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Solar Laptop Chargers

 
 

How do I choose the best solar laptop charger for my needs?

All of the solar chargers and battery packs listed on this page can charge your laptop. If you are looking for the fastest charge, we recommend the Arc 20W (shown here on the left on a 11" Chromebook) and the 17 Watt Kit. If storage and ease of setup is most important, consider the Array Solar Backpack or Fuse 10W.

 

size of solar panel to charge laptop
 

 

How long will it take to charge my laptop from solar?

Charge times for your laptop will vary based on three factors:

 

  1. 1. Size of your battery – the larger your laptop, the longer it will take to charge. We assume a 45 Watt hour battery here which is pretty common among modern, efficient laptops.
  2. 2. Amount of power (in Watts) of your solar panel – more power translates to faster charge times
  3. 3. Solar conditions – clear sunny days charge systems much faster than overcast days

In good sun, and with an average laptop with a 45 Watt hour battery, we see the following charge times for our different solar laptop chargers:

Arc 20W 4.5 hours
Generator, 17 Watt Kit 5.5 hours
Array, Fuse 10W 11 hours

You can find out the size of your battery in Watt hours by looking for your model number online and the word "specifications." The battery size is often listed in Watt hours like for this Samsung Chromebook which has just a 30 Watt hour battery.

 

laptop battery size specification
 

If the size is not listed in Watt hours, then multiply the voltage (often 11.1 or 14.4V) by the capacity (mAh) and divide by 1,000 to get Watt hours. For example, if your battery is 90 Watt hours, it will take twice as long as the times listed in the table above. If your battery is 30 Watt hours, charge times would take 2/3rds as much time.

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How many times can I charge my laptop from the V72 portable laptop battery?

It depends on the size of the laptop’s battery. Using our efficient laptop with a 45 Watt hour battery as an example, we will get about 1.1 charges on our laptop from the V72. You can adjust up or down based on the size of the battery in your laptop.

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How do I connect from your solar charger to my laptop?

We have an adapter tip for nearly every laptop on the market. To connect, find the adapter that fits your laptop best and plug it into our battery using our “DC Out Cable”. To learn how to charge your MacBook from solar please visit our Solar for MacBook Guide.

 

solar panel, battery and laptop
Adapter for laptop

 

Connect battery pack to laptop
 

 

Our standard set of adapters has 10 of the most common adapter tips for Lenovos, HPs, Acer, ASUS, Toshiba, etc.

 

included adapters with battery pack
 

We also have a range of optional laptop adapters for the Microsoft Surface (see below), MacBooks and a range of other laptops. If you don’t see what you need, please contact technical support and include your laptop model number. Be sure to include the model number of the laptop.

 

adapter for Microsoft Surface
 
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What voltage setting on the battery should I use?

Our V72 laptop battery included with our solar chargers has three settings: 12, 16 and 19 Volts. To determine the best voltage setting for your laptop, we strongly suggest you look at the AC charger that came with your laptop, on the back of the laptop or in the product specifications. On the Toshiba's laptop's AC Charger you will see the output listed on both the AC charger (you may need a magnifying glass, the writing is often tiny) and the back of the laptop at 19V, 2.37A. So, if you're using this laptop, you would use the 19V setting on the Voltaic battery.

 

laptop battery size specification
laptop battery size specification

 

Select the output (12, 16 or 19V) that is closest to the voltage output of your AC charger. When in doubt, start at a lower voltage. So if you laptop asks for 18V, try to see if it charges at 16V before moving to 19 Volts.

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I have a DELL or HP laptop, what do I need to do to charge it?

DELLs and HPs have a proprietary charging circuit that many times requires a special adapter for best performance, here are the details.

DELL – When connected to our battery with our standard adapters, most DELLs will run, but not recharge from our battery. This is efficient, but can be frustrating. We suggest getting our optional adapters with Microchips to be able to recharge your DELL. Newer DELL Ultrabooks need a skinny adapter (4.5x3.0mm) found here. Older DELLs require a wider adapter (7.4x5.0mm) here.

HP – Business class HP laptops like the Elitebooks, Envy and Spectre Series also have a proprietary charging circuit. Newer ultrabooks like the Envy and Spectre require this thin adapter (4.5 x 3.0mm), while older Elitebooks need this wider adapter.

 

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Can I charge my USB-C laptop from a solar charger?

The fastest solution for charging laptops with USB-C is to use our USB-C Car Charger. This adapter plugs into the included car charger socket on our laptop battery like the V72. It charges the laptops we have tested (including MacBook Pros) at 15 Watts which is currently the max USB C output from a battery pack. This is a rapidly evolving area and we are working on identifying faster solutions.

 

USB C Adapter for laptops
 

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Can you charge a MacBook from solar?

Yes, visit our Solar for MacBook Charging Guide for more information.

I’m going to be in a very wet environment, are your solar chargers waterproof?

While our solar panels are waterproof, the V72 portable laptop charger is not. If you are going river rafting or to a tropical environment, we recommend our solar-ready Nanuk case. We have installed a waterproof gland that connects to our solar panel. Your battery will stay dry inside the case. Photo by Matthew Parent.

 

battery in waterproof case
 
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Where have people used your products? Are they tough enough for me?

We have been charging laptops all around the world. Here are some of the places they have been used. Below, we share some customer shots from the rain forests of Central America, the Indian Himalayas, remote Maine and Red Rock Canyon.


solar laptop charger in Guatemala
solar charging a laptop in Himalayas

solar charger for laptop in cabin
solar charger on van