A low battery warning can cause panic when you’re out in the woods or are away with your friends on an adventure packed weekend. See, the problem is that you might not always have access to a power source when you’re outdoors.
That’s where solar chargers come in handy. These portable and incredibly easy to carry chargers that derive power from the sun, which means you can enjoy the longest running battery.
What Are Portable Solar Chargers?
Solar chargers are capable of charging electronic devices when you are on the go. These charges are powered by the sun's rays and are quite efficient. This feature eliminates the need for you to carry extra batteries since the charger can conveniently replenish power from the sun.
Depending on its model, portable chargers can be very simple or may have multiple outlets. You’ll have to select a model depending on how and where will be using the solar charger.
What Devices Can You Charge With A Portable Solar Charger?
Here are some devices you can charge with a portable solar charger depending on its connections and adapters:
You can use portable solar chargers for charging cell phones. This feature is particularly great for people who are always on the go and may not have access to power outlets when they are on the go.
Several portable solar chargers are powerful enough to keep tablets and laptops running for several hours throughout the day. However, it's essential you check the solar charger's power outlets before purchasing some chargers have USB ports.
When you're on the go, GPS units can be plugged and powered in the car without a problem. However, the battery can start draining at an alarming rate once the GPS system is outside the car. This situation can be problematic if you're going up an isolated area. Fortunately, solar chargers will keep your GPS system powered.
Now, you can enjoy uninterrupted music when you’re on the go, thanks to your portable charger. These chargers are a particularly good option for when you are planning long road trips or camping trips.
Nothing is more upsetting than finding out that your camera’s battery is almost dead when you’ve still got a few days left for your trip. Keeping a portable solar charger on hand ensures that you don’t have to worry about missing any great opportunities.
Solar Chargers Uses
Wondering how you can use a solar charger? Here are some of the top uses:
Camping And Hiking
Modern outdoor enthusiasts enjoy packing up their favorite gadgets before heading out on an outdoor adventure. This reason is why you may be disappointed when your camera or GPS system starts beeping about low battery.
Not to mention GPS units and smartphones come in handy during an emergency situation when you're trying to navigate your way. However, these devices are unlikely to be of any use if they run out of power.
Most people who purchase portable solar chargers are in need of extra power when they are on the go. This feature especially comes in handy in case you're in an emergency situation. To avoid any mishaps, ensure the charger charges fully before storing it in your backpack.
This way, it will be ready for use no matter where you are. Plus, once your device charges fully, the charger can replenish power from the sun's rays.
Traveling In Remote Locations
When you're traveling to remote locations, you can never be sure about having enough power. So, whether you are traveling to the great outdoors or somewhere you have never been, having a portable solar charger for power backup can be reassuring.
Sailing And Boating
While many boats now have power outlets so that you can charge electronic devices, you simply don’t want to take the risk when you're on vacation. Besides, what if the boat loses power? A portable solar charger can come in handy during many emergency situations.
Today, it is incredibly difficult to survive without one's tablet, smartphones, and other electronic devices, especially if you're always on the go. Solar chargers work as a great environmentally-friendly alternative to power devices. Most portable chargers are incredibly lightweight and can be carried around for extended periods of time without any problems.
How Solar Power Works
Solar panels generate electricity using solar energy panels. These panels generate electricity because of the materials present in the system. The sun's rays contain energy, consisting of numerous subatomic particles that are constantly in motion.
So, when strong light hits the object, the electrons start bombarding each other at an alarming rate, producing heat and vibration. However, in some materials, the electrons do much more than simply vibrate, instead, the move around freely, generating electricity. Some of the most popular materials include:
Silicon crystals are well-known for generating electricity once exposed to the sun’s rays. In fact, silicon was among the most commonly used materials when solar power technology was new to the world. Today, silicon is widely available and is among the most flexible options when it comes to solar panel materials.
Other leading materials include Cadmium telluride that is becoming widely available in the market. While cadmium telluride is not as efficient as silicon, it certainly is a more affordable option and much easier to manufacture.
This reason is why it is becoming one of the most viable alternatives to fuel-based energy. Other materials, such as Copper indium gallium selenide, are gaining popularity because of their potential. In fact, cadmium telluride offers greater energy conversion.
Types Of Solar Chargers
Solar chargers are available in numerous shapes and sizes. Some of the most popular types of solar chargers include:
Fold Out Models
Fold out models are thin, lightweight folding pads which you can roll up easily. These accessories are easy to carry, rugged and are perfect for outdoor use. If you’re a backpack, consider investing in weather and shockproof models for greater convenience.
Small Portable Models
Some portable models are excellent for virtually any activity. Whether you are going on a road trip, are planning on going on a hiking trip or planning on going camping, solar chargers are a great option.
Backpack Solar Chargers
Backpack solar chargers are portable devices that let you power up portable electronic devices including phones, laptops, GoPros, DSLR cameras and much more. These solar chargers are specifically designed for your backpacking adventures and feature enhanced portability and design.
Who Benefits From Solar Chargers
Solar chargers are particularly beneficial for the following people:
Whether you're planning on taking tons of pictures on your camping trip for need backup power for your flashlight, a solar charger is an excellent option. Most solar chargers are incredibly lightweight and portable which means you don't have to worry about carrying extra weight when you are outdoors.
Do you enjoy getting away from the city? Backpacking and hiking provide users the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But today, it's incredibly important you have a GPS system with you to navigate the way.
This feature ensures that you don't get lost during your adventures, especially if you plan on going out alone. A portable solar charger is an excellent solution to all of your problems. It will ensure that you have constant access to power regardless of where you are.
Do you enjoy the freedom of cycling out on the open roads? Well, if you're a professional, you can certainly benefit from a solar charger. These gadgets will ensure your GPS system and your phone do not run out of battery.
Water Sports Enthusiasts
Are you a fan of water sports but are trying of dealing with low battery problems? The good news is that most solar chargers are waterproof.
This feature makes solar chargers an excellent alternative to regular chargers which you wouldn't be able to use by the pool, at the beach or when you are heading outdoors. However, be sure to read the instructions on the solar charger before taking out to the water park or the beach.
Maintenance: How To Care For Solar Chargers
You don’t want your solar charger to work only to stop working after a couple of weeks. Proper maintenance is important if you want to prolong the life of the device. Here are some maintenance tips you should keep in mind:
Clean The Solar Charger
If you'll be using the solar charger in the outdoors, it is essential you clean the product regularly. Use a small, soft bristle brush that will allow you to clean the edges of the charger easily. Cleaning the panels is also important since you don't want dust and other materials to gather on its surface and result in greater problems for you. If you also use your car cleaning equipment to clean up the charger too.
Inspect Its Performance From Time To Time
To ensure the product is working fine and does not require any repair and replacements, inspect its performance from time to time. If the product is taking too long to charge electronic devices, then there is probably something wrong with it.
Invest In A Good Quality Product
Good quality products require less maintenance which means you won’t have to worry about replacing the solar charger anytime soon. Opt for a brand that offers an excellent warranty along with good customer service.
This way, if you experience a problem with the device, you can have it exchanged or fixed. If you have never used a solar charger before, consider asking the manufacturers tips on how to care for the device.
Tips For Solar Charging
Here are some tips you should keep in mind while charging your phone or other electronic devices while using solar charging:
Ensure The Phone Is Place Somewhere Cool
Don’t simply place your phone under direct sunlight. Phones contain chemical batteries which should not come in contact with direct sunlight. Instead, place your phone behind a rock or somewhere with shade.
You can also tuck inside your backpack sleeve. To avoid any dangerous reactions, ensure your phone is not placed directly near the sun or under the solar panel.
Nothing matters more than your safety so always read the instruction manual before using the solar charger. Follow the instructions carefully and do not use the charger in a moving vehicle. It's also important that you keep the charger away from little kids who might chew on the wires.
While most solar panels are waterproof, always read the safety guidelines before bringing the charger near pools and beaches. Not to mention, having a waterproof solar charger isn't going to be too useful if your phone is not water-proof.
Avoid Charging In Lowlight Conditions
Charging your phone in low light conditions can be risky and can potentially damage your phone. If the weather seems cloudy, unplug your phone and put it back on charging again. In such cases, charging batteries might be alright but not cell phones.
