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Camping and the iPad - Preliminary Charging Results Inside

NumbLock

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I'm leaving on Monday for a week-long camping trip and of course I want to take my iPad with me, so I'm going to need to charge it!

Update: nope, your going to need a much larger panel and probably a much larger storage battery for this to work. I'm giving up now and switching to AC after almost five days.

Here was my potential solution:
attachment.php


I've owned a Solio Magnesium (now called "Classic") for about a year. It features three solar panels and an internal battery. The idea behind the Solio is to charge the internal battery and then charge your mobile device using the internal battery. The Solio Magnesium comes with a charger so you are not entirely dependent on the sun.

I also bought a tip for iPhone as the Solio Magnesium is compatible with iGo tips.
attachment.php


I needed to do a feasibility test before I ran off half cocked, so I charged the iPad (indoors) for one hour from the fully charged Solio Magnesium. Initial results are a little disappointing:

Test 1 - Freshly Charged (from a Charger) Solio

1 Hour: 39% -> 48%
2 Hours: 48% -> 60%
(Solio battery dead)

Test 2 -
Freshly Charged (from a Charger) Solio
1 Hour: 24% -> 31 %
2 Hours: 31% -> 42 %
(Solio battery dead)

Results of Real-World Test:
I never added more than 20% to the iPad's battery, which could have been OK with limited use. But leaving the Solio for 8 - 9 hours in full sunshine is not realistic for many cases: if you want to do anything other than charge the Solio Magnesium, for example. This device is great for the iPhone, but just doesn't get the job done for the iPad. I'm an engineer and I will find a solution. Stay tuned! But for now, I'm at 15% after five days of honest testing, and it's time to call it quits and switch at AC power. Thanks for experiencing my adventure with me! Numblock signing off to stretch an extension cord to the tent.


The Solio documentation states, and online reviews confirm that the Solio needs about 8 to 9 hours of good sunshine to go from zero to 100% SOC (state of charge).

My goal is to see if I can enjoy my iPad on vacation using only solar power, but I'll also be taking the normal iPad changer and an iPhone car charger with me just in case.

The Solio's battery is about the same as the iPad (Edit: looks like I'm wrong, and monkeyboy helps to explain why. Read on!). I hope to run through a full discharge of the Solio to see to what SOC (state of charge) I can get on the iPad.

Wish me luck!

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Tech Specs of the Solio Magnesium:
Charging: 8-9 Hours from 0 to 100% SOC
Battery: 1800 mAh
 

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iPadCharlie

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Very nice! Looking forward to your "real world" test results. My only concern is that the specs say the output is 4.8 watts and the supplied iPad charger is 10 watts so it will probably take considerably longer to charge. According to the Solio website, the Magnesium is not longer being made, but there are still some places that have them for sale on the web (But the Classic model is quite a bit cheaper than the Magnesium model). And for you macho men who are very confident in your masculinity, they also make a Classic model in pink!
 
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Very nice! Looking forward to your "real world" test results. My only concern is that the specs say the output is 4.8 watts and the supplied iPad charger is 10 watts so it will probably take considerably longer to charge. According to the Solio website, the Magnesium is not longer being made, but there are still some places that have them for sale on the web (But the Classic model is quite a bit cheaper than the Magnesium model). And for you macho men who are very confident in your masculinity, they also make a Classic model in pink!

I'm not sure, but I think that the only difference is that the classic has a plastic body compared to magnesium alloy.

I ran into a snag, I thought my Magnesium was fully charged, but it petered out after 2 hours (60% iPad battery), so I'm going to run the test again.
 

gentlefury

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I might have to check that one out, I bought one and it wouldn't solar charge, I sent it back and got one that wouodnt hold a charge even using the wall.
 

iPadCharlie

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You're probably going to need something with a little more juice. There are many choices of solar panels out there, but once you get up to that 10 watt rating, the price starts getting close to $200 and up. But if you are frequently away from commercial power, it might not be a bad investment.

(My wife and I drove through the Alps through your country, Liechtenstein, Austria and Germany a few years ago and I would definitely like to spend more time there.)
 
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You're probably going to need something with a little more juice. There are many choices of solar panels out there, but once you get up to that 10 watt rating, the price starts getting close to $200 and up. But if you are frequently away from commercial power, it might not be a bad investment.

(My wife and I drove through the Alps through your country, Liechtenstein, Austria and Germany a few years ago and I would definitely like to spend more time there.)

Well I already had one, and it does charge, how much I'm not yet sure of. Also, i wanted something compact.

Actually I'm American living in Switzerland.
 

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The challenge is keeping the Solio charged so you can charge the iPad. I had a similar challenge trying to keep an iPhone 3GS charged. Eventually, a combo of a Solio (an older model) and PowerDuo battery packs worked well.

I brought the Solio charged. Then, charged with the solio. Then as PowerDuo battery. Then the Solio (when it was charged again)

Unfortunatly, the PowerDuo batteries don't work with the iPad.

I hope this help. I look forward to hearing how your Solio works for you. :)
 

figmo10

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Since my idea of camping out is a weekend at a five-star resort, I can fully understand the desire to bring an Internet appliance along on a nature trip. But if I have to charge my iPad with anything other than store-bought electricity, it means that the world is ending.
 
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Well the initial tests aren't going so well. Despite the published capacity of the Solio, it quits charging after two hours adding only 20% to the iPad battery.
 
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Well the initial tests aren't going so well. Despite the published capacity of the Solio, it quits charging after two hours adding only 20% to the iPad battery.

is it due to defect? It actually gets a good review with no comments on your issue.

Solio Charges Your iPod With the Sun | Reviews | The Mac Observer

I can only confirm that I've ran the test two times. A fully loaded Solio Mag adds only 20% to the iPad battery before empty. The math doesn't make sense to me because the Solio's battery is actually bigger than the iPad.

I guess my Mag could be defective, but it does work on phones.
 

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