Hey #solarpunk and electronics peeps. Is there any advantage to using either DC or USB to transfer charging, if there's a choice about it? Thinking solar panels to Li-ion cells.

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@scribe I'd highly recommend using DC as it will allow you to use bigger batteries. See the models that are billed as "solar generators" now. (They're generator-shaped πŸ™„)

If you use USB then you're somewhat limited to 5V 2.4amp output from the panel. If you want more from the panel you need to use more USB ports at once which means you might be "discarding" some useful solar juice if you're not using all the ports at once. DC is pure power from the panel.

@funwhilelost
Thanks, that's really interesting. Are there risks around voltage fluctuating from panels, and would that risk harming the batteries at all? I'd guess it depends on if there's a circuit on either side...

@scribe that's the primary role of the charge controller. It can take wildly fluctuating input voltages and make sure it comes out at the "smartest" voltage to charge the battery. Conversely, the USB ports built into a panel have voltage regulator designed to lock it in at 5V so you can safely use it with any USB device.

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