Anything I can do to preserve the environment makes me happy and I’m also a huge fan of solar energy so when I found a solar battery charger on ebay I was pretty made up.
I’ve talked about the solar generator in the campervan, my solar phone/iPod chargers and the solar torch I always carry but there are a few things I pack on trips which need batteries to operate. The solar battery charger is a boon as I can leave it on the roof of the van all day and fill the cells on AA and AAA batteries as needed.
It is a neat piece of kit too with a decent sized solar panel on top and a fold out housing for the batteries underneath. It can hold ten batteries at a time and it is recommended that only one type is charged at a time all with equal ‘milli-amp hours’ (mah).
A row of test buttons and colour changing LEDs give a rough estimate of charge with red meaning little charge, amber moderate and green high.
I paid around 23 euros for it including postage and it came supplied with 4xAA and 4xAAA 1600mah batteries. I generally use the AAAs in my camping lantern and they last for several hours of use. I can then charge them during the next day and utilise their solar charged excellence again at night.
The solar battery charger doesn’t weigh much but when added to a pack will certainly contribute to aching shoulders eventually. It isn’t something I would normally take on a camping trip with me and I generally only use it around the campervan although on a prolonged trip with the tent I’d strap it to the top of my pack and march on.
I’m always looking for ways to subsidise power generation and although the solar generator in the campervan does a fantastic job, I don’t like to overburden it as I like to be sure I have power there for an emergency.
For the price the solar battery charger is good value and it can also be plugged into the mains via an AC socket on its side.
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