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1/17/2018 6:04 pm  #1

Portable Solar Chargers

Im looking at purchasing a solar charger this year for my camera equipment and was wondering what some of you recommend based on experience. Ive done some comparisons and read several reviews and Im considering either the Anker 21 watt dual USB, or the BigBlue 28 watt dual USB.  Both are folding, similar size (BigBlue slightly larger), and cost about the same. 

Anker 21 Watt - https://www.amazon.ca/Anker-PowerPort-Dual-Port-Charger-iPhone/dp/B012YUJJM8/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1516229625&sr=8-5&keywords=solar+chargers

BigBlue 28 Watt - https://www.amazon.ca/BigBlue-Portable-Waterproof-Sunpower-Rechargeable/dp/B075FR89CX/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1516229625&sr=8-9&keywords=solar+chargers


1/17/2018 6:07 pm  #2

Re: Portable Solar Chargers

Or the NekTeck.21 Watt - https://www.amazon.ca/Nekteck-Charger-2-Port-efficiency-Device/dp/B06ZYKKW3R/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516230313&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=Nekteck+LET98+solar+chargers

I just noticed the above unit and it appears to be very similar to the other two as well.

     Thread Starter

1/18/2018 10:01 am  #3

Re: Portable Solar Chargers

How long are your trips? 

I'm considering battery packs like this one: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B012S6IHQC/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I13JVVT07F24MB&colid=2GKIAEYA6DKCC&psc=0 

I figure on trips under 2 weeks the battery pack is going to be more flexible and reliable. 


1/18/2018 10:17 am  #4

Re: Portable Solar Chargers

I'm in the same boat as RobW. I looked at solar chargers but then I thought about my average trip length and how much of that time I could actually spend with the solar charger laying out in the sun, and decided to go with a power pack instead. From a weight perspective it takes a lot of batteries to equal the weight of a solar charger as well, so depending on what you're looking to recharge, the "more batteries" approach is also valid. I carry 20+ camera batteries with me, for example. 


1/18/2018 3:27 pm  #5

Re: Portable Solar Chargers

I'm actually wondering about something like this, which is a power pack with a solar panel on one side. Now I highly doubt a single solar panel that size could actually accomplish much, but it would extend the capacity of the power pack a little bit over a trip - maybe?


Edit: nevermind. I did a bit of digging and it seems these combined units are mostly unreliable and untrustworthy. Carry on!

Last edited by Uppa (1/18/2018 3:32 pm)


1/18/2018 3:44 pm  #6

Re: Portable Solar Chargers

Rob, you the man!  In didn't even realize that unit was available. That is head and shoulders above a solar panel for my needs.  Trip is under a week.  I'll be ordering one in the next few minutes.  Thanks again.  And thanks for chiming in as well, Uppa.

     Thread Starter

1/19/2018 8:34 am  #7

Re: Portable Solar Chargers

You've already bought Swift, but for anyone else +1 for Anker Batteries. 


1/19/2018 8:53 am  #8

Re: Portable Solar Chargers

Agree with Basil. Anker batteries are top notch, but generally anything I've bought made by Anker has proven to be well worth it. They have batteries upto 26800mAh now. That kind of capacity could eliminate the need for solar panels.

To add to what Uppa said, I bought one of those solar batteries before I bought the Anker, and although it does what it claims to do - the amount of time it takes to charge with a panel that small pretty much makes it strictly a battery pack - at which point go Anker. I've found the lesser known guys do not actually hold the capacity they claim to. I measured my 20000mAh by Anker and it took just shy of 18000mAh - which is an acceptable discrepancy. (about 10% - others were half or less).


1/19/2018 9:31 am  #9

Re: Portable Solar Chargers

I have heard that Anker has a good reputation and had them bookmarked too: https://www.amazon.ca/Anker-PowerCore-Portable-Double-Speed-Recharging/dp/B01JIWQPMW/ref=dp_ob_title_wld

Catch is that the Anker battery packs seem to run about 2X some of the competitors for the same capacity. I'm not sure if they're worth the extra cost or not. 


