Home Green Gadgets Guide What’s Next: Foldable Solar Chargers for handheld gadgets

What’s Next: Foldable Solar Chargers for handheld gadgets

Foldable solar chargers

As we know it

Foldable solar chargers were initially manufactured for military use owing to their sturdiness and durability. In fact they prove to be very useful in any kind of emergency where regular power supply is not available. However, they are now increasingly being used for charging electronic gadgets like iphones, iPods, etc. A number of companies manufacture a wide range of light-weight and compact solar chargers with different power outputs. The foldable or flexible solar chargers are gaining in popularity primarily because they provide us with a ‘clean’ and sustainable option for recharging our favorite gadgets on-the-go. They can be the best companions for enthusiastic travelers and photographers. Being so compact, they can be squeezed in anywhere without the fear of causing them any damage as they are quite sturdy too. They are capable of charging AA batteries in couple of hours depending on the available sunlight.

Need for change

Some of these flexible chargers are designed so that they can perform well even in low light conditions. Others claim to charge for more hours in a day than their competing models available in the market. Some of the lightest flexible solar chargers weigh just a little more than 7 ounces, giving a maximum output of 6 watts. Earlier chargers used crystalline solar cells which were more prone to damage and thus less rugged. However, now most of these chargers use flexible solar modules which can be squeezed in anywhere with ease.

As more and more people are showing interest in these versatile solar chargers, many more companies are venturing into manufacturing better and smarter versions. There is a need for chargers which can be used to charge all kinds of devices like netbooks, video cameras, DVD players etc. As the demand increases, the market is sure to be flooded with more capable versions. Some of these new-gen chargers are as below:

What’s Next?

1. Sungen foldable solar-power gadget charger

Sungen foldable solar-powered gadget charger

What’s new?

Sungen has unveiled a sleek and compact solar charger. It has a new compact design and provision for built-in batteries. The charger comprises of three embedded solar panels which can slide over to form a compact unit. The batteries can be fully charged in about 18 to 25 hours.

What difference will it make?

It is designed in such a way that it can be easily carried in the pocket and can be used to charge gadgets like mobile phones, mp3 players, etc. Being much more compact than its predecessors, it will increase the popularity of solar chargers.

Problems

The major shortcoming of this charger is that it cannot be used to charge devices like laptops, dvd players,etc.

2. Kiwi Choice solar powered charger

Kiwi Choice solar-powered charger

What’s new?

This charger comprises of three sliding solar panels which can harness the solar energy and charge the on-board battery. In addition, the company provides an array of pins within the box, which can be used to charge multiple devices using the appropriate pin. It can be conveniently hooked under the car seat or the dashboard with the help of a small magnet attached to the charger. In fact it can also be connected to the cigarette lighter socket in the car.

What difference will it make?

Being reasonably priced, it’s an ideal travel companion. Since it can be attached to the car seat/dashboard, it can be used with greater ease.

Problems

However, the power output of the Kiwi Choice charger is sufficient only to charge cell phones and mp3 players (iPod and others). To bridge this deficit of low power output, some companies are busy introducing chargers which can be used for recharge of other devices as well.

3. Muzatch MZH-SP-6000 solar charger

Muzatch  MZH-SP-6000 solar charger

What’s new?

This one is an intelligent, compact and very useful next-generation solar charger. In terms of solar chargers, there has been a need for chargers which could be used for charging laptops or netbooks working at different voltage levels. The Muzatch SP-6000 has been introduced to fill this gap. It has been designed primarily for charging notebook computers using a renewable source. The unique feature of this solar charger is its ability to adapt to different levels of voltage and current, thereby increasing its usability manifold. Despite the increased output, it manages to be compact and portable. Another feature that sets the Muzatch charger apart from its predecessors is that it has an in-built protection mechanism to prevent short-circuit, overcharge, over current etc. It can prove to be an excellent companion for business travelers.

What difference will it make?

With its built-in lithium-ion battery it can be used to charge a wide range of products falling within the voltage range of 5V to 22V. It will help position solar chargers as a versatile device. More and more people will use this excellent renewable energy charger for charging most of their devices, thereby reducing our carbon footprint.

Problems

It’s slightly higher price-tag ($149) might lead to a slow response initially, specially for people who want to purchase a solar charger for the first time.