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zeilfanaat 05-10-2013 09:28 AM

Solar phone/tablet chargers
Gone are the days when my basic cell phone could be on standby for a week. Nowadays, I'm lucky to keep my smartphones or tablet charged for more than 12 hours.

Has anyone ever used one of those “mini” solar USB chargers for your iPhone or iPad? Did you have any luck with them…any products you’d recommend or would stay away from?

Thanks for your insights!

jameswilson29 05-10-2013 09:51 AM

Re: Solar phone/tablet chargers
I would recommend a cigarette plug for your 12v system. Use cigarette plug adapter to charge cell phone. You can also use the plug for a cheapo solar panel drip charger.

T37Chef 05-10-2013 09:52 AM

I've been using one of these from HFT for my phone well when in full sun, otherwise its pretty useless

hellosailor 05-10-2013 11:01 AM

Re: Solar phone/tablet chargers
Keep the extra radios (wifi, bt, gps) turned off and the phone will last much longer. Unless you've been conned into an iphone or the few smartphones that are also user-proof, you can simply buy a couple of extra batteries and throw them in as needed.

Or buy one of the pocket chargers, that either use one or two AA cells to give your phone a 1-shot full recharge, some are only "lipstick" sized and recharge from any USB port or charger. There are also larger USB chargers for phones, basically a large rechargeable battery.

Yes, to last "forever" you need solar and the key there is that you need to either leave your phone on deck in the sun (oops) or get a solar charger with battery built in, so you recharge it and then transfer the power ot the phone. How well it works is all in the numbers, if it makes enough amp-hours to charge your phone battery, or not.

denverd0n 05-10-2013 11:17 AM

Re: Solar phone/tablet chargers

Originally Posted by T37Chef (Post 1028155)
I've been using one of these from HFT...

But does it keep the phone charged when you are using it regularly? That is, my experience with these little solar chargers is that, if the battery in the device dies, then you turn off the device, plug it into the charger, set it out in the sun all day long (or close to it), and then after that it will have just enough charge for one or two calls.

If you want to have your phone handy, turned on, and using it all day, then these little chargers are not nearly up to the task.

Or has your experience been different?

T37Chef 05-10-2013 11:25 AM

no, the charger of that size wont keep up the discharge if used constantly

Philzy3985 05-10-2013 01:16 PM

Re: Solar phone/tablet chargers
I've read that the solar chargers do not kick out enough power to fully charge cell phones, it might get it to about 80% of the cell phone's battery supply but can't recharge the battery past that. The problem is these rechargeable batteries build a "memory" of how it recharges and you'll start damaging your cell phones charge longevity - which might matter to you on normal days of normal usage -

Portable Solar Battery Charger | Portable Solar Panels | Off-Grid Solar Generators | Goal Zero - Extreme Portable Power

--- I've seen surfers use these on crazy long backpacking trips to keep phones and cameras charged. --- They rave about how great it works, however I'm not sure if they're endorsed by the company for the trip or being totally honest.

However, they seem to have a pretty high capacity

CarpeAquam 05-10-2013 04:25 PM

Re: Solar phone/tablet chargers
Here is a review that Wired did a year ago on four:
Sun on the Run: 4 Portable Solar Chargers Tested | Product Reviews |

BUT, a newer one that I have heard good things about (haven't used it myself) is the Goal Zeron Nomad series: Portable Solar Battery Charger | Portable Solar Panels | Off-Grid Solar Generators | Goal Zero - Extreme Portable Power

Whatever you find, I would go to Amazon/CNET/wherever and read reviews to see what people are actually getting out of each one.

AKA44 05-10-2013 04:36 PM

Solar phone/tablet chargers
I researched and bought a Joos Orange. It holds four recharges for my iPhone, has good build quality, and made me happy.

northoceanbeach 05-11-2013 06:44 PM

Re: Solar phone/tablet chargers
I love my iPhone. And I don't say that about many things. I've started my trip a couple weeks ago so I can give you some advice.

First off I would turn your phone on airplane mode when you aren't using it. A lot of what drains the battery is the constant searching for a signal. When not in use I get double or triple the battery life if I do this. Or tub it off completely but I think that's unnessary.

I got a rollable small solar panel for the boat and its mainly to keep my boat battery charged to charge my phone. It works through a cigarette plug adapter like mentioned above. I've got to think that's the best way. I can't see a smaller solar panel working and if it did you would spend all day charging. And eventually you would lose it damage your phone or tablet.

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