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.