Solar mobile phone chargers

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Posted by on Tuesday June 9, 2015 at 10:6:32:

There is a growing interest in solar powered electronic devices in Nigeria and one of them that many Nigerians are interested in having are the solar mobile phone chargers.

With the low level of power supply in Nigeria which has caused the power company to practice energy rationing, many mobile phone users mostly run around trying to keep their phone batteries charged and powered on so that they don't stay disconnected from friends and family. Some pay as much as N50(about $0.25) to charge it while others take them to work, church or other public place to keep their phones active and alive. However, this practice is mostly done by Nigerians who have not embraced the power of solar energy and are still living in darkness even when they have an abundance of sunlight.

Solar mobile phone chargers are finding their way to markets in Nigeria and even several online shopping websites like Amazon, Aliexpress, Jumia, Konga, Dealdey, Kaymu sell them. There is no longer any reason why your phone should stay offline as a result of not being charged when you can buy a solar phone charger.

I've read reports about tech giants like Nokia bringing a solar charger to Nigeria but I've never really seen them in the market but there are several other brand of solar chargers already available in the Nigerian market and they work with the same principle.

Solar mobile phone chargers are electronic devices that have the ability to convert sunlight into electrical energy capable of recharging mobile phone batteries. It is made up of solar/photovoltaic cells that are responsive to light by producing electrical charges.

Solar mobile phone chargers have an output port through which the generated electrical current can be tapped and used in charging the required batteries and this would normally a conductor such as a wire that would connect it to the mobile phone's charging port.

Solar phone chargers are specified according to their power capacity in milliampere hour (mAH) and this is also similar to how rechargeable mobile phone batteries are specified. The higher the mAH of a solar charger, the higher the value of electric charges it can generate from sunlight. Also the higher the mAH of a rechargeable battery, the longer it will last before needing a recharge. It's also about the same thing with power banks that are also using for topping up or recharging portable electronic devices.

So, when buying a solar charger for your phone or other portable device, it's good to buy one that has an equal or is greater mAH than what your phone battery has. So, let's assume that your phone battery mAH capacity is 2000 mAH, it's best to get a solar charger that is about 2500 mAH or higher so that it takes less time to recharge your phone.

In terms of design, some solar chargers come with an internal battery and so are called solar power banks while some are ordinary or stand along solar chargers that only consist only of their solar cells.

Ordinary solar chargers would need to be connected to a power bank or battery while placed under sunlight in order to store the charge or can be used directly with the phone in order to charge it during the day but that keeps the phone stationary if it's not a mobile solar charger like one attachable to a bag pack or moving car.

Solar power banks would need to be first placed under the sun for a day before connecting your phone to it at night, the next day or any other time when you want to charge. If it's the one that doesn't come with an internal battery i.e. ordinary solar charger, you can connect it directly to your phone or an external power bank first before transferring the power bank's charge to your phone.

While solar power banks have their advantages or merits such as being able to store energy internally for later use, ordinary solar chargers also have their own merits such as being more portable as they are lighter being without internal batteries. Solar power banks also tend to be more expensive than ordinary solar chargers of the same capacity and brand per unit. One problem however with solar power banks is that they may not last as long as ordinary solar chargers as they may stop working when their batteries die and may not be easily replaceable. Ordinary solar chargers however tend to last longer but require a place to store it's generated electrical energy. Another benefit of standalone or ordinary solar chargers is that you can increase the storage space for the charges generated by simply using a power bank with a higher mAH while that of solar power banks cannot easily be increased since batteries are fixed unless it allows for the connection of an external power bank.

I use a standalone solar charger which I normally hang on my window and keep connected to an external power bank so that it stores the generated charge during the day while I can use it anytime I want later on. It works pretty well as I can generate enough charge to recharge my phone more than once.

Nowadays, I still see people powering their generators just to recharge their phones or even offering a business service that involves using generators to recharge phone batteries for N50 per unit. It is not longer economically viable in Nigeria to use generators which consume fuel and cause pollution just to recharge your mobile phone batteries when you can do this in a cleaner and cheaper way through solar chargers.

Solar chargers can work without NEPA as they rely solely on sunlight and not on the power company. It may not generate enough current on a rainy day than it will do on a sunny day but if you can at least get about 3 to 4 hrs of sunlight a day, it will be enough to keep your phone fully charged.

Apart from buying a solar charger, another asset you need to buy so as to store the excessive electrical charges your solar panel has generated for later use is a power bank. A power bank is basically a battery that is designed to be charged through one port and discharged through another port. Having a reliable power bank will keep your mobile phone stay recharged all the time and the higher the mAH capacity, the higher the number of times it will be able to recharge your phone.

How many times can a power bank recharge your phone's battery? Well, it depends on the mAH capacity and how fully charged your power bank is. Let's assume you have a power bank with a capacity of 50,000 mAH and your phone's battery just requires 1000 mAH, then it means that if the power bank is fully charged, it will be able to recharge your phone for at most 50 times and that's why I recommend you always use a power bank in combination with your solar charger.

Where can you buy a solar charger in Nigeria? Well, you can now buy it online and even choose to pay after delivery.

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