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IR Bushnell SolarWrap Mini--Rick D

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  • redbike64
    Howdy campers, Below, please find my IR for the SolarWrap Mini test. I see we don t yet have a monitor assigned, so I m just posting here for now. Cheers, Rick
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 31, 2013
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      Howdy campers,

      Below, please find my IR for the SolarWrap Mini test.

      I see we don't yet have a monitor assigned, so I'm just posting here for now.

      Cheers,

      Rick

      http://tinyurl.com/ots9f6p


      Bushnell SolarWrap Mini
      Test Series by Rick Dreher <<IMAGE 1>>
      IR
      July 31, 2013

      TESTER INFORMATION

      NAME: Rick Dreher
      EMAIL: redbike64(at)hotmail(dot)com
      AGE: 59
      LOCATION: Northern California
      GENDER: M
      HEIGHT: 6' 0" (1.83 m)
      WEIGHT: 175 lb (79.40 kg)
      FOOT SIZE US men's 11.5
      TORSO LENGTH 19.5 in (50 cm)
      YEARS HIKING 41

      I enjoy going high and light and frequently take shorter "fast- packing" trips. My longest trips are a week or so. I've lightened my pack load because I enjoy hiking more when toting less, I can go farther and over tougher terrain, and I have cranky ankles. I use trekking poles and generally hike solo or tandem. I've backpacked all over the U.S. West and now primarily hike California's Sierra Nevada. My favorite trips are alpine and include off-trail travel and sleeping in high places. When winter arrives, I head back for snowshoe outings in the white stuff.


      INITIAL REPORT

      Product Information & Specs

      Model: Powersync SolarWrap Mini
      Maker: Bushnell
      Maker's website: <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE - "http://www.bushnell.com" LINK TEXT = "www.bushnell.com">>
      MSRP: USD $89.99
      Warranty: one year
      Model year: 2013
      Dimensions (measured, unrolled for solar charging): 18 x 4.25 inches (45.7 x 10.8 cm)
      Dimensions (measured, rolled and capped for storage): 4.5 x 1.375 inches (11.5 x 3.6 cm)
      Photovoltaic panel area (measured): 35 inches sq (232 cm sq)
      Weight (manufacturer): 3.1 oz (88 g)
      Weight (measured): 3.0 oz (85 g)
      Battery type: Li-Ion
      Battery capacity (in mAh): Not given
      "Power output": 5v, 1a (5 watts)
      Output ports: 1 USB
      Supplied accessories: USB-to-micro USB cable
      Claimed time to charge battery via USB connection: 4 hours
      Claimed time to charge battery via solar panel: 10 hours
      Waterproof?: yes (no IPX rating given)


      Introduction & Description

      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 2" IMAGE CAPTION = "Unfurled, gathering solar power.">>

      The Bushnell Powersync SolarWrap Mini is a combination storage battery and flexible photovoltaic (PV) panel that charges electronics in the field. For folks like myself, the SolarWrap represents the realization of something "invented" many times philosophizing by a campfire: "What if I never had to carry spare batteries and I could just <em> charge my stuff?</em>" It just took a couple decades for the technology and the smart people to catch up with our campfire brilliance.

      "Back in the day" I hiked with just one electrical device: a flashlight. Unlike my sad-sack, frequently broken double D-cell Ray-o-vac, today's lightweight LED headlamps are vastly more powerful and reliable and yet, they still need a battery and, depending on the amount it's used, either spares or field-recharging. Of course my electronics have grown beyond the headlamp, like Bermuda grass in a garden, and I now carry a bunch of electrical gizmos. Surveying the pile, some require me to carry extra batteries (camera, GPS, etc.) while others don't even <em>have</em> replaceable batteries (cellphone, MP3 player). My headlamp straddles the two worlds and I've installed a rechargeable battery in lieu of the stock AAA cells, making it rechargeable as well.

      In sum, for at least three of my gizmos, a remote charger might keep them powered indefinitely, regardless of trip length. Hello, SolarWrap Mini.

      <b>Overview</b>

      As noted above, the SolarWrap Mini is a pliable PV panel attached to a storage battery. When collecting solar power, the Mini is a long, narrow flexible sheet attached to a cylindrical battery at one end. When stowed or just charging a device, the PV panel rolls up around the battery to make a small cylinder.

