ECEEN Solar Charger highly portable and readily available for all your charging needs.
There is little that I find more frustrating or anxiety provoking than the low battery warnings on my iPhone 6s Plus. This is especially true when it occurs early in the day, after putting my phone through regular use. I have experienced this multiple times, while primitive (tent) camping with my son, while touring around CES 2016 in Las Vegas, while at a county fair and while at The Happiest Place On Earth. I have attempted to solve this problem with portable Li-Po batteries. I have multiple, ranging from 5000 mAh to a 20k mAh beast. However, when my son and I camp with boy scouts, weight is a major factor, and I cannot take all of my chargers with me. I need other options, lighter options, renewable options for power.
I have tested a few portable batteries that have solar capabilities. The most recent one (ReVive Solar charger) was only a 1500mAh battery and would only charge to 50% capacity, which would give roughly a 10-15% charge on my iPhone 6s Plus. This worked to spare some of the charging burden from my extra portable battery. I was able to limp along through my primitive camping weekend with the help of this solar charger and a portable battery (5000mAh). This is not ideal and I really did not use my phone much (I tried to conserve). This system was also not as useful during our trip to CES this past January. I was living on portable power, nearly the entire time. We walked about 7-10 miles daily and we were outside walking in between hotels some of the time. A solar option may have been helpful, especially if it was lighter weight than my portable batteries.
The ECEEN Solar Charger comes shipped in a rather plain cardboard box. It is labelled on the front with ECEEN: Share the SUN in black lettering. Beneath the centered text are 2 QR codes, which link you to their website and to their Facebook page. The solar charger is folded in half and has a zipper between the 2 halves. In the zipped configuration, the device measures 12 3/16″ long by 6 1/2″ wide and 1 inch thick due to the power port inside the front zippered pocket. The front pocket is 7 7/8″ long by 5″ wide and 1/2 inch tall. Unzipping this pocket, you find a collection of carabiners X 4 (black with silver accented clips), a 40cm segment of USB A to Micro USB Cable and the user manual. Unzipping the main compartment generates roughly a 12.5″ X 12″ shape, nearly square. There are 10 bars of solar panels on each half of the charger, arranged in columns/rows.
It is really important to note that this is not a portable battery, rather it is a solar power source. Yes, I repeat a solar power source, as the charger is actually built into your our phones. The user manual, unfortunately, is written in choppy, yet passable, English. There is a really nice diagram on page 2, depicting the usage of this device. It is to be left out in direct sunlight to generate current. However, I would not leave your phone out in direct sunlight, as it will likely get too hot and trigger temperature sensors. I found that tucking it under the ECEEN was satisfactory, or zipping it into the front pouch, to protect from direct solar exposure. To understand what the ECEEN is, I want you to imagine the white power brick that you plug into the wall. This white power brick takes AC current and converts it into a DC power supply. The ECEEN does this in a similar manner, but uses sun energy instead of AC wall power.
This charges directly and there is no storage option with this device. To use this, you simply plug your USB A to Lightning (not included) or USB to Micro USB (included) and capture sun energy to transfer to your device, during the day. This will take solar power and convert it to 10W 1.5A power, which will charge your device in real time. It is light weight, measuring at 12.8 oz (Device+Carabiners X 4). You can use the Carbiners to attach the ECEEN to your pack. The numerous loops on the device are an incredibly useful feature, which allows the user to hang the ECEEN in multiple ways. These carabiners are made of aluminum and are not for climbing.
The device is camouflage colored and has a really nice nylon feel. The zippers appear well made and have nice zipper pulls attached. The loops for attachment, appear well stitched and seem to hold up nicely. The design is weather resistant, meaning it can tolerate rain and som slight snow but it is not meant for submersion.
I took this device outside 2 days ago with an iPhone 6S plus that was at 50% and placed the ECEEN perpendicular to the sun. This was in the afternoon, mildly overcast. The area was my backyard and thus I was not worried about theft (very real threat having to leave device for hours). My phone was fully charged in 3 hours. The manual notes that under fully sunny days that for a 10W 5V 1.5A system, it should fully charge an iPhone 6 in 2-3 hours. Let me say, I was impressed with the above. We may get that in summer, but not now with the rainy watery sky that has been present as of late. The next test was to use the solar charger to charge my Ventev 3000mAh powercell 3015. I set this out at 11 am and exposed this to direct sunshine and I was able to have a fully charged battery pack by 3pm. Either way, I find this an amazing system to keep my phone and a battery backup charged. I did not test it with my iPad Air 2 as I was not comfortable leaving this in the sun for that long. The way that I will use this device is to combine it with my 12000 mAh portable battery and just let it sit in the sun during the day and charge my iPhone or iPad from the battery pack. These battery packs charge my phone at 2A and will charge my devices faster than the solar one. Thus, I can use the solar trickle all day to charge the battery pack and then more quickly charge my phone at night. This really is a win, win situation. If someone decides that they need to have this more than I do and takes it, they won’t get my iPhone or iPad. It is recommended to only use cables that are certified for your device. You can charge on overcast days and through some Windows but indoor lighting is not strong enough to charge.
This is a highly portable, weight efficient means to charge your devices using readily available, renewable solar power. It has up to a 1.5 A output and really can charge even the iPhone 6S plus in about 4-5 hours (depending on quality of sun and power level on your phone). The loop system makes this very convenient to attach to your bag, tent or wherever you need. Again, the power of the device is it is super portable and you can take it just about anywhere. Combine it with a larger battery and you have an amazing, off-grid, renewable energy source for your prepping, camping, power-hungry needs. 5/5 stars for build quality, portability and ubiquitous use.
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