I often wondered what would happen if I took a 12V solar panel with its high VoC (Voltage Open Circuit) and plugged it straight into a netbook or laptop.
This is risky because solar panels have an unregulated voltage output. So I took a netbook that was available and tried plugging in a 100W solar panel through an adapter plug. Surprisingly, it worked – the netbook was able to run off the solar panel by itself with no battery and no voltage regulation except the internal supply circuits.
Of course this doesn’t work with all netbooks or laptops. In fact it probably wouldn’t as they can be picky about what voltage is supplied. But I now have a mobile solar powered netbook – the battery also charged successfully using the 100w solar panel.
If you’re interested, this experiment in my “solar workshop” as I call it was documented on my YouTube channel: