Accessory review: Voltaic Systems Fuse 10W Solar Laptop Charger
The Fuse 10W Solar Laptop Charger is a portable solar array with built-in storage battery that is capable of charging most mobile devices, including most major brands of laptops.
The Fuse 10W is extremely useful if you’re tethered to work, but still want to be able to get to the far reaches of the cell system for days and maintain a charge. Or if you just want to keep your phone up and running to track your progress via Runtastic or the like as you’re hiking the Appalachian Trail.
It’s also useful for charging tablets and laptops if you just want to ruin the majesty of nature as you unwind with a movie or catch up on a book, or alternately slap an iPad in front of your kids who are not appreciating nature’s beautiful bounty. You can also charge your camera again and again and again if you want to bring home the memories.
The audience is a pretty select group, so you’ll need to figure out if it’s for you or not.
Now for me, I appreciated the laptop charging, although I most likely would not be hiking with a laptop. Still, it is neat to have a way to power one should I desire it.
As far as I can tell, the device is capable of nearly charging my laptop from 12% to full before expending its battery; however, as stated above, I’m not planning on doing any sort of hiking with the laptop, and I start wondering who this particular feature is for – forest rangers? Cartographers? People with satellite phone internet? Sand people? It’s potentially useful, but the appeal is limited.
There are several adapters for different types of laptops, and a switch that allows you to specify the voltage that the charger puts out.
The on-board battery stores enough juice to charge my phone many times over, but it also gets enough power from the sun to positively charge my phone in direct sunlight without the aid of the battery, unlike most other solar chargers I’ve played with where the sun couldn’t keep up and I ended up with a slow drain. It can also about halve the drain of a laptop just from the sun if you want to st it outside in direct sunlight plugged in.
What’s interesting to see is that even in next to no direct sunlight, the array will produce some charge. It’s not particularly great, but I got this on day one of what was to be a week without sunlight, so my testing was otherwise slowed significantly.
Going by the manufacturer specs, as I just tossed it in the sun to charge and then remembered it was sitting outside at 11:00 p.m. One and a half hours of sunlight will give the average cell phone a complete charge. The internal battery is a 16,000mAh unit and seems to fully charge in December’s weak and overcast sun within a day.
Besides being chargeable via the sun, you can also plug the unit into a car adapter or wall outlet so that you have a full charge for the start of your trek.
The array. it should be noted, is tough. The battery casing is pretty solid, and you do not have the feeling that a drop won’t do much, other than put it father from the sun. There’s not a particularly large amount of storage space in the thing, so it should be considered a loss of storage to a backpack rather than an addition. It does have enough storage space for a small tablet and a phone, though.
This is not particularly something I think will economically make sense for most of our readers. I think for the people who need it, it’s reasonably priced, but for the person who’s going on an overnight camping trip or two this year where the furthest they’ll get is a half mile from their car, there are several more economical options than this.
If you have to be connected, powered, and mobile at all times, and feel like lugging around a three-point-something-pound charger, this is quite useful. Due to the internal battery, this is even potentially useful in massive weather events where you don’t see the sun for a few days.
In an emergency situation, it might come in handy; however, in most situations where you would need it. I believe the cell networks might also be down. It would be to power your pre-loaded entertainment devices.
If you have no foreseeable plans to leave civilization for more than a day or two, it’s not for you. There are plenty of much more economical methods of keeping charged. If you want to wander wherever the wind may take you and still be able to use your Google Maps and catch up on downloaded movies, books, music, this might be something to look at.
Personally, I really like the device, but it’s probably not something that I would purchase unless I was camping at Bonnaroo again, in which case it might pay for itself selling cell phone/camera charges
The Voltaic Fuse 10W is available for $339.00 from the manufacturer.