Update: Visit our current guide to charging DSLR Camera Batteries which includes our latest products and is kept up to date.

Here’s a brief guide to turning your solar charger into a digital camera battery charger.

Basic Concept: Most camera batteries need to be removed from the camera and charged from a special cradle designed to fit that specific model battery. The cradle that comes with your camera plugs into the wall, but most likely will not work from solar. You need a cradle that has been designed to charge from a car socket, and ideally one that has been tested to work with solar output. Car charger cradles look like this:

Always Test Before you Travel: We’ve tested all the camera chargers we sell on our site to make sure they work well with solar. Some camera chargers available online will not work with solar as their internal circuitry is setup to look for a higher current or other issues. Either way, we recommend you always take the charger for a dry run before traveling. Drain the battery in your camera, then put it out in the sun for 5-8 hours. Depending on the battery size, it should read full (See Estimating Charge Times Below).
Connecting to the Charger: Our 4 Watt solar chargers have two cables coming from the panels. One has a Mini USB tip that connects to the USB battery and the other is round. Connect your camera cradle to this round output via one of the universal adapters included with your bag. If your battery is 7.4Volts, you will also need to change the setting on your charger to 12V (remember to switch it back to 6V when charging the Voltaic USB battery). If your battery is 3.7V, try charging from 6V first and switch to 12V only if the 6V doesn’t work. Remove the Mini USB connection to the Voltaic battery for faster charging of your camera battery, otherwise you’ll be splitting the power.
Estimating Charge Times: On the battery, you’ll see a Voltage (typically 3.7 or 7.4V) and capacity (e.g. 1200mAh). Multiply these numbers together and divide by 1,000 and you’ll get Watt-hours. A 7.4V, 1200mAh is a 8.9 Watt-hour battery.
With our 4 Watt solar bags and solar chargers, each Watt-hour of battery capacity takes about 35 minutes to charge in direct sun. So an 8.9 Watt-hour battery will take about 5 and a half hours to charge.
Direct Sun Works Best: As with all solar charging, direct sun is best. Make sure the panels are pointed towards the sun and no part of the panels are in the shade. If the panels are dirty, simply wipe them with a damp, soft cloth.

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65 Responses

  1. Jeremy Bryner

    So if I own a Nikon d90, how would I charge my batteries with your system? The D90 uses a EN-ELe battery. Your charging system has looked like the best option for me vs finding every little piece myself. I will be in the backcountry backpacking for weeks at a time, and I need a way to keep my camera going the whole time. Can you guys help me please.

    Thanks,

    Jeremy Bryner

    Reply
    • admin

      Hi Jeremy,

      You would need our EN-EL3 camera cradle (confirm the battery inside your D90 is EN-EL3), available on our adapters page. Once you have one of our chargers, there is a switch that sets the output to 12V. Connect the cradle directly to the output of the solar panels and point the panels towards the sun. Does that help?

      Reply
      • Jay

        Hi Jeremy…

        I also have a D90 and I’m headed to Peru in June for three weeks… This looks like a great backpacking solution. Did you purchase this system and did it work well for you?

        Thanks in advance… Jay

  2. George Lacy

    Can I use a EN-EL3 cradle to charge a 3.7V 600mAh EN-EL10 battery?

    Reply
  3. Corbett Jones

    Im looking to charge the popular Canon 7D/5D battery, the LP-E6. I noticed that you dont have an adaptor for it up on your site. Are you working on one or is there another work around that will work to charge these batteries? Thank you! – Corbett

    Reply
    • admin

      Hi Corbett,

      This one seems to work fairly well with our testing: http://www.amazon.com/Premium-Compact-Battery-Charger-LP-E6/dp/tech-data/B002WNP4RM

      It is not fancy, but does a relatively good job converting solar into battery power. You’ll need our 3.5×1.3mm adapter to connect from our panels (set to 12V) to the cradle. If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a ring back tomorrow — and we do recommend testing before you head out on any trip. Simply, drain the LP-E6 and then connect it to the panels for 4-5 hours of direct sunlight. You should see it make reasonable progress towards being fully.

      Reply
  4. thomas verbeke

    could this work with a EN-EL14 battery?
    What adapter do i need?
    thx

    Reply
  5. Will

    How about a Canon NB4L battery? Which charger would you suggest? Thanks.

    Reply
  6. Tony Johansen

    How about a Panasonic BLB13E battery for GH1 Micro For Thirds camera? It is 7.2V

    Reply
  7. Katie

    I have a Canon PowerShot SX130 IS that I’m using AA Lithium batteries in. What battery charger pack should I buy that would be able to charge up with this solar charger? Thanks!

    Reply
  8. Tim Presley

    I have a Sony Nex-3 with an NP FW50 battery. I am looking to buy a solar charger that can charge this but have been unsuccessful so far. If I bought the Amp Solar Charger, what else would I need to buy so that I could charge my camera battery with it? Thanks!

    Reply
  9. GBC

    Hi,
    I ha ve a Fuse Solar Charger, I want to charge the battery for a Panasonic DMC ZS7, which charger suggest?? THX

    Reply
  10. The Dude

    What about for the Canon NB-2LH batteries for the old Digital Rebel XT circa 2006? Thanks.

    Reply
  11. George

    Hi, when will you carry the Canon Rebel T2i cradle? I’m looking to do a few full reviews on my website within the next month. Can you have them available by then?

