Peace Corps Advice – Solar Laptop Charging admin October 5, 2016 All, Devices 16 Comments Many volunteers heading into the Peace Corps want a portable solar charger and ask us what products they should get to charge their laptop. Since laptops require a higher input than standard USB devices, you will require a larger system to charge your device. This guide below will help you choose the best system for your needs. For charging smaller USB only, we recommend our 9 Watt Kit or Fuse 9W Solar Charger. Once you decide on a system, make sure to email us a copy of your acceptance letter to our team at email@example.com to receive your Peace Corps discount. Solar Chargers for Laptops For those volunteers that need to take a laptop along with them, we recommend the two following solar charging systems: 1) Arc 20W Solar Charger Kit 2) 17 Watt Solar Laptop Charger Kit They are both highly portable and similarly priced but here are the major differences… Arc 20W Solar Charger Kit The Arc 20W Kit is our most powerful solar charger and is designed to charge laptops whenever you need power. This compact solar charger is perfect for traveling and features flexible ETFE coating allowing for the solar charger to be folded up when not in use. The Arc 20W will fully charge the included V88 Laptop Battery in just 5.5-6 hours of direct sunlight and power your laptop about 1X times. For more information about your specific laptop, visit our Solar Laptop Guide. 17 Watt Solar Charger Kit The 17 Watt Panel Kit provides comparable solar power to the Arc 20W Kit (6.5 hours to charge in direct sunlight), but features one of our rigid solar panels instead of the folding style. What we like about this option is that you can mount the waterproof panel on the roof of your living space and run an optional extension cable (we recommend our 10ft. Extension cord) inside to your battery. The panel generates power whenever there is sunlight and your battery stays inside your home ready to power your devices when you need it. If you’re looking for a more permanent solution to leave outside 24/7, regardless of the weather, this could be a good fit for you. Additional Recommendations If you need to charge a MacBook or DSLR camera, we recommend you read our detailed product guides to make sure you have all the items you need before you depart: MacBook Solar Charger Guide DSLR Solar Charger Guide Protecting Your Voltaic Battery Pack In addition to the solar panel, many Peace Corps Volunteers are able to charge their battery from an AC power supply in a local village. While this can be very convenient, an unstable power grid in developing countries can lead to large fluctuations in power that can potentially damage your battery beyond repair. That is why we strongly recommend using a small surge protector (like this one from Amazon) between your V88 laptop battery and the AC power supply in the village. It is cheap, small and lightweight, and most importantly can potentially save your electronics from doom. As of 2016, Voltaic Systems will no longer provide a warranty replacement on batteries that are damaged while charging from an unreliable power grid in a developing country. Peace Corps Discount To get your 25% Voltaic Peace Corps Discount, simply email a copy of your acceptance letter to firstname.lastname@example.org Important Note Regarding Warranty: Due to international shipping regulations on lithium ion batteries, we cannot ship replacements (if needed) outside of the US. 16 Responses Arthur April 8, 2013 I would like to know if it ywould also charge Samsung SLATE-7 (Samsung has specific charging inputs,..) Reply admin April 8, 2013 Hi Arthur, Looking online, it seems that the Slate-7 uses a barrel adapter that is the same size as on their Series 5 / Series 7 laptop series. We use the 3.0×1.0mm adapter on those models (included standard with our laptop chargers). Here’s what it looks like – https://www.voltaicsystems.com/img/LaptopF5521-3010.JPG – is this what you’re seeing on your device? /jeff Reply Arthur August 29, 2013 Thanks Jeff, but… Your link points to the home pahe, so I could not see if this is the same plug as I have on my PS. The other part of the question is if I could efficiently use Fuse with Slate-7 or I woul rather need 18W panel. If possible I would like to have 2 panels (one sort of stationary for a base camp-but still portable), then another one which I could carry with me on a backpack. The question is if I could chain 2 panels to get more sun power ? Since I also use a electric motor for my boat I would be nice to have 16-18V to charge my boat battery. I would appreciate if you could elaborate on this type of setup. admin August 29, 2013 Hi Arthur, Sorry about that, try this: https://www.voltaicsystems.com/img/products/LaptopF5521-3010.JPG For the Slate-7, you would need one of our laptop systems. Here are the two most popular for the Peace Corps: http://voltaicsystems.com/blog/peace-corps-advice-laptop-charging-setups/ Yes, you can add the 16.8 Watt panel to the Fuse 10W and get a 27 Watt system, here’s how to do it: http://voltaicsystems.com/blog/double-power-on-your-solar-charger/ Jeff justin August 7, 2013 Hi, I am a Tanzanian living in Musoma, I am wondering if you can tell me how I can purchase the 10W monocrystalline Solar Panels in Tanzania. Your reply will be highly appreciated. Regards … Justin. Reply alexandria smith December 27, 2013 my daughter (Alexandria smith ) will be leaving for Ghana peace corp in Feb 3., 2014. . any advice on charging a hp Google chrome book 11 and nook,android phone ,stand alone DVD player, DSC-WX300/B 18.2 MP Digital Camera camera Reply admin December 27, 2013 Hi Alexandria, The two chargers on this page are what we recommend for the Chromebook. These will charge laptops, digital cameras, phones and most DVD players. I am a bit concerned about the Chromebook though, if she doesn’t have steady Internet access it won’t work very well. It might make more sense to bring a tablet. For the camera, you will need an external cradle like this one – http://www.amazon.com/CyberShot-DSC-RX100-DSC-RX100M-DSC-HX300-DSC-HX50V/dp/B008O6TDBO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1388154548&sr=8-2&keywords=nb-bx1+charger See more on our camera charging page – https://www.voltaicsystems.com/camera Thanks, Jeff Reply vicky furner January 15, 2014 hi, i live off grid and would like to have a solar charger just for my laptop. I would need on that charges well with British sunlight, is not too expensive, complicated and move able. I would not be traveling with it more moving it back into the sunlight when the sun has moved behind a tree, advice would be very greatful11y received. Thank you vicky Reply Jaraspak P. April 23, 2014 Hello, I’m interested in your product-16.8 Watt Solar Charger Kit. Therefore, I wonder that is there any mounting option for this kit? (I’ve seen that you have a folding kit for 18 Watt Solar Charger Kit) Looking forward to hearing from you soon. Best Regards, Jaraspak. Reply admin April 24, 2014 Hi Jaraspak, You can mount the 16.8 Watt panel in a few ways: 1. use our ziptie set to semi-permanently attach the panel to a structure. The zipties attach to the corners of the panel 2. take a few pieces of webbing and attach them to the corner pieces. You can then attach the panel to a backpack or any structure Hope that helps, Jeff Reply Jo Lobertini November 1, 2015 Hello! Thank you for the Peace Corps information. My son has a Toshiba laptop. What will he need to make the that work with one of these solar chargers? Adapters, cords, etc. Thank you, Jo Reply Tony Kauffmann November 16, 2015 Hello, feel free to reach out to our support team at email@example.com to provide specific details about your laptop model (what type of Toshiba) and we’ll provide a recommendation for adapter size. Reply Gary L December 4, 2017 Can you comment on the durability of the solar charger in the sub-Sahara sun? 10-15 hours in direct sun: could it reduce the life of the charger? Peace Corps destination within 10 degrees north of the equator. Reply Voltaic Systems December 4, 2017 We use high quality materials on the solar panels to eliminate or reduce this issue. The 17 Watt panel on the 17 Watt kit has a urethane coating that is designed to last 10+ years outside 365 days a year. The Arc 20W is not quite as rugged, but we use and ETFE coating (instead of the cheaper PET laminate) with higher UV resistance for a 5 year lifetime. 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