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Solar/USB charger for camping?

Discussion in 'E-Cigarette Accessories Discussion' started by nanovapr, Oct 18, 2012.

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  1. nanovapr

    nanovapr Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 15, 2011
    Catatonic State, USA
    I am going to be completely away from AC for about a 9 day camping trip. Does anyone have experience with those solar/battery/USB charger things? You can get them much cheaper than that link, but the carabiner loop, and optional second panel could be helpful. I will have two PVs, both that can charge directly from a USB port, which gadgets like this have.

    We will not be hiking around, we are going to set up a camp and basically stay there. It will be quite sunny, so solar sounded like a good possibility.
     
  2. flintlock62

    flintlock62 Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 2, 2012
    Arkansas Delta
    No I don't, but you can get one and give a review when you get back!:D:vapor:
     
  3. Unforeseen

    Unforeseen Admin
    Commercial/Suppliers Asst. Manager
    Admin Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Moved to Assorted PV Topics - E-Cigarette Accessories Discussion
     
  4. zoiDman

    zoiDman My -0^10 = Nothing at All* ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Apr 16, 2010
    So-Cal
    I haven't used Solar because when I looked for them, to get a Decent one, they were kinda Pricey.

    I have used this...

    [​IMG]

    It's a 9,800mAh External Battery and it worked well.

    Here is something I would like to try.

    [​IMG]

    BioLite CampStove - BioLite Stove
     
  5. nightfell

    nightfell Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jul 31, 2012
    Massachusetts
    I have a solio which I use for my cell phones. When I was shopping for one for charging my phones, a lot of online reviewers talked about the long in direct sun charging times required. Please post back if you find a good one.
     
  6. nanovapr

    nanovapr Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 15, 2011
    Catatonic State, USA
    Wow, zoid, that stove/charger is definitely cool! It looks like it is a wood gasification stove, similiar to a Bush Buddy and several others. I am actually in the process of making one (without the fan and charging stuff) to take along, just for boiling water (Mountain House meals, kawfee, etc). I don't know if we will be allowed 'open fires', so little stoves like these are terribly efficient.

    I couldn't see any specs on how large it's internal battery is, which is one of the most important things. I'm going to have several gadgets to keep charged in addition to PVs: cellphone, and two little Flip cameras.

    There will likely be other people in our group that have their gadgets run down. I plan to have 2 such charging thingies, so I had already ordered a 5,000 mAh solar/USB charger for cheap, USD $19 with free shipping. I know that cheap ones are not necessarily good ones, I want to get one other 'good one', so I'm still looking.
     
  7. familiarstranger

    familiarstranger Senior Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 16, 2010
    OC, CA
    I have a solar charger that I use when I'm camping, it works okay, but i find it has trouble getting a "full" charge, even in direct sunlight all day.
     
  8. nanovapr

    nanovapr Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 15, 2011
    Catatonic State, USA
    familiarstranger, what kind do you have?
     
  9. familiarstranger

    familiarstranger Senior Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 16, 2010
    OC, CA
    I believe mine is a XTG. the flashlight is a nice addition for late night reading or filling tanks
     
  10. nanovapr

    nanovapr Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 15, 2011
    Catatonic State, USA
    Here's an update. I got one of these, straight from Hong Kong, with free shipping. That link is a 'buy it now' for $23.99, I got the identical item in an auction for USD$19.50 This does not have a light like many do. The capacity of 5000 mAh is larger than many.

    In reading lots of reviews about this type of thing in general, a lot of people complained about them working poorly. They would get them, plug their phone/whatever into them, and put it in the sun.

    Several reviewers that seemed more knowledgeable pointed out that most any kind of these should be fully charged by USB, then discharged (by charging your other gadgets), and cycled a few times like this, before using the solar charging part.

    This one has four LEDs that blink to show the charge level, and if you push a button, apparently show the amount left. There were no instructions with this.

    After I had charged/discharged it three times, I put it in the sun, totally discharged. This was after 2 PM, the first week of November in Midwest USA, not exactly a powerhouse of a time for sun. It was mildly overcast at that. I propped one end up a bit to be pointed a little more towards the sun instead of just straight up. I was pleasantly surprised to see that after about 5 hours, it showed about 50% charge. Most devices like this say that it takes nearly a full day of sun for a full charge, so I thought that was not too bad, for an overcast early fall day.

    So, for about $20? I consider it a good deal. I am planning to get another/similar type of solar battery as well. I will have several phones/cameras/PVs to keep charged and my group will be totally away from any AC power for about 9 days. I will try to get a better one, for comparison. I see some that have a handle/loop that you can put a carabiner on, that might be convenient. There are also some that have a second solar panel, that will charge the original battery up faster.
     
  11. flintlock62

    flintlock62 Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 2, 2012
    Arkansas Delta
    $129 for the Bio Lite stove. Not bad!
     
  12. nightfell

    nightfell Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jul 31, 2012
    Massachusetts
    Thanks so much for the update
     
  13. nanovapr

    nanovapr Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 15, 2011
    Catatonic State, USA
    After some more use, I am still happy with my original cheapie 5000 mAh battery/charger. Our camping party will have probably more than four devices to charge, so I will likey need more. I ordered this one yesterday. It's a 6000mAh, and I got the secondary panel, to hopefully charge faster.

    There are of course larger panels without batteries, but I don't need 12 volts (to lose some efficiency in the conversion to USB/5vdc). We will be using the devices during the day while charging the solar batteries, then be recharging the devices at night.
     
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