4 Portable Solar Panels/Battery Chargers That Could Save Your Next Photography Adventure or Assignment
Depending on the product you buy, using a portable solar panel to provide energy for your camera is relatively simple. You need to know the type of battery in your camera, and then purchase a compatible battery charger cradle. Typically, the charger that comes with your camera only works with AC power, which comes from a common wall outlet. To charge the battery with solar power, a DC power input is needed. Then, it’s just a matter of following the specific connection steps for the solar panel/charger unit you purchase.
Battery charge times are calculated according to the voltage and capacity of your camera’s battery. The length of time is also dependent on the wattage of the solar device. For example, an 8.9 Watt-hour battery will charge in approximately 5.5 hours, with a 4-Watt solar device. Increase the wattage of the device, and less time is required.
1. Voltaic Systems offers a selection of compact solar chargers, high-powered chargers, small solar panels and solar backpacks, which could prove to be very versatile, dual-purpose camera bags. Voltaic’s OffGrid Solar Backpack has two 2-Watt solar panels that are exposed to the sun throughout the length of your hike. The pocket on which the panels sit can be detached and continue to charge wherever you might use it.
The backpack is more than a way to carry solar panels with you. It’s built for the rough-and-tumble of hiking and camping, with approximately 1,500 cubic inches of interior space. Not only are there sections and pockets for cameras, lenses and other equipment, but also a laptop pocket that will accommodate many 17” notebooks. The Voltaic OffGrid Solar Backpack retails for $229.
2. Another option is the Nova Solar Camera Bag from Eclipse. This is a conventional-looking camera bag with a lightweight, flexible solar charging module. It also requires the correct 12V-charging unit for your specific digital camera. The Nova features a number of handy exterior pockets as well as room inside for a DSLR and as many as 3 lenses. You can also customize the interior space with various dividers and foam pieces to conform to your equipment’s profiles. The Nova Solar Camera Bag has been reduced in price from $149.95 to $99.95.
3. The FreeLoader Pro Solar Charger is an interesting, high-tech device with its two wing-like solar panels. The FreeLoader is equipped with a Li-ion rechargeable battery, which is charged from the solar panels or USB. This solar charger comes as a kit with the CamCaddy. This is a cleverly designed adapter that is compatible with just about all camera batteries, from compacts, pro-quality DSLRs and camcorders. The built-in battery requires approximately 7 to 9 hours of strong sunlight to achieve full power. It will then provide a 100% full charge for a digital camera battery. The FreeLoader Pro Solar Charger is also on sale (as of the writing of this PhotographyTalk.com article) at $59.99, a savings of 25% from its retail price of $79.99.
4. Many world travelers rely on the Powermonkey eXplorer portable solar charger kit from Powertraveller. One commented, “The Powermonkey-eXplorer…is perfect for keeping my iPhone and Canon Exilim fully charged. It comes with a solar panel that worked really well in Morocco. It's rugged; and mine has been through the works and still powers along well.” This device is a good traveling companion because it’s built for rugged use and resists moisture. The kit includes the Solarmonkey portable solar charger, which can be plugged into your camera, so it’s powered directly from the sun. The Powermonkey eXplorer retails for $99.95.
Your feedback is important to thousands of PhotographyTalk.com fans and us. If this article is helpful, then please click the Like and Re-Tweet buttons at the top left of this article.Photo from www.voltaicsystems.com Copyright © Voltaic Systems Inc. All Rights Reserved