Guide to Solar Charges

Author: Steve Hegarty  

We realise that we have a large range of solar chargers so if you can send us an email with the answers to the following questions we can assess your information and come back with just one or two options. Or just simply give us a call on 1300 883335.  

Information we need in order to help you find out which solar charger would suit your needs best.

  • What devices do you want to charge?
  • What are the model numbers of your devices?
  • Can your device be charged via a 12V car charger or a USB port?
  • What is the size of the batteries that you want to charge i.e. 1500 mAh?
  • How often do you want to charge each of the batteries?
  • On a scale of 1 – 10, 1 being the least important, is it important for the solar charger  to be lightweight?
  • Will you need to attach the solar charger to a backpack?
  • Would you like a direct feed from the sun or would you prefer to draw power from the solar charger’s internal battery when the sun goes down?

This section aims to cover a few things to consider when buying portable solar chargers or panels.  It also has a bit of background information on calculating your portable solar power needs.

Which type of Solar Charger should you choose? 

For solar charging small items such as mobile phones, iPad, Camera Battery, GoPro, GPS

  • We would suggest solar chargers with an internal battery These solar chargers have the capacity to store solar power for use when the sun has disappeared.
  • One other consideration is the size of the battery on these devices, the mAh indicates how much solar power the charger battery can store.

Smartphones :

  • Products such as the Voltaic 4 Watt, Voltaic 6 Watt, Powermonkey Adventurer, Solar Technology products, Goal Zero Adventure Travel Kit and Solio, can give a good charge to phones after a day of good sun.

DSLR Camera and Tablets :

  • The Voltaic V44 with either a 6, 9 or 12 Watt panel and the Powermonkey Extreme are best for charging an iPad, tablets and larger DSLR camera batteries

Laptop Charging :

  • You would need to look at a larger solar solution such as the Voltaic V72 chargers and kits or Goal Zero Sherpa and Yeti chargers and panels.
  • You should check to see that your computer is compatible with the charger, most are, and that it also has the correct charging adapter tip.
  • Just to note that these small solar chargers do NOT have enough solar power for laptops or notebooks.

Any other small devices :

  • Smaller solar chargers such as the Solar Technology Pico, the Power Plus Colibri and Power Plus Zebra can give a top up charge to a phone or gps and the Power Plus Sephia is a 9000mAh power bank with a useful solar input that can also help to charge itself up.

If your main reason for using a solar charger is for travelling partially to remote places it's best to give yourself plenty of time to become familiar with your solar charger and understand it's workings and limitations, and importantly to sort out any compatibly issues with charging devices. 

What are amps, watts, volts and ohms?

The­ three most basic units in electricity are voltage, current and resistance. Voltage is measured in volts, current is measured in amps and resistance is measured in ohms.

What happens if you increase the pressure in the tank? You probably can guess that this makes more water come out of the hose.

The same is true of an electrical system: Increasing the voltage (more pressure in a water tank) will make more current flow.
Electrical power is measured in watts. In an electrical system power is equal to the voltage multiplied by the current or simply

Watts = Volts x Amps