Portable Solar Electronics and Gear

Buying Tips - Solar Electonic Power Usage Information - Battery Capacity and Voltage Input Guide

June 12, 2015

We've presented several articles outlining points to consider before you make a solar panel and/or storage battery purchase. Now it's time to starting putting things together by learning about power usage and then linking your electronic devices needs to an appropriate battery with the appropriate voltage output.

Finding the voltage output of your storage battery and the voltage input of your electronic device is fairly easy. If you review your owner's manual for your devices, this information is readily available in the technical section. On the PhotonBuzz.com website, we've attempted to locate this information for your quick reference in the product description. However, if we've missed it, let us know and we'll get the information for you.

The voltage rating may also be printed or stamped as “DC output” on the wall outlet charger that you may receive with your device. This information is important to know when you building your solar panel or solar recharger configuration for your electronic device.

Once you locate the battery capacity information for your solar panel recharger or portable solar recharger and then identify your electronic devices voltage input, you're now able to marry the devices to give you the backup solar power you need. Remember, your portable solar recharging device or it's battery pack must deliver at least the same voltage. We've put together a list of battery capacity and input voltage ranges for selected electronic devices. Battery capacity varies between different makes and models which means you will want to consider these ratings.

Personal Electronic Devices

Internal Battery Capacity

Voltage Input Rating

Cell phones 850 mAh 3.7 V
GPS Device (w/ rechargeable battery) 2000 - 2400 mAh 3.7 - 5 V
MP3 Players 850 mAh 3.7 V
Smart Phones A - small devices 1000 - 1700 mAh 3.7 V using brand specified input connectors
Smart Phones B - larger application rich phones 1700 - 2100 mAh 5 V using USB power input connectors
E Readers 1250 - 4400 mAh 5 V using USB power input connectors
Small Notebooks, Tablets and Pads 1250 - 4400 mAh 5 V using USB power input connectors
Netbooks (standard size) 3500 - 6600 mAh 8.5 - 18.5 V using DC Power supply connection
Laptop Computer 3500 - 6600 mAh 8.5 - 19.5 V using DC Power supply connection

Below are a few examples of linking battery and solar charger devices:

Example 1 - I need a small portable solar recharger to charge my cell phone or smart phone while traveling, outdoor camping and/or emergency situations. In this example, the Wagan Tech® Solar e Power™ Charger Solo and the Secur™ SP-3011 Solar Power Pad 3000 shown below might meet your needs and fulfill your power demands. Though a flat panel design, the Secur SP-3011 PowerPad 3000 has a unique on board battery at a 3000 mAh capacity with a USB output port rated at 5 V. The Wagan Tech Charger Solo device offers a bit more in battery capability with an 4000 mAh capacity rated Li-Poly battery and two (2) output ports rated at USB 5 V/2.1Amp and Micro USB at 5 V/1Amp. Both of these devices would be capable of a full recharge to any MP3 player or phone or even a small notebook or pad. These devices would most likely not be compatible with large Notebooks, Netbooks or laptop computers.


Example 2 - I need remote power for my laptop computer for travel and emergency situations, or for computer work when I'm outside and off the grid for an extended period of time. In this example, we will need not only a sizable solar recharger and/or solar panel, but we will need a larger battery and output voltage options to produce enough current to actually charge the devices at the bottom of the table. The Brunton Solaris™ 4 Foldable Solar Panel Charger used in conjunction with the Brunton SUSTAIN 2™ Battery Recharger or similar Brunton or other third party battery will provide you with a successful solution. The flexible solar panel is a 4W device that can be connected to the SUSTAIN 2 battery pack, equipped with a 6000 mAh capacity batter and producing an output from the USB port at 12V, 16V and 19V.


As you can see, with some basic understanding of voltage outputs and inputs and where to find them on your charger or electonic device, making the connection between your device power needs and the solar panel chargers and portable solar chargers you can easily configure a portable solar power solution for your needs. At any time, if you have any questions, please let us know and we will help you work out a power configuration or a product recommendation for your needs.

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