Topray Solar’s 6W Portable Lighting Kit (TPS – 206)
Solar power is now a very attractive option for rural villages in Papua New Guinea (PNG), especially with the technology becoming more affordable. I recently had the opportunity to use it in a kit form, purchased from Esco, during my holiday in rural Korojih village on Manus Island.
The kit we (the Mrs. and I) bought was a Topray Solar 6W portable lighting kit (TPS – 206) for the discounted price of K249.
The unit comes with a portable 6W solar panel, two LED lights with a 10m cable and switch, mobile phone charger adaptors and a radio wire, 4 mounting kits and two supporting rods, and an integrated power kit with 12V/7A battery.
Out of the box, the kit needs to be charged, according to its manual, for 3 days before operation. However, charging for a day under sunny conditions should suffice for lighting purposes.
The TPS – 206 solar lighting kit does not have the option of charging equipment via a USB port. However, a 12 volt USB adaptor used in vehicles can used instead, but it will take a toll on the battery so be prepared to charge for longer hours.
The kit has an impressive protection mechanism with a 4A fuse that will prevent overload damage. The fuse melts when the current goes over. The regulator will also automatically switch off when the charge goes over 14 volts or when the battery levels go below 10.5 volts to prevent damage to the battery.
The solar panel is the only weather proof component of the kit and should be placed where there is direct expose to the sun like on the roof. The other parts are not and I recommend keeping the regulator/battery under a cool shaded area when charging.
While the description and packaging suggest ‘maintenance free’, the battery and fuse can be easily replaced when the need arises. The surface of the panel should also be periodically cleaned with a soft cloth.
The TPS-206 portable solar lighting kit is described as ‘ideal for camping, boating, caravan, fishing’, however, a technician from the supplier advised that continuous removing and reconnecting will cause wearing on the connectors, resulting in a shortened lifespan.
The kit can also be charged via an AC power supply or generator provided you have proper connectors, which unfortunately is not supplied.
As I’ve returned to the city, the the TPS – 206 solar lighting kit is now permanently installed in my grandmother’s house and should provide a cost effective, environmentally friendly and maintenance free source of power for her.