Solar Power Review - Keeping Your Tech Powered While Camping

I recently picked up from Harbor Freight Tools the following solar power kit: 45W Solar Power Kit (#68751) for just over $150 (including tax).


Over the course of the last couple of months I've been able to try out the kit on several camping trips were there was no easy electrical grid access.  The camping environment was pretty sunny but not always 100% full sun.  The time of year for all the trips was summer and the location was Southern California.  I ended up setting up the kit on the top of our small camper.

The main reason I picked up the kit was to keep all of my tech gear charged so I could keep tabs on email, news, and any tech issue with my sites.  This was usually less than 1 hour a day which worked out well for my needs, and expectations related to being on a camping trip.

The gear I was able to keep operational using the kit included: cell phone, tablet, WIFI card, and a laptop during trips lasting up to 7 days.

I was suprised during the main daylight hours that the inverter could charge directly: the cell phone, tablet, and WIFI card.  To keep my laptop charged I needed to capture to an emergency car battery system, and then use 3rd party car charger/inverter to get the right power levels to keep the laptop charged.  I was also able to keep charged a USB battery pack so I could run my WIFI card during non-daylight hours when needed.

One other lesson learned, was to turn off all electronics while sleeping.  This helped keep all the devices more readily available the next day then keeping them in standby/sleep mode overnight.

All in all the system worked very well and I'd recommend it.

Updated: 3/16/2014

Twitter Updates - Google, Amazon, Windows, Chrome, TweetDeck, iPad

The following is a summary of tweets posted to TechNewsRadio@Twitter over the last week:

  • This WEEK in GOOGLE42 Check out: Ribbit, Android Kindle app, Google Reader Play, Diaspora, Google Wave open to all
  • Per @LeviathanChrons the podcast novel "Leviathan Chronicles" has a big update on 5/26
  • Amazon has announced a Asia Pacific Region AWS datacenter in Singapore (EC2 S3 SimpleDB RDS SNS CloudWatch Cloudfront)
  • Roundtable is today - Sat. May 22nd at 1pm PT / 4pm ET - Stitcher Radio, Green Screen HowTo, 5 Top Windows Utilities
  • standardizing all my computers with Google Chrome as the default browser - it seems to be faster, more reliable, etc than Firefox
  • TweetDeck seems like a nice upgrade: more meaningful icons, location, scheduled updates, translations, etc
  • is looking for proposals their 10th year conference in Budapest, Hungary from 08/31- 09/03/2010
  • Checking out Apple's "iPad : The Missing Manual—New from O'Reilly" - new book $25 -
  • Mark/Space has announced Android Calendar Sync Version 1.4 Beta
  • The new Apple OS X Snow Leopard Security Guide is now available online via PDF
  • has released AnyDVD6.6.4.2 with support for Avatar, more encryption updates & other fixes
  • Willow Garage has a new open-source initiative for institutions and universities to build upon a robot platform
  • OpenBook Specification for ePub (xhtml, css, etc) - some tools: Calibre & Adobe InDesign
  • Just installed the new VMWARE 3.1 for Mac -- reports about Bootcamp VMs being faster seem true - more info:
  • PhatWare has announced WritePad for iPad - an advanced handwriting recognition software
  • Checking out Tweekdeck v0.34.2 (upgrade from v0.34.1) --- I wonder what is new?
  • Checking out PersonalBrain 5.5 (visual information management) for Mac, Windows, Linux [free 30 day demo]
  • is now the new "centralized" home for MacTech, Now Software, MacNews, MacsimumNews, MacMinute, etc
  • Manager Tools Effective Manager Conference at Denver Marriott City Center has been announced for June 7, 2010
  • SitePoint's newest book "Create Stunning HTML Email That Just Works!" looks like a good HTML intro:
  • How to Upgrade Your MacBook's Hard Drive -- Is a good reference!
  • Anyone interest in an Apple iPad meetup in San Diego, CA - Wednesday, June 9, 2010

TECH NEWS RADIO PODCAST #356 | 091027 | Windows 7 Bitlocker, Cloud Services, HTML 5, & Conference Pointers

Listen! (Size 6.6 MBs, Running Time 9m36s)

This podcast is sponsored by SCOTTEVEST (SeV) - makers of fine tech clothing.

Today's podcast examines: Windows 7 Bitlocker on XP & Vista, Information Week on a comprehensive Cloud Services matrix, why HTML 5 matters from Dr. Dobbs, and then some conference pointers:
Links mentioned in this podcast includes:

We are giving away a Tom Bihn Checkpoint Flyer in the Black/Steel color pattern with a 15" laptop compartment to celebrate the start of our 5th year of podcasting.  Listen to the podcast for directions.

Feel free to follow along with Steve Holden at: Twitter, FriendFeed, and/or Delicious.  For tech news only updates follow TechNewsRadio on Twitter.

This podcast is sponsored by SCOTTEVEST (SeV) - makers of fine tech clothing.

TECH NEWS RADIO PODCAST #352 | 090317 | New Specifications, Tom Bihn, Cloud Computing & Conferences

Listen! (Size 9.2 MBs, Running Time 13m15s)

This podcast is sponsored by SCOTTEVEST (SeV) - makers of fine tech clothing.

Today's traditional Tech Rags Tear Out style podcast examines the following four items:

  1. update on four new specifications you should probably be aware of;
  2. some updated news from Tom Bihn;
  3. two pointers to some cloud computing services from 3rd parties utilizing Amazon capabilities; and
  4. five conference pointers.

Links mentioned in this podcast include:

The microbrew recommendation for this podcast was the Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. And the technology podcast recommendation is from

Feel free to follow along with Steve Holden at: Twitter, FriendFeed, and/or Delicious.

This podcast is sponsored by SCOTTEVEST (SeV) - makers of fine tech clothing.

TECH NEWS RADIO PODCAST #348 | 090120 | Content Management, Network Security, Military Resources, SUN Servers, NAS & Conference Pointers

Listen! (Size 6.7 MBs, Running Time 14m29s)

This podcast is sponsored by SCOTTEVEST (SeV) - makers of fine tech clothing.

Today's's podcast covers seven topics: Enterprise Content Management (ECM); network security; military how-to guides; Sun's latest SunFire x4150 servers; personal-sized network attached storage (NAS) appliances ; and conference pointers.  After the technical content there is a Tom Bihn  product review update.

Links mentioned in this podcast include:

The microbrew beer recommendation for this podcast is the Fat Weasel Pale Ale by River Trent Brewing in Ukaih, CA.

The recommend podcast resource to checkout for this podcast is the "main feed" at IT Conversations.

LINKS FROM PODCAST #325 - Overview Of eTech 2007 Plus Pointers To Interviews

Links mentioned in TECH NEWS RADIO PODCAST #325 published for March 30, 2007 that covered the topic "Overview of eTech 2007":

Our topic eight technologies that we thought had potential to help IT professionals in the near-term:

  1. Amazon's S3 (Storage), EC2 (Processors), and SQS (Messaging) technologies 
  2. Sun Microsystems Project Blackbox
  3. Yahoo! Pipes
  4. RSS Tools like Attensa Feed Server, RSS Bus, and Newsgator
  5. Zimbra new offline email client
  6. Adobe's Apollo
  7. Scott Berkun new book "The Myths of Innovation" [NOTE: His previous book "The Art of Project Management" is also highly recommend.]
  8. Microsoft's Deepfish

Also don't forget to check out our eTech 2007 OPML format conference notes posted to

We also conducted four interviews at eTech 2007: Attensia, ThinkFree, Zimbra, and Linspire.

TECH NEWS RADIO PODCAST #327 | 070403 | Security News Plus eTech Interview With Zimbra

Today's Tech Rag Tear Outs podcast examines some security news from PC World & eWeek, and an interview from O'Reilly's eTech 2007 (podcast review) with Zimbra.

Links mentioned in this podcast include:

This podcast is sponsored by: SCOTTEVEST (SeV) - makers of fine tech clothing.

 (Size 7.9 MBs, Running Time 17m14s)

TECH NEWS RADIO PODCAST #331 | 070501 | Biggest Attendee Take Aways From Effective Manager Conference

Today's podcast brings listeners some great audio interviews of attendees at the recent Manager-Tools Effective Manager Conference

The collective wisdom of this podcast is based on the answers to the question: "What is your biggest take away from attending this conference?"

You can also get my complete personal impressions of the conference via an interview I did with Douglas E. Welch on his Career Opportunities podcast.

This podcast is sponsored by: SCOTTEVEST (SeV) - makers of fine tech clothing. And thanks to Zimbra for sponsoring our recent attendance at eTech 2007 (podcast review).

 (Size 11.6 MBs, Running Time 25m14s)

Manager-Tools Conference Summary Live Show Annoucement

I'd like to announced that I am going to be joining fellow member Douglas E. Welch, host of the excellent Career Opportunities podcast, for a Talkshoe Talkcast on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 at 9PM EDT/6 PM PDT.

The subject of the Talkcast will be a re-cap from my recent attendance at the's Effective Manager Conference held last week in Washington, DC.