost their charge when kept at low temperatures. ..Most batteries refuse to work when the temperature is low.
Finally I was happy with a custom chargers by using a12V panels and a car cigarette lighter charger… They did the job well.= and was reliable.
What You need
1. Solar Panels: 12V panels.. More panels : less time to Charge Batteries
2. Converter : A car cigarette lighter USB Converter.
3. Camera Chargers, which works with USB.
How to Make it Work
1. Solar Panel
A 12 V solar panel almost works like your car Battery. Though the voltage from a 12V charger varies between 10 V and 21V, this is almost same to the voltage provided by the Cigarette lighter in the deck of a car.
A lot of solar panels are available online. Just get one of them, but make sure it has at-least 12 V rating. Solar panels work even at extreme temperatures, even at temperatures below the freezing point of water. So this can work well in the Himalayas or Artic.
Since we are working in a voltage same as car cigarette lighter, most cameras and mobile phones come with a charger which can be connected to a cigarette lighter. Just get one of these.
Most modern user end cameras com up with a USB charger, so you can get a USB charger which can be connected to the Cigarette lighter point.
Charging time for the batteries using solar charger depends on the power of the panel and capacity of the battery. A 250 Ma panel would take 4 hours to charge a 1000 MaH battery.
Solar chargers requires light to give out electricity: so it works really well when its sunny: and gives almost no current when its dark. It works even in snow or ice or at high altitude: it just requires light.