The Granola Strolla is the new solar charger being crowdfunded using Kickstarter. This solar charger is completely environment-friendly from top to bottom and is on it’s way to reaching it’s goal of $20,000 before Oct 12 2014. I personally like the way it’s designed to be a lightweight, water resistant and cost-effective solar charger.
Who is behind this charger?
Ben and Irene designed and devised Granola Strolla, the portable solar charger. This device was born out of their difficulty in charging the devices while being outdoors away from the charge points. Driven by necessity and motivated by environmentally benign solar, the outcome is the solar charger that can intercept solar radiation continuously without tracking.
Quick specifications list:
Solar panel: 3 Nos, rated at 6V and 50 mA
Rechargeable Battery: Lithium iron phosphate, 2000mAh
Output: DC – 5V, 100mA-2A
Power: Maximum 10 Watts
The charger has only a green color option. If you would like to vouch for other color options you can do it in their website.
What is great about this solar charger?
The solar charger is designed in the shape of a triangular prism which allows atleast one of the sides of the prism to be directed towards the sunrays at all times.
Now you got to ask me, “If there are three different panels facing different directions doesn’t it reduce the amount of sunrays captured when compared all of the panels laid flat out?“ Yes the prism setup does reduce the amount of sunrays captured.
Since this charger is meant to be used on the go, especially while it’s hanging out from your bag, the more the charger has a shape of a cylinder the better is the potential. For this purpose, prism shape has a better light capturing potential than flat chargers.
Imagine using a 15 inch flat charger hooked at the back of your backpack. It would move from one side to another like a pendulum. Now all of a sudden prism sounds like a great design, lol.
The solar panel fixed on the three sides of the triangular prism ensures continuous charging of the battery contained in the space of the prism. The triangular base enables easy and balanced positioning of the charger. Just hook it onto the backpack and let it do its job.
The charger is made up of smaller panels when compared to the size used in similar utility chargers. The three solar panels assembled on the three sides of the prism not only conserve space but also provide enough enclosure for housing the rechargeable battery.
That’s a pretty good idea actually; when you look into the traditional chargers in the market they have the usual panel on the top and battery below approach.
The heart of Granola Strolla is a rechargeable battery and this in-built battery is a new guy in the town. The battery is nothing like the conventional Li-ion or Li-polymer batteries. The LiFePO4 battery has a high power density, long service life and safety. The lithium iron phosphate is of low cost and has a non-toxic nature.
Talking about the non-toxic nature of the battery, this picture explains it all,
The one cool thing about the LiFePO4 battery is that the charging rate is very high and hence can be fully charged very quickly. Self discharge rate is very low and hence can hold the stored power for a long period of time. The battery material is structurally stable and hence withstands well in instances of overheating and short circuiting. It is battery charge specification 1.2 compliant. It can charge as fast as that of the wall charger.
Can charge any USB device using the same USB cable without needing to change for each device. Asus tablet (alone) cannot be charged with this charger. For some reason most of the chargers in the market are not compatible with Asus tablets (need to get my detective lens on).
Why is it great?
All the material of choice for making this charger is environmental-friendly. Some to highlights are the choice of HDPE over others such as polycarbonate, lithium iron phosphate over the lithium cobalt salt. While polycarbonate has bisphenol A, an environmentally unfriendly material, lithium cobalt salt shows non-linear expansion affecting its stability.
It’s non-toxic, affordable and unique. If you wanna rank up this charger as being awesome, you can support them to reach their goal in the Kickstarter website.