Charge Your Mobile Device On The Go
Solar powered mobile phone chargers offer the opportunity to top up your battery life whilst you’re out and about. Learn how these handy devices work.
Travellers are so dependent on their mobile phones to capture and share all of the highlights of their trip. As most mobile devices come with inbuilt cameras, we are able to snap away and then share the photos with our friends and family either by sending text images, using WhatsApp or uploading to social media channels.
However, there will always come that dreaded moment when a mobile phone alert pops up and you realise that your battery is drained. It’s the middle of the day and you’re nowhere near your hotel room to charge it back up again, so what do you do? The answer is to use a solar powered mobile phone charger that is portable and can easily slip into your bag.
How Do Solar Powered Mobile Phone Chargers Work?
Essentially there are two main ways in which these solar powered portable devices work. Some use a solar panel to charge up an internal or removable type of battery, which in turn charges up your phone or tablet. This means that you are able to charge your devices late at night, for instance on a coach trip home, so long as there has been enough light during the day in which to charge your battery.
The other method of charging cuts out the middleman and uses a solar panel to charge your mobile phone directly. This process is entirely dependent on the amount of light available and if a passing cloud interrupts the flow of charge, then the device may need to be reset before proceeding.
What Connectors Will I Need?
Many solar powered chargers with internal batteries come with a variety of connectors for phones and tablets. However, as new models of phones are constantly being upgraded, there can be compatibility issues, so always check the connection type before you purchase your charger. Other charger types use the more standardised mini USB port which gets around this problem.
In this scenario you will simply need a USB to mini USB or USB to your phone connection in order to use your solar powered charger. Where possible, always monitor the charging process and disconnect as soon as your mobile battery is full. This is important as some chargers don’t have a block on them so it is possible for the charged mobile battery to start leaking back life into the empty charger battery.
Popular Solar Powered Chargers
There are dozens of solar powered chargers on the market and they span quite a price range. When choosing your portable mobile phone charger, try and bear in mind how much weight you are willing to lug around on your travels. Here are some of the best on the market.
- Innoo Tech Solar Charger 5000mAH – this solar powered charger is waterproof, dust proof and shock-resistant. Its compact design is roughly the same size as an iPhone 6. Priced from £15.99
- Suaoki 20W Solar Panel Charger – the intelligent chip inside this panel charger automatically detects the fastest possible charge currency for your specific mobile device. The dual USB port feature also allows you to charge two mobiles at the same time. Priced from £39.99
- Levin Traveller 7W Foldable Solar Panel Portable Charger – this panel styled charger is foldable and comes with eye-holes which makes it easy to attach onto your backpack for a day trip. It is fully weather resistant and provides up to 5V/2A total output from one USB-charging port. Priced from £21.99
We should point out that many of these chargers are made and rebranded – for example, the Innoo Tech can also be found on Amazon under the Levin and dizauL brands, and similar devices are available from Nestling. Always search for alternatives and read supplier reviews as well as product reviews. There are also many retail outlets other than Amazon selling solar chargers – although Amazon possibly has the widest range for solar chargers.
Whichever portable charger you select, it’s extremely important that you consider your safety and protect your equipment – having a solar charger strapped to your rucksack may be a great way to charge your phone while travelling, but it also sends a signal to everybody around you that you are carrying some tech in your bag.
More people are travelling with gadgets these days – Avanti reported that even people going on cruises, which is normally associated with a much older crowd, are increasingly using tablets and smartphones on board. This is a trend that is set to continue, but the old-age problem of battery life will continue. Fortunately, both battery and solar power technology are improving all the time, so soon we should all be able to keep our smart mobile devices fully charged, no matter how far from a plug socket we drift. In 2015, This Week predicted that “Solar power will be ‘as cheap as coal'” soon. We will look more into this soon.