We were asked to check out C.Crane’s Solar Battery Charger, so CableOrganizer.com sent us a review unit and all we needed to do was wait for some sun. Luckily for us, the sun is returning around these parts. So we rounded up a bunch of dead batteries and got to work.
This solar battery charger will charge AAA, AA, C and D size batteries and has a solar power meter on top which shows the charging rate. Just open the plastic cover and put some batteries in. At any one time, you can charge several batteries, a few AA or AAAs along with some Ds for instance.
The batteries fit well, however the AA/AAA slot requires you to pass the batteries through a metal ring in order to keep them in place. Once the batteries are inside, just close the lid and put the charger in the sun. The solar power meter needle will move acording to how much sun is hitting it, letting you know how long each kind of battery will take to charge in that amount of sun. AAAs one hour, AAs 3 hours etc. Just give it the time it indicates and come back and get them.
So, how did it do? Well, we tested some depleted AAA and AA NiMH batteries. I have several sets of batteries that I use often and I know them well and know what kind of juice I can get out of them with my standard charger.
The AAA would get a charge in one hour according to the meter, so we gave them an hour to charge. The end result was that they got a fairly good charge, almost as much as my standard charger, but not quite. They charged up nice, but fell a bit short.
The same with the AAs. The solar charger gave them a decent charge, but they just didn’t get completely juiced up in the time indicated.
Now, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We are talking a solar charger here. It does a great job in a fairly short amount of time. I would say that it’s perfect for situations like camping or if you want to periodically charge up a bunch of remote batteries. That sort of thing.
Bottom line: It is convenient and worth having for your many remote batteries alone and doesn’t take all day. Plus it’s environmentally friendly. At $23.00 it’s a nice gadget to have around. Especially in an emergency.