Here is our primer for the technically non-inclined to get you started with eco-friendly, sustainable solar energy on the go.
The power requirements of modern apps and programs on our phones and tablets increase regularly and new intense media such as video and music live streaming require more battery power. Often enough the batteries in phones, tablets and other gadgets do not keep up and more frequent charging is required. Portable solar chargers provide an environmentally friendly option to charge your everyday electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, cameras or headphones.
Why should you use a solar charger?
Solar energy provides an eco-friendly source of electric power for your device in an effort to forego the use of fossile fuels; the choice of solar power is a simple and effective option for everyone interested in sustainable living.
Solar power is a convenient source of power in situations where an electric outlet is not within reach. Solar chargers are best suited in outdoor situations such as travel, camping, sailing or just sitting in a cafe or walking about town. Some models function well behind window glass, i.e. on a plane, on a bus or just on a windowsill. The solar charged ipad planner case makes your charged in a situation, even when the clouds are grey and puffy.
Solar power is free, abundant and available to everyone, even on cloudy or cold days.
What device do you plan to solar charge regularly?
Most portable solar chargers are excellent companions for smartphones, tablets, cameras, and headphones. They do not provide enough power to charge a laptop or car battery. Laptops operate at a higher current and require a different set up.
How does a solar charger work for your Ipad Planner Case?
A solar charger consists of a solar panel, a built-in tech unit to convert the sun into electric power, an on-board battery or solar power bank and an outlet for plugging in your device.
Point the ipad planner case towards the sun and leave it to charge. Photosensitive cells start charging as soon as sunlight hits the surface, with no need to switch on. Ideally, the solar panel is tilted at an angle to optimize sun exposure.
Some models allow you to connect your device to the panel so you can charge your device while collecting sun power. Others transport sun power into a built-in battery or connected power bank. It is preferable to charge your battery first and then transfer the power to your device.
"Point the solar panel to the sun to maximize sun exposure."
How long does it take to charge a smartphone or an Ipad planner case?
It depends on the intricate technical combination of sun panel, controller and battery. These figures are just approximate and may vary according to your model’s efficacy.First, consider the amount of time need to charge the battery: A high-quality 5 Watt solar panel takes about 5 hours to charge a battery in full sun-exposure, a 10 Watt panel will charge the same battery in 2,5 hours.From here deduce the amount of time it takes to charge your phone or tablet. A smartphone is fully charged in about 3 hours and an ipad charges fully in about 4-5 hours.
Does a large solar panel speed up your phone charging?
Today’s portable solar panels generally feature mono-crystalline solar cells delivering from 5 to 10 Watt that is sufficient to power your everyday devices. Smaller panels offering 2-3 watt do not deliver enough power in a reasonable time and make charging a frustrating experience. The sizes of the solar panel as well as the material of its components determine the amount of time it takes to load your battery.
However, higher wattage will not translate into faster charging of your smartphone or tablet.
Does a large capacity battery speed up your phone or the charge time of your Ipad planner case?
Most solar chargers are equipped with lithium polymer batteries with a capacity range from 4000 mAh to about 14.000 mAh. Choosing a battery at the lower range may not supply enough electricity for your device, whereas a large battery with a 12.000 mAh capacity will rarely be fully charged in conditions of natural sun light. Batteries with large capacities benefit from pre-charge at an electric outlet that can be topped of on the go by solar energy. Most batteries are equipped with a micro USB port for external charging at an electric outlet.
Our research found a 8000mAh power bank or battery the best compromise offering light weight, acceptable sun charging and device charging duration: averaging around 4 hours each.
The current for charging your phone is determined by the voltage it is built for: a bottleneck so to speak. Most smartphones require 1.4 Ampères at 5 Volt and 2,1 Amp for quicker results. Over-charging, i.e. „pushing“ more power into your phone may damage it irreparably.
A fully charged powerbank charges your phone two times, not twice faster. Beware of promises of fantastically fast charging times: They usually do not hold up to the test of time and use.
Where do you intend to use your solar charger?
If you plan to go boating make sure you choose a waterproof model because the electronic unit in most models will not tolerate moisture (or rain).
If your primary goal it to carry an emergency power supply, make sure your solar power is equipped with a solar power bank so you are not left without last minute power if you need it most. Make sure your solar kit offers a built-in charging cable.
