I have wanted a solar USB charger for my GHB so that I could charge USB powered devices and AA/AAA batteries. I use to have a rigid 12 volt 5 watt panel, but I was not impressed with it's performance so I have been looking for a better alternative.
Earlier this week I purchased the Instapark 10 Watt Solar Panel because it was on sale for $64 on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ls_o00_s00_i00 It has two USB charging ports and the specs say that it will provide up to 2 amps of charging capacity.
Well the Solar charger arrived today and I was surprised how small and light it was. It only weighs around 12 Oz and is 9 X 6 X 2 inches when folded up. It has a nice folding case made out of a cordura type material that has tie-down loops on the corners and the top flap, so you could potentially tie the solar charger down to your backpack and charge a device or two as you walk. Obviously if you tied it down to your backpack you would want to tie it down in the direction of the sun and the angle would be less then ideal, but free power is still free
I figured I would give the Instapark a test run today to see how well it could charge a spare HTC EVO I have had laying around for a while.
As you can see from the pictures today was pretty cloudy, I figured it would be good to test the solar charger in less then perfect conditions, I wasn't expecting much due to the cloud cover.
I started out with my spare HTC EVO which was completely dead. The Evo has the extended 1800mA battery
I laid the solar panel on my back deck and plugged in my EVO. Immediately the charging light came on despite the fact that that the sun was behind cloud cover. The Evo was recognizing the Solar Charger as an AC charger, as opposed to a standard 5 volt 500mA USB charger. So immediately I knew the solar charger was putting out decent current, even with the cloud cover.
I began my test at 1:45 PM and I left the phone on the solar charger for 1 hour. At 2:45PM I checked the charge on the phone and found that the phone was reporting a 47% charge.
Not to shabby for a one hour charge on a cloudy overcast day. I'll re-run this same test on a different day when there are no clouds to see what a one hour charge will do in direct sunlight.
Earlier this week I also ordered two Sanyo USB AA/AAA battery chargers with Enloop batteries for my GHB http://www.amazon.com/Sanyo-eneloop-.../dp/B004UAG776 they should be a good addition to my GHB with the Instapark Solar Charger. Once they get here I will test the solar charger with both USB battery chargers and AA Enloop batteries. I'm hopeful that I will be able to charge 4 Enloop 2000mA AA batteries in 4 hours.
Lastly since solar chargers only work when the sun is out I have an Anker 5600mA battery pack http://www.amazon.com/5600mAh-Extern.../dp/B005K7192G that I will be using with the Instapark solar charger. My plan is to charge the Anker battery pack during the day so that I have a USB charging device after the sun has gone down. With two USB ports the Instapark should be able to charge the Anker battery and one other device simultaneously.
Anyway I hope you guys enjoyed the review, I was quite impressed with the solar charger's performance today, it will be a nice addition to my GHB.
Size comparison of solar charger next to my EVO
Solar charger set up in my backyard
Picture showing the cloud cover we had today in DFW.