As technology develops, solar battery chargers become more efficient and easier to use.
A new technological development is the creation of thin film solar panels. These are made from special metals, which are highly efficient in converting solar power into electricity.
Thus, it is now possible to create a wide range of truly portable light-weight solar panels.
One leading company in the field of portable chargers is ASC Scientific. This company has developed a product line called the Brunton Solaris.
Brunton Solaris solar battery chargers are foldable, light-weight, and easily transported. When they are folded, they require no more space than a notepad of sheet of letter-sized paper.
Despite the deceptively small size of the Brunton Solaris, it is capable of recharging and powering a wide range of small electrical devices, including laptop computers.
The Brunton Solaris 26, for instance, is capable of recharging the average laptop in 4 to 6 hours. Whereas it will not independently run a laptop, it can be plugged in while you are using your laptop, thus slowing down the drain on your battery and extending your battery working time.
In order to connect a Brunton Solaris 26 solar charger, to power or recharge your laptop, you will need to purchase a 12v (12 volt) cigarette lighter adapter that has been made specifically for your type of laptop. You can usually obtain this at the same place where purchased your laptop, or you can order it from the manufacturer of your laptop. The Brunton Solaris 26 comes supplied with a female cigarette lighter adapter, which then connects to the one attached to your laptop.
The laptop cigarette lighter adapter supplied by the laptop manufacturer will then convert the electricity supplied by the solar panel into the right strength needed for your laptop.
When using solar panels to recharge batteries, it is important to understand that batteries can be overcharged – resulting in damage to them. To solve this problem you need what’s called a Solar Controller. This is basically a small device that prevents the batteries from overcharging and getting damaged. It also prevents electricity from flowing back from the battery into the solar panels, which could harm the panels themselves. If you have a solar controller connected between the battery and the solar panel, you will not have to worry about overcharging. It will keep your batteries in a fully charged state as long as it is connected. This is ideal for vehicles or boats which are out of use for a temporary time period, as it will prevent their batteries from going flat. Any device using a 12 volt battery can thus be kept at maximum charge while out of use.
Brunton SolarRoll 14
A final product that deserves mentioning is the Brunton SolarRoll 14. This is truly on of the most portable, lightweight, and yet rugged solar panels on the market so far.
It produces enough electricity to power a satellite phone, digital camera, iPod, MP3 player and many other electronic devices. What’s more, it’s weather-proof and water-proof. It rolls up into a small tube, and weighs only 17 oz (half a kilogram).
This is a solar panel that you can take anywhere. Its also possible to link more than one of them together (also called “daisy-chaining”), although in this case you should use a solar controller in order to safeguard the batteries from overcharging.