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on June 27, 2012
I took this thing camping, with the intention of trying it out before deploying back to Afghanistan. This little guy is a beast. With the included battery we able to play music on the iphone all weekend long without any issues. We could even throw a second iphone on there to charge when people needed it. I expected more of a trickle charge, while this thing will charge an iphone 74% in 1 hour. It won't charge like a wall outlet, but I never expected it too. I am very impressed with this item, and have already ordered a second one for my Fiance.
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on April 28, 2012
I had been looking around on Amazon for portable solar panels for charging my devices. Many of them on here only supply 5 watts which is not nearly enough to charge an iPad. While looking for a 10 watt charger, the Mercury 10 fold out panel popped up in my search and was on Prime (fast delivery). While I haven't put this portable solar charging system through the full motions with all of my devices, I have tested it against the device I wanted it to charge, the iPad 3. I put the panel out at 11:15AM and plugged my iPad 3 in. The iPad did it's familiar little chime to let you know it's charging and it works fabulously. This is one of a very few portable solar chargers I've found on Amazon capable of generating 10 watts of power. 10 watts is required if you are looking to charge the iPad.

The package comes shipped with the fold out charging panel, a micro USB to standard A USB (flat type) connector cable and includes an Instapark® MP1800U2 5,200 mAh External Battery Pack & Charger with Dual USB ports. The included cable is very short (8 inches or so). So, you'll want to get something longer to carry around with you. For charging the iPad, you will also need to get an iPad USB charging cable to carry with you as it does not come with one. I personally like the Retract Ipod USB 2.0 Sync cable in black. The Mercury 10 solar panel has a two USB ports nestled inside of a small pouch (can charge 2 devices at once, although haven't tried this) on the back side of one panel which is big enough to hold the battery and a few cables to help recharge your devices. The ReTrak cables are the perfect size for carrying around in this pouch.

Note that there are loops all around the panel so you can hang it up on a wall, from a nail or a tree branch to get the best sun placement.

There is only one downside to this panel, if you can call it a downside. The glues they used to put it all together makes it stink badly. However, if you're outdoors using it, you probably won't even smell it. It will also probably air out in time. Indoors, you will notice the smell if it's sitting near you. That said, it seems reasonably well constructed and definitely works to charge devices.

While I have also charged the 5,200 mAH battery from grid power, I haven't fully tested the battery out, but it claims to recharge the iPad 25% in 1 hour and phones up to 75% in 1 hour. I am still holding out full judgement of this device until such a time that I can test it out fully. The fact that the panel will charge the iPad leaves me nearly certain that it will charge nearly all of my devices properly. Note that the panel only has USB connectors. So, if you want to charge non-USB type devices, you will have to find a way to convert USB to that other format. Also, I don't know how fast it charges a device so I'll still have to test this. If you're looking for a solar panel to charge the iPad, though, this one will definitely do it.

Note that because the panel does what I needed it to do, I'm rating it 5 stars. However, I may change the review later after I've put the device through more usage scenarios and I am better able to determine charging speed and abilities under various conditions. I will say this, though, the panel will not charge 10 watt devices using ambient light from indoor lighting. The panel definitely needs sunlight. For times without sunlight, this is where you would use the included battery's stored energy, so be sure to charge it up.
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on July 2, 2012
I purchased this setup prior to going camping and seeing phish for the weekend. As with all camping your cell phone never lasts, especially the iphone. This comes in a very nice package which is about the size of a a notebook. It folds out into the 3 panels, but also has a pocket that holds the connections to the USB connections.

I was able to put this out in the sun, and hide the phones under some shade. I went from a dead iphone to 80% in 6 hours. I will say that the first 50% charged way faster and it slowed down after it was at 50%. I was also charging a Friends blackberry with the other port.

Once everything was charged, I put it in the car with the windows cracked and put the batter in for a charge. When I got back at night and my phone was near death, I was able to pull the battery and charge the iphone from the aux batter that was charging while I was away.

This was really simple to setup. I highly recommend.
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on August 17, 2012
The solar panel:
================

Power:
-----
Regardless of weather and cloud conditions, it always gives 5.18~5.19 V, unless you cover one of the panels while fully exposing the others. Then drops to 3~4 V. Under normal conditions with the three panels getting the same amount/exposure of light it always stays at 5.19V.

