Using a portable charger to charge your phone or other devices is common when on a road trip or camping for long periods of time. However, portable chargers die just like all other electronics, so solar-powered portable chargers are a great choice if you won’t have access to other charging ports.
You use a solar-powered portable charger, or a portable charger with a solar panel, the same way as you would a regular portable charger. You charge your electronic device with a USB cable. When your solar-powered portable charger dies, you can recharge it with solar energy from solar panels.
In this article, I will lay out some basic guidelines on how to use a solar-powered portable charger. I will also provide some tips on properly maintaining your portable charger and discuss how long it takes to charge a solar-powered portable charger with the sun.
How To Use a Solar-Powered Portable Charger
Before I tell you how to use a solar-powered portable charger, I should probably tell you what a solar-powered portable charger is. In its most basic terms, a solar-powered portable charger is a portable charger with solar panels built-in to be used to charge the charger itself.
Each solar-powered portable charger is different, so the exact steps for using them differ slightly from charger to charger. Here are the three general steps you should follow when getting a solar-powered portable charger.
Read the User Manual
I know most people don’t generally read the user manuals that come with electronic devices, but solar-powered portable chargers have complex circuitry. Therefore, it is best to read the user manual that comes with your portable charger before doing anything.
For example, there may be certain things you need to look at before you first charge your solar-powered portable charger with solar energy. If you don’t read the user manual, you are more likely to make a mistake and break your new portable charger.
Charge the Solar-Powered Portable Charger
In general, you should be able to begin charging your devices immediately after taking your solar-powered portable charger out of the box. However, it’s rare for you to receive a device that is fully (rather than partially) charged.
Because of this, it’s best to charge your solar-powered portable charger before using it to charge your phone or another device.
You can charge your solar-powered portable charger in two ways: with solar power and from the wall.
To charge your solar-powered portable charger with the sun, you first will need to find the solar panels on your charger. The user manual will tell you exactly where these are and how to find them.
Once you find the solar panels, you must make sure the sun’s rays hit the panels so you can charge the portable charger. Again, your user manual will give more specific steps and answer questions like whether your solar-powered portable charger will properly charge from indirect sunlight or if you can hang it on a backpack or tent while charging.
I would suggest not charging your devices with the portable charger when charging the charger itself.
Charging your solar-powered portable charger is pretty simple when using a wall charger. Just as you would charge a regular portable charger, all you need to do is connect a USB cord to the portable charger and plug it into a wall outlet.
I would not suggest trying to charge your solar-powered portable charger any other way, though, such as with your laptop. These portable chargers are not designed to be charged in any way other than with solar panels or plugged into a wall outlet.
Charge Your Device
The last general step in using a solar-powered portable charger is to charge your device. All you need to do is connect your device to the portable charger with a USB cable. Again, check your user manual because you may need to press a button or flip a switch to “turn on” the charger.
Depending on the quality of your solar-powered portable charger, it may take longer than you are used to from other portable chargers to charge your device fully.
Tips for Maintaining Your Solar-Powered Portable Charger
I’ve provided some general steps you need to follow to use your solar-powered portable charger. Now let’s talk a little about things you can do to better maintain and prolong the life of your solar-powered portable charger.
Here are four tips to take into account:
- Don’t overcharge it. Overcharging your solar-powered portable charger can actually lower the overall lifespan of your portable charger.
- Make sure it is at least 50% charged before using it. You can damage your charger if you start charging your device when the solar-powered portable charger is charged less than 50%.
- Use shorter USB cables. The electricity travels shorter distances with shorter USB cables, so your solar-powered portable charger won’t have to work overtime to charge your device.
- Keep it in cooler temperatures. Heat can shorten the overall lifetime of your solar-powered portable charger. Ideally, store your charger in temperatures between 77°F and 86°F (25°C and 30°C).
How Long It Takes To Charge a Solar-Powered Portable Charger With the Sun
How long it takes to charge a solar-powered portable charger with only sunlight fully depends on the number of solar panels in the portable charger. The more solar panels, the faster it will take to charge the portable charger.
When using the sun to charge your portable charger, you want to keep it in direct sunlight the best you can. This means that you don’t want anything between the sun’s rays and your solar-powered portable charger’s solar panels.
Usually, your solar-powered portable charger will charge when not in direct sunlight. Still, it will take significantly longer to fully charge than in direct sunlight.
Note that whether in direct or indirect sunlight, charging your solar-powered portable charger with solar power will take longer to fully charge than you are used to.
Everyone uses portable chargers sometimes, and a solar-powered portable charger is great when you plan to be camping or somewhere without electricity for a significant period of time. A solar-powered portable charger is a portable charger with built-in solar panels.
Using a solar-powered portable charger doesn’t differ much from using a regular portable charger, but make sure you read the user manual for anything specific that might be important when you want to charge your portable charger with the sun alone.
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