Most helpful positive review
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
A great buy for campers who need their toys.
on August 9, 2010
I bought this panel to charge my Nokia N810 on a week-long camping trip. I was able to charge my N810 (PDA,) my old HTC Wallaby smartphone, and my girlfriend's Sansa e260 music player with it. I never let any of them run down to 0% battery, however it took the HTC Wallaby only about 4 hours total to charge both the internal and external batteries from about 5% total battery power. The Sansa took two hours to charge to full from 25%, and the N810 charged from 50% to full in around 2 hours. The panel is listed as a max 410mA, and in full sun, properly angled, I was reading 400mA from the panel.
The biggest point of note is that in order to get full power from any solar panel, it needs to face the sun directly. This means in order to get the most out of the panel you need to readjust the angle every hour or so. The way I judge the proper angle of the panel was to put a one inch bolt through the small grommet at the bottom of the panel. With the bolt firmly in place, I turn and tilt the panel until the bolt has no shadow - this then means that the bolt, and therefore the panel, is aimed directly at the sun. Charging in the car works, but with similar concerns. It's much more difficult to properly orient the panel, and driving around results in inconsistent light hitting the panel, resulting in longer charge times.
The panel came with an assortment of charging plugs, however none fit the HTC Wallaby, so I needed to make my own. It did have the 2mm charger for most Nokia devices (my N810 included) and the power connector on the panel itself is a USB socket, allowing most USB charging cords to be used.
The panel worked beautifully for me, and even with 3 different devices I was able to keep all three charged for the entire week I was camping. I was using the N810 for roughly 5 hours a day, the HTC Wallaby for about 3 hours at night watching movies, and the Sansa e260 was running 8+ hours a day.
I highly recommend this solar panel if you have any mobile devices you might need to keep charged while camping or hiking. It's small, light and provides enough power to charge many handheld devices. For this price, I have found it more than worth the money.