We’ve seen lots of positive reviews for the HyperMac batteries for MacBooks. After some testing, we’ve determined that we can charge their 60 Watt hour external battery from one of our small solar panels (15 Watt, 20 Volt). So if you have a HyperMac, you’re one part away from being able to go completely offgrid.
Here are the details…
The Connection between Solar and the HyperMac
The power input to the HyperMac is a 5.5×2.1mm plug. This also happens to be the output from the circuit box that connects to our 15 Watt solar panel. You can carry the panel standalone, in our sleeve (free with a panel) or as part of the Generator bag. Let us know which option you’re interested in and we can set you up with ordering details.
Charge Indicator
One weakness of this solution is that the HyperMac’s charge indicator is on their AC charger, not their battery. This means you’ll need to have a bit of faith that the solar panel is in fact charging the battery and monitor the charge level on the battery over time.
Connection between HyperMac and your Mac
All HyperMacs come with a car charger socket that will connect to the Apple MagSafe Airline Adapter. This will maintain a charge in your MacBook, but will not recharge it. You can build your own MagSafe adapter that will charge your MacBook via the HyperMac using this guide.
Expected Performance
We think about laptop charging in terms of hours of sun per hour of run time. Some of the newer models like the 13″ MacBook or the MacBook Air deliver up to 45 minutes of runtime for every hour in the sun. If you have a pre-unibody 17″ MacBook Pro, it might only be 12 minutes per hour of sun. In other words, the longer it lasts when not connected to power, the better your experience will be when charging from solar.

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8 Responses

  1. theweakend

    with this method isn’t it possible to over charge the battery?

    Reply
    • admin

      Both the HyperMac battery and your MacBook have pretty sophisticated charging circuits which have overcharge protection. So you should be prevented from overcharging the battery.

      Reply
  2. Randy

    Great stuff as usual! I’ve got the 20W laptop solar panel and battery, along with all the other adapters bundled with it and a magsafe laptop cable. Do I need any separate cables / adapters to connect the hypermac battery to the rest of the Voltaic kit, or will it work seamlessly?

    Reply
    • admin

      Hi Randy,

      If our records are right, I believe you have the panel connected to a circuit box inside the fabric frame. The circuit box outputs to a 5.5×2.1mm plug which connects directly to the Hypermac. So on that end you’re fine.

      On the output from the Hypermac, they have a 5.5×2.5mm plug instead of 4.0×1.7mm which is on the end of your reconfigured Magsafe. If you want, we can re-wire it for you or you can look into the connectors available from Hypermac.

      Reply
  3. Randy

    So it looks like I need to find a 5.5×2.5mm to 4.0×1.7mm adapter or simply rewire it. Or is it the 2.1mm as stated above?

    “The power input to the HyperMac is a 5.5×2.1mm plug”

    Do you recommend leaving the Voltaic battery at home and just bringing the higher capacity Hypermac battery when travelling? If I do purchase that battery, I’ll be sure to mention you sent me.

    Thanks for all of your help. :)

    Reply
  4. admin

    From a weight perspective I would personally just carry one. If you want us to make you a MagSafe from an old MacBook cable with a 5.5×2.5mm plug we can certainly do that. Email us and we can send you a link for payment ($20).

    Reply
  5. Randy

    Thanks for the offer, but it’s not necessary. I’ve got four other electronic devices that I can charge with that output jack, so I’ll have to find an adapter that will work with all of them. Would you be able to splice a 5.5×2.5mm male to 4.0×1.7mm female? It wouldn’t have to be long.

    Reply

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