    I’m aiming to purchase maybe two bags and a bunch of accessories as well so please let me know. Thanks!

    Reply
    • admin

      Hi George,
      We should have the cradle for the LP-E8 battery (the kind in the T2i) in about 7-10 days. We just ordered them a few days back.
      Thanks,
      Jeff

      Reply
  12. Ryan

    Hey I know you get a lot of these posts, and im sorry to add another one, but i was wondering if you know of a charger that would work for my Nikon D3000, it uses a EN-EL9a lithium ion battery pack…thanks in advanced

    Reply
  13. angelina dreem

    Hey Voltaic!

    i have a Sony Alpha55 with a NP-FW50 Battery i believe,

    whats my best bet for using a solar bag charger? I dont see my battery in your selection.

    love
    Angelina

    Reply
    • admin

      Hi Angelina,

      Thanks for your note. We do have an FW50 cradle here: https://www.voltaicsystems.com/camera – see the last row of camera cradles.

      The FW50 is a fairly large camera battery (9.6 Watt hours). Any of our solar chargers will power it, so if you need a very fast charge (<7 hours), I would go with one of the larger units: Spark, Fuse 10W, etc. If 7-8 hours charge time is ok, then the Amp, Fuse 4W, Switch, etc. with 4 Watts of power are fine.

      Jeff

      Reply
  14. C-Dan

    Can you tell me in short what I’ll need to charge my D3200’s battery. It’s a ENEL14.
    I’ll obviously need the ENEL 14 cradle, will third party cradles work?
    And what else will I need?
    Can you please link the products?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • admin

      You need one of our 4W or higher solar chargers on our site (this is really all our solar chargers). The larger the charger, the faster the charge on the ENEL14. Many, but not all 3rd party cradles work…if you have some time, you should definitely test before you go.

      If you do get a 3rd party charger, you should also get our 3.5×1.3mm adapter which connects from the solar panels to the cradle – http://secure.voltaicsystems.com/cgi-bin/UCEditor?merchantId=VOLTA&ADD=3511-3513

      Hope that helps,
      Jeff

      Reply
  15. Pat

    Hi there. Need a bit of help, please. I recently purchased a Nikon D3200 digital camera. It takes the EN-EL14 7.4V 1030mAh 7.7Wh Nikon Lithium battery. I have 2 batteries but still never seem to have enough for the many extended backcountry trips I’m accustomed to making. I want to purchase a solar powered charger to carry along. Exactly what all will I need? Do you folks sell the cradles for above mentioned batteries for your solar chargers are can you direct me to someone who does? Thanks so much.

    Reply
  16. Eduardo Barreto Alexandre

    Hello,

    I’m planning to buy your Voltaic Fuse 4W Solar Charger with the V39 Battery Upgrade to use in my vacations. The main reason I need the Charger is to charge my Nikon D5200 which uses EN-EL14 battery. Watching the youtube movie from the DSLR Charging guide, I noticed that you directly plugged the cradle to the Solar Panel switching the voltage to 12V.
    My question is if it is possible to use the V39 battery as well to charge the EN-EL14 battery when there is no sun?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  17. kody

    Looking for a way to charge my omd em1 battery. It is a dln1. What what would be min required?

    Reply
    • admin

      Hi Kody, You’ll need a BLN-1 camera charger that charges from DC like ours, see: https://www.voltaicsystems.com/adapters.shtml#camera
      From the solar perspective, you’ll need one of our chargers that is capable of 12 Volt output. The smallest one we recommend is the Fuse 4W. If you were trying to charge the battery relatively quickly, I would go with either our 7 or 12 Watt Kit. If you also want to charge a laptop, the Fuse 10W is a good choice. You can watch the video at https://www.voltaicsystems.com/camera

      Reply
      • Voltaic Systems

        Hi – if you’re not trying to charge a laptop, I would go with the Arc 8W with V44 upgrade, Fuse 6w with V44 upgrade or Fuse 9W.

        If you’re trying to charge a laptop, Fuse 10W, Arc 20W Kit and 17 Watt Kit are our most popular.

  18. neer

    can somebody help me in understanding this accesorie and how I use it for my canon eos 50D ?
    I m going to hilly areas after one week where no electricity source is
    plz help me understanding this better

    Reply
  19. Tenesor Diaz

    Hello,

    I have a Nikon D7200 and Macbook pro that I will take with me during my bicycle world tour starting next summer 2018. what will you recommend for these devices? look forward to your response thank you.

    regards

    Tenesor

    Reply
  20. Carol

    Will your product work for a Canon LP-E8.
    I am going to Tanzania In the summer of 2018, we will be in a tent camp and I am not sure if we will have power to charge up my camera battery

    Reply
  21. Rachel

    Hi, I have a Canon PowerShot SX530 HS, which uses a NB-6LH 3.7V Li-ion battery. Do you have a USB camera (battery) charger that would work with this? If not, is there a product you recommend?
    I’m going to be in a tent camp for 30 days in Kenya starting in a week and a half, so would it arrive in time?

    Reply
  22. Rachel

    Thank you so much! The price is reasonable, as well.

    Do you also have an adapter that will work for a Sony Handycam’s battery: model number NP-FH50 6.8V, by any chance? This is for a camcorder.

    Reply

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