Solar cellphone/camera chargers (1 Viewer)

Maestro

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Hey guys, just wondering if anyone uses a solar charger? I been looking around and the reviews are usually mixed and im not gonna shell out 60$ for one that doesnt work. I figured if it worked, its more practical then a powerbank.

So if anyone has experience with them or knows of a good one let us know!
 
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Coywolf

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What @shred till yer dead said, but I would get the 4 panel. Awesome product. Pair that with a pocket juice 21000 mA battery bank. All the electricity you will ever need
 

James Meadowlark

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I've been using the BLKBOX ten watt for a while, but looking to upgrade so this thread is really helpful, so I'm checking out the Anker- Thanks to 'shred and 'coy..

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The BLKBOX has been pretty good for me (I'm a recreational camper/hiker only) but it's getting old. When I'm outdoors I loathe phones/tablets, etc- I mean that's the point of getting back to nature, and this version will reliably top-off a batter I used in the evening. I like it because it's got a durable nylon case, and I usually will just clip it to my pack with a couple of carabiners as I hike around during the day and just forget about it. I've had this thing for years (and need to upgrade, hence my delight at this thread) and I want to say I paid around sixty bux, but can't be sure.
 

Doobie_D

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Florida - FEC milepost 105.1
I have a BLKBOX solar charger as well. I couple mine with a 12,000-some MaH Anker battery bank. I just charge my battery bank via the hanging panels while I'm chilling or walking. Then charge my phone off of the bank.! Fits my needs... Currently.
 

Maestro

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Thanks for the input guys! Due to unforseen circumstances ive been able to afford a very nice 21 Watt Anker solar charger. Only problem is it's 2 Amps so i need to get a power bank also. Fluctuations in power and voltages could ruin your devices if directly plugged in.
It was on sale from 129$ down to 79$ canadian. Reviews state phones can be charged in about 1-2 hours! Looking forward to reviewing this product when it arrives!
 
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Matt Derrick

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about 1-2 hours!

yeah, that's not going to happen. not on a solar charger.

sorry to rain on anyone's parade, but i've done a fuckload of research on this subject and gone through a few battery banks and chargers myself on the road. this is because im a computer geek and usually have way too many electronics on me that need charging.

in terms of practicality, if you want things to charge fast then you should just get a battery bank. get the right battery and it will re-charge in maybe 4 hours. note that i said recharging the battery bank not charging devices. what 90% of power bank ads/store listings won't tell you is that most of the time it takes anywhere from 8-12 hours to charge a battery bank to 100%. that's usually at a full 2.4 amps which brings us to the next issue.

a lot of solar chargers will stop charging the device once it goes below a certain amperage. so, if a cloud goes over the panel, your phone stops charging. many panels will not resume charging unless you disconnect and reconnect the phone (or whatever you're charging) so make sure to look out for this in the reviews.

in ideal conditions, you might get a phone charged in 2-3 hours. but how often are you in ideal conditions? 100% sunlight, etc... not to mention that you have to sit the panel and the device in the sun (preferably your device being charged under the panel or something). so that's for ONE charge.

so you're faced with a choice; do you want to sit out in the sun (may or may not be available) for hours every time you want to charge something once? or do you want to buy a battery bank that holds enough charge (i'd recommend around 20,000 mah) to recharge your phone 4-5 times? keep in mind that with the battery bank you're spending a minimum of 4 hours charging it every few days vs 2-3 hours sitting in the sun every time you want to charge your phone once.

and if you're thinking you'll use the panel to charge a battery bank, well, in most situations that's doing to take 12+ hours of sunlight to charge it to 100% (if you're lucky, it will likely be longer) due to varying/inconsistent voltage coming through the panel.

so in the end it's depends on how much battery power you need. do you only have one smartphone? are you going to have access to an electrical outlet at least once a week? although i've seen people mention here that they are very happy with their portable solar panel setup, and might be a good solution if you're going to be 'off grid' for quite some time, i personally believe that the most practical setup for most travelers is a battery bank, as long as it re-charges itself at quick charge level 3.0 or higher ('quick charge' is now a standard of battery banks rated in versions like 1.0, 2.0, etc). keep in mind that 90% of product listings only list what the battery will charge other devices as quick charge 3.0 or whatever, not necessarily the speed the battery bank will re-charge itself.

if you're looking on amazon, look at the questions and reviews to see how long it takes to recharge the battery bank itself. anything over 6 hours isn't worth it in my opinion.

finally, in a real world example, i lived in slab city for 6 months using my anker 20,000 mah battery bank (QC 3.0 to the battery itself) by charging it to 100%, then using it to recharge my phone (3,000 mah) about 4.5-5 times before needing to recharge the bank again. since my phone had awesome battery life, this was about 1.5 days between charges, so that battery bank would last me about a week at most before needing to charge it again. it's pretty easy to find an outlet or generator you can plug into for 2 hours here, 2 hours there, throughout the week, even in the slabs.

one last thing worth knowing about battery banks is that most have two charging options, basically a 'slow' and 'fast' option. so, if you need your cell phone charged quick, then you use the QC 3.0 port on the battery (your phone must support quick charging or this will do nothing different than the 'slow' charging port). the drawback is that the faster the device charges, the less re-charges you'll get out of the battery bank.

so, while you can recharge your phone 4-5 times on a 20,000 mah battery bank (using the 'slow' port), you can only charge it about 3 times using the 'fast' QC 3.0 port (the QC port is almost always colored green or orange depending on the QC level). this has to do with a lot of math of amps and voltages, but basically there's always a certain amount of electrical 'loss' which is why you can't use 100% of the 20,000 mah battery bank to recharge a phone with a 3,000 mah battery exactly 6.6 times; the faster you push the charge through to the phone (i.e. QC 3.0+) the more electrical loss, equaling less recharges.

anyways, sorry for the dissertation, but i hope it proves useful to anyone that takes the time to read it.
 
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Maestro

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Woah this 20000 battery pack is SUPER big & heavy. This is literally the only item in my pack that I overlooked as far as weight. Good thing i got a good deal on it :$
 

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lyzinga

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while I was tent living in the desert in Utah I used a "juice bar" a little solar charger about the size of my iphone itself at the time. Got it as a gift for subscribing - donating $ during fund drive - to UPR. I loved it.
 

Maestro

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North-Bay, On, Canada
while I was tent living in the desert in Utah I used a "juice bar" a little solar charger about the size of my iphone itself at the time. Got it as a gift for subscribing - donating $ during fund drive - to UPR. I loved it.

Ill be hitching & riding freight for a month or 2. The one i got can be clipped to your bag and will just charge whenever. Not a huge concern tho, the battery bank "juice bar" can be charged in coffee shop from time to time or if i crash somewhere. I will also bring a car charger and will definitely ask to use it when i need to charge up!
 

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