Don’t Charge Behind Windows
Some energy efficient windows are designed to block sunlight, so there is no point in charging your mobile phone behind a window. Smartphones are very finicky devices, but electronic devices without a screen should be okay.
Don’t Charge Your Device While Moving Around
Be careful while charging mobile phones and other devices while moving around. This event can happen while you are hiking, trekking or moving around the woods. Constantly moving around can drain power, causing your phone to switch on and off again
How To Charge An Electronic Device With A Solar Charger
Most solar chargers are fairly easy to use since all you have to do is plug the device and you're all good to go. As long as the charger provides the right amount of wattage, you can use it for many different devices. Simply ensure the solar charger has the right cords and adapters to get the job done.
The most common ports include mini USB, USB, and microUSB including a few Apple products. Some more efficient generators and chargers also feature receptacles that are standard for three or two-pronged plugs. To charge the device, you'll first need to position the solar panel under direct sunlight.
Plug in the electronic device such as your cell phone or tablet and wait. It's worth noting that most solar chargers deposit stored energy into an internal battery and then transfer the power from there. The process is quite time-consuming which means solar charging is not as instantaneous compared to other charging methods.
However, purchasing a good quality solar charger can make a difference so ensure you purchase a battery type that offers greater efficiency and longevity when you're out shopping for a solar charger. Chargers that directly transfer energy from a photovoltaic panel may also work comparatively slow compared to other wall outlet designs.
What Is Estimated Lifetime Of This Type Of Charger?
Are you wondering whether investing in a solar charger would be worthwhile? Portable solar chargers are typically used to power up cell phones and other electronic devices that you would require on the go.
Most solar chargers in the market use incredibly thin film panels that offer up to 7-15% efficiency while on the other hand, monocrystalline panels tend to be more efficient, ranging up to 18%.
What The Future Holds For Solar Charging
It's not difficult to predict that solar charging has the potential to change the world that we live in drastically. These chargers don't need external electrical sources to recharge batteries. This feature means that these chargers offer users freedom to move around unlike any other. Not to mention it offers numerous advantages.
First off, you don't have to worry about running out of power since you'll find the sun practically anywhere in the world during the daytime. So, even if you lose your way in a remote area or the middle of the woods, all you need is some sunlight to get your phone up and running again.
Another notable advantage of solar charges is that it generates no harmful emissions that can be harmful to the environment. These cells don't generate any harmful waste or byproducts that can cause damage to the atmosphere. Additionally, the photons not used during the process bounce off without resulting in any harmful reactions.
How To Make A DIY A Solar Phone Charger
Are you a DIY enthusiast who loves getting things done? Well, we have some good news for you. With a little bit of effort, you can make your very own DIY charger. This option is great if you're into DIY or are on a tight budget and don't want to settle for an inefficient product:
Supplies You Will Need
Use the following tools:
Also, don’t forget to set up the USB charger circuit. This process is important if you want to make a solar phone charger. Follow these steps carefully:
Congratulations! You have successfully made your DIY solar charger. Before you test it out, look for an interchangeable USB cable charger that you can use according to your phone. You can easily find a spare cable or purchase from a store.
Carry around this DYI solar charger when you're on camping adventures or simply need an environmentally friendly power backup. This solar charger is sure to be the perfect accessory to add to your survival kit when you are traveling.
If you think you'll be unable to assemble the charger by yourself, consider investing in one instead. This feature will save you plenty of time and energy, allowing you to devote your time to more productive tasks.
While it's true that the best solar chargers are not exactly cheap, its advantages certainly outweigh its inconveniences and shortcomings. If you're on a limited budget, consider purchasing an inefficient or relatively smaller device so that you access to backup power during emergency situations.
So, there you have it! Hopefully, this guide contains everything you would ever want to know about solar chargers. For more information, don’t forget to check out our detailed buyer’s guide. We have also compiled a list of some of our favorite products so that you don’t have a difficult time making a purchase.
It is worth keeping a solar charger in your glove compartment kit in the car or your pocket. If you are traveling or are out in the wilderness, you should carry a solar charger in your backpack.