Sea Kayaking, Blogging & Portable Solar, a Potent Combination

iPad Solar Battery Charger Review – Facebook blogging with portable solar and a new iPad sounded like great fun as long as the weather holds. California’s northern coastline is a gem of tranquility in the shadow of rocky coastal cliffs. Planning our trip, we thought it would be cool to post some pictures on our Facebook wall as the trip developed. Our Eco-sensitive practices dictated we use portable solar instead of batteries to recharge our iPad while enjoying some of California’s most beautiful wilderness coastlines. We launched and set off on a spectacular tour of the coastal wilderness.

Sea kayaking using portable solar, charging our iPad, then posting to Facebook in real time really can really rock. The Pacific Ocean along the Northern California coast offers some of the best sea kayaking available. A step away from civilization, it is amazing that you can now post your Facebook pictures in real time via an iPad and portable solar.

Northern California coastal sea kayaking is an easy-to-learn mode of travel and offers spectacular coastal wilderness views and endless personal rewards. Posting and sharing on Facebook the thrill of wind and waves, the tranquility of calm waters, and the solitude of small coves. Sharing pictures on Facebook via iPad of special places only accessible to the seaworthy kayak and the adventurous soul. Dramatic scenery, remote beach camping, wonders of nature, and wilderness solitude can make each day sea kayaking in California with solar power a journey of many discoveries. We hope that sharing our coastal adventure on Facebook will remind and inspire us all to live in ways which soften our human impact and help preserve our coastal wonders.

facebook ipad posts

Spectacular Views Facebook iPad Post

We powered our iPad with a portable solar charger connected to a portable battery allowing us to post pictures on our Facebook page. Specifically, we used the Brunton SolarRoll 14 portable solar charger and the Brunton Sustain portable battery.

The main reason we took along the SolarRoll portable solar charger is that it is waterproof and can be submerged all the way up to the electrical connectors and not be damaged which makes it ideal for sea kayaking or other water sports. Avoid getting the electrical outlets of all portable solar chargers wet while kayaking. This could cause a direct short of the panel and may permanently damage your portable solar product. Use caution when using any electrical appliance.

An Apple iPad has some very particular energy requirements. The iPad gets its power by 3.75V rechargeable portable battery (X2 wired in parallel to get 7.5 volts), 24.8 watt-hour (6.5 Amp hour). The 25 watt-hour lithium-polymer portable battery provides the iPad the portable battery power for the advertised 8 – 10 hours of use. For comparisons, the iPhone 3GS has a 4.51 watt-hour portable battery and the MacBook Air has a 40 watt-hour portable battery.

Using a bit of simple mathematics, divide the watt-hour capacity of the battery by the iPod run time in hours and you get the power consumption in watts. 25-watt-hours / 10 hours = 2.5 watts

Ten hours of portable battery life on a device like the iPad may or may not be enough depending on your usage pattern. The iPad “up to” 10 hours of battery life depends whether you’re web surfing, reading, watching movies or listening to music. When you hear the words “up to” it might cause you concern, but there would be no other way to word it since everyone needs a wide a range of iPad portable battery power draws. Anyone that’s ever used a mobile device knows that battery life varies depending on what you’re doing with the device. The iPad is no exception so… no big deal. (Source iPad Review Blue Pacific Solar Blog)

battery chargers

Facebook Posts Using Portable Solar to Charge Our iPad

The waterproof Brunton Solar Roll 14 portable solar coupled with the Brunton Sustain portable battery gave us the portable power to post our Facebook wall pictures during our voyage alone the California shoreline. The portable solar charger is a flexible solar panel that produces 14 watts of power with a loaded current and voltage of 15.1V, 900mA. The portable solar lightweight charger weights at a light 19.5 oz and offers reverse current protection. The SolarRoll 14 portable solar is designed to operate in a temperature range of -22°F to +122°F.

Charging the iPad from the Brunton Sustain portable battery should be at least comparable X2 to the 10 watt iPad power adaptor. Amps X Volts = Watts. Sustains’ portable battery output set at 12V (output is adjustable) is 3.2 amps (3,200 mA) 3.2 amps x 12 volts = 38 watts. The energy capacity of a portable battery is usually expressed indirectly in ampere hours; to convert watt hours (Wh) to ampere hour (Ah), the watt-hour value must be divided by the voltage of the power source. This value is about since the voltage is not constant during discharge of a portable battery.

This portable solar charger consists of 18 photovoltaic thin-film cells and will produce power when any of these segments are exposed to sunlight. This means that the panel can be partially unrolled and still utilize the power provided. Each segment produces an average of 50mA. To calculate the amount of power a portable solar panel will produce when partially unrolled, count the number of segments that you have rolled out and then multiply by 50mA. The voltage of the portable solar charger stays the same when rolled out entirely or partially.

Fully extended, the SolarRoll 14 portable solar charger produces 900mA. It can also be linked to another SolarRoll portable solar chargers to double the current output. Due to the amount of current, the company recommends that no more than two portable solar panels be put in parallel at one time.

For positioning, unroll the SolarRoll 14 portable solar with the photovoltaic cells facing up or secure the panel in place with the grommets provided around the exterior edge of the panel as shown in the kayaking photographs and on our Facebook wall. Position the portable solar panel so that it can receive the maximum amount of sun exposure. Plug into the portable battery charger with the cables provided.

When charging our battery using our iPad solar charger (via the Sustain battery), we had no problem as this portable solar charger can be left plugged into any electronic device overnight without draining the battery. This portable solar charger comes with built-in reverse current protection.

When using any portable solar charger do not attempt to recharge non-rechargeable alkaline batteries. SolarRoll’s portable solar panels should always be rolled lengthwise with the portable solar cells facing out. The SolarRoll portable solar charger should never be rolled tighter than 3 inches in diameter. Rolling the SolarRoll portable solar charger in any other way will void the 1 year warranty.

The Sustain portable battery coupled with a portable solar charger lets you recharge nearly any USB-compatible gadget while you paddle your way around along the coast. Plug in your iPad, GPS or emergency satellite phone to the Sustain power reservoir and Facebook blog to your hearts content on your next expedition.