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Topic: Solar Charger for iPhone< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 22 2012, 9:40 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Greetings,
I recently acquired my first iPhone--had nothing but Blackberries for years--and wondered if anyone had any recommendations for a solar recharger/backup power source suitable for backpacking.  Thanks in advance!
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 23 2012, 11:44 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

As you may find, the topic of “solar” or “solar panels” comes up from time to time (just do a search on “solar” on the forum), and the answer is always a variant on “backup batteries are lighter and cheaper and more effective unless you’re taking a long trip with break periods during which you can use the solar to recharge batteries”.

You may not be getting many/any replies this go-around because the subject comes up repeatedly, and the answer is (so far) always the same.

The fact is, your iPhone will not like the uneven current supplied by a solar cell, probably no matter how large. I have a 26W Brunton which won’t charge my iPhone,

http://www.amazon.com/Brunton....im_sg_1

but will charge one of my Brunton batteries, which will then recharge my iPhone. If you’re only going to be out for a few days, it’s easier to simply take the battery in the first place, like this Brunton Sustain 6000mAh. (I have an older one.)

http://www.amazon.com/Brunton....7BLMFB8

or this Brunton Aspire 3100 mAh.

http://www.amazon.com/Brunton....-fkmr1

I have been able to find these at REI and other places online for around $35 - $40. Brunton appears to be reworking their battery lineup, so these may or may not be available any longer. There are other manufacturers, like Goal0, though I honestly haven’t researched this stuff recently.

Jun. 01 2012
"Solar charger for iPhone user?"

Aug. 03 2012
"Solar Panels"

Dec. 13 2011
"Solar Panel"

On the other hand, fuel cell technology may become a factor here, and prices may actually come down sufficiently that we may soon find that this is the cheaper option (eventually). I have been waiting impatiently for the Brookstone unit (widely touted back in May of this year, but largely only vaporware since).

I recently found that there is another available from Amazon (only apparently, however: one can only be sure of this if it’s actually in one’s hands, right?), though its price tag of nearly $300 puts me off a wee bit.

http://www.amazon.com/MiniPak....&sr=1-1

Maybe they’ll have effective hand-carriable power available in the near future, or maybe we’ll kill ourselves and the planet first. Your guess is as good as mine…

ETA: After a short exploration on my iPhone (itself), I found that they're selling these things (probably with the usual first-run glitches and bugs and all that) here

http://technidigital.net/?page_i....=normal
for $89.99 (cartridges for $18.99 ea.), but that somewhat more enticing price comes with the chance of experiencing all the thrills (aforementioned) of first generation consumer debugging for the manufacturer! (PROBABLY) :)
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 23 2012, 2:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have a Brunton, charges my Android phone just fine.  From dead to full about 8 hrs tho.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 23 2012, 6:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

How long will you be out for? For moderate trips, say two weeks and less, you might look into a standard battery adapter. Amazon sells them, they take AA and plug into the port on the phone to charge the phone's battery. The entire package is less than $30-$40 IIRC.

The iGo system:
http://www.amazon.com/PowerXt....0R9C91M

As the port has changed it's important to specify which phone you have, the iPhone 5 or an earlier model.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 25 2012, 3:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I haven't researched it much but was really interested in solar too until I realized just how limited they were, and a lot of my hiking is under the canopy of trees.

To go along with HSF recommendation, they make some higher power chargers than run Li-ion like 18650 if your into those, or Li-Po like this 10,000mAhr usb charger: Anker Astro3E just as a quick example.

If you were going on a super long trip that extra batteries wouldn't be feasible(?!?) then I was toying with the possibility of asolar charger for a LiIon temporary storage cell. There would be loss by first charging a temporary cell then using that to charge your device instead of your device directly, but it gives you the ability to be always charging your charger and full use of your devices when you need them. Then when you sleep, your devices can charge. Would take a large solar cell though, and easier to implement on a larger external frame pack perhaps. Even then you would probably have to ration your charging, since you might not get a full charge every day depending on the size of the batteries, panel, and how much sun. Would be nice if the cells could go into other devices or charge other things to like camera, flashlight, ham radio, etc. I'd love to take a really long trip but in reality I'll probably never go more than 4-5 days.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 29 2012, 12:15 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I just got the Goal 0 panel charger and gave it a try today. Went from 15 to 100% in two hours in direct sun mid-winter here in northern Ontario.

It's a pretty decent panel. Low weight, does batteries and my iPhone. Has ties to affix it to the exterior of my pack while hiking. Won't put a charge on a tablet (I tried).

Gimmickie (I grinned when I got it, but likely won't take it with me on the trail) but seems efficient and clearly works.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 29 2012, 7:47 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My wife has a battery backup gizmo that you charge up and then when the phone battery is dead you plug in this thing and it recharge the phone bakc up.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 29 2012, 6:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Thatbakerkid @ Dec. 28 2012, 11:15 pm)
QUOTE
I just got the Goal 0 panel charger and gave it a try today. Went from 15 to 100% in two hours in direct sun mid-winter here in northern Ontario.

That may very well be true in "ideal" conditions. However, my observation is based on my having tried my iPhone 4 on the Brunton 26W (which is a pretty good size solar panel). The slightest change in current from perfect conditions meant that the phone rejected the source. This would happen when cloud cover changed, for instance.

Clearly, since there are a number of companies out there selling iPhone-specific solar systems (I have at least two of them) - though many have a solar plus battery "system" you attach to the phone, so it's at the very least "possible", though I have my doubts about application in less than ideal conditions.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 29 2012, 6:59 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Gabby @ Dec. 29 2012, 6:48 pm)
QUOTE

(Thatbakerkid @ Dec. 28 2012, 11:15 pm)
QUOTE
I just got the Goal 0 panel charger and gave it a try today. Went from 15 to 100% in two hours in direct sun mid-winter here in northern Ontario.

That may very well be true in "ideal" conditions. However, my observation is based on my having tried my iPhone 4 on the Brunton 26W (which is a pretty good size solar panel). The slightest change in current from perfect conditions meant that the phone rejected the source. This would happen when cloud cover changed, for instance.

Clearly, since there are a number of companies out there selling iPhone-specific solar systems (I have at least two of them) - though many have a solar plus battery "system" you attach to the phone, so it's at the very least "possible", though I have my doubts about application in less than ideal conditions.

That's why I usually bring a map, compass and pencil.

It's a neat gift. I'll likely use it more hiking than backpacking. :) It's a fun gizmo, but I'm not a fan of technology over tools.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 01 2013, 9:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you are in to making things yourself...

Powerfilm makes some neat solar panels. They are almost like solar bumper stickers. I have a bunch of their 15.4v/50mA versions (I bought them straight from the manufacturer at a very large expo in packs of 20 or 25).

Check the OEM section in the above link for the DIY panels.

I combine 10 of those panels together (1/2 amp rated at 15v, more in strong light, less in lower light) with a Micro M+ charge controller (regulates back to 13.5 or so volts). The whole set up charges a shortwave radio (Elecraft KX3) and from there I can charge up whatever I want with the appropriate adapter.  

They also have some commercially made up ones using the same panels/technology - pricy, but you can get them.


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