Let’s face it, unless you are Amish, you rely on battery-powered devices every day. From cell phones, to flashlights, to media players, most of us use cordless devices of one sort or another. When the batteries run low, we simply put a new battery in or plug the device into a wall outlet. But what happens if the power goes out for an extended period of time? Read on to see my review of the Sunjack 14W Portable Solar Charger.
The solution is to have a power source you can plug into when needed. A couple of years ago, I was looking for a solution to this problem since power outages happen from time to time. What I found was a very handy set of devices that met my needs and improved my power preparations.
I came across the Sunjack products at a local prepper show in the fall of 2014. At the time, I was looking at various portable solar chargers that I could use for camping and emergency use. There are a bunch of solar chargers out there from various manufacturers, but nothing stood out to me and I wasn’t feeling compelled to buy anything.
Portable Solar Charger
When I saw the Sunjack 14W Portable Solar Charger though, I took a second look. What struck me initially was how well-thought out the product was. The (four) solar panels fold up neatly into a package the size of a small tablet computer. It has hooks for carabiners so it can be attached to a tent or backpack if necessary. The materials were good too, they used rugged nylon fabric combined with solid stitching for the exterior cover. Even the zippers were stouter than I expected. GigaWatt didn’t go cheap on this item.
As the name states, the panels can generate up to 14 watts in direct sunlight. It can still generate electricity when it isn’t a clear, sunny day but be aware that it’s performance will be lower. You can directly charge a device by plugging it into one of the two USB ports (5V, 1.5A DC), but only when the sun is out. One great feature of this solar charger is it can also charge batteries through the same USB ports. Once the battery is charged, it can be used to charge other devices even when it is dark outside. This gives users greater flexibility along with shorter charging times.
Quick Charge Battery
Speaking of the battery, it is impressive in its own right. It’s nominal capacity is 8000 mAh and has two USB outputs. Both can charge at 5V 2.4 A, but one of the ports (the red one) can charge at 9V 1.67 A. It also has a button that will display the level of charge on a series of blue lights. That’s a quick way to see approximately how much energy is left in the battery, which is a helpful feature. According to Sunjack, it takes about five hours to fully charge the battery. One nice thing though, the battery comes fully charged from the factory and can hold it’s charge for a long time. I decided to purchase a second one to have as a spare.
USB AA/AAA Battery Charger
Since I have several NiMH rechargeable batteries in my inventory, I decided to purchase a charger for these. It has a USB connection that plugs into the Quick Charge Battery, which makes it helpful during an extended power outage. The charger can handle both AA and AAA cells at the same time, meaning you can mix and match sizes if necessary. It’s a perfect companion to the other two components and allows me to charge most of the portable items I will need during an emergency.
So what do all the numbers and capacities mean? Let’s first take a look at some popular items that could be recharged by the Sunjack. These are for illustrative purposes only since actual battery capacity can vary due to age and usage.
The first table lists some popular smartphones:
|Samsung Galaxy S6||2550 mAh|
|Nokia Lumia 735||2220 mAh|
|Apple iPhone 6||1810 mAh|
The next table lists selected low self-discharge NiMH AA batteries:
|Low Self-Discharge NiMH AA batteries|
The last table lists selected low self-discharge NiMH AAA batteries:
|Low Self-Discharge NiMH AAA batteries|
To calculate how many items could be charged by the battery, start with it’s fully-charged capacity (8000 mAh). Next, calculate how much power your item will draw. Say for example, my Nokia Lumia 735 is at 10% battery capacity. That would mean it has 1998 mAh of capacity available, which translates into four complete charges from the battery. Your actual performance may vary but this will give you a rough idea of how many items you can charge.
The designers put a lot of thought into the Sunjack, which is evident when you use it. The thing I like is that there is a pouch where the battery can be attached along with a strap to keep it secure. This is great for trips since it keeps everything together and minimizes cable spaghetti. A lot of little things are done right, from labeling the USB ports to the branding of the item. When a company gets the small details right, chances are they also got the big ones right too. Sunjack certainly did with this unit!
Fast charging speeds and high-capacity batteries. Well-constructed of quality materials. Thoughtful design yet durable.
None, this is a great product.
The Sunjack 14W Portable Solar Charger is a high-quality, high-performance unit that offers a great combination of features at a reasonable price. I highly recommend you get one and add it to your equipment inventory.
Overall Rating 9/10
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