Having a portable solar charger in this era of iPhones, iPads, Android phones and Tablets is a necessity because you need a dependable power source nearby from which you can keep your gadgets fully charged.
Smartphones are usually designed to last for a few days before they to be recharged again. This is an ample amount of battery capacity, but only if you’re not traveling.
However, if you are traveling to another city; going on a vacation or simply going for a day’s hike, the chances are that your phone will die on you when you need it the most. As an example of a solar charger for extreme conditions, take a look ath the Dizaul 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank Waterproof / Shockproof / Dustproof Dual USB Battery Bank, as pictured on the right.
Most smartphones don’t have the option of swappable batteries, so you are left with the option of relying on an external power bank. But what if your power bank runs out of juice as well or you forgot to charge it after the last use? This is where the portable solar power battery chargers come into play as they can self-charge if exposed to direct sunlight.
There are multiple manufacturers across the globe that are producing these solar powered battery packs, but they differ in so many ways that sometimes it becomes difficult to decide between any two portable solar chargers.
Following is a guide for you that you can use to choose the best product that suits your requirements.
As stated above, there are so many options but ultimately it all boils down to your requirements, budget and the quality of the product. Among different specifications, the following are the most important factors that you should know about in order to make a smart decision.
|1||Dizaul 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank||3.8/5.0||Coming Soon||Check Price|
|2||OUTXE 16000mAh Rugged Power Bank with Flashlight||4.1/5.0||Coming Soon||Check Price|
|3||Solar Power Bank 10000mAh External Backup Battery Pack Dual USB Solar Panel Charger||3.9/5.0||Coming Soon||Check Price|
|4||Anker 15W Dual USB Solar Charger||4.3/5.0||Coming Soon||Check Price|
|5||GRDE Portable Dual USB Solar Battery Charger||4.4/5.0||Coming Soon||Check Price|
This attribute is the most important one for any solar battery bank. An important thing to note is that it should not be confused with the power rating of the solar panel that comes with a solar battery charger.
Battery capacity, measured in mAh (milli Ampere Hours) is the maximum amount of charge any battery can store. It should also be noted that higher battery capacity either require more time or high voltage input (multiple inputs) to charge it in the same amount of time as a power bank with smaller battery.
But generally, the more mAh’s a portable solar charger has the better. But you need to use your power bank a few times to figure out how many charge cycles it can provide.
Say if you have a portable solar charger with a 5000mAh battery. Ideally it can charge a 2500mAh battery twice, but due to losses and the circuitry which protects the battery from over charging and depletion above the safe range reduces it to around 1 ¼ charge cycles in a go.
So if you own an iPhone 5 which has a 1440mAh battery, a 5000 mAh power bank will provide at least 2 complete charging cycles (charging it from 0 to 100 percent) during the first year of use.
But if you want more than that or if you own a tablet, then you should consider buying a power bank with more battery capacity.
In a solar battery bank, the power rating of the solar panels is the second most important thing to consider as it determines how fast your solar power charger can self-recharge without attaching it to a power outlet.
The power rating in watts can be converted into mAh of the battery capacity. Say, if the solar panels have a rating of 5 watts and the input voltage is 5V here’s how we can get the Ampere hours:
So a 5 watt solar panel can ideally provide 1000 mA to the batteries, so in one hour it can charge a 1000mAh battery. But we need to consider the electrical losses and the fact that the power rating of solar panel is calculated for peak light intensity, so effectively it’ll charge a 700mAh battery in an hour.
To put it simply, whenever you are buying a portable solar charger, calculating the time the power bank can self-recharge can help you in choosing the right product for you.
Even though most of the portable solar chargers claim to be compatible with every cell phone in existence, but just to be sure, you should be able to match the output voltage and amperage of the power bank with the input of your cell phone’s battery.
Usually the input rating for a cell phone is 5V and 1A but sometimes solar battery chargers do not provide a constant 1A, which results in slow charging or incompatibility with your smartphone.
So instead of buying the first cheap thing you see, you should do your research and find out whether the quality of the internal circuitry of a power bank is according to the international standards. And if you have an iPhone, you can check if a certain portable solar charger has been approved by Apple or not.
If you want a power source for your hiking trips, then you better buy something that can endure harsh environment. There are portable solar chargers available which are completely water proof or rain proof.
The build quality however needs to be good even if you’re not planning to test it in extreme conditions.
Yes you can buy a solar portable charger with a big battery and big solar panels that also have a lot of output ports, but you will have to tradeoff in terms of weight and portability. Remember that we’re discussing portable solar power banks, so if it isn’t easy to carry around, you might have to reconsider your options.
Price is also an important factor to consider. Yes you can find a lot of products which give good value for your money but never buy a cheap product which won’t last longer than a year. Usually the batteries die out first, so it’s best to find out if the seller is providing warranty for the batteries before you rush into buying it.