My Solar-Powered iPhone
You might think this would be difficult or expensive, and 10 years ago it probably would have been. But today it’s cheap and easy.
I bought a Nekteck 20W Solar Panel for $49. This thing couldn’t be simpler. It folds pretty small for storage, or to carry in a backpack, etc. To use it, you just unfold it (it’s about one foot by two feet) and plug your USB devices into it -- it has two USB ports for charging.
The solar panel charges my iPhone 6 in about an hour on a sunny day. It also works on cloudy days, which kinda surprised me: it takes much longer, but still charges. It takes about 4-5 hours to fully charge my iPhone when it’s cloudy.
I also got a Jackery Giant battery pack for $25. This device is roughly the size of a smartphone, but 2-3x thicker. And it has USB ports to charge any USB device. It has a capacity of 12,000 mAh, compared to about 1800 mAh in the iPhone 6 itself.
The Giant lets me charge up during the day, then charge my iPhone from it overnight. And since it can charge my iPhone six or more times, it gives me some buffer for cloudy days.
Fully charging the Giant takes about 2 or 3 days, but it doesn’t need to be fully charged in order to use it.
Later, I also got this XTAR battery charger for $29, to charge my AA, AAA, and C/D batteries from the solar panel.
With this setup, I’ve been able to power all of my portable devices with 100% solar power for nearly a year now. That’s a pretty awesome feeling.
It’s nice to know that in the event of a power outage or other emergency, I have an alternative source of electricity.
And it’s also just kinda geeky-cool to be able to charge your devices without plugging them into the wall.