Solar cell phone charger

1 Apr

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I was in Harbor Freight today shopping for some items on sale and this charger caught my eye. According to the directions you place this unit in the sun and it charges an internal battery. Then you can plug up many different devices for a recharge using the included adapters. Sounds like something really good to have around for an extended emergency situation or to use on a camping trip or some other out in the Boonies adventure. Well, after I returned home and read the reviews on the website I wish I had bought a better unit from Amazon, but I am going to give this one a try anyway. The weatherman is predicting cloudy weather for several days so it may be a while before I can try it out. Some of the reviews said you could plug this unit into a 6 volt wall charger (with the proper end) so I am going to look through my sack of old chargers (if I can ever put my hands on it) and see if I can find something that will work. After looking on Amazon I saw several units that might be better, they even had one of those wind-up crank chargers. I looked on the Radio Shack site and they have a couple of solar chargers that might be good. Have any of you used a solar cellphone charger that was good and if so, where did you get it? This unit from Harbor Freight cost $24 and the other units I saw on-line ran from $75 to $100 so the one I bought probably is just a piece of junk. But what else can you expect considering the source? Some things from HF are useful enough and some things are really just POCs. That’s why I like to go to the store and put my hands on the item before purchasing,  that way I at least have a little idea of the quality of the item before I buy it. I still like to buy Made In The USA when I can, but sometimes the deals are just too good to pass up. Be prepared!

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4 Responses to “Solar cell phone charger”

  1. pioneer Preppy April 1, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

    I went through four solar outdoor motion lights and they never worked at all until I bought one from Harbor Freight. That one works great although the battery is beginning to have a short life now. Never buy anything that says Westinghouse on it in my opinion. As for solar I went a slightly larger route and purchased the little 80 watt kit from Menards and then made a battery bank from marine batteries. I charge everything from this bank and have for going on two years now without one problem. All batteries in the house are now rechargeable and all recharged on the solar panel bank along with power tools and the like. I can even run the blower on my wood furnace for 10 hours off one battery from the bank.

    Of course it isn’t very portable but I have had much better luck with this set up than any other small solar chargers that seem to break in a few weeks.

    Total cost to date though is hitting almost $600.00 when you include the kit, four batteries and cables I had to make along with an extra converter.

    • doublebhomestead April 1, 2013 at 10:53 pm #

      I have done a lot of reading and people keep writing articles about having a solar recharge setup for a long term, grid down situation. That is all fine and dandy until the batteries go bad, what then? Even with the best batteries, after a couple of years of constant recharging they will go bad and in the grid down situation, there will be no running to the store to replace them. Am I missing something? A solar system would certainly be good for a short time situation, and for a couple of years in the grid down situation.

      • pioneer Preppy April 2, 2013 at 1:41 am #

        Well your right really. Eventually it will deteriorate to uselessness. But I figure with six deep cycle batteries and the four panels I have I can get diminishing returns that are at least useful for years. If it is a deep collapse scenario I am sure more panels could be found. I also let alot of juice go wasted right now where as if SHTF I would be recharging more batteries, even regular car batteries for as long as possible.

        Of course if the charge controller goes out (I have one spare) or something it could all come to naught but I am betting I will have something that works for at least a decade maybe even longer before the last cell and battery goes totally bad. It may end up me just charging a battery by guess work and one panel before it’s all said and done though.

  2. doublebhomestead April 2, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    Let’s just hope the grid down situation doesn’t occur or most of us won’t survive!

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