Read our updated Solar Charger for Tablet Guide for updated information.

While we wait impatiently for our iPad2 to arrive in the mail, we have had to rely on friends iPads for testing purposes. We tested both our current V11 USB battery and the larger battery included with our upcoming Spark tablet case which is designed as a dedicated iPad solar charger.
The Spark battery has two ports, a low power port that outputs 650mA for phones and a high power port that outputs 2 Amps for tablets. The higher output is needed to charge tablets in a reasonable amount of time (about three and a half hours). The smaller V11 does work, but it will only charge the iPad about 1/3 of the way full. We consider it more of an iPad charger when you’re in a pinch rather than something practical for everyday use.
Here are the results:
Cable Spark High Power Port Spark Low Power Port V11 USB Battery
Voltaic’s iPod Adapter Charges Charges Charges
iPad2’s USB Cable Charges “Not Charging” “Not Charging”
It looks as if Apple has changed the charging circuit again so that it doesn’t show charging off of a normal USB port and their USB cable. It does work in all cases, however, when using our iPhone adapter and cable. When the first iPad came out, we saw similar behavior and then Apple changed the charge circuit on later versions so that it would charge off normal USB ports. We’ll keep an eye on it to see if that happens with the iPad 2 as well.

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2 Responses

  1. Amy

    Hi,

    I am wondering how long (direct sun) it takes to fully charge the Spark battery.

    Also, what is the difference in charge time between using the battery and directly charging the iPad from the solar panel?

    Please let me know when this product is on the market, it might be an awesome Christmas present for a few people I know.

    Amy

    Reply
    • admin

      About 10 hours to charge the Spark battery in direct sun.

      Unfortunately, the iPad doesn’t charge well directly from the panels. If it worked, you would gain maybe 25% efficiency, but only in perfect conditions. In less than perfect conditions, the battery will do a better job of absorbing all the available energy.

      We hope to have it launched in about two weeks!

      Reply

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