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What is it? A solar charger that can be used as an emergency phone charger.

What does it claim? To capture and store energy from the sun to charge various electronic devices anywhere, instantly.

Who tested it? Build America contractor and cell phone user Duane Cotton.

What Are The Instructions? The Solar Charger comes with a full charge. But the initial charge may not reach the maximum capacity of the internal battery of your electronic device. Before you get started you need to know that when charging your phone or electronic device the battery inside the Solar Charger will produce heat during the power transfer. It's normal for it to get hot and there is no danger.

First step charging your charger. If you are using the computer USB connection to charge your device you need to connect your solar charger to the computer using the cable provided. The green indicator light will turn on when the Solar Charger is charging. When it's fully charged the light will turn off. It's important to note the manufacturer says the computer USB is the fastest way to energize your Solar Charger and it is recommended before the initial use. Another note, the computer might be prompted to find the unknown device. You can skip this step and it will not harm the computer or device.

If you are using the Solar aspect of the charger you need to place the charger in direct sunlight at a 90 degree angle from the sun. It is not recommended that you charge in the sun with your cell phone or device. Again the green indicator light will turn on when charging. The sunlight will be transformed into electricity which will automatically charge the built-in lithium battery. Be sure to note that the green light will remain lit after it has been charged in the sun.

Next step charging your phone or device. Before charging digital products or cell phones be sure to read its manual carefully. Know its charging parameters and whether this charging device is suitable. There are two small charging cables provided. One cable is for Micro USB compatible cell phones and devices. One cable is for Apple compatible cell phones and devices. Almost all cellular phones manufactured today use one of these two cables. (but as we found out there are some that use different cables.)

To do the actual charging of your device with the Solar Charger you need to plug the connector cable into the Solar Charger. Then plug the cable into your cell phone or device. When charging your cell phone or device, the red indicator light will turn on. Charging indication will likely be displayed on your phone or other digital device. The red indicator light will turn off once the energy stored in the Solar Charger has been exhausted.

Did it work? Our tester ran into problems trying to make it work with his iPhone5. But once we found that did fit with one of the adapters he was impressed. He could see a lot of ways this could help him in his line of work and a lot of other people. Plus as a green builder he liked that it was using the power of the sun to make it work.

Cost/Availability? We purchased our Bell and Howell Solar Charger at RiteAid for $19.99.

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