The following applies to a single usb port, since I could not get a Y cable which I could use without cutting it. I arranged a USB charging cable from my Tekkeon MP1580 TEKCHARGE Mobile Power Pack and Battery Charger which has replaceable mini and micro USB tips, using the hollow tip with a jumper cable to connect the positive to my multimeter clamp test leads. I took lectures at different times, most of the I directed the panels toward the sun, and sometimes I left the panels horizontal on the ground.
There is no observable difference in behavior between USB ports. But I only tested one or the other at any given time.

The amperage you can get varies a lot. From the interior of an apartment room, just from day light from the surrounding panorama it gives 50~70mah.

On a sunny day winter day with few sparse clouds, when properly oriented produced from 1090 mah to 1138 mah, if horizontal on the ground 700 to 750 mah.

Properly oriented late on the day a couple of hours before dusk produced from 800 to 1000mah, with some thin clouds lowering to 400~500mah. Horizontal like 200~400mah.

With heavy clouds an hour before dusk late on the day produced at best 100mah, at worst 60mah.

So it can produce at worst 0.26 watts late on the day or with heavy clouds

With few or thin clouds produces from 1 to 5 watts depending on orientation, time of the day.

At best gives 5.9 Watts, which is quite impressive.

If it truly can provide 10W is something I can't currently measure. But is definitively likely.

On the device charging side, both the include Lithium-Ion battery and my Tekkeon battery pack on six to ten hours, depending on clouds, orientation, etc. So it not easy to quantify. Specially since there is no way to know it fully charged without strict checking every minute. So take this numbers with a grain of salt, since weather can vary wildly from day to day.

Aesthetics, Workmanship and general features:
--------------------------------------------

Is very light, slim and easy to carry.

The solar panels are pretty much sewed/glued to the synthetic material/cloth/bag, my panels had a few light scratches on the surface when closely examined. The assembly process seems to be somewhat rough, more "home crafted" than industrially assembled. But the product is solid and sturdy.

Comes with a side pocket where the two usb ports are located, which provides a nice place to put whatever you want to charge.

The cover fabric is from a rough somewhat porous material. I'm afraid that it might attract dust and be difficult to clean, but I can't know for sure yet. I definitely would not leave it on rain.

It has some cloth rings which come from the main body of the cover, they seem to support the weight pretty well, so you can strap the panel to a wall, roof or a backpack. How strong they are under continuous use is difficult to estimate, on a backpack they definitely would wear quicker than tied over a tree. But I think they should last a while.

-------------------------------

Bottom line: It provides good power, workmanship and aesthetics are somewhat rough but not ugly or shoddy. Is a practical and straight to the point device. Is not a fashion shiny leather/plastic/duracoat eyecandy with lot of bells and whistles.

Other thoughts: The short male usb to male microUSB cable is short and meant to connect a battery pack or device inside the back pocket of the product, there is an included adapter female microUSB to male miniUSB, this adapter is somewhat flimsy, it locks fine, but could break under stress.

The included 5200 mah battery pack:
===================================

Can charge my Galaxy S3 twice in 2 hours. Unlike the panel, the aesthetics and workmanship seem of industrial grade. Its has a glossy plastic cover, with rubber on the sides and base, so has a lot of traction and does not slide.

But Its features are somewhat rough/unconventional. With 10% of charge you have a orange led, from 11% to 100% you have a blue led to indicate capacity. This is while giving power to other devices, it inverts when being charged from the wall or the solar panel, 0 to 80% orange and >80% blue. When fully charged the blue led flashes.

What I can not understand is why comes with both a weak led light and a powerful high pitch siren which are activated by sliding a button. Why not a better gauging system for battery charge instead?

From what I researched on the net this model has two 18650 Li-Ion cells, from its looks it does not seem easy to disassemble and replace the internal cells. I'll leave that as an experiment for when this battery pack dies or has little charge retention in one or two years depending on the 18650 cells quality.

===============================

Overall is great combo of battery pack + solar panel. The individual products have a few light minuses in aesthetics, material or features but deliver very well on their intended purposes.

