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Freeloader Solar Charger Silver

2.3 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

Currently unavailable.
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  • 120mA premium quality crystalline solar cells
  • 1000mAh environmentally friendly Li-ion battery - typical battery life is 2 years
  • Freeloader's solar panels can charge its internal battery in as little as 5 hours or 3hours when using the supplied USB charging cable
  • Supplied with a computer USB charging cable
  • Impact resistant
  • rust free aluminium body
  • Freeloader holds its battery charge for up to 3-months
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Product information

Technical Details
ColorSilver (metal finish)
Featuresnv: Depth^1.7cm | Height^12.3cm | Internal Battery Type^1000mAh Environmentally Friendly Li-ion Battery | Other Features^120mA Premium Quality Crystalline Solar Cells | Weight^185g | Width^6.2cm
Batteries Included?Yes
Battery DescriptionIntegral - not user replaceable
BrandFree Loader
  
Additional Information
Product Dimensions16.5 x 14.5 x 3.5 cm ; 259 g
Shipping Weight699 g
Delivery Destinations:Visit the Delivery Destinations Help page to see where this item can be delivered.
Find out more about our Delivery Rates and Returns Policy
Batteries:1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)
Item model numberSC8088
ASINB000ODRNDA
Date First Available14 Mar. 2007
  
 

Product description

Product description

Freeloader is an advanced portable charging system that can power any hand held device anywhere, anytime. Freeloader takes power from its solar panels or via a supplied charge cable that plugs into a computer's USB. Once charged, Freeloader's internal battery can power an iPod for 18hours, a mobile phone for 44 hours, PSP for 2.5 hours a PDA for 22 hours and much much more. New, from March 1st 2008, the Freeloader has had its electronics re-configured to make it compatible with the iPhone but NOT newer models 4, 4S & 5. The kit also now comes with an adaptor to power all iPod applications. Supplied in a tough but stylish aluminium body, Freeloader can take the knocks of every day life whether on a business trip in New York, back packing in the Andes or chilling on a Caribbean beach.

Manufacturer's Description

Freeloader is an advanced portable charging system that can power any hand held device anywhere, anytime. Freeloader takes power from its solar panels or via a supplied charge cable that plugs into a computer's USB. Once charged, Freeloader's internal battery can power an iPod for 18hours, a mobile phone for 44 hours, PSP for 2.5 hours a PDA for 22 hours and much much more.


Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

I Have updated this review and kept in the original comments as it might be useful. I have since gone from 1 star to 4 stars.
I purchased this to power up my ipod video on holiday. As the instructed by the manual I charged the freeloader frst by USB until the led indicated it was fully charged. Then on holiday when my ipod was low on juice I plugged it into the freeloader. The freeloader didn't charge my ipod at all. When the freeloader was connected my ipod battery symbol said that my ipod was fully charged and not re-charging in the normal way. After being connected to my ipod for hours it hadnt given any charge to my ipod at all. I tried using the ipod with the freeloader connected and it kept malfunctioning. Every time I disconnected the freeloader the ipod would work as normal. Eventually my ipod completely ran out of juice. The freeloader did not charge it and my ipod wouldnt work if it was connected to the freeloader. A no-win situation. Beware of this product, you will not get any real reviews on websites, only manufacturer blurb.
Since first writing this review I have contacted the Manufacturers. They were very helpful and said that this problem is bacause of a change in how ipods are now charged. The advised that I use the specific adaptor for my model of ipod, available on their website, and that this would fix the problem. When I receive the adaptor I will update this review accordingly.

I have now received the adaptor. on a very sunny day I charged up the freeloader in the garden which took about 5 hours. Using the new adaptor I successfully full charged my ipod using the freeloader.
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I've had one of these for some time, and found it very effective at charging mobile phone, PDA, ipod, and... shaver!

But the manual stinks. Only by doing a bit of research on the net did I find out 2 crucial bits of info

1- when charging from solar, the light(s) never goes green. It's designed that way - something to do using less power. If you have a manual that tells you that the light goes green when solar charging - it's an old, incorrect version.

2 - as new, there is a transparent film on the solar panels to protect them. You need to peel them off- they seriously reduce the charging.
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I just tested my freeloader solar panels with a multi-meter. It's not a particularly sunny day but in full sunlight, and pointing at an optimum angle to the sun, one panel was generating 59.5mA at 6.38V so with two panels that would be 0.759VA (6.38*0.0595*2, and that's 0.759W using a power factor of 1.

59.5 + 59.5 = 119mA (The panels are rated to total at 120mA, so this is very close, and this is May, not even proper summer yet), so with an internal battery of 1000mA it would take 8.37 hours of full sunlight to fully charge the battery, though that is ideal conditions with full sunlight all day, and the panels tracking the sun! The manual says 5 to 10 hours in sunny conditions.

The sun just went in and I now get 14.1mA at 6.05V, which shows how much difference direct sunlight makes. 1000mA / (14.1mA*2) = 35.46 hours to full charge under cloud. So, don't expect a full charge off the freeloader every couple of days if its cloudy! What are your expectations? All the reviews saying it won't charge are useless unless you provide the relevant information. e.g. have you removed the thin plastic film from the panels? Did you do the first couple of charges via USB to condition the battery? Were the panels behind glass? How many days were you charging them for? Was it sunny? Were the panels south facing? How many hours per day were they in sunlight for?

The separate battery pack/torch is not well designed in my opinion. The AAA converter is rubbish as has been said. It's fiddly and the metal clip in the AAA piece keeps popping out. the battery cover is flimsy and doesn't fit easily. However for charging AAs it ok. The plastic cover for the usb connector is a waste of time, and you don't need it anyway.

Note that I am not comparing Freeloader to other chargers.
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It is quite shocking that this product is continuing to be marketed and sold when it it is obviously defective. I have not found any reviews where anyone has managed to get this thing to get any useful charge from the sun- any positive reviews which I have found look like they have just charged with USB, then put it under the sun, seen the red lights and assumed it was working. Except it works nothing like what it is claimed to. Under strong sunlight at midday at the height of summer the panels give out a puny charge of 16mA even though they claim it should be able to get upto 120mA. It would therefore take about 60 hours in strong sun to fully charge the battery not 6! To add to that even when charging by USB the battery only seems to give 80% of the charge that is claimed and even worse it appears to give the wrong voltage when charging devices as the screen of my PDA became corrupted and the wireless stopped working after using the Freeloader to charge it up (which was only fixed by multiple resets and may have caused permanent damage). This product was clearly designed with image as the main consideration with very little time or testing given to the inner workings.

Going by the principle that they can't really get much worse than the Freeloader I suggest the following alternatives:
the Ultimateaddons Portable Solar Chargers from GPSForLESS have more than double the battery and solar charging capacity and also allow you to select the exact voltage for your device. If you need water resistance you could try the Solio or the PowerMonkey eXplorer which both have more capacity and are about £50. For more serious waterproofing you could try one of the solar backpacks from GPSForLESS (ranging from £35-£55).
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