Compact Folding USB Solar Panels
The Compact Folding USB Solar Cells were designed as part of a Kickstarter Campaign and are sold under both BrownDogGadgets.com and BrownDogSolar.com. They were designed to be as slim, light weight, and compact as possible while still providing enough amperage to charge gadgets quickly.
There are currently four versions of these panels available, three of which use USB.
20W Folding Solar Cell (12V output for larger setups, not for use with USB.)
The 5W, 7W, and 10W Folding USB Solar Cells all work exactly the same way. Their big difference being their size and the amount of power they output. The power output limits the maximum speed in which a gadget can charge, and also provides some limits to the 5W when it comes to charging tablets.
To use your 5W, 7W, or 10W Folding USB Solar Cell follow these simple steps.
1) Put panel into the sun. This needs to be direct sunlight, and artificial light will not work. Through a window is fine.
2) Plug gadget in. If enough sunlight is available your gadget will immediately start charging.
Red Status LED
One each of the 5W, 7W, and 10W panels there is a small Red LED above the USB port. This LED is there for trouble shooting and will turn turn on even under artificial light. It's main function is to see if the internal circuitry is working.
What Can They Charge?
Both the 7W and 10W panels can charge most any USB device you plug in. This includes tablets and large phones. iPads, however, will almost always display a message saying "Charging not Supported", even though they are in fact charging.
The 5W panel can technically charge most tablets, however, we do not recommend doing so due to the slower charging time. Only under the best sunlight conditions will the 5W work well for tablets.
The panels act as direct charging systems, meaning that it turns sunlight directly into electricity. The panels DO NOT store power inside them for later use and DO NOT have an internal battery system.
Many people choose to use a Lithium Power Bank in conjunction with their panels. These Power Banks are widely available in local store and on BrownDogGadgets.com. More or less these are small USB battery packs. USB power goes in, be it from a wall USB power source or one of the Folding Solar Cells, and then you can save that power and use it for later.
This is the system we recommend for long camping trips or emergency situations. Leave you Solar Cell and Power Bank charging during the day so that you can have backup power whenever you need it.
Cleaning and Caring
You may use warm water to clean your panel. Avoid getting the USB port wet.
These panels are not water proof, though they are rather water resistant. If your panel gets caught in the rain or dropped in water, let it dry out for several days before you attempt to use it. If it is not dry you run the risk of damaging your panel and your gadget.