A few weeks ago, we posted a profile on a cool new technology-social media hybrid company, Changers.com. The Berlin-based company recently introduced a portable solar charging system as well as an online community through which you can track and share your energy production rates.
At the end of that post we hinted that Changers.com was sending us their solar charging starter kit to review...and this is that review!! (You can exhale now). Enjoy!
Light & Sweet
The first thing that surprised me about the Changers Starter Kit, which includes the Kalhuohfummi solar battery and the Maroshi solar panel, was the incredible lightness of the box. There was almost no excessive packaging, just a cardboard box to protect the flexible solar panel and small battery/data pack, a little bag of charging adapters, and a single sheet, 100% recycled paper quick start guide/poster.
The quick start guide included lots of easy to follow pictures, and honestly, I attached the solar panel's suction cups and connected it to the battery pack without even looking at the instructions. Understanding how I would track my solar energy production and how to get that energy from the battery pack to my phone required a quick read through of the guide. The most time intensive part of the process was downloading the Changers software and installing it on my computer. It only took a couple of minutes, but the words on all the installation screens were written in German, so I just had to hope I was pushing the right buttons!
Tapping The Sun
The day that I first hooked up the solar panel and battery was quite bright because of a fresh snowfall, but also overcast. I was worried that the panel wouldn't be strong enough to charge the batter without direct sunlight, but I was wrong! After about 10 minutes I saw the first tiny green blip of light on the battery's power bar. However, if you're in a time sensitive situation, you'll definitely want to place the panel in direct sunlight. All told, it took about 5 total hours of direct sunlight me to gather enough energy to charge my phone.
All Gadgets Welcome
Getting ready to juice up my phone with solar energy provided another pleasant surprise: the Changers kit included a USB type A cable to charge and 8 adapters, enabling the kit to charge over 1,000 devices! Before plugging up my phone, I used the same USB cord to connect the battery to my computer. I logged into my profile on Changers.com, and transferred the data from the battery to my account so that I could see how much carbon I had saved with just this first attempt.
Overall, I love this device. Aside from a little lag time while setting up your account and downloading the software (in German!), it's ready to used right out of the minimal packaging. Both gadgets are compact, meaning they'll be super easy to take with my on my upcoming trip to California. Can't wait to see how much power I can generate in all that sun!
Disclaimer: While Changers.com did provide us with a complimentary solar charging kit to test and review, CrispGreen was in no way compensated for this review.
All images © Beth Buczynski