I was on the verge of writing a review about my fine new solar panel charger by Voltaic…and well, I still shall despite its abrupt departure from my life. My sweet solar charger got picked off in the China Camp State Park (outside San Francisco) campground bathroom. I had it and my cell phone charging. The thief kindly left my phone, and for that I am very thankful. This marks the first item I have ever had stolen (minus a sweater once in a bar at OU). I am normally the gal who never travels with anything of value so nothing goes missing, but here I am (was) sporting a high-tech solar setup, and now it’s gone, gone, gone.
None-the-less, I want to share my solar experience, especially since the folks at Voltaic were nice enough to give me a big discount on it. This is what I had, how it worked, and what I would ideally want if I were to have another set up.
I have the Fuse 6W solar charger and I opted for the larger battery (V39). Also, I purchased a USB charger with two ports, and it worked well. The solar panel works how it is advertised to work, in that with a full charge it will completely provide a full charge to my Ipad, or cell phone. If I plug in both, it will give me a healthy partial charge on both. It is light weight even with the larger battery –which I highly recommend.
To actually get this particular solar panel charged, it needs to be in direct sun for 9 hours. That’s a lot of time, and rarely, if ever, was I able to get it fully charged while on the back of my bicycle. Instead, I normally plug it into an outlet at a coffee shop or campground to get a full charge. For my purposes of needing to recharge an Ipad and cell phone daily, I think the next larger model with 3 panels is needed. I presume this would cut down on the amount of time it needs to be in the sun to charge up. Also, I would get another back up battery. Between those two adds, I think one really could stay off the grid for a few days. Of course the downsize is that the larger panel setup comes with a larger price tag, and a bit more weight.
Just so I’m clear, if you were just trying to keep a cell phone (and perhaps camera or headlamp) charged up, the set up I had would be just fine. Maybe too, if you were not using your Ipad as much as me, that original set up would be good. Keeping charged and connected is my biggest challenge. All that being said, I loved having solar and I used it…everyday.
Another cool feature was that the panel comes attached to a handy-dandy backpack that fit my Ipad and chords. A fantastic add to take with you when hiking or heading to town so as to leave it behind at a campsite. Here’s Voltaic’s website for solar options and current pricing.
Will the solar ferry Gods bring another one to me?? We shall see.