      The Mini is designed to charge electrical devices both directly from solar power and while the sun isn't shining, via the built-in storage battery. The battery itself can be charged either by the PV panel or using external power connected to the micro-USB port. A target device connects to the Mini's output USB port, either directly or via cable.

      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 3" IMAGE CAPTION = "End caps and rolled charger.">>

      The Mini ships with a USB-to-micro-USB connecting cable and instructions.

      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 4" IMAGE CAPTION = "Charger, cord and instrucations.">>

      Initial Impressions

      <b>Design</b>

      The heart of the SolarWrap Mini is its battery, where power is stored. It's a plastic-covered cylinder with a micro-USP input connector and status light on one end and standard USB output connector on the other. The long PV panel is permanently attached to the battery. Solar cells run from the battery to a few inches from the end, while a hook-and-loop protective end flap wraps around the array when rolled for storage. Plastic end caps connected with elastic protect the USB connectors and prevent the rig from inadvertently unrolling. The whole works is black, except for a few orange labels.

      The USB-micro USB cable will 1. charge any device with a micro-USB plug and 2. charge the Mini from a USB power supply. Other devices without micro-USB connectors can be charged by adding the correct cable.

      <b>Construction</b>

      The SolarWrap Mini seems well-built of sturdy materials. The PV cells themselves appear sealed/glued to a fabric backing strip, and this sandwich is surprisingly thin. The solar panel fits into the battery case through a slot and the other end is sewn to the hook-and-loop end piece. The plastic battery compartment has printed instructions and the end caps are labeled "input" and "output." The rubbery protective caps seem to form a seal over the battery end caps.

      Instructions & Web Support

      The Mini shipped with a "Quick Start" guide describing operations and listing specs. The Bushnell website product page has a description and the specs. A question that remains unanswered by these resources is whether the Mini can simultaneously charge a device from the battery AND the sun. Might be a factor for higher-capacity devices.

      Trying It Out

      <h2>Controls & Operation</h2>
      The Mini is quite simple to use.

      b>Charging the Mini:</b> To charge the battery, either unroll and place the PV array in the sun or plug in the end cap USB "input" charging port. There are no user controls of any sort; everything is controlled internally. The charge-state LED glows red while the battery is charging (via the sun or USB) and green when fully charged. Bushnell specs indicate the charge time is four hours via USB and ten hours via the sun. Sun intensity must certainly affect the latter figure. A grommet hole in the PV end flap allows the Mini to be hung or clipped to a surface, such as a tree branch, tent or backpack. The instructions also suggest it can be staked down on windy days.

      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 5" IMAGE CAPTION = "Red light = charging; micro USB for input power.">>

      <b>Charging another device:</b> To charge a gadget, connect it into the Mini's "output" USB port, either directly or via cable. Charging begins automatically, and with no notice from the Mini--the LED is either off or it glows red at times it's simultaneously self-charging. Because the Mini does not indicate output charging status, one must rely on whatever indicator is on the target device itself to verify 1. charging is occurring and 2. when it's complete.

      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 6" IMAGE CAPTION = "You gadget plugs in here.">>

      <b>Storage</b> When not actively charging from the sun, the Mini can be rolled up and still charge another device. When packing it away, Bushnell recommends using the protective caps for storage to keep debris and moisture from the USB ports.


      Summary

      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 7" IMAGE CAPTION = "Pretty much all the instructions you'll need.">>

      The SolarWrap Mini extends the concept of self-charging battery beyond what I've used in the past. While some competing devices only use a small area on the battery pack itself to house a rigid PV panel, the Mini deploys a significantly larger solar array, yet weighs and stows to similar size and weight. I'm hopeful the collector can be used even on the go and not just in camp. We shall see.

      Acknowledgments

      My sincere thanks to Bushnell and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Mini!

      Please check back in two months for the field report.

      This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
      Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
    • campbretter
      Rick, Sorry for the delay in the edits. I ll be taking over as monitor for this series and it looks like you are excited to get out and use this. Glad to
      Message 2 of 3 , Aug 21, 2013
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        Rick,

        Sorry for the delay in the edits. I'll be taking over as monitor for this series and it looks like you are excited to get out and use this. Glad to hear! I have a few edits for you to make and consider, but after you have made the changes you are free to upload to the folder here:

        http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Electronic%20Devices/Solar%20Chargers/Bushnell%20SolarWrap%20Mini/

        I'll use the standard conventions of
        EDIT: Must be changed
        Edit: suggested change, such as reword for clarity
        Comment: Just a comment.

