Published on May 3rd, 2019 |
by Kyle Field
May 3rd, 2019 by Kyle Field
The sunny crew over at Voltaic build some of the coolest portable solar + storage solutions out there. We were impressed with the functionality and build quality of their OffGrid Solar + Storage backpack when we reviewed in it 2017 so we were excited when they reached out to us about reviewing their Arc 20W Solar Laptop Charger Kit. We are always on the go and on our laptops, so the prospect of pulling in power from the sun with a kit designed to charge laptops up was exciting.
The kit is really straight forward in that it pairs an impressively sized solar panel with an equally well-equipped battery, but with some neat tweaks that make it an indispensable part of any on-the-go kit. Let’s jump in!
Harnessing The Sun
The star of the kit is Voltaic’s folding 4-panel 20-watt solar panel that represents a significant improvement in portable solar tech. Each pane of the panel is constructed with a ruggedized ETFE coating that also provides UV protection and waterproofing for the solar panel. The materials used in the panel give it a good sturdy feeling without adding unnecessary bulk.
The ETFE coating is basically one of the most durable materials in the world and as a special bonus, is self-cleaning and puncture resistant. This is the stuff that’s used in life critical systems like aircraft and spacecraft wiring, which lends itself to a long life expectancy for the panel.
The rear of the panel features an 18 volt, 1,100 mA output that is used to charge up one of Voltaic’s batteries and a 5 volt, 2.0 amp USB plug for direct charging of all your devices. We tried both and found that the output of the panel was more than sufficient to charge up anything from tablets to smartphones and even a portable gaming system. Voltaic says that this thing will juice up the average smartphone in right around 48 minutes in the sun.
A Better Battery
Because it’s not always practical to just leave your smartphone tied to the solar panel, the kit includes the Voltaic V88 laptop battery bank to drink in all of the sun’s power during the day so you can charge up all your devices from it at night. This isn’t your kid sister’s battery bank, either. The V88 is optimized to provide the optimal charging speeds for modern laptops and can charge up USB-C laptops 3 times faster than they can from the grid.
The V88 gets its name from its 88.8 Watt-hour capacity which is enough for more than a full charge of the current top of the line 13″ Macbook Pro with its 58 Wh battery. For device charging, the 24,000 mAh capacity of the V88 can deliver about 7 full charges of a smartphone or 3 to 4 full charges for tablets, depending on their battery capacity.
- USB-C Power Delivery (Up To 45W)
- Hi-Voltage Laptop Port (12V, 16V, 19V Or 24V)
- USB Quick Charge 3.0
- Capacity: 24,000 mAh / 88.8 Watt Hours
- Output: 5V/2A USB, 5V/3A USB-C, and 12V/6A, 16V/5A, 19V/4.5A, 24V 3.5A
- Input: 14-25V, 3A
- Battery Type: Li-Polymer
The kit comes with a handful of adapters to enable it to directly power many common laptops on the market today, but it’s worth noting that you will need to purchase a separate $20 adapter to use it with a Macbook (Magsafe 1 | Magsafe 2). To be sure you have everything you need before you pull the trigger on a purchase, check out the handy laptop charging adapter guide that the folks at Voltaic put together to help you get your laptop charging sorted.
Putting It To Use
The best way to solar-power your life is usually to put up some rooftop panels as they will generate power whenever the sun is shining, but there are plenty of use cases where combining a portable solar panel and some batteries can save the day. This kit from Voltaic is fantastically utilitarian and has been a lifesaver for me in my travels on more than one occasion.
The wide range of adapters it comes with make it a safe purchase while the constantly improving variety of options available for purchase ensure its usefulness will outlast your technology. To get your hands on the Voltaic Arc 20W Solar Laptop Charger Kit, head over to its product page or find it at many of the usual suspects in online retail.