As more and more new electronic gadgets are developed, the need to keep them charged and ready to use is becoming an even greater challenge. When we’re at home, it’s quite straight forward, as many of us choose to power our gadgets via the computer, or direct from the electricity supply.
However, with more companies achieving excellent results using renewable energy sources for the home, companies are now looking at creating helpful tools that will not only keep your gear, whether it be your phone, camera or MP3 player charged up, but it will do so simply by harnessing the power of the sun.
With this in mind, MobileFun were kind enough to send me the Solar Energy Battery Charging Case to review.
It arrived in a windowed cardboard box, which shows the solar panel. This also gave a rough idea of the size of the case.
- Size: 13.6 cm x 9.3 cm x 3.5 cm externally, with an internal holding space of 11 cm x 6.8 cm x 3.2 cm
- Material: Nylon
- Battery: 2500mAh lithium battery
- Solar Battery Board: 5.5V (100mA)
- Solar Transfer rate: 15%
Inside the box you’ll find a collection of adapters for different types of gear (including Nokia 2mm & 3.5mm, Samsung, Ericsson and Mini-USB), plus a handy belt hook.
Also included is a DC wall plug adapter (UK type) along with a two-pin converter. At first, I wasn’t sure what the wall plug was for, however I then realised that sometimes it would not be possible use the sun as a source of power all of the time. So, the plug is there so you can still provide a charge to the battery on overcast days, when achieving a good charge wouldn’t be easy to do.
Inside the case, the 2500mAh lithium battery is connected directly to high-efficiency solar cell on the outside of the case. The case itself has been designed to work with your smaller gadgets, such a compact digital cameras, mobile phones and MP3 players. So, you not only have a tool that charges your gear whilst you’re on the move, but it carries it safely for you too. The case is nicely lined inside, which helps to prevent your gear getting scratched or damaged.
The process of charging your gear is quite straight forward. When the case is unzipped, you’ll find two cables, one red (Input) and one black (Output). The manufacturer advises that the battery should, ideally, be charged for at least 3 hours before use, by placing it in direct sunlight or by using the DC wall plug to charge it via the red input cable.
Unfortunately, the case doesn’t have any external indicators to show the level of the charge (or indeed if the case is receiving a charge at all!) when it’s in sunlight. However, when you charge the case using the DC adapter via the red input cable, a small LED located beneath the On/Off switch flashes green. When it stops flashing, the battery has a full charge and can be used to juice up your gear.
For the benefit of the review, I first placed the case in direct sunlight for the recommended 3 hours. It wasn’t exactly sunny all of the time (As I live in the UK – it’s never sunny!) but it was bright enough. When you’re ready to charge, simply choose the right connector for your gear, connect it to the black output cable and then connect it up to your phone/camera or MP3/4 player. Then, press the On/Off button on the panel inside the case.
The LED will light up red at this point and will continue to do so, either until your gear is charged, or the battery inside the case runs out of power. When the internal battery starts running out of power, the LED begins to flash.
During the review, I charged a Nokia 6303 from approximately just over half its battery capacity to slightly less than full. Although, the lithium battery inside the case did run out of power first. However, it did give the battery more juice than it did have beforehand.
I then allowed the Nokia battery to drain to the same level, but at the same time charged the solar case using the DC adapter. This time, the Nokia charged even further, almost to full capacity.
Overall, the Solar Powered Charging Case is a very simple to use device. It may not provide masses of power to your gadgets, however it does provide enough to use when you’re ‘on-the-go’ and you need a little more battery power. Plus, coupled with the fact that it can do this without the need for you to carry any additional items with you and keeping your gear safe at the same time, I’d say the Solar Powered Charging Case is a great tool for any Gadgeteer’s gear bag!