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Thread: Freeloader (solar powered energy instead of batteries))

  1. #1

    Default Freeloader (solar powered energy instead of batteries))

    OK - another one for you. I have just bought something called a Freeloader -anyone heard of it?? It is a device (about the size of one of those big flat batteries you used to use in Petzl headtorches) that stores up energy and can be used to power camera battery, ipod, phone etc etc. You charge it by USB into a computer - or by exposing its 2 solar cells to daylight for about 6hrs - it can be strapped onto a rucksack during the day when you need to charge it - although not entirely sure how at the moment! Then you plug it into the device you want to charge. It comes with an assortment of adaptors to fit most anything.

    Not sure if its a waste of money - or if it could be useful on this trip? I havent used it yet and am able to take it back to the shop if necessary. Just wonder if it might get too exposed to dust etc as you're not meant to get the solar cells scratched.

    Anyone ever used one? I would like to be able to listen to music in evenings/on flight and i dont have a spare camera battery, so thought it might be a good way of doing both things.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Pokhara, Nepal

    Default Re: Freeloader (solar powered energy instead of batteries))

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Brit living in Cyprus

    Question Re: Freeloader (solar powered energy instead of batteries))


    could you please post a review of said item once you have used it, as I would be very interested in one if it is usefull.

    Looking forward to your input


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Default Re: Freeloader (solar powered energy instead of batteries))

    Although I don't actually have any experience with them I have seriously thought about a solio for trekking. Especially now that there are a variety of small lightweight movie players available (ipod touch, cowan, archos etc).

    It seems to be slightly lighter and have a bigger battery / more powerful solar cells than the "Freeloader" mentioned above.

    Edit: I just noticed that i wrote "slightly lightly" instead of "slightly lighter" - fixed now.
    Last edited by Spaceman347; 25th September 2007 at 02:37 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Wales, UK

    Default Re: Freeloader (solar powered energy instead of batteries))

    I have a Freeloader, I got it to recharge my new MP3 player (Creative Zen V+). Unfortunately the USB connection causes both devices to get a bit confused - the Zen "wakes up" and goes into dock mode, the Freeloader seems to notice some activity on the connection and stops the charge cycle. After a few minutes the Zen goes back to sleep, the Freeloader starts sending a charