10 unusual cell phone chargers
The SunVolt portable solar power station is a Kickstarter project that was submitted last week. Fortunately, more than half of the money being asked for has been already raised, so the gadget could very well turn into a commercial product in the near future. On a sunny day, it can charge multiple handsets as efficiently as if they were plugged in to a conventional wall charger. It will be sold with a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects.
The JuiceBar is a solar-powered USB charger that you can actually buy right now. It is priced at $50 and contains a 2,000mAh battery that can be recharged using the built-in solar panel, or a standard USB port. It also comes with a built-in LED that can be used as a flashlight.
And here's one more solar-powered smartphone charger, this time tailored especially for the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4. Available in black or white, the accessory holds a 1,800mAh battery that gets charged from the sun or from a standard USB port. The Eton Mobius solar charger is priced at $60.
In case you are into cycling, or that's simply the way you commute to work, then check out the ECOXPOWER pedal-powered charger. Mounted on the front wheel of any bicycle, it provides a full-sized USB port that you can charge your phone with. In addition, a 1W LED is installed and acts as a headlight. A 700mAh battery is built-in for good measure. Getting one will set you back $100.
What makes Powertrekk so awesome is that it uses a fuel cell to produce power. That and a spoonful of water to get the advanced electro-chemical process running. Like the items we listed previously, the Powertrekk has an internal battery that can store and provide power as well.
Solar- or wind-powered chargers are not very efficient on their own, but when combined, both sources should yield better results. That is the principle behind the Kinesis K3 charger, which features a solar cell and a wind-propelled turbine. The charger contains a 4,000mAh battery for storing energy and has a maximum output of 1 amp. The accessory is priced at $100.
While all the chargers we've listed so far provide an output of 5 volts for USB-powered gadgets, the Pocket Socket delivers a whopping 120 volts and is technically capable of providing 10 watts of power. Electricity is generated from the built-in dynamo, which the user cranks by hand. The Pocket Socket costs $60.
With the help of a standard airbed foot pump, the Orange Power Pump generates enough power to charge a cell phone. Electricity is produced by the turbine, which is rotated from the air flow generated by the pump. It is portable, lightweight, and should fit in the backpack of any camper.
The Duracell My Pocket Charger may not be eco-friendly, but can sure come in handy when an outlet isn't nearby. It takes two AA batteries and boosts their output voltage to the 5 volts that a cell phone requires in order to be charged. The accessory can be found for less than $20 at various retail stores online.
And for all the DIY enthusiasts we have Ladyada's MintyBoost! battery-powered USB charger. A pair of rechargable AA batteries and all the circuitry are stuffed inside an Altoids tin for convenience, and 5 volts of power are provided from the standard-sized USB port. You are free to follow the tutorial on Instrucatbles and build one yourself, or just order a $19 kit from the Adafruit online store.