Freeloader Pro solar powered charger

Freeloader Pro solar powered charger

Summary: I’ve been on a long quest for ways to charge my many gadgets without needing mains power. This quest has three separate drivers:- When I travel with lots of gadgets I don’t really want to carry lots of power adaptors too- I’m a good-hearted soul who wants to use the earth’s resources as little as possible- Quite simply, using natural resources to charge gadgets should be a hundred percent reliable by nowBut I’ve never found a fully reliable solution.

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I’ve been on a long quest for ways to charge my many gadgets without needing mains power. This quest has three separate drivers:

- When I travel with lots of gadgets I don’t really want to carry lots of power adaptors too

- I’m a good-hearted soul who wants to use the earth’s resources as little as possible

- Quite simply, using natural resources to charge gadgets should be a hundred percent reliable by now

But I’ve never found a fully reliable solution. The latest to hit the test pile is the Freeloader Pro

This is an impressive piece of kit comprising a double solar panel, plentiful array of connectors and a separate charging unit that copes with camera batteries. But at £70 it is quite an investment. So it has to work, and work well.

Put it in the sun for 7-9 hours and the internal battery is filled says the blurb. I never managed to get it to show itself more than three quarters full, and finding 7-9 hours of sun sometimes proved a challenge partly because of the English weather, partly because of the practicalities of getting it outdoors for that long.

No, it doesn’t need to be in full sunlight, but duller, overcast conditions will make charging that bit slower. You can resort to using the provided USB charger and mains power if necessary, but that rather defeats the object.

The charging part worked well, and I’ve charged various devices including camera batteries successfully. But the Freeloader Pro and the various bits of cable and extras you need are a bit bulky to carry around, and I found I could only hope to boost the battery of one item every day. Having to maintain a rotation system has been a bit of a chore, and on occasion things have run out of juice before it is their turn.

The consequence is that I’ve not actually fully relied on the Freeloader Pro. I’ve tended to couple it with mains power chargers and/or portable battery units pre-charged from the mains.

Now, I readily admit that I tend to want to charge a lot of kit, and I may be asking too much of the Freeloader Pro.

However, the quest continues, and I’m moving on to a wind-powered charger that mounts on my bike next. I’ll report back when it has been fully tested.

In the mean time I’d like to know, has anyone reading this tried a charging device powered by natural resources and found it to work well?

Topic: Reviews

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4 comments
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  • Freeloader Pro solar powered charger

    Nice review Sandra. I've been looking at this charger too and wondered if it could meet my needs. I suspect not: it seems expensive so (as you say) it has to work well, and for that money, I don't want to have to carry other chargers around too.

    It seems we're doomed to disappointment for the moment...
    Manek Dubash
  • Freeloader Pro solar powered charger

    Indeed there is still a great void to be filled in this area and the best person to tackle this issue is non other than Trevor Baylis and is continuing to do so, big companies should be working with him to fill this gap.
    CA-aba1d
  • Freeloader Pro solar powered charger

    On a bike (meaning bicycle, not motorbike :-) ) it could be a good (although not perfect) solution to use a dynamo. Not sure about other countries but here in Czech republic in the past times there were bikes usually equipped with dynamo powered lights instead of nowadays used battery/accumulator powered lights. The dynamo was delivering around 4-6 Volts at normal bike speed (bigger speed means more Volts), now I am not sure about how much current but it was enough supply for two bulbs so I think it can give at least 500 mA. In my opinion it could be enough power to charge one or two gadgets. Of course it works only when the bike moves and it takes this power off your legs and feet but you can switch it on for example only when riding down the hill - then it is a free energy. And using two dynamos (one on the front wheel and the other on the rear wheel) you could charge up to 4 gadgets I think. The tradeoff is that it also acts a little as a brake, it slows down the bike a little, so it isnt a perfect solution as I wrote above.
    kybergreg@...
  • Freeloader Pro solar powered charger

    Yeah thats a great idea there still about over hear just not as common as they once where, Trevor Baylis and co recently came up with wind up portable media player for example amongst many other items.

    the main site;
    http://www.trevorbaylisbrands.com/tbb/success/intro.asp

    The eco player;
    http://www.ecomediaplayer.com/

    See with a little thought and effort things are achievable here and now.
    CA-aba1d