|Hurricane Sandy cell phone charging jam|
|Solio Bolt Solar Charger and included USB cord|
So after our first full battery charge, we have charged my wife's Google-style HTC smart phone, once, while it was turned on, leaving 2 flashes of light or about 40% charge remaining (20% per flash). If that is true, it took 60% of the battery to fully charge her phone one time. Since she has to recharge daily to use all her smart phone functions, it may be difficult to keep up with her needs during an extended power outage, much less keep my phone charged also. We tried charging her phone on the remaining battery the next day and got a 75% charge. Enough to work, but not 100%.
I'll test it with my work phone next, a Blackberry Curve. Fortunately for us, both phones work with the included micro-USB cable that came with the solar charger (my Kindle Touch works also).
My work-provided Blackberry phone charged, and while still powered on, charged and charged until the Bolt was discharged after 6 hours. About 4 hours in, I looked at the Blackberry charge meter and it was full but the unit was still charging. Bad for sharing. Then I recharged the Bolt battery and tried again, this time with my work phone turned off. The phone completely charged in one hour, but it did not turn off the charger. For all future phone charges my suggestion is the phone must be turned off. This left a 60% charge in the Bolt battery.
My Kindle Touch drained the Bolt's entire battery and got about an 85% charge. I had turned the wireless off. Long enough to finish a story or check email since the Kindle charge can last a month or more.
From the website:
Max Wattage: 5 Watts
Discharge Rate: Fixed 5V, 1,000mAh
Charge Rate: 5-5.5V 450mAh
Charge Time via USB port/wall charger: 4 hours 30 min.
Charge Time via Sun: 8-10 hours
3.7V/2,000mAh Li-Poly - User replaceable at end of life (average 3 years)
|Solar charging the Bolt on top of my garden composter. Note there is no shadow from the pencil.|
|Note pencil shadow after 3 hours charging...even though the sun's alignment had changed, the unit was still charging!|
|My Blackberry USB Outlet Charger|
The north-bound through-hiker cure for the AT would be to carry a multiple-outlet USB wall charger, and to recharge the solar charger battery (or any USB devices) while shopping and washing in a town at an electrical outlet every 5-6 days. Then you would have two power recharges (one for your phone every other day) and if you kept your phone off between towns you may get many days between charges. There's also your GPS, camera, e-reader or tablet to be charged, along with headlamps, video cameras, water purifiers, i-Pods and who knows what so plan well and test in advance how you will charge everything before a long backpacking trip. My Blackberry USB wall charger weighs 0.8 ounces or 22 grams, so it is quite lightweight. You could also solar charge on clear sky zero days, but then we don't usually plan for (or get) many of those days when ultralight backpacking.