If you want something that works well pick this products.
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on August 8, 2012
I ordered this product about a month ago from Amazon. It arrived a couple of days earlier than the estimated delivery date (as usual). I tested it at home to make sure every thing was working and then took it on an extended camping trip. I was very pleased with how well the system worked. Typically, I would use the charger to charge the battery during the day and then use the battery to recharge my Droid Razr that I had been using to track my hikes during the day (plug for Backpacker Pro - a great app). Two days before the end of the trip, the battery quit taking a charge. This was rather disappointing, but on the sunny, clear days we were having in the mountains of Wyoming, the solar charger generated enough juice to completely recharge the phone within about 2 hours. When I got back home, I e-mailed Instapark on Saturday about the problem that I was having with the battery, and by Wednesday afternoon I had a replacement. No fuss, no questions asked. I don't know how customer service could be any better than that. The charger works flawlessly. Great customer service, and so far, the replacement battery is holding up. I am very pleased with this purchase.
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on November 18, 2012
This thing works exactly the way that the product description says it does. There are 3 solar panels and in sunlight they generate 10 watts of power which are delivered to a set of USB connectors in a pouch on the side of it. There are lots of nice loops for hanging it from hooks and clever ways that it can stand angled in the sun so it gets full frontal sunlight.

I bought this as emergency equipment after the massive power outages in New York and New Jersey. I figured that if I experienced a power outage, keeping my wireless devices charged would be a high priority. And it does that. I didn't time how long it took to charge my iPad, but it was about the same speed as using the iPad's own wall charger.

My brother is a backpacker, and he evaluated it as a piece of backpacking equipment. It's too heavy and too bulky for him. The solar charger unit itself is 9 inches x 6.5 inches x 0.5 inches except that it has a lump near one end (containing its electronics) that makes the unit be 1.25 inches thick at that point. It weighs 17.25 ounces.

The separable battery weighs 5 ounces. The device works fine without the battery and the battery works fine without the device. The purpose of the battery is to store sunlight while there is some, so that you can later charge your phone in the dark. The battery is the same thickness as the electronics lump, so that if you tuck it in to the pouch on the side of the device, its overall thickness is 1.25 inches. That combination, which is how it will be stored while it is waiting to be used, is an irregular shape that is too thick in places. There should have been a way to design the shape of the electronics lump and the battery so that it could fold up into a thinner shape that was more regular.
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on September 18, 2012
If you do the research, this product is the only one that has the 2.1 Amp output for the iPad 3. Look on your iPad 3 charger (you may need a magnifying glass), and you will see that its output is 2.1 amps. There's a reason for this. Perhaps you'll be able to charge earlier iPads with this--I do not know, because mine is an iPad 3. Some companies are touting their products as iPad 3 compatible, but I don't think you want to take the time required to charge the iPad 3 at 1 amp, although it can be done. When you are in a situation requiring solar charging, you usually do not have that kind of time. This review is for the Mercury 10 Solar Panel Portable Solar Charger with Battery, not for the "Mercury 10M" which is slightly cheaper and resembles this product but does not deliver the 2.1 amps that are optimal for the iPad 3.
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on October 21, 2015
i used this panel and the novabeam batteries for a month in dolpo, nepal in temperatures that varied from 15 to 80 degrees farenheit, in rain, snow and sun. it reliably charged two novabeam batteries in three hours or less in full sun, was sturdy enough to get tossed in a dufflel between camps, and was light enough to carry in a backpack when needed. it was way more reliable - and charged faster - than the goalzero panels (which i spent a lot of time troubleshooting) and battery packs that other people were carrying.

one tip: don't use the panel to charge an iphone or other device directly. chargnig a battery pack and using it to charge your devices will give you better results, more quiclky, almost every time. also, dusting the panel off before you use it can make a difference, though honestly, this panel pretty much worked without a lot of special care.

i left my panel with one of the sherpas that was with us on the trip and ordered a replacement as soon as i got home.
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on May 23, 2013
I bought one and tried it out. This solar panel with the battery is great for emergencies and the outdoorsman. The solar panal will even charge in ambient light.
The battery is the best I have ever used. I have bought two more. It works so well
I showed it to the Emergency response crew at the plant I worked at, and they are
ordering some for the crew since they get called to go to some remote places. The panel
and battery will charge any usb phone,gps or anything that is usb powered. I HIGHLY
recommend these products to anyone. You never know when you are going to be without
power. These products will solve your charging problems.
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on June 2, 2012
Took it out on the patio , un-flapped the solar panels , plugged my iphone cable straight into the usb port on the unit and wham - charge ! I also plugged in my iPad2 straight into the usb port and got the charging lightning bolt ! Comes with a battery pack that can be charged as well but is not in any way needed , you can just plug your device straight into the usb port on the back of the panels....
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