Daily Prep

© GoalZero© GoalZero

Best Solar Chargers to Have for Emergencies

Small portable solar charges for small devices
Monday, November 19, 2012, 2:26 PM

A review of some of the innovative small solar chargers to have available for emergency situations.


Endorsed Financial Adviser Endorsed Financial Adviser

Looking for a financial adviser who sees the world through a similar lens as we do? Free consultation available.

Learn More »
Read Our New Book "Prosper!"Read Our New Book

Prosper! is a "how to" guide for living well no matter what the future brings.

Learn More »


Related content

1 Comment

gmeader3's picture
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 13 2009
Posts: 13
Inexpensive, practical solar chargers (not in this article...)

The chargers in this article are high-end, expensive, fancy - some are ultra-lightweight systems designed for backpacking. The smaller versions are often too low powered - with recharge times longer than one day's worth of sun - not too practical. They are very expensive compared to a budget charger you can put together that will work just as well at home.

Solar chargers are pretty simple. Here are some practical suggestions that will provide a reasonable recharge time and enough power to run devices for many hours.

You need three items:

  1. Solar panel - price varies depending on power requirements of what you are charging, see below
  2. Charge controller - about $35 on ebay
  3. 12V battery - varies, see below
  4. optional: automobile plug USB charger - attach to battery to charge USB devices - about $10

for charging cellphones:

  • 10 watt solar panel - about $30 on ebay
  • 5 Ah 12V sealed deep cycle battery = 5000 mAh will run a cellphone for many days - about $30 on ebay

for charging laptops:

  • 40 watt solar panel - under $100 on ebay
  • 25 Ah 12V sealed deep cycle battery = 300 watt hours will run a laptop for 6 hours or so - seen for $70 on ebay

Larger solar panels charge the battery faster. This can be important. Get the largest panel you can afford/transport/fit in your space. 100 watt panels with charge controller have been seen on ebay for $200. These would make a very robust laptop charging system that will work even on days with variable sunlight and quickly (a few hours) bring the battery back up to full charge in full sunlight.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to post comments