1/19/2018 9:32 am  #10

Re: Portable Solar Chargers

Yeah, I own a 10000mAh Anker power pack and actually just ordered a 20000mAh one last night. I suspect I might be burning through phone battery on my spring trip (using it as a GPS) so figured I'd better upgrade!



1/19/2018 9:54 am  #11

Re: Portable Solar Chargers

RobW wrote:

Catch is that the Anker battery packs seem to run about 2X some of the competitors for the same capacity. I'm not sure if they're worth the extra cost or not. 

Rob they are definitely worth it. I'll tell ya why.
I bought a 8000mAh battery pack by a company called PowerAdd. My wife bought the same capacity but a different brand (can't recall).

I have a device that measures input and output of batteries. (this thing). When I measured the two packs, they took 4500mAh - just over half the advertised capacity.

When I measured the 20000mAh Anker battery, it took 18000mAh - so 90% of the advertised capacity.
I did some research and found you'll never get 100% efficiency from these things, so 90% is very good. But the others at 55%, not so good.

So overall, they are definitely worth the few extra bucks. Same goes for their USB cables, portable speakers (SoundCore Sport is awesome) and charging adaptors / ports. 100% worth it. All Anker products come with a 2 year 'no questions asked' warranty - and despite having a wide range of their products, I've never had to make a warranty claim. They really are great!


1/19/2018 9:56 am  #12

Re: Portable Solar Chargers

another vote for anything Anker


1/19/2018 12:12 pm  #13

Re: Portable Solar Chargers

What are you planning on charging? One caveat to be aware of is USB power banks do not have the voltage to charge DSLR batteries.

Last edited by MartinG (1/19/2018 12:13 pm)


1/20/2018 12:58 am  #14

Re: Portable Solar Chargers

I plan on charging a Sony a5000 camera and a SJ4000 action cam. I bought the one below..


...and just ordered that Mini Current Tester that Peek has.

Forgot to mention, the RAVPower is $45.15 to my door. The Anker is around $85 to my door.

Last edited by Swift Fifteen (1/20/2018 1:03 am)

     Thread Starter

1/20/2018 9:23 am  #15

Re: Portable Solar Chargers

Swift Fifteen wrote:

Forgot to mention, the RAVPower is $45.15 to my door. The Anker is around $85 to my door.

There might be a good reason, a lot of the 1* guys complain of the same thing, dead after a few months, some cases a few weeks. That can happen with anything thought, and worst case amazon is really good with returns and exchanges. I would use the voltage tester and if the RAV doesn't deliver at least 80% of the advertised capacity when charging and discharging (you need to measure both input and output for true results) I'd swap it out. You don't need to spend $69 either. The 20100mAh is $45 and since it holds around 90% capacity, it may actually hold more than the RAVPower 26800 - ya never know!

But really, I am going to be curious on how well the RAVPower products are - cause at the end of the day, if they work well and hold the capacity they claim to, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the better deal would be RAV.

Swift, let us know the capacity on the voltage detector. I do recommend swapping out if you only get 55% like I did with my PowerAdd. That's when I discovered Anker.

Let us know man!


1/20/2018 11:34 am  #16

Re: Portable Solar Chargers

I read some of those negative reviews, but im rolling the dice since the return policy is amazing. Also, to compare apples to apples, i bought the 26800, not the 20100.  But i will definitely keep you posted as soon as they both arrive, Peek!

Thanks for the heads up!

     Thread Starter

1/20/2018 12:14 pm  #17

Re: Portable Solar Chargers

I know you got the the 26800, I was relating my experience that I only got 55% if advertised capacity from 3rd parties. So if that were true for you also, it's 14740 out of 26800. The reason I brought up the 20100 by Anker is I get 90% (18000, ever after 2 years of solid use) which is why I said the smaller capacity on paper might actually hold more than the 26800.

Also I forgot to mention - for some silly reason those little voltage meters do not come with instructions, not that they're overly complicated but I found a pdf document that some dude made which explains the system pretty well. If you want me to send it to ya just PM me with your email and I'll attach the PDF on reply.


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