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REVIEW: iSun Portable Solar Charger for Windows Powered Mobile Devices
Posted by Arne Hess - on Tuesday, 06.05.03 - 15:18:20 CET under 08 - Reviews - Viewed 12627x
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When I was in Redmond three months ago, I got an iSun Solar Charger and while the weather wasn't the best the last months, I remind it now, since we have much more sun finally.

The iSun is a complete solar charger for small electronic devices such Pocket PCs, Smartphones and cellular phones. It comes with plugging accessories that will enable you to run over 90% of all small electronics - at least it fits into all my Pocket PCs as well as into the Orange SPV.

iSun can run devices requiring less than 2 watts. It can help run any small electronics over 2 watts by connecting multiple iSun units together. Daisy-chaining the unit with another one can double the power output.

The iSun unit can be used in all sunny conditions. Naturally, the brightest conditions will yield better charging output.

iSun comes with 7 plugs that fits in most electronics found on the market today


  • Wattage: 2.2 watts
    Isc = 290mAmps@7.6 volts or 145mAmps@15.2 volts
    Voc = 15.2 VDC (12V setting) or 7.6 VDC (6V setting)
  • Dimensions: 7.25" x 4.5" x 1.25" (184mm x 114mm x 32mm)
  • Weight: 11 oz (311 grams)
  • Temperature Range: -40°F to 176°F (-40°C to 80°C)

Using iSun

Using it is pretty much the same as charging your mobile device with a power cable of USB Sync and Charge cable:

  • Find the right plug for your device.
  • Connect the iSun with you device.
  • Put your Pocket PC or Smartphone together with the connected iSun into a bright area, this must not directly in the sun but a shadowed area works as well.
  • Press the yellow button on iSun. If the green LED switched on iSun works/get enough sun light and your mobile device should starts charging.

Examples of additional talk time and standby time using iSun

Based on a three hours charging you get the following additional time with your cell phone - according to iSun:

And I can say that it really charged my Dell Axim and Orange SPV so it really works.

Final Conclusion

iSun is a nice piece of accessory for Windows Powered Mobile Devices such as Pocket PCs and Smartphones. Maybe you think now that everywhere you go a power outlet is available but it isn't, at least that's my experience.

For example when I was two years ago in Turkey for a one week boat trip, the availability of power was pretty limited and 10 people "righted" for one power outlet in the evening when 220 V power was available for several hours. With this iSun you become independent, doesn't matter if you are on a boat trip, camping or anywhere else. So there is for sure a reason to use it.

On my next outdoor trip, iSun will be part of my "gadget-bag" for sure! :D

iSun costs around US$79.99 and is available for online order from different online shops from all over the world.

Cheers ~ Arne

Related Links : [More Information] [Buy Here]


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Posted by Helio Diamant on 09.05.03 - 06:52:08

Interesting... comparing to the data in the Pocket PC charger I thought that the 290mAmps would not be enough to charge a Pocket PC.

How much use time have you got, and what was the charging time?

Posted by Jay Hartman on 25.05.03 - 22:58:09

I have yet to get ANY charge to my PPC (Compaq 3650) with the Isun, even when I know the Isun is functioning correctly.  I've tried different plugs...nothing.  Glad I paid next to nothing for it thanks to a deal I found.

Posted by Sandee on 12.06.03 - 08:55:50

Jay: I'm curious - are you getting full sunlight or partial clouds? Also, the company site states that there will be no power if polarity is reversed, but device will still show red LED ("charging") light. [Now THERE'S a design flaw if I ever saw one......] Is that possibly a factor?

Posted by Nigel Healy on 08.11.03 - 01:04:15

I've had the SPV since December 2002, and the Isun since June 2003. The Isun requires strong sunlight to directly charge the SPV, so is not really practical as under such conditions you'd be hiding from the heat of the sun or some other excuse. What worked for me was combining the isun with its "sister" Battpak (from the same company), and leave the isun charging rechargeable AA NiMH batteries, THEN using the battpak to charge the SPV.

Doing it via this indirect method has actually meant (drum roll...) that my Orange SPV has not been charged by other than solar power since June. The trick is to place 5 AA NiMh batteries in the battpak, they have sufficient charge capacity to "buffer" the SPV from the varying levels of sunshine. I had my isun solar panel propped up against a bedroom window and connected the Isun to the battpark as-required.

As it happens, as the sun has weakened, we've had the sunniest October on record in England, but I'm afraid this little experiment finished today after days of rain, some long phone calls, flat batteries, and that dreaded hole-in-the-wall was required.  I suspect that if I used a larger solar panel or better AA NiMh batteries became available then a full 365-days solar record is possible.

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