Eco-Living Magazine

Solar Power for Your iPhone Or Cell Phone

Posted on the 15 July 2011 by Steveliu @charitablegift

solar iphone chargerI was shopping at the new REI in Carle Place, New York the other day and stumbled across this.

I love my iPhone, but one of the annoyances is how quickly the battery runs out. When I first got my phone, I thought that surely the battery must be defective. I’d leave the house with a full charge, and it’d be nearly empty by the time I got home. But after looking online, I realized this was par for the course. I’ve heard from Android owners similar things. Phones these days just suck up power thirstily, given all the processing power they use.

There have also been times I’ve gone on long bike rides and hikes and my phone would meet the same demise. I have a charger in my car, in my house, and at my office. But sometimes you just can’t be around a charger.

This is where the GOAL ZERO Guide 10 Adventure Kit with 4 Goal Zero AA Batteries really comes in handy. I’m always looking for great solar chargers, but to date I’ve been disappointed. I tried the Solio charger, but the design was so confusing I could never figure out how to use it. Other flimsy solar panels would break immediately or hold only a few seconds of charge.

The Goalo is a rigid set of two big solar panels, which conveniently folds up flat to the size of a hardcover book.  To use it, you unfold it and expose it to direct sunlight. You can either charge your phone directly or charge a pack of 4 AA or AAA rechargeable batteries (the battery pack itself can be used to charge your phone as well). It works for any device that can be charged with a USB plug or a 12V cigarette lighter plug.

Note that you do need direct sunlight; I tried charging under a lamp but to no avail. With direct sun you can charge an iPod in two hours, a GPS in two hours, an iPhone or another cell phone in four hours, and so on. The iPhone can be finicky, so if you can’t charge it directly from the solar cell, you can always charge the AA batteries first, and then charge the iPhone from that.

All in all, solar technology is still evolving, but this device can literally be a life-saver if you’re stuck  somewhere with no power and your phone is completely drained.

GOAL ZERO has a pretty amazing history. The company was first founded to provide light in schools and orphanages around Africa. To this day, you’ll also be helping Tifle Humanitarian by buying their products. For more information, visit www.tifle.org.


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