How to recharge your camera batteries in the Amazonian jungle

I’m going on a photo expedition into the jungle of Guyana up the Rewa river. I’m planning on bringing my Nikon D800 camera and the D300 as a backup. In order to be able to recharge the batteries, I had to come up with a solar solution since there is not going to be any electricity. Therefore I purchased the waterproof and flexible solarpanel CHEPRE by SIStech Switzerland. It weights only¬†530gr, but is powerful enough to recharge both batteries, the EN-EL15 for the Nikon D800 and the EN-EL3e for the Nikon D300.

CHEPRE solar panel charging battery for the Nikon D800/D300

Charging an EN-EL3e battery for the Nikon D300 with the solar panel CHEPRE. Next to the charger the exchangeable plate for the battery EN-EL15 for Nikon D800 (this is not in Guyana yet, but still in Switzerland).

Solar panels produce only direct current (DC), but the standard battery chargers expect alternating current (AC), so no luck using the standard chargers that come with the camera. Furthermore, both camera use a different type of battery, which would mean to bring two cradles, one for each. Fortunately, there is a smart solution of a universal battery charger with exchangeable plates which can be connected directly to the panel or to any standard 12v cigarette lighter plug. It is advisable though to use a powertank as a buffer to be independent of sunlight.

I successfully loaded both batteries within a few hours even on slightly over casted days. I was also capable of charging the Ultrabook ASUS Zenbook UX31A via the powertank.

 

 

2 thoughts on “How to recharge your camera batteries in the Amazonian jungle

  1. Hi there, my name is Jon and I am looking into solar panels to charge my cameras as well (except Borneo and not Guyana). Can you answer a few questions for me please? 1) How did the solar panel perform in the jungle? 2) What model of powertank did you purchase? 3) How did your Nikon cameras do in the tropical climate?

    • Hi Jon

      1) From a technical standpoint there weren’t any problems. The panel had no problems dealing with the rough environment since it is flexible, sturdy and waterproof. My main problem was simply not having long enough sunny periods to recharge. Now and then, I had to rely on charging a car battery with the outboard motor of the boat, then charge the powertank overnight with the car battery. I was glad I brought 6 EN-EL15 as a buffer.

      2) I bought the powertank XXL-60 (that model is not available anymore) from the same company: https://web.archive.org/web/20130218195450/http://www.swisssolarcharger.com/products-9190-0/swisscharger_powertank_xxl-60 The biggest pain was to find a plug that would work with the ASUS Notebook.

      3) I did not experience a problem once. Although, I have to say it was dry season and we spent most of the time on the boat, where it was a lot less humid than in the forest.

      Have a great trip (and man, am I jealous).
      Simon

Leave a Reply to Jon Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *