How to solar power charge your android phone or tablet

Saturday, March 14, 2020
The event of a pandemic like the COVID-19 Coronavirus from Wuhan has cost lives, caused panic and wreaked economic havoc in many countries across the globe.

Doomsday preppers are laughing all the way to their hidey-holes knowing they will be well stocked with food and water and probably a means to charge their phones and provide lighting.

But I fancy 99 percent of the rest of the population doesn't have a bolt hole to flee too. 

They may have prepared a basic survival kit, stocked up on toilet paper (did you spy the greed people at Walmart) and stashed some water bottles in the garage (maybe some whiskey too?) but they probably haven't thought about how they are going to charge their android phones if they are away from their homes or gosh forbid, there's a power outage due to the pandemic crisis. 

I simply trick I learned was to use a solar power charger that I used to keep the light bulbs charged in my shed. You see, there's no power in my shed as it's a fair distance from the house. So, I ordered 6 solar-powered lightbulbs from Amazon and they work really well - especially so when I am bottling beer in the late evening and I need to see.  
I did notice the charging port on the light bulb looked like an android port. So I got to thinking and I charged my portable speaker with it - and boom - the learning was made - I could use these solar-powered panels to charge all my devices. 

The key test was my Lenovo android tablet. Sure enough, it worked! On a very sunny day, the panel charged the unit:

solar charger with android tablet

I did wonder if it would be able to charge a tablet that had completely lost it's power and would not turn on. So I added placed the table in the shade and placed the solar panel in the direct sunlight and let things be.

I checked the device after about 45 minutes by turning it back on - boom, there had been enough charging done to allow the device to power on and be at a 2 percent charge. This is probably because this panel is low wattage, needing only to charge two AAA batteries in the light bulb. Camping / tramping style chargers will have 6 - 9 watt chargers as a minimum - over 20 is ideal for fast charging. 

The take away is that the charging rate on a very sunny day is quite slow. However, if this is the difference between texting a message to a loved one during a pandemic like a Coronavirus, SARS, Ebola or worse, you're going to be pretty pleased you had a cheap & simple solar panel on hand to charge your phone. 

You could almost be as smug as a doomsday prepper!

There are of course plenty of other more robust solar charging options out there to charge your phone with during an emergency, or even just when you are doing some standard outdoor activities like hiking or camping. 

The Anker PowerPort Solar Lite is a really great option - it comes with two USB chargers so you can charge two devices at once - be they Apple Ipads or Huawei Android phones, you'll have plenty of charging power. If course they can be used to charge other battery banks, lights - anything that will take a charge from a USB outlet. 

best solar power android charger

Given the surface size of the panels, the Anker charger will generate 2.1 amps in direct sunlight, making it nearly as fast as regular mains powered chargers under ideal conditions As pictured above you can have it on your back while hiking the wilderness like Bear Grylls or you can neatly fold it way into your pack, next to your emergency personal locator beacon.

"This thing is really saving my tail here in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. I bought it after Irma only to have it arrive the day I regained power. Little did I know big sister Maria was lurking."

"I took it on a week long solo hiking trip in the backcountry and am absolutely happy with the performance and product. It charged my phone and a small power bank enough at lunchtime to keep going through the day and top up my GPS watch."

"I've taken it on eight or ten camping trips and it hasn't let me down yet.
The storage panel on the end with the USB ports is excellent, I can hide my cellphone inside the panel while it charges. It rolls up small and beautifully when not in use and is a real space saver compared to some solar panels.

Having two USB ports is one of the best features of this solar panel and make it so much more convenient. It charges two phones on a clear day, albeit more slowly than standard power sources. It will even charge my phone a bit on a cloudy day."
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