Here’s My Powermonkey Extreme Solar Charger Review

Powermonkey Extreme Solar Power Charger

It seems like every time you turn around there’s a new story about a recent natural disaster. Earthquakes, floods, tornadoes? It’s getting pretty scary and it made me think that as part of an emergency preparedness kit it would be nice to have a reliable solar power charger to be able to keep mobile phones and other electronics working in an emergency.

So I started researching the best solar charger and found the Powertraveller Powermonkey Extreme. I don’t know exactly why they called it a monkey but I do know why they call it extreme. This waterproof, shock resistant, solar powered charger is extremely useful in any situation where you find your self needing to charge an electronic device.

From hiking in the wilderness, to traveling the world, to dealing with a power outage at home, the Powermonkey Extreme is definitely one tool I want with me.

Here are some questions to ask when shopping for a Solar powered charger.

  • Will it’s battery fully charge my electronic devices more than once?
  • How long does it take to charge the charger with solar power?
  • Can it be powered in other ways? Not just Solar.
  • Does it hold it’s reserve power for long periods?
  • Will it charge all my different electronic devices?
  • Does it have safety features like overload & short circuit protection?

First let me explain why this type of solar power charger is the best. The charger that comes with your mobile phone and other electronics relies on a power source to plug into and then transfer the electricity to your device’s battery. No power source = no charging. A solar panel charger relies on the sun to charge items. No sun = no charging.

The Powermonkey Extreme combines a charger and a high capacity battery to allow you the flexibility to be able to charge your electronics from different sources depending on your situation. Once the Powermonkey battery is charged you can use it to charge your electronics multiple times even if no other power source exists. And even if the battery is not fully charged you still have multiple powersource options for charging your electronics with the Powermonkey. More on that in a bit.

Will it’s battery fully charge my electronic devices more than once.

The Powermonkey Extreme has a 9000mAh lithium polymer battery. It’s this battery that gives you the power to charge all your electronic devices even if you’re not near an electric outlet and the sun is not shining.

A fully charged Powermonkey Extreme will charge different devices multiple times depending on the individual device’s battery size. Here’s a basic idea of how many times different types of electronics:

iPad/Tablet 1-2 times
iPhone/Smartphone 4-6 times
GPS systems 4-6 times
Mobile Phone 8-12 times

How long does it take to charge the charger with solar power?

It takes around 15 hours to charge the Powermonkey Extreme’s battery using the solar panel under optimum light conditions.

The Powermonkey Extreme also has a solar energy detection feature that activates the incorporated state-of-the-art MPPT (maximum power point tracker) technology, allowing the solar panel to charge the powermonkey unit more efficiently in low light conditions.

But the Powermonkey’s battery doesn’t need to be fully charged to charge your devices. You can charge your devices off the battery while the battery is charging or you can hook your devices to the solar panel to charge directly from the sun.

Can it be powered in other ways? Not just Solar.

The Powermonkey Extreme can be charged three ways. Aside from the solar panel you can charge the Powermonkey by plugging it into a wall outlet or a USB port. And since it’s designed for travel it comes with adapters for UK, USA, Europe and Australia.

When you compare this to a typical solar panel charger you can see the huge benefits. A solar panel charger is nice when you have plenty of sunlight but it’s useless when the sun isn’t shining. Since the Powermonkey Extreme includes a high capacity battery you always have power in reserve. And, since you can use the solar panels, a wall outlet or a USB port you have the flexibility to recharge the battery or your electronics in any situation.

Does it hold it’s reserve power for long periods?

The Powermonkey Extreme is built for rugged travel and emergency power so it’s important for the battery to have a long shelf life. The Lithium Polymer battery has a very low drain rate so a fully charged Powermonkey battery will still have 75% of it’s charge after sitting unused for a year.

So if you’re going on a camping trip you can top off the battery before you go and rest assured that you’ll have plenty of power to recharge your mobile phone, GPS, etc on your trip even if the sun doesn’t cooperate.

 

Powermonkey Extreme Solar Power Mobile Phone and Tablet Charger

Will it charge all my different electronic devices?

The Powermonkey Extreme charges most portable electronics and some digital cameras either through the USB cable provided with your product or one of the included Powermonkey adapters (they call them Monkeynuts).

Here’s a list of some of the devices you can charge: iPod, iPhone and iPad products using the USB sync/charge cable supplied by Apple. Tips included for the latest BlackBerry, Garmin, HTC, LG, Motorola, Nintendo, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. Mini USB, Micro USB and female USB DC cable for Apple iPod, iPhone and iPad, DC4.0 for PSP, e-readers including Nook and Kindle and some digital cameras.

It has two methods for charging certain devices, either USB or DC out (for faster charging). For instance the iPad and other tablets can be charged from the standard USB socket but will charge faster when using the supplied cable via the DC out port.

Does it have safety features like overload & short circuit protection?

The Powermonkey Extreme comes with lots of important safety features including:
- Short-circuit protection
- Overload protection
- Reverse discharge current protection
- Low voltage protection
- IP67 rated – waterproof for 30 minutes up to 1 meter – and shock resistant

It uses a friction swipe On/Off control that only allows the unit to be turned on when a device is connected to it. That way you can’t accidentally switch it on when it’s not in use.

It has an auto shut-off function. Once a device is fully charged, the Powermonkey Extreme will shut itself off after 2 minutes to save power.

There’s also an LCD screen on the battery unit that shows you whether the unit is on or off and the charge level of the battery.

Technical Specs:
- Polysilicon solar panel offers photovoltaic efficiency up to 17%
- 9000mAh capacity Lithium Polymer battery
- Input: 5V 2.5A
- Output: USB port: 5V 700MAh and DC port 2.1A
- Static power waste <50 µA
- IP67 rated – waterproof for 30 minutes up to 1 meter – and shock resistant
- Total weight: 1.01 lbs (460g)

What’s Included:
- Powermonkey-eXtreme battery unit
- Solar panel
- Universal charger including interchangeable heads for UK, USA, EUROPE & AUS
- 8 mobile device tips (monkeynuts)
- Black travel pouch

Powermonkey Extreme Solar Charger and Accessories

Conclusion

Whether you’re a rugged outdoor enthusiast, an off-grid homesteader or you want to be prepared for any emergency the Powertraveller Powemonkey Extreme Solar Charger won’t let you down. It’s able to charge most electronic devices multiple times in any location from the wilderness to a European vacation to a power outage at home. It’s ruggedly built to withstand the toughest environments and still work efficiently and safely. It does take 15 hours to fully charge the Powermonkey battery but since you can still charge your electronic devices with a partially charged Powermonkey even while the battery is charging or directly off the solar panel that shouldn’t slow you down at all.

Bottom line

The Powertraveller Powermonkey Etxtreme will set you back just under $200. A true bargain when you consider just how much this thing can do. The best price/shipping I’ve found at this time is through Amazon.com.

Powermonkey Extreme Solar Power Charger


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