COLEMAN MINI SOLAR CHARGER
This compact charger is ideal for small digital devices, we found.
We tested the Coleman mini-charger on a couple of bush trips and found it very useful.
The Coleman 7.5 Watt Folding Solar Charger isn't intended to replace your in-vehicle charging arrangement, but it is a handy adjunct.
There are times when we just don't seem to have enough USB and 12V outlets in the cabin to power up all the digital stuff we take these days - phones, tablets, hand-held CB radios, GPS units and LED torches - so having an auxiliary charger comes in handy.
On recent bush trips we sat the Coleman unit on the dashboard and use it to alternately keep our two iPhones charged while we drove, using the unit's 5-volt USB outlet port. It sat in the sun for most of the time and became quite hot, but it still maintained full charge in both phones.
We also tried to charge our iPads as we drove, but it didn't seem to have enough grunt for that.
As a bush-safety item it should make a useful addition to anyone's hiking or boating kit, because it can be slung on the outside of a backpak, to charge phones or torches while you walk or float. It folds into a compact shape, with Velcro fasteners.
Coleman claims a 7.5 Watt output from the crystalline solar panels and rates the unit as weatherproof. The 12V outlet socket is brass-finished, so it shouldn't rust.
Ours cost under $80, from Harvey Norman.
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