This is the fourth article in this series regarding the harvesting of the sun’s energy. In other words…solar panels collecting the sun’s rays. When this series of articles is complete you will have a solid understanding if this unit meets your needs and is worth your time and money. And of course you will have my overall “buy” recommendation as well when all is done. Yes, not till then. I will have a chart in the last article that provides a comparison of each unit against each of the other units. It is eye-opening to be sure. And it shows what is the best value for your hard-earned money.
If you haven’t already read the Introduction post to this series I would suggest you do so now.
To make sure we are on the same page let me quickly review two things…
Mission Statement –
“Provide a highly portable way to harvest solar power.”
Requirements & Restrictions –
- Must be reliable.
- Must be portable.
- Must be efficient.
- Shouldn’t be cost prohibitive.
- Should be as compatible with as many power storage options as possible.
The Aukey PB-P4 –
This was the first unit to arrive, other than the SolPad & Goalzero that I’ve had for a while now. After I took it out of the box It had the kind of “feel” to it that just let me know that I was holding a great piece of survival equipment in my hands. Yes, it sounds strange but I’m not kidding. If felt every bit as good as the overpriced Goalzero unit.
So the first thing I wanted to do was test this puppy in a real life situation. I was testing another concept at the time and I thought I would marry up the two and see how it worked. As I was setting the test up I really liked that the unit had these nifty little legs on it.
The legs made it easy to set-up and also gave some shelter from the sun to whatever I was charging. So, it was a 2-for-1 special. I had just completed testing the Goalzero unit and I had to use this big rock to prop the Goalzero panel up, not so for the Aukey unit…score one for Aukey!
Next test was obviously going to be…seeing if the unit could actually produce the claimed voltage. And, the Aukey was producing 5.19vDC as claimed…nice. Notice I didn’t use my standard multi-meter for this test. I was using a slick little device that I came across a while back…the DROK USB 2.0 Digital Multi-meter. It is a really cool piece of equipment. It reads both the volts and the amps being produced through the USB port. And, it is a dual port USB hub as well. For about $10 it is small, easy-to-use, accurate, and multipurpose. < click here to read more about it >
And yes, the panel was pumping out the voltage as claimed. But, it was 5.19vDC vs. 5vDC as stated in the tech-specs. Not to worry, all of these chargers and electronic devices have room in their claimed voltage spec. Most smart devices will actually adjust the voltage once connected. So don’t worry at all about the 5.19vDC vs. 5vDC.
One of the attributes I liked about this three panel unit is positioning. If I was going to leave it out for the day I would position the unit to maximize each panel position based on the sun’s position throughout the day. Maybe better for me to explain it this way; I would put one of the outside panels directly facing the sun in the morning (i.e. facing east). Then the middle panel would be positioned to face the south for the mid-day sun. And finally the other outside panel would be facing the southwest for the afternoon sun. That way I would have at least one panel directly facing the sun all day as the sun moved across the sky. And, one panel would be facing the right general position each day while all of the panels would be positioned to gather at least some sun all day.
That being said, there is also the truly great little aspect to this unit…portability. Many people will use this solar harvester while on the move…great! It’s designed for that.
This is a great little unit to use, sturdy, well-built, the panels are quality from everything I can tell. It charges different devices very quickly due to the 21watt capacity (3 times the Goalzero or Solpad units). Yes, this 21w capability is relative since it will still take a while to charge anything…this is not some large homestead style 100w solar panel. This unit is designed for portability and more specific mission operations in the field.
Technical Specs –
Amps: 4a (2a x 2 ports)
USB Port: 2
Other Port(s): no
Maximum Efficiency: 23.5%
Panel Weather/Water Resistance: water & weather resistant
Amazon Rating: 4.7 out of 5
Cost per Watt: $2.57
Extra Accessories Provided: 4 Carabiners
Product info from manufacturer –
- Dual USB ports – Up to 2A output each or 4A max output under direct sunlight – Automatically detect & adapt to your USB powered devices to provide the fastest charging speed
- Water & Weather Resistant – PET laminated solar panels with high-wear PVC fabric
- Foldable design for easy transport – great for camping, hiking, picnics, and other outdoor activities
- From the moment it is placed under sunlight, the Sunpower solar panels convert more photons into energy than other similar products,which makes AUKEY 21W Solar Charger only need 3 panels while others may need 4 or 5 panels. Up to 23.5% of solar energy gets transfer into electric current to charge your devices.
- Charging two devices simultaneously with dual USB port,the AUKEY 21W Solar Charger has maximum current output of 2A per USB port or total of 4A. Your devices will be back to full battery in no time.
I like this unit and it works really well. The higher wattage rating gets charging done quickly and the unit is obviously designed and built for use in the field. Don’t expect any “extras”, this unit is sold simply for harvesting the sun, you will have to supply the storage device. But that is a good thing…you can buy what you need, not what they package for you. And I go into the “right” storage device shortly. Having the second lowest “price per watt” makes it very economical. At a modestly priced $53.99, it is affordable.
To return to the Introduction page < click here >
Associated articles –
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