Friday, January 31, 2014

Solar Panel Part 2

During my short trip in the Carmel recently, I tried testing my improvised solar panel to see if it can charge my phone. It did not perform as expected. In retrospect I can say it was probably because we were mostly under trees, and in the shade. Not the optimal conditions to test a solar charger. But when I got back home that day, I felt as though it's not going to work between us.

After reading many favorable reviews on the Suntactics sCharger 5, I decided to buy a kit, along with an external 6000mA battery. The kit also comes along with a 10 LED usb powered light, which I'm going to leave at home. I really don't see any use for it on the trail.

The price was not so bad, with a sale price of $152.95, and a work colleague of mine was just taking of for 4 days in Seattle, so I took the opportunity and asked him to bring it over for me, after I order it to his hotel. Luckily, this crazy plan worked, and I am now the proud owner of the sCharger 5. Yay for me.

Panel with case, battery with its own little case, the LED is hiding beneath the instruction manuals.
The panel does look much better than my improvised one. Sturdy and simple, just a panel with a USB output. The external battery also seems like a good deal, with two USB outputs (1.2mA and 2.1mA), so I guess I will be able to charge both my phone and my camera at the same time (I just need 2 USB cables for it). This will come in handy, I guess.

I just need to figure out how I can secure the panel to my backpack, so it will be out and open to the sunlight while I hike.

As a side note - after ordering the sCharger, I took my improvised panel for another spin. This time I just put it outside of the window, in direct sunlight, and it charged two phones easily. I guess I was too quick on the gun with the decision to buy a charger. But the sCharger does come with the battery, which is a bonus, and it does seem better than mine anyway. So it was not all a waste of good money...