In these days of ever increasing reliance on technology and gadgets many people have taken the choice to purchase a universal solar charger. With more people purchasing web connected devices, the need for keeping these devices powered is more important than ever.
Solar power works by converting the energy provided by the sun into electricity. Solar panels are made from photo-voltaic cells, these cells were first made by Bell laboratories in the early 1950’s. Briefly, photo-voltaic cells work by using the power of light itself. Light is mainly consisted of photons which create an electric imbalance within the photo-voltaic cells upon striking the surface. This electric imbalance then causing an electric current to flow within a circuit created in the device. This current flow can then be used to either power a device directly or, more commonly in the case of a solar charger, be used to charge a battery which can then be used to provide power to another device.
A good universal solar charger will be able to attach to a variety of devices. They connect either via the use of different tips for the devices or they can alternatively physically attach to the batteries which the device may contain. A good quality charger will also be able to fully charge the device using its internal battery.
Its pretty easy to come to the main advantage of a solar charger, mainly that it does not require external power to charge a device. This is extremely handy if you are going to be spending some time away from mains power. Examples include when camping or exploring the great outdoors or when spending time in a music festival which just about has toilets let alone electric!
Solar power is also extremely environmentally friendly. Most domestic power is either generated via coal/gas powered power plants or through nuclear power. Both of these types of power generation produce harmfull byproducts which can harm the environment. Coal/gas burning power stations produce large quantities of greenhouse gases while the risk from radiation produced by nuclear power can never be totally dismissed.
In contrast, solar power is a form of renewable power. Along with wind and tidal power generation it is a clean form of power which creates no greenhouse gases and no radiation risks.
The next big advantage is cost. Once you purchase a solar charger there is no more cost involved in charging your device, unlike mains power which seems to increase in cost every six months!
The biggest disadvantage of solar chargers is that they need light to work. The efficiency of the photo-voltaic panels has increased greatly over the last decade or so, reaching the point where they do not need direct sunlight to work but will now create a satisfactory current even under overcast conditions. But it is still something you should be aware of depending where in the world you are based.
Charging your device via a solar charger can also be a lot slower than using a mains charger. This is due to the current generated by the solar panels being a lot less than what you would find at home. Universal solar chargers try to overcome this by utilising a lithium-ion battery within it. These types of battery are very good at releasing a higher charge than conventional ni-cad batteries, thus they create a higher current in their charging circuit.
This sums up the main pro’s and con’s of a universal solar charger.