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on 1 June 2013
**BE AWARE** This device has no voltage regulator and can produce over 6 volts in bright sunlight. If you find your device will not charge it may be due to the device protecting itself from possible damage. See edit 1 at the bottom for more detail.

I bought this for two reasons. Firstly to recharge the battery bank I already own (different manufacturer). I live in the north of England so most integrated solar chargers simply aren't going to cut it due to the small size of their solar panels. Larger panels don't just generate more power, hopefully they will make more of the limited sun light available here. Secondly I wanted to be able to directly charge my devices as this is more efficient. When using the battery bank I'm only getting about 40% transfer efficiency. In other words the 5600mAh unit only charges my 1460mAh phone battery about one and a half times, equivalent to around 2200mAh. It's obviously therefore a lot better to directly charge your devices as it takes two and a half times as long to do so via an intermediate battery.

I have 5 devices which I tested on the 31st of May 2013, the hottest day of the year so far (17 degrees C!) with generally clear skies. Here are my findings:

Nook Simple Touch eReader. This works really well and will charge even with hazy sunlight. It charges at about mains charger speed.

Sony Xperia Miro. My main phone. This proved temperamental and would only start to charge with strong direct sunlight. It still managed to charge from 68% to 95% in around an hour so it will be viable if you are planning a trip to more sunny climbs. I was unable to get it to charge after about 5pm even though the sun was strong enough to make the panel quite warm to the touch. See edit 1 below for follow up comments.

Nokia N96. This entered charging mode more readily than the Sony. I couldn't really tell how fast it was charging though, as the battery indicator doesn't give a percentage reading.

Apple iPod Nano (5th gen). This wouldn't charge even when there was enough light to charge the Miro. This may not bode well for iPhone users.

Battery Bank. This readily enters charging mode even with fairly modest light. As a test, I fully charged it from the mains before using it to charge my Miro by about 10%. I then used the solar panel to recharge it. This took over an hour but it finally got back to fully charged (all indicator lights on constantly).

Edit 1: I have been experimenting with charging my Miro phone as this is the most important device for me. I eventually discovered that partially covering the panel would cause the Miro to start charging. I checked the output using a meter and found that it was producing 6.06 volts rather than the normal 5 volts you get from a USB port. This must have been tripping the phone's over voltage protection. As an experiment I connected a cheap (under £5) solar charger I had bought on eBay some time ago (which has a dud battery) in series with the panel. The panel connected to the charging port and the output connected to the phone. It has a built in VOLTAGE REGULATOR that stops over loading the phones input. It worked like a charm and will now charge my phone under a wide range of lighting. As these things cost a few pennies, I've knocked a star off my rating because of this omission.

Edit 2: Just a follow up to my original review. I was able to power my Miro phone entirely on solar power for over 4 months last summer, June - October. The second week in October finally forced me to revert to mains charging. A full charge takes 3-4 hours on a sunny day. The longer times were later in the year when the sun being lower in the sky has lower ultraviolet content. I eventually started to use my battery bank in "pass through" mode. This allows it to act as a regulator to the solar panel, prioritizing the phone and only charging itself once the phone is fully charged. Not all battery banks can operate like this, so check before you buy.
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on 2 June 2013
A well presented and effective product for under £20 but slightly misleading as far as the claim goes about charging Iphone handsets directly. So if your are an Iphone user and you want to use this product for direct charge do Not buy it.

I did lots of different tests and my findings are as follows:

It appears to charge all external battery packs such as Mili, Technet, EasyAcc etc.
It appears to charge all portable Huawei Mifi devices.
It appears to charge all android smartphones(tried on two Sony Experia)

It does not charge Iphone handsets(any model)

Unfortunately I did not have the time to confirm charging speeds but it appears to be reasonable. From past experiences using other solar powered products(such as Solio, Freeloader)charging through Sun can be tricky because things such angle of the panel, time of day, geographical location, and time of the year, all these variables can affect charging times.

Another comment is that the product lucks any straps all velcros to secure it on a bag or give it an angle.
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on 5 July 2014
I have found that it is capable of charging a lithium ion battery pack in direct sunlight, and as such could be used strapped to your rucksack or tent using para-chord or carabiners (not supplied).

It does not reliably charge through glass unless in bright direct sunlight. It is of no use on a cloudy day or indoors attempting to charge from internal lighting.

I suspect that the output is not regulated and that the voltage probably varies depending on the light falling on it. A USB connector ought to deliver 5V, but if the panels are not regulated you may be getting double that on a bright day. I have connected my Samsung Galaxy S2 directly to it at 50% charge and found that the phone shut down, which may be a protective response to a higher than expected input. For this reason I would only recommend charging a battery pack rather than something more sensitive that you would regret frying.

