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Creative Edge Solar-5 Charger
Charging your devices off grid
Cell phones have become a crucial part of our daily lives. Many households have removed land lines completely increasing their importance. While we could argue the usefulness of some of the tasks carried out on the device, the fact remains we use cellular phones throughout the day. Perhaps you are just backpacking for a week and need a way to post your latest updates, or preparing for an unforeseen emergency. This means having a way to charge your phone while off the grid. For this reason we have begun testing different options. For the scope of this article we will discuss the Creative Edge Solar Charger. Hopefully we will follow up with other options as time permits.
The Creative Edge Solar-5 Charger is water, shock and dust resistant so we felt it would fit the needs of most readers.
- Li-polymer battery: 5000mAh
- Input: DC 5V/1A
- Output: DC 5V/2x1A
- Product size: 142mm x 75mm x 13.6mm / 5.6″H x 3″ W x .5″D
- Net weight: 150g / 5.3oz.
- Operation Temperature: 0~45°C / 32°F~ 113°F
- Solar Panel:5.5V/1.2W (200mA)
- AC charging time: ~6-7 hours
- Dual USB Output
- Micro USB cable and carabiner included
How does this gadget work?
Solar or photovoltaic cells/panels convert the sun's energy into electricity and the process is called the photoelectric effect.
What is the photoelectic effect?
The photoelectric effect refers to the emission, or ejection, of electrons from the surface of, generally, a metal in response to incident light. physlink.com
In this case solar grade silicon.
What kind of cell / panel does the Creative Edge Solar Charger have?
There are several types of solar cells some examples are (Mono-crystalline, Poly-crystaline and Amorphous) The Creative Edge Solar Chargers cell is a mono-crystalline solar panel. Mono-crystalline solar cells are cut from a chunk of silicon that has been grown from a single crystal. These cells are used in high quality solar panels and are very efficient in converting the sunlight into electricity. Monocrystalline solar panels produce the same power as a polycrystalline solar panel, however the cells of a monocrystaline solar panel tend to have a uniform appearance. pvpower.com
Now lets get into our field testing. To ensure thorough testing, we used the Solar-5 Charger on different environments. We used it daily during several months of work week time, hunting trips, into the woods while practicing bushcraft and backpacking. The Solar-5 comes with a carabiner so it can be attached to a backpack or belt. Most of the testing was done charging and IPhone 5s.
The Creative Edge Solar-5 Charger is lightweight and compact so carrying it in a pocket or laptop bag is uncomplicated. We found that a fully charge would allow two charges on a mostly drained battery. The Solar-5 charges efficiently and quickly. We were told to be concerned with cell phone battery damage. After a few months of testing the battery on our phone does not seem affected. In regards to recharging the Solar-5 using the sun, we tested the device by placing it on the office window and a vehicle dashboard. When possible placing the device outside in full sunlight. During the summer months the device would take anywhere from a full day to two days depending on the cloud cover. In winter the Solar-5 struggled to get a charge even after a week. During those times we heavily relied on USB charging.
Hunting and outdoors
During long hunting trips in a stand, it does not hurt to have a way to relay messages to our family or just kill some time playing a game. During times of weak signal the phones tend to use battery power roaming and doing other background tasks. One option is to go into airplane mode, or turn off unneeded processes and lowering the brightness on the phone. During trips to Arizona deserts, backpacking Yellowstone and just all around time in the woods, phone signal connectivity has improved immensely. It is nice to know you can come out of your trip and have plenty of battery life to call loved ones (yes we know you pretend not to have signal when work calls). During outdoor testing, we dropped the Solar-5 from the top of a hunting stand, dropped it in wet environments but did not submerge the device. We found the solar charger to be unaffected by temperature changes or moisture. Again when the device is charged during the summer months, we could readily keep the phone charged throughout our trips. During our most recent winter trip to to Canada, the Solar-5 was subjected to temperatures as low as -27 degrees Fahrenheit. However due to the lack of sun during the winter months it may be best to look for an alternative way to keep the phone charged. Dynamo chargers are next on our list. One example is the CyberTech Dynamo Charger.
Overall the Creative Edge Solar Charger is a rugged and lightweight option to charge your devices during the summer months and depending on your location, perhaps year around. Please refrain from sending emails bragging about your tropical paradise charging experience unless it comes with an invite.