If you enjoy the convenience of carrying around your solar panel, choose a lightweight option that is easy to transport by hand or attached to a backpack. The bigger the battery, the heavier your solar kit will be.
Are you interested in a smartphone or tablet case with a solar charger? Make sure you can easily remove your phone or tablet. Exposure to heat for several hours may damage your phone or tablet. You may also need to use your phone or ipad or want to keep it close to you. In addition to serving as an Ipad planner case, the Goldfink Solar Planner offers a convenient ring mechanism that allows easy removal of your ipad before you charge in the sun. Make sure to check out our newest Kickstarter Launch Video.
Can I save money by using personal solar modules?
While you power your device with free solar energy you use less electric power that you usually have to pay for. So there are some monetary savings. However, our personal electronics use very little electricity so it will hardly make a dent in your electric bill. Obviously, the costs of electricity vary according to country and region. Most countries power their power grid with cheap coal or fossile fuels at prices that are difficult to match by renewable energy sources.
Does the use of a solar powered ipad planner case save enough money to make it worthwhile for you? Clearly and openly, you will not save enough money to offset a solar module’s cost of production or purchase.
Here is an example: a single smartphone charge works out to about 20 Wh per day, which is about the amount of a 60 Watt light bulb burning for 20 minutes.
Can you recommend any affordable solar charger?
Generally, you get what you pay for. A charger with poor-quality solar modules with low wattage will cost less than a high-quality model with a wattage and professional manufacturing appropriate for your device.When evaluating a specific model you may want to consider the concept of „cost per use“. Simply divide the purchase price by the times you use it (or your estimate of future use). More accurate when done retrospectively, this method is good mental training before any buying decision.
For example, some models of solar panels are designed as attachments to a backpack and marketed to hikers and travellers. How much time do you actually spend hiking and travelling? How much use will you get out of a solar panel on a backpack? How often would you use the LED light often built into the solar pack? If you are planning a trip and need to gear up for this occasion, then this may just be what you look for. And if, on your trip, your solar charger helps you out in an emergency situation to call for help just once, then it has definitely been a good investment for you no matter what purchase price you paid.
If, however, your everyday life is urban, your „travel“ is a commute to work or university, you may prefer a model that suits your lifestyle. How often do you plan to use your solar charger? Can you realistically integrate it into your daily routine? My personal test of usability may sound odd but it is quite effective (and it works for other products too): Imagine a sunny day sitting outside in a trendy cafe (somewhere in Brooklyn, Berlin or whatever beautiful place you are at) Imagine unrolling a 4-panel solar device to charge your phone. How do you feel? If you feel intuitively that it is odd and you feel circumspect, you would probably not use it in this or similar public situations. If, however, you feel totally cool or relaxed, you may have the correct model.
The more you use it, the cheaper it becomes as its cost per use decreases. In addition your digital footprint decreases as well. A model that is compact, lightweight, multi-purpose is more likely to become a daily companion. The design of the Goldfink Solar Planner demonstrates the simplicity and functionality a solar powered Ipad planner case needs: it feels perfectly at home placed on a windowsill in your office, on a table in your favorite cafe, on a train, in a lecture hall. We combined digital elements such as a tablet case, charging-cord, and usb port with a traditionally analog paper planner to guarantee that you find it easy to use and indispensable in your daily life. In addition you get an Ipad Planner Case combined with a solar power bank. And as a result, it appears affordable as its cost per use decreases.
Why use a solar charger when it is not cheap after all?
Most vegetarians do not forego eating meat because cabbage tastes superior to Schnitzel. Vegetarians care about the conditions livestock is raised in and the consequences of mass animal husbandry on our environment. You can make a difference by changing your personal habits.
The same applies to our energy consumption: Coal and fossile fuels produce nine times the amount of CO2 compared to solar energy. Integration of solar energy in your daily life reduces your carbon footprint and triggers unexpected changes. You begin to monitor how much energy you consume, maybe how often you use your digital devices. You may become interested in a more sustainable lifestyle and eco-friendly choices in other areas: avoiding waste, conserving resources, learning about mindful habits or empowering you to create your own purpose. These may seem to be small, individual steps. But once you take them, you become part of a community taking many small steps in the right direction.