Solar Panels on portable equipment

  Covergirl 12:46 21 May 2009

I'm really suprised that every battery operated gadget (mobile phone, sat nav, mp3 player etc.) isn't yet equipped with a solar panel on one or more sides to enable (almost) constant recharging of the battery.

When you consider a sat nav sits in the windscreen and mobile phones usually end up on a flat surface (when not in a pocket), there would be ample opportunity for an item to be almost constantly on charge thus removing another carbon factor.

Solar cells are getting cheaper all the time - you can buy garden lights with them in for as little as £1 (or less) each so what's the hold up on the advancement of this technology?


  Si_L 13:06 21 May 2009

SatNav makes sense but with the car charger so close I'm not sure you would need it. I would buy one though if it was the same price, the wire has a habit of tangling its way around the gear lever on mine.

As for mobiles and MP3 players, well they spend most of their time in my pocket, and when they are out they are face up, so I can see when people call or text, so that wouldn't work in my books.

Their are some good videos on Youtube demonstrating how to take one of those cheap garden lights that you mentioned apart, and attaching it to a phone charger. I might have a go at that one day, it would be handy for camping.

  interzone55 14:08 21 May 2009

The solar panels on the garden lights are very low power.

They're designed to charge two low power Ni-Cad (about 300mAh) batteries over a 16 hour period - they'd never cope with charging a mobile phone or MP3 player Li-Ion battery...

  Si_L 14:40 21 May 2009

The guy uses 4 small panels, one from each light, and puts it in a plastic wallet that folds up small but opens up when needed. I will find the video later and post it up.

  Forum Editor 18:30 21 May 2009

Mobile phones will have solar panels on the back. They'll be small panels, obviously, and they won't remove the need for a mains charger, but they'll extend the standby time of your phone by up to a week between charges.

The solar cells will work in tandem with your phone's battery, supplementing the charge. The cells will produce around 11mA, which isn't enough to power the phone on its own.This technology is currently at an advanced stage of development.

  Forum Editor 18:32 21 May 2009

You can buy various solar chargers for mobile phones, and they're not that expensive:-

click here

I haven't tried one, so I don't know how effective they are.

  laurie53 19:54 21 May 2009

"every battery operated gadget (mobile phone, sat nav, mp3 player etc.) isn't yet equipped with a solar pane"

And every every battery operated gadget (mobile phone, sat nav, mp3 player etc.) will have to be left in full view either on your person, or on a window sill, or in the car, or somewhere equally visible, for most of the time!

  Si_L 20:06 21 May 2009

And I think you will be hard pressed to find even a few phone in the mass market with solar panels. It just isn't viable - a phone is in your pocket out doors, and either still in your pocket or face up somewhere when its in. It does not make sense. Its only going to make the phone more delicate, something I think the manufacturers would rather wasn't the case.

  Si_L 20:07 21 May 2009

Just to add, something that would be better suited to a phone is to use the kinetic energy in the walking motion, like they use in watches.

  tullie 21:22 21 May 2009

How about a wind up mobile?

  wiz-king 21:37 21 May 2009

Mobile phones wind me up now - well, some of the inconsiderate owners do!

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

Alienware 17 R4 2017 review

Is this the future of VR and AR?

Best iPad buying guide 2017

Comment regarder le Bureau des Légendes en ligne ?