How well do solar smartphone chargers work?

jackson

I am planning for my annual spring motorcycle trips (wheeeee!), which means I will be doing a lot of camping in the mountains and not have access for an electrical outlet for much of the 14 day trip. Are solar chargers sufficient to keep an Android phone charged on their own? I won't have cell service for much of the trip, but I would like to have GPS available when and if I need it.

Topic: Offbeat
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jimlynch
Vote Up (23)

This article might be useful to you.

Are mobile solar chargers worth it?
http://www.cnet.com/8301-17918_1-20066952-85.html

"I think most people would agree that a solar charging back cover for their mobile phone is a good idea. Not only will it bathe you in rays of eco-friendliness and goodwill toward humanity, but a sun-powered backing could also top off an ebbing battery.

That is, of course, if the charger lives up to the hype. The worthiness of a solar boost boils down to how much the charger costs, how quickly it transmits a charge, and how well it soaks in the rays."

becker
Vote Up (20)

I would just wire up a power outlet and mount it on your bike. You can wire it directly to your battery (use in-line fuse) and mount it pretty much anywhere. Then you won't have to worry about it. At all. The only downside of wiring it directly is that it will still be hot when you turn off the bike so that if you leave stuff plugged in overnight you could conceivably run down your bike battery, and if you are wearing a lot of heated gear and extra lighting you may exceed your bike's charging system capacity. This is really the only good option if you plan on using GPS very much though.

I've tried to use solar chargers on motorcycle trips myself, and one problem is putting the panel somewhere that remains in direct sunlight. If you use your tank bag, your body will block the sun much of the time. Plus, if you are riding in mountains, as you mentioned, the trees will block the sun often as well. If you were riding across the plains or the southwest, a solar charger might work ok.

You might want to look at something like a Verbatim AA Power Pack charger that runs on AA batteries. You can stick a dozen AA batteries in your gear without taking up too much space, and you will not have to depend on direct sunlight. Plus they are cheap, less than $20 (plus all those batteries).

Have fun and ride safe. I wish I were going on a 2 week ride!

jimlynch
Vote Up (17)

This article might be useful to you.

Are mobile solar chargers worth it?
http://www.cnet.com/8301-17918_1-20066952-85.html

"I think most people would agree that a solar charging back cover for their mobile phone is a good idea. Not only will it bathe you in rays of eco-friendliness and goodwill toward humanity, but a sun-powered backing could also top off an ebbing battery.

That is, of course, if the charger lives up to the hype. The worthiness of a solar boost boils down to how much the charger costs, how quickly it transmits a charge, and how well it soaks in the rays."

Dumbpenis Junkyardnut
Vote Up (12)

  If your smartphone has GPS feature ,this is great and it consumes a lot of electricity. What you will need is either a huge rechargable battery that hold thousands of millamper-hour or a decent sized solar charger at 5 volt that can flow a minimum of 5 watts.. Typical smartphones carry own 1500 milliamp-hour rechargable battery at 3.7 volt . If you want to use your GPS app in your smartphone, it will last minutes before running out of juice.  Any charger has to be a bit higher in voltage in order to charge a lower voltage like 3.7 volt. So it is important ot watch volts, amps, and watts.  Most smartphones do not require more than 5 watts even if you use GPS straight time.  I would favor a solar charger over a rechargable backup battery because of weight.  Each has its own advantages.There is so many different products out there that you need to do adequate research and comparing prices which vary widely despite same product. Just dont linger in the shadows long enough to run out of juice so that is why I favor a solar panel charger. There is certain solar chargers that is too small to charge fast enough in live time because of its small sized panel. For a 5 watt solar panel that can deliver 5 volts, you will expect something like a foot square panel or less similar to the ones used for solar attic fans , for instance.  I never tried it but I just know where to look for the right solar charger that can keep the GPS in your smartphone going full time.   Stay out of shades as much as you can.

Dumbpenis Junkyardnut
Vote Up (11)

In other words,  you can try search for " GPS solar charger"  If there is none, Chances are that that word will get around in the web until an interested manufacturer get wind of it and make one specific for that GPS purpose  that demand live time charging that can keep your battery up all the times.

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