This is the sixth 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.
This unit was much different than any of the others as I took it out of the box. By now I was getting a little bored with this project. Don’t get me wrong, at first I was all excited about this option for generating (harvesting) power to keep my batteries up and running. You see, all of these units were performing well, they were all doing exactly what they were supposed to do. This unit was no different. One thing I noticed with this unit as I took it out of the box…slightly heavier that the others. I couldn’t identify why exactly but the solar panels themselves appeared to be better quality, or at the very least really good quality.
I also noticed at that time that the back of the panels were really well padded. These panels appear to be able to take a decent impact from the backside and avoid damage. No, I am not going to test it with a hammer or any such thing. Why? Because that is not what would happen in the field under anywhere near normal conditions. But, while I was looking the unit over in regards to the panels something did stick out to me that I am not sure what to make of it. The dual USB port is completely exposed. It’s not tucked away in a pouch, not even a flap to cover/protect it.
Not only isn’t it not protected, the USB port charger/controller isn’t even on the backside of the unit. It is was then the it would receive some protection from the tilted, or leaning, unit itself. As it is the USB port charger/controller is exposed to the sun for one which will cause the plastic to degrade quicker. On top of that, any blowing dirt or sand will have unrestricted access to the internals of the charger/controller unit. I don’t think I am real crazy about that idea.
Speaking of the USB port charger/controller…it has built-in smart technology that senses what amperage that your device needs. It will adjust to that amperage specific for your device. If you have two devices plugged in, one in each port, and one device requires that full 3.9a draw, the other port will shutdown so your higher demand device gets enough amps to charge it. When that device is charged the unit will switch that port off, and transfer the power to the remaining, previously de-powered, port. Kind of nice capability in my opinion.
Technical Specs –
Amps: 3.9amps max (2.1a port & 2.5a port)
USB Port: 2 (2.1a & 2.5a)
Other Port(s): no
Maximum Efficiency: 18.5%
Panel Weather/Water Resistance: waterproof & weather resistant
Amazon Rating: 4.3 out of 5
Cost per Watt: $2.36
Extra Accessories Provided: none
Product info from manufacturer –
- Highly Portable and Ultra-thin – Unfolding size 29.2 x 0.1 x 9.7 inches and folding size 9.27×7.48×0.31inch; 1.6lb light weight.
- High Quality – Dull polish surface for scratch-resistant; Waterproof; Environmental protection.
- Wide Compatibility – Compatible with iphone 6 5S 5 4 4S,Samsung Galaxy, PDA, MP3, MP4, PSP game console, digital cameras, GPS, Blackberry, mobile DVD, Bluetooth headset and any 5V USB device.
Nice unit overall, decent price per watt, sturdily built for sure. At first I thought the attachment loops were a bit lightweight but I am not going to complain, they are 1/4″ nylon strapping so unless you really try and tear them off, I am sure they will be fine under normal field conditions. And there are plenty of the attachment loops so that is nice. There is a pouch for attachments and I like that, but they should have put the USB charger/controller unit in the pouch. And that brings up the one point I am concerned about…that USB charger/controller unit is exposed to the elements. And to me that is not acceptable. I do like one aspect about this panel that really impresses me…it is one of a line of solar panel units. In the Sunkingdom line you have from a 16w unit all the way to an 80w unit. Yup! An 80watt 8-panel portable unit. I like that option to pick a unit based on my power usage/need.
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Associated articles –
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