Step Outside: Green Days Out With Solar Charger

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014


Purchased a solar charger to solve my potential problem of running out of juice during the coming 1 month hike around Sagarmatha National Park aka Everest Base Camp trek. As my smartphone GPS is going to lead me, while a camera is going to keep me going, I simply cannot lose both of them during the hike. The people around this region mostly live off the grid, relying on solar power during the day. I could ended up powerless (pun intended) or penniless to do anything about it.

This rugged, water/dust resistant iPad size device stores 11500mAh of power. That’s enough power to charge my MotoG 7 times without the sun. I may harness the solar charger to the back of my backpack during the hike to replenish the charger battery pack itself – theoretically I should not have to worry about camera/phone battery level anymore.

The device also comes with some other features which I pay little attention to.

I brought it around the town and tested it for a while. Here are the results:

Under the direct sunlight:
It works! Though the “highly efficient 5.4W solar panel” probably means nothing to most of us. It is good to be green. And it feels like as if I had just received a freebies at shopping mall, or redeemed a free gift with the credit card points.

Under the shade:
Temperature has nothing to do with solar energy. Even if it is 32 degree Celsius outside, the solar charger simply won’t charge itself if it is placed under the shade. Though it works if you place it close enough to the edge of direct sunlight.

Bus ride:
Putting the solar charger by the window charges the battery. But the shades cast by buildings and trees halt the charging process intermittently. I yet to know whether will this harm the battery, so I would say it’s not advisable.

Cloudy or rainy day:
It is hard to measure the cloudiness of the sky, but most likely it stops charging once you get to call the sky “dark”.

The solar charger stop charging from the sun during these hours when the golden sky takes over the bright and blue. It is so soft, gentle that it is good for photography but not the solar charger. In Singapore, the solar charger stops charging after 6pm++.

My conclusion: The solar charger operates best at places you do not want to be. The same energy source that gives my solar charger the power, may give me heat stroke and ugly tan.


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