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Thread: Here's a Solar Charger I Like

  1. #1
    Member Buck Nelson's Avatar
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    Default Here's a Solar Charger I Like

    A few months ago I was asking around about solar chargers and after having done a lot of research and using one all summer, I thought I'd pass along what I learned to the places I first asked my questions.

    I ended up choosing a Brunton Solaris 12 (no affiliation) and was very happy with it. This model of charger folds up to about 9" x 5 1/2." Unfolded it is about 30" x 18." Its output is 12 watts.

    The panel alone weighs about 12 oz. With pouch and the adapter plug, it weighs about 14 oz.

    I used this panel to charge my satellite phone and video camera batteries. I used my camera a lot but only used my phone for an average of a few minutes a day. I had no spare sat. phone battery, and one long life spare video camera battery. It was a very cloudy summer and I was on the move all day, but this panel still kept me in charged batteries. I just had to make sure I "made hay while the sun shone." Under normal conditions, it would have been very easy to keep these items charged up.

    They claim it takes about 1-3 hours to charge up a digital camera or camcorder, and about 3 hours to charge up a satellite phone. That seems about right to me. I did find out that the quality of sun makes a very big difference. The brighter and higher the sun, the better it charged. No sun, no charging.

    If you have a big, fixed camp, you'll probably want to consider a larger panel. For backpacking and sheep hunting and the like, this one is hard to beat.

    I kept this panel inside a plastic pouch inside a pocket in my pack, and it held up great without any particular "babying."

    On thing I didn't understand when first researching this topic is how the solar charger would actually hook up to my electronic devices. Basically, the charger comes with a female car jack (cigarette lighter) plug. For my satellite phone, I just plugged in with the male car jack plug. For my camcorder, I got a battery charger with a cord and male car jack plug.

    Definitely consider the weight of the charger compared to the weight of extra batteries. The longer the trip the more sense a solar charger makes.

  2. #2
    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    Default

    i carry the brunton solar roll, that rolls out to four foot by one foot and is 14 volt, i use it for my DVD player and my sat phone all the time. worth its weight in gold when you need it.
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  3. #3
    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    Default Brunton Solar Roll

    I have used the 14v solar roll with good success to recharge a completely dead sat phone in < 4 hour in direct sunlight. Just need to make sure you have the connection logistics worked out before hand.

  4. #4

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    If considering a solar charger for your sat phone, absolutely stay away from the Bruton SolarPort 4.4. It is an absolute piece of crap! We used the charger every day in every condition from overcast to sunshine for extended hours and my Iridium 9500 never took a charge from it. The only days we did not use it is when it was raining. For Ipods and cell phones it's okay but sat phones...no way. Anyone want to buy a SolarPort 4.4 for cheap?
    "The days a man spends fishing or spends hunting should not be deducted from the time he's on earth. " Theodore Roosevelt

  5. #5
    Member Buck Nelson's Avatar
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    Default Enough power

    For some reason I found it difficult to get good information from the manufacturers, but one of the Brunton people did tell me that 12 watts is about the mininum you want for devices like satellite phones. If you don't have enough wattage it won't charge some devices no matter how good the sun is or how long you charge.

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