How to Use a Portable Solar Charger

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The only thing worse than a low battery indicator on your phone is not being able to recharge it. if you use a regular charger and there’s no electric power outlet, you can’t do anything. But with a portable solar phone charger, you can charge your phone and other devices using the power of the sun, anywhere, anytime. But how do you use a solar phone charger, anyway?

Solar power banks and chargers are very easy to use. Just plug your phone, tablet or other gadget. Press the charger’s power button and it will start charging. Solar chargers can also be used on mp4 and mp3 players, digital cameras, notebooks, headphones, smartwatches and other USB devices.

Solar chargers are simple to use, but if you want to get maximum mileage out of them – and your phone-, read on. There are two options, charge your device directly with the sun, or power it up with the battery charger.

How to Charge a Phone with a Solar Charger Step by Step

  1. Power up the charger first. Before you use the device, charge it on USB, solar power or electricity until it is at full power. If you can charge it overnight that’s better. Indicator lights will flash, letting you know the device is fully charged.
  2. Plug in your mobile device. Connect your phone to the solar charger with the provided USB cable.
  3. Press the power button on. Your phone starts charging. LED indicator lights will appear, letting you know your phone is charging. These lights will disappear when the phone is charged.
  4. When your phone is fully charged, the charger turns off automatically. You can also turn off the charger manually by pressing the off button.
  5. Unplug your phone and start using it.

That’s all there is to charging a mobile phone with a solar power bank / charger. You use the same steps for a tablet, notebook or any other compatible device.

How to Recharge a Solar Charger with Solar Power

Follow these steps to recharge your device with the sun.

  1. Unplug any device still connected to the charger. Turn it off.
  2. Find a spot where the sun directly shines. Charge the unit outside and make sure there is no shade or any obstacle in the way.
  3. Position the charger so the solar panel faces the sun directly.
  4. Do not place the charger near any other objects to avoid overheating.
  5. Let the device charge fully. Keep an eye on the LED lights as it will tell you if the device is still charging or if it is fully charged.

How to Charge a Solar Power Bank with Electricity

  1. Get the USB cord that comes with your solar power bank. Connect the USB charger to your computer or another power outlet.
  2. The LED lights will turn on. The lights will change depending on the charging status.
  3. The device should turn automatically turn off when it is fully charged. Unplug the charger.

How Long Does It Take a Power Bank to Charge a Phone?

Solar chargers need 12 to 17 hours to fully charge a phone. It might take longer if the phone is severely depleted. If the battery is very low and it’s cloudy, charging time could take up to 20 hours. If your phone isn’t too depleted and the sun is shining, the charge should take only a few hours. More powerful solar phone chargers can fully charge a phone in just a few hours or even minutes. There are also ways you can speed up charging.

Charging time for the power bank is similar. Again it may take longer or less depending on how much power is left on the device and the weather condition. Charging time for a power bank on electricity takes about 6 hours.

Bottom line: if you don’t want to wait nearly a day to fully charge your phone, don’t wait until it drops to 0% before charging it. If the phone battery indicates 50% or lower and you’re not using it, solar charge it. Better yet, get a high quality charger to speed up charging.

Solar Phone Charging Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Many Times Can a Solar Charger Charge a Phone?

Divide the charger’s maH capacity with the battery capacity of your phone. Keep in mind that solar chargers usually lose 15% of their capacity due to climate conditions, heat, natural wear and tear, circuit design etc. So if your charger has a 10000 maH capacity, the usable capacity is 8500.

This is only a general guideline. It assumes you charge your phone from 0% to 100%, which isn’t always the case. Some people recharge their phone wen it falls under 50%, 40%, 25% etc. This changes the charging lifespan of your power bank.

At What Power Level Should I Recharge My Solar Charger?

There is no consensus on this matter. Some say you should let the power bank completely run down before a recharge. Others say it is better to recharge a solar bank regularly before it gets to very low percentages. Still others say keep the charge level between 50% to 85%.

Our suggestion is to use the solar charger as often as you need to. Well designed power banks should last at least 5 years or more, regardless when you recharge it. Bottom line, if your phone needs a charge up, do it now.

Do Solar Chargers Ruin Your Phone?

Only if the solar charger is damaged or is poorly made. A regular charger will also damage your phone if it is faulty, and the same goes with solar chargers. Otherwise your phone (and other gadgets you’ll plug in the charger) will be fine.

Can I Use My Phone While Charging?

Yes, you may use you phone while it is charging. The idea that the phone will overheat is incorrect, and is one of the more common misconceptions going around. You can learn more about solar myths here.

Does Leaving a Solar Charger Plugged in Damage the Charger?

Solar power banks automatically turn off when the device is charged. There should be no problems leaving it there for hours.

Can I Leave My Power Bank Charging Overnight?

As mentioned earlier, most solar chargers recommend that you let the device charge overnight prior to using it for the first time. There is no reason to worry about the charger getting damaged. Once you’ve done the preliminary overnight charging however, you’ll be recharging it in the daytime. It won’t hurt to leave it plugged in overnight, but there is no point to it.

Does Leaving a Fully Charged Phone in the Charger Damage the Phone?

Mobile phones have an anti overcharging feature built in, so there’s no cause for worry. If you have an older model, you might want to unplug it. Even with a newer model, you should unplug it too so you can recharge the charger if it’s low on power.

What Should I Look For in a Solar Phone Charger?

  • Buy from a reputable manufacturer
  • Long battery life so you don’t have to recharge often
  • Overcharge and anti discharge protection
  • USB cable that allows you to charge on electricity or solar power
  • USB 3.0 for rapid charging
  • Capacity to charge 2 devices at once
  • Long warranty
  • LED charge indicators
  • Flashlight is an optional feature, but it might come in handy

Solar Phone Charger Maintenance Tips

Some simple and practical tips to keep your solar charger in tip top shape.

  • Use the device as indicated in your user guide.
  • Do not disassemble the charger. That will void the warranty.
  • Do not throw or drop the charger. Do not bump it against hard surfaces.
  • Use the charger at the recommended temperature range in the manual.
  • Do not use the charger if it is wet. Do not use a hair dryer to dry it. Let it dry naturally under sunlight.
  • Never use a damaged solar phone charger under any circumstances.
  • Do not use chargers with signs of cable damage.
  • Do not place the charger near hot or combustible objects.
  • Do not touch the port when it is charging.
  • Avoid charging in volatile current.
  • Do not charge in moist or wet areas.
  • When recharging under direct sunlight, place the charger on a flat surface.

Conclusion

Learning how to power a phone with a solar phone charger is easy, and it really makes a difference when you’re on the road. If you travel a lot and find yourself in areas without access to an electrical outlet, consider getting a solar charger. They’re not only effective, but you get that peace of mind knowing you can power your mobile phone as long as there’s sunlight.