For most occasions while travelling I'd recommend buying an external battery pack and charging it up off a wall socket or vehicle lighter socket to provide you with a bit of portable power; but if you are going to be away from sockets for long periods and you will have the necessary sunlight then this is a well priced and usable gadget.
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on 18 August 2014
I've used this on 2 occasions. Once at a weekend festival and a second time during a week camping in the Lake District... both times to charge up an EasyAcc 12000mAh power bank.

When plugging the solar charger to the power bank, the power bank does detect a charge.

However, upon returning to the tent, after a full day of glorious sun, and the solar panel meticulously pointed towards the sun (or at least where it would be at midday to capture the best rays), the power bank barely registered a charge at all. Upon plugging my phone into the power bank, it only registered a charge for about 10 seconds before reporting that it was empty.

So, around 7 hours of charge from the sun, resulted in 10 seconds of charge from the power bank... basically it's absolutely worthless! I know it's a cheap item, but I expected it to at least give me 50% phone charge from all day out in bright sunshine!

Do not buy this product... spend a bit more and get something that actually works (and then tell me about it so I can buy one without wasting money on experiments like this)
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on 9 July 2014
Taken to Glastonbury and hooked up to an Easy Acc U-Bright 9000mAh battery: Such a relief not to worry about charging my phone while at a festival - simply left the panel hooked up to the battery while getting up and eating breakfast in the morning, as well as the occasional charge when out and about (I did a little felting in the Crafts field on a blisteringly sunny day). Kept the battery topped up to full all week (I was there as a performer so I needed charge for 6 days) and allowed me to charge my phone just as I would at home: overnight.

Surprising how much power the panel puts out on a sunny day. It was even trickling a tiny bit in pretty cloudy light, though not enough to add more than 1-2% on my Xperia Z1 per hour. On a sunny day, it could handle about 20-30% charge per hour on the Z1's 3000mAh battery, approx.

DON'T expect this to fully charge your phone or battery on a couple of hours in the sun: it's best for trickle charging and topping up, which it does admirably. As long as you take care with your phone use and don't hammer it to 0, a combination of this and a decent external battery will keep you going,.... and going,... and going.
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on 28 August 2014
Awful item. I bought this panel to provide charge to an Android phone, I expected this to be a long, slow process but the panel simply didn’t work. The panel was placed in direct sunlight, at midday, in summer, for over 3 hours and never once sent any charge to the phone. The construction of the item itself seemed quite cheap (not potentially a £70 product, which is the price some vendors have reduced this from). It came with a plastic sheet coating covering the panels, this plastic was covered in marks, scratches and air bubbles, they looked terrible and seemed like they should be removed, however, this covering was stitched into the fabric surrounding the panels so when it was removed it tore around the stitching and left tufts of plastic sticking out around the edges. Although it’s a very simple product there were no instructions included in the box, so had no additional information about power output, instructions on the best way to use the panel, nothing on if it needs time to warm up etc. The box was unbranded, and although the panel itself was marked as ‘EasyAcc’ the box does not carry this branding anywhere, which seems odd.
A poor product that looks cheap, has no instructions and doesn’t do what it’s supposed to.
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on 11 July 2014
Well what can I say it turned up on time its looked like rain all day but it works i put it in the window and it started to charge my power bank if it works with my power bank it will work with any it works on the Nokia Lumina windows 8 phone it runs my usb fan i don't know how Long its takes to charge em all full but on a clouded day it runs a usb fan directly most realistic affordable solar solution to me thanks its 20:47 in the evening its still charging
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on 8 July 2014
Works great in full sun!
I was able to fully charge blackberry bold 9900, and two battery packs.
(beware blackberries need a power only cable (see portapow cables), not a standard data cable, or the engineering screen to force AC charging mode)
The blackberry charged from dead to full in an hour or so, and the engineering screen measured charge current at up to 800ma, and usually >650ma which is ace for solar power in the uk.

In overcast conditions the panel did not put out any voltage - evidence of a built in 5v regulator, and thus wouldn't charge.
But it does charge in sunny/cloudy conditions.
I measured the open circuit (no load) voltage at a steady 5volt in full sun, more evidence of a built in regulator - w/o a reg, it would read 6v+ without load.

It also survived a decent rain shower without any problems (just protect the usb socket and whatever it's charging)

Pair this with a battery or two and you're good for summer festivals and camping!
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on 23 June 2014
Well went sun out great, no sun no good, if you live in Australia or somewhere hot and sunny yoi are okay.
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on 9 July 2014
Very disappointed. The device that was delivered did not live up to the billing. The build construction was poor and the surface of the panels was scuffed. Since there was no branding whatsoever it is very possible that it simply was not the article that was advertised. Failed to charge devices - at all!
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