Solar Powered Battery and Charger for USB Devices

If you commute to work in your car or on your bike then you really need a battery backup and charger for your USB devices like your cell phone and MP3 player. Use the commute time to keep your backup battery fully charged.
The one I bought is the Scosche solBat II for about $25.00. It's a solar powered backup battery and charger for most USB devices. It is a very simple device consisting of pack about the size of a small cell phone. To charge it initially you use the supplied USB cable and plug it into your computer or into a USB wall outlet adapter and charge it for 4 or 5 hours. Alternatively you can just stick it in the sun for 4-5 days (!), maybe longer in Seattle, to fully charge. I went with the "stick it in my computer over night" route. It also comes with a cradle and suction cups so you can stick it to your windshield to keep it charged after the initial charge.
Forgot to recharge your cell phone or MP3 player last night? No worries, use your solBat. To use it, all you do is take the USB cable that came with your phone or other device and plug it into the USB port in the solBat and you're good to go. What I really like about the solBat is the lack of adapter tips! Every other battery/charger I looked at had a special cable that had interchangeable tips depending on what device you wanted to charge. If they don't have a tip for your device you're out of luck. Some can sell you tips for the less popular devices; like I want to spend even more money! I used to have a real hard time finding tips for my Samsung phone. For you outdoor types there is also a carabiner to clip onto your belt, bike or backpack.

Portable Power

I no longer carry a separate power adapter for my cell phone, my wife's cell phone, my bluetooth headset, my laptop, etc. when traveling. I carry one power adapter that charges them all and this converter is smaller than my laptop adapter so it doesn't add much weight. All you have to do is get a power adapter and tips that fit the devices you want to charge. Make sure the adapter can charge a laptop because some can't and make sure they have a USB port to charge your phone and other devices. For your USB devices you will use your USB cables that came with your device. Note: To keep those cables from getting tangled up put each one in a labeled Zip Lock bag. Other options to consider are air plane and car adapters and whether you want international wall power support.
There are several brands out there and the two I have tried are iGo and Kensington.
The biggest problem I had when I ordered an iGo a year ago was that the iGo web site was almost impossible to use. Although they listed all of the products they sold you couldn't figure out which parts went with each other. I gave up on them and switched to Kensington. However, I have revisited there web site to write this article and their web site has been completely rewritten and they even offer phone ordering and interactive internet sales support so you may want to try them.
My favorite is the Kensington 120 watt power adapter which they no longer offer. The best you can get now is 90 watts which should be enough. Kensington does not offer telephone sales or interactive internet support. Hopefully you won't need it.

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