Rework Solar backpack to make it charge smartphones, not only CBMs

I would like to discuss possible Solar backpack rework. There was a discussion recently in discord.

  1. Solar backpack doesn’t do any big harm now. It doesn’t break the lore. People say it is a bit outdated game item, but there are no any severe reasons to remove it right now.
  2. But with recent CBM lore changes it would be better to rework it. Solar backpack currently can be used in 2 ways: one is to charge CBMs via jumper cable and cable charger system CBM, another is disassembling to get solar panel for vehicle or appliance. Solar backpack seems to be pre-cataclysm item (and we even have some things IRL), so there must be some other uses except CBM or disassembling. First thing that come to mind is phone recharging. (or battery, there was an issue #35564). Possible implementation options:
    • 2.a) add a “pocket” - magazine option, make it like hand-crank charger. But instead of “crank” action, it should charge the battery while character stays in the sun.
    • 2.b) add an option to connect Solar backpack to UPS via jumper cable (currently it’s impossible), so that UPS can be charged.
    • 2.c) add a special item, UPS-compatible convertor, which can be connected to a Solar backpack via jumper cable (or even directly) and work like a UPS, charging smartphones when a backpack has enough light (the downside is probably high implementation complexity).
    • 2.d) similar to “c” option, but without redundant connections - just make a Solar backpack work like UPS, i.e. add corresponding conde and make a description like “this backpack has a UPS-compatible charger”. Though this may require backpack actions rework, and maybe new item should be added, so there will be “Solar backpack (on)” item for the one with UPS charger switched on, and 2 additional actions - “turn on UPS charger” and “turn off UPS charger”, to keep “off” version work with CBMs as usual.
  1. Adding new Solar backpack-inspired item, like solar phone charger. Such items are rare IRL, but more popular than Solar backpacks. These things are smaller. Possible implementation options:
    • 3.a) make it low-power appliance, something like a combination of “solar panel + foot locker recharging station”, but with less power; Maybe it is even worth to make it unable to connect with other appliances.
    • 3.b) similar to option “a”, but make “unfolded” solar phone charger a furniture instead of an appliance (not sure if it’s easier or not).
    • 3.c) make it work like a regular item (this is probably hard). Like, if a “solar phone charger” item is on a tile that is properly lighted, and it has a smartphone it its pocket, then it should charge the smartphone.
    • 3.c) make “solar phone charger” a wearable item, rather “a solar array box” - basically the same as a Solar backpack, but without ability to charge CBM? But it doesn’t make much sense.

Related Solar backpack issues:


Working like a UPS doesn’t make much sense: A UPS is a charge storage that’s able to provide the charge at a fairly high rate (probably unlimited rate in the game), while a solar backpack provides the very limited power produced in the moment to whatever it’s connected to (that contains its own battery).

Trickle charging a UPS sounds reasonable, as does the usage as a charging station for low power devices, again with the issue that there is no battery, so the charging is intermittent and low volume.

UPS … provide the charge at a fairly high rate

slow charge rate can be simulated through something like quasi-UPS item with charge 1 which appears each 5 minutes (exact value should be taken from existing solar backpack or recalculated from scratch). It appears, uses its 1 charge and then disappears. So a smartphone can be charged the same way as you can do it with UPS, but slower.
The idea is to get some simple implementation in case if no one interested and I will have to do it myself.

If someone with experience can implement some clever ways to charge devices using Solar backpack that would be great. But for now I’m considering options which should be based on existing solutions and should be simple to implement.

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The point I was trying to make with the UPS is that the UPS IS the battery, while charging a phone charges a battery in the phone itself. Using a UPS dependent device with a solar backpack simply won’t work unless the device uses less power than the backpack generates (and that rate varies depending on how much light it receives from moment to moment).

I agree that Solar backpack power output may be not enough to keep some device working. But I think recharging should still be possible.
So if a character has some device with high consume rate ( thermal electric outfit with UPS mod?), Solar backpack power output will be not enough to keep it working.

But for some other device with a battery (like a smartphone) it may still be usable to charge it while device is off. E.g. character has a smartphone with zero battery charge. Character walks through streets or fields and slowly charges the smartphone, which is turned off. And then the character drops Solar backpack, takes the smartphone (half-charged) and go to basement to craft something using the smartphone as a flashlight.

I agree that things with batteries should be possible to charge. My beef was only with UPS dependent devices.