Hacked Gadgets Forum

March 5, 2008

Solio H1000 Solar Charger Review

at 5:30 am. Filed under Cool Gadgets, Reviews

 

"When on the go power for your gadgets is key, plug into the Solio® Hybrid 1000. This hybrid boasts a powerful solar panel and battery in an incredibly compact and slender case, conveniently geared with a built-in rugged carabiner and cable. The Hybrid 1000 is simple to use. Just clip on, plug in, and charge up!"

 

 For a while now I have been evaluating the Solio H1000 Hybid Solar Charger.  While not necessarily the product for everyone, it does have its pros and cons.  I decided to run the Solio H1000 through its paces and see what its made of… the good, the bad, and the hacker friendly.

 

Well for starters, You unbox the the unit, and find the solio as pictured above, a USB charging cable, a Female USB tip, a Mini USB tip, a Motorola tip, and a Nokia tip.  (the charger has a proprietary connector and uses different tips for different devices).  I had an LG phone, so this was a small problem for me, I checked their website, and they wanted $10 plus shipping for a different tip.  As a college student/hacker I had no intention of settling for this.  I took an charger plug I had for my phone, and a USB cable, and butchered them together… One end has a plug for my cellphone, and the other end has a male USB plug that was plugged into the Solio. 

To purchase the Solio H1000 and other Solio chargers visit EcoDirect.com.

 

 

"Charge anywhere on Earth. Plug into the Sun and charge Solio through its solar panel, it’s free and green! Or use the included tip to charge from the USB port of any computer."

Well Cleveland in the winter is the wrong place to look for the sun. In a week of driving around with it on my dashboard it only managed to charge up the Solio internal battery to about 25%. So I decided to charged the Solio from a USB port. It was fully charged in about 8 hours.  When I tried to charge my phone overnight however I found that my cellphone only charged to about 90% or so. There are 2 possible reasons for this, when the draw on Solio drops below a certain threshold the device shuts down, or it might be because of the battery size. The Solio only has a 3.7v 1000mAh Li-ion battery inside of it. If I’m not mistaken thats the exact same battery my phone itself has. 

In the interest of DIYers and hackers everywhere I decided to void the warrananty and take a peek inside, It was pretty straightforward  The battery, A solar panel, and a power regulation circuit.  I decided not to poke around at any of these components too much.  From what I could gather It puts out both 5V and 12v for your gadgets convenience. 

 

  • The Good: It offers a green alternative for powering gadgets on the go, the 5v and 12v lines assure that almost any gadgets you have can be powered with a little ingenuity.  Invaluable to have if you find yourself away from power for extended periods of time.  Its reliable and well built.
  • The Bad: The battery is only 1000 mAh at 3.7v  meaning that essentially its good for one charge of a device.  If you want to charge a range of devices you will either have to buy their expensive plugs or make your own.  Also the $80 price tag seems a bit much for $15 worth of components assembled together.
  • The Hacker Friendly: The construction seems pretty straightforward.  There is room inside for tinkering, and the components seem to be easy to access and play around with.  It provides a useful voltage spread, and although pricey if you let one sit around for long enough, you’ll undoubtedly find some alternative use for its guts

 

As far as day to day use goes, its a bit cumbersome, and doesn’t stack up to the modern convenience’s of wall and car chargers. However I am one of those people who for some strange reason likes to load up everything I plan on needing into a backpack and heading towards the woods for days at a time (backpacking),  spend hours on the lake just fishing, or hike the Appalachian Trail on my spring break.  A device like this is invaluable to me because I always bring my gadgets, and with a little fiddling it can be used to charge your cellphone, mp3 player, GPS, palm pilot, digital camera etc in a pinch. 

 


 

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8 Responses to “Solio H1000 Solar Charger Review”

  1. Jerb Says:

    Neat idea but executed very poorly imho

    I really like the carabiner but being made out of (cheap looking) plastic makes me think it wont last a week attached to my bag. if this were made out of aluminum instead than this would never leave my bag

    I also cannot say I like the lack of weather-proofing. from the pictures you posted i cant see any sort of silicon agent on the screws (rather, where they go) or any sort of silicon ring around the body to keep moisture out. if this were attached to my bag and I got caught in a light rain I would have to open it (voiding the warranty) to air it out.

    lastly the battery is a waste, use a slightly smaller battery and put two in there or just use a larger battery.

    they opted for a sporty look with the carabiner but this product seems to fail in almost every regard. Im glad you took one for the team but I dont think I’ll be placing it on my “things to purchase 2008” list anytime soon

  2. Jum Says:

    I agree – poorly executed.

    Form factor could be improved by having a folding case (would also protect the solar cells).

    Also, the surface area of the cells is IMO far too small to charge the internal battery in less than 10 hours in FULL sunlight.

    I built a cellphone solar charger using the 15cm x 15cm solar panel from a solar garden light. Here’s the recipe:

    1 x solar panel from garden light (outputs about 9V in full sunshine).
    1 x cellphone charging tip/connector for my P900 cellphone.
    1 x LS7805 voltage regulator (outputs 5V from input 6V to 30V).

    Cost me less than $5
    Takes about 6 hours to charge the phone in FULL sunlight (midsummer).

  3. Steve Says:

    Hey guys, they must have listened to your reviews… check out their new one… http://www.solio.com/charger/explore-solio/solio-magnesium.html

    Made out of magnesium
    Adapter tips allow you to power multiple gadgets with a single charger ( tips for most products included in pack.)
    Temperature Range: -4F to 131F (-20C to 55C)
    Battery: Rechargeable Lithium Ion 3.7V 1.8A cell

  4. Solio - portable solar power « 88 Miles Home Says:

    […] the video demo, and check the road-test reviews on HackedGadgets and […]

  5. Solio - portable solar power « One Blue Sky Says:

    […] the video demo, and check the road-test reviews on HackedGadgets and […]

  6. Solio H1000: A finicky solar power charger | green LA girl Says:

    […] Tony Nunn at Hacked Gadgets found that the difficult-to-fully-charge device a “doesn’t stack up to the modern convenience’s of wall and car […]

  7. H8gwb Says:

    This thing here doesn’t seem much more capable than cheap $20 aluminum solar chargers I can find on ebay. The tiny battery
    is the biggest letdown. Makes you wonder what kind of profit margins they were expecting at $80.

  8. SriMathe Says:

    I dont usually reply to posts but I will in this case. 🙂

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