iPhone 3GS Solar Chargers

Now that I’ve started caching further afield I decided that I would need to keep my iPhone well juiced in order to help as a backup GPSr. The maps and live connection to geocaching.com are a real help! As we decided to go camping I decided a solar charger would be the only real option, however there weren’t any “official” solar charger solutions and I’d read reviews of cheap ones frying your battery! Eek…

My first point of call was the iPhone section on the groundspeak forums where I started a thread.

The suggestions I was given were The Solio Classic (about £50+) and a Pico Lite. Both sounded like good chargers, however due to it being easiest to get hold of and from a very reliable company i went for iwoot’s Solar Charger V2 I was happy to hear others using
solar chargers without a problem.

It was £30 +£4 p&p and was delivered shockingly fast! The unit I received however made the most terrible high pitched squeal when charging anything. I sent it back and very quickly they sent me a new one. This one was silent 🙂

I like the product as it can be charged off of your computer and topped up using the sun. It also includes adapters for pretty much all other devices so you can charge anything! And it also has a very bright light on it. My initial test involved charging it to 100%, running my battery down to 10% and then charging it up. The solar charger charged it just short of 100%. Pretty impressive! 😀

I can’t say I’m all that impressed with the charging speed though. I’d say around 7hours for it to fully charge from a PC. I can’t give an accurate figure for sun charging, but as you can imagine it isn’t all that quick!!!

When at the camp site the charger sits on the dashboard, however I wasn’t all that comfortable leaving it in full view when the car was parked up near a cache location. A thief may mistake it for something far more tempting!

So time for another spot of DIY! I always carry round my geocaching bag so I thought “why not attach it to the bag?” that way it can charge whilst I’m caching! I found an old case i had for my HP iPaq and used a Stanley knife to cut a hole in it the size of the solar panel.

The charger fitted in there nice and snug! I then made a hole in the case and threaded some string through. This allowed me to tie it to the zip on my backpack. Finally i needed something to stop it flipping over, so i superglued some Velcro to the backpack and back of the case and now it sits snug on my back.

It’s cool too because I can hook my iPhone up to it and tuck it in the bag so the solar panel tops up se of the charge I’m draining. The only drawback of this is the cable poking out of the pocket looks like I’m carrying a bomb! Haha! Best not to go through an airport with it on, eh? 😉

So to summarise: A pretty cool charger, however probably cheaply made as my first one was broken! A pretty slow charge off the sun, but it’s a nice feature that you can top it up from your PC first. It does hold quite a lot of juice! I’d probably give it 8 out of 10!


6 Responses to “iPhone 3GS Solar Chargers”

  1. Pickers Says:

    Would a solution which charged the iPhone from the car battery be a better solution? Not dependent on the weather and much faster.

  2. geocass Says:

    Yeh sure would. Forgot to mention i also have a Griffin PowerJolt with removable battery which adds about 23% charge from the replacement bat and allows car charging. The problem with that is that the GPSr eats the battery so much that the trips to the caches aren’t always long enough to get sufficient charge into the phone. Especially if you’re doing large trails like we tend to, hence the need for the solar charger.

  3. jane Says:

    I read your thread on the GC iphone forum. I have a solar charger for my iphone, it’s a different one to yours but charged my iphone fine. I’ve only recharged the solar charger using the usb so far!
    Catching up with your interesting blog, I lived in Chelmsford a long time ago and went to school there. I’m visiting family in West Sussex later this month and am looking forward to doing a couple of rings!
    aka Silver Horde on geocaching.com

  4. geocass Says:

    Ah, good stuff Jane. Chelmsford is such a good caching spot, mind you so is West Sussex. We will be back down there caching again next week as we enjoyed it so much! A big difference between Chelmsford and West Sussex however is that in Chelmsford I seem to get eaten alive by Mozzies every time I cache there. I didn’t get bitten once in West Sussex… Hmmm… 😉

  5. GeoCaching with the iPhone – Preserving battery life « GeoCass UK GeoCaching Says:

    […] 7. Invest in some extra power! I love my Griffin Powerjolt Reserve. It’s an awesome little car charger that works with your existing iPhone cable. It also includes a reserve battery that you charge via the car charger. I’ve found that this gives my phone an extra 25%. Good for those emergency situations. I also have a solar charger which charges from my PC (via USB) as well and gives pretty much a whole battery full of extra juice. I blogged about that here. […]

  6. Top 10 Tips for preparing for a caching trip « GeoCass UK GeoCaching Says:

    […] caching with a smartphone ensure that you have the necessary tools to keep you juiced for the trip. Car chargers, solar chargers, replacement batteries, […]

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