        That's it... Here you go!


        <snip>
        TESTER INFORMATION
        FOOT SIZE US men's 11.5
        TORSO LENGTH 19.5 in (50 cm)
        EDIT: This information seems irrelevant for this test. Please remove.

        <snip>
        Photovoltaic panel area (measured): 35 inches sq (232 cm sq)
        EDIT: Please change "inches" to "in"

        <snip>
        Unlike my sad-sack, frequently broken double D-cell Ray-o-vac, today's lightweight LED headlamps are vastly more powerful and reliable and yet, they still need a battery and, depending on the amount it's used, either spares or field-recharging.
        Edit: I am not sure what you mean by sad-sack.

        <snip>
        The Mini ships with a USB-to-micro-USB connecting cable and instructions.
        EDIT: In the image that follows this sentence, the word "instructions" is misspelled.

        <snip>
        It's a plastic-covered cylinder with a micro-USP input connector and status light on one end and standard USB output connector on the other.
        EDIT: I think you mean "micro-USB"

        <snip>
        b>Charging the Mini: To charge the battery, either unroll and place the PV array in the sun or plug in the end cap USB "input" charging port.
        EDIT: You have a lingering piece of code "b>" at the start of the paragraph. Please remove it.

        <snip>
        Because the Mini does not indicate output charging status, one must rely on whatever indicator is on the target device itself to verify 1. charging is occurring and 2. when it's complete.
        EDIT: change "one" to "I" since our reports are supposed to be first hand experiences.
      • redbike64
        Thanks Brett, I very much appreciate your helping out with this test! Edits made and uploaded. FWIW the Report Writer automagically populates the html with all
        Message 3 of 3 , Aug 22, 2013
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          Thanks Brett, I very much appreciate your helping out with this test!

          Edits made and uploaded. FWIW the Report Writer automagically populates the html with all our stats, regardless of the item tested. I don't know of a workaround.

          FWIW "sad-sack" is a term we Olds use for an incompetent person and yes, I'm anthropomorphizing a flashlight here. ;-)

          Thanks again,

          Rick

          --- In backpackgeartesters@yahoogroups.com, "campbretter" <bhaydin@...> wrote:
          >
          > Rick,
          >
          > Sorry for the delay in the edits. I'll be taking over as monitor for this series and it looks like you are excited to get out and use this. Glad to hear! I have a few edits for you to make and consider, but after you have made the changes you are free to upload to the folder here:
          >
          > http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Electronic%20Devices/Solar%20Chargers/Bushnell%20SolarWrap%20Mini/
          >
          > I'll use the standard conventions of
          > EDIT: Must be changed
          > Edit: suggested change, such as reword for clarity
          > Comment: Just a comment.
          >
          > That's it... Here you go!
          >
          >
          > <snip>
          > TESTER INFORMATION
          > FOOT SIZE US men's 11.5
          > TORSO LENGTH 19.5 in (50 cm)
          > EDIT: This information seems irrelevant for this test. Please remove.
          >
          > <snip>
          > Photovoltaic panel area (measured): 35 inches sq (232 cm sq)
          > EDIT: Please change "inches" to "in"
          >
          > <snip>
          > Unlike my sad-sack, frequently broken double D-cell Ray-o-vac, today's lightweight LED headlamps are vastly more powerful and reliable and yet, they still need a battery and, depending on the amount it's used, either spares or field-recharging.
          > Edit: I am not sure what you mean by sad-sack.
          >
          > <snip>
          > The Mini ships with a USB-to-micro-USB connecting cable and instructions.
          > EDIT: In the image that follows this sentence, the word "instructions" is misspelled.
          >
          > <snip>
          > It's a plastic-covered cylinder with a micro-USP input connector and status light on one end and standard USB output connector on the other.
          > EDIT: I think you mean "micro-USB"
          >
          > <snip>
          > b>Charging the Mini: To charge the battery, either unroll and place the PV array in the sun or plug in the end cap USB "input" charging port.
          > EDIT: You have a lingering piece of code "b>" at the start of the paragraph. Please remove it.
          >
          > <snip>
          > Because the Mini does not indicate output charging status, one must rely on whatever indicator is on the target device itself to verify 1. charging is occurring and 2. when it's complete.
          > EDIT: change "one" to "I" since our reports are supposed to be first hand experiences.
          >
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