iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






"Solar Scotty" – Solar Charger for Mobile Devices

Engineers seem to like this name very much, as they decided to give it to their device. Well, let's see what this Scott is capable of.

First of all, let's adduce the specification:

  • Output voltage: 2.5 ~ 14 V
  • Maximum output current: 0.05 ~ 2 A
  • Solar battery capacity: 0.4 W
  • Bundled batteries: 2x600 mAh
  • Battery types: NiMH, NiCd, RAM
  • Ambient temperature: 0 ~ +35 oC
  • Humidity: up to 90%
  • Dimensions(LxWxH): 98x64x31 mm
  • Weight including batteries: 134 g
  • Made in: Germany
  • Package Contents: solar panel, cable, adapter, 2 batteries.

The device is made of black plastic, it's narrowed to the bottom. The front panel houses a rectangular solar module. The rear panel hosts an external power supply connector (12V, to charge Scotty from the electrical system of a car), charge indicator and a bay for AA batteries. There is a connector on the bottom to plug various power consuming devices. The rear side also contains a convenient clip to carry Scotty on your belt or on a rucksack strap. This clip turns into a device stand in a car or at home. The stand allows to orientate the device to maximum light. When on a stand, the device is raised approximately by 30 degrees.

Mobile phones and other devices cannot be charged from solar batteries directly. At first Scotty batteries are charged. Only after that they charge the connected devices. You can use nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hydride batteries. The device has overcharge and deep discharge protections. You can also use regular alkaline batteries, but only when you charge a mobile phone, GPS module, or other devices.

Indicator on the rear panel shows the charge level of Scotty batteries – the faster the LED is blinking, the fuller the batteries are charged.

The bundled cable allows to charge Nokia phones without an adapter. You will need adapters (or different cables) for other phone models as well as PDA and GPS modules. Scotty starts working only when you plug the adapter cable.

According to the manufacturer, Scotty will be able to fully charge its bundled batteries:

 Out-of-doors charge timeSouthern window charge time
Summer, sunny1 – 2 days3 – 5 days
Small clouds4 – 8 days1.5 – 3 weeks
Autumn, sunny1.5 – 3 days4 – 8 days
Winter, sunny3 – 6 days1 – 2 weeks

According to the manufacturer, 12 hours of charging bundled batteries in the bright sun should be enough for 1-1.5 hour talk over a cellular phone or 30-60 hours of stand-by mode. These data are provided for a 3.6 V phone battery.

It took Scotty less than an hour to charge Siemens ME45 from 50 to 100 percents. Unfortunately, we didn't manage to conduct thorough tests. We had this device for only a couple of days. But still, we can draw some conclusions:

This charger will be useful for hikers and car travellers. Though it takes much time to charge the bundled batteries in the sun, you can still plug it to a car accumulator or insert batteries to charge a mobile phone, which makes this device very useful for a hiker away from regular 220 V outlets. That is this device is sort of an adapter from regular AA batteries to a battery of a phone, GPS module, PDA or other low-power portable devices.

This device is presently not widely available on retail, but there already appeared one distributor intending to sell it on the market at about 70 USD when purchased in small lots starting from 100 items.

Denis Shilkin aka Jazzman (shilkin@ixbt.com)
November 15, 2004

Write a comment below. No registration needed!

Article navigation:

blog comments powered by Disqus

  Most Popular Reviews More    RSS  

AMD Phenom II X4 955, Phenom II X4 960T, Phenom II X6 1075T, and Intel Pentium G2120, Core i3-3220, Core i5-3330 Processors

Comparing old, cheap solutions from AMD with new, budget offerings from Intel.
February 1, 2013 · Processor Roundups

Inno3D GeForce GTX 670 iChill, Inno3D GeForce GTX 660 Ti Graphics Cards

A couple of mid-range adapters with original cooling systems.
January 30, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1

An external X-Fi solution in tests.
September 9, 2008 · Sound Cards

AMD FX-8350 Processor

The first worthwhile Piledriver CPU.
September 11, 2012 · Processors: AMD

Consumed Power, Energy Consumption: Ivy Bridge vs. Sandy Bridge

Trying out the new method.
September 18, 2012 · Processors: Intel
  Latest Reviews More    RSS  

i3DSpeed, September 2013

Retested all graphics cards with the new drivers.
Oct 18, 2013 · 3Digests

i3DSpeed, August 2013

Added new benchmarks: BioShock Infinite and Metro: Last Light.
Sep 06, 2013 · 3Digests

i3DSpeed, July 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 and AMD Radeon HD 7730.
Aug 05, 2013 · 3Digests

Gainward GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 2GB Golden Sample Graphics Card

An excellent hybrid of GeForce GTX 650 Ti and GeForce GTX 660.
Jun 24, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

i3DSpeed, May 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770/780.
Jun 03, 2013 · 3Digests
  Latest News More    RSS  

Platform  ·  Video  ·  Multimedia  ·  Mobile  ·  Other  ||  About us & Privacy policy  ·  Twitter  ·  Facebook

Copyright © Byrds Research & Publishing, Ltd., 1997–2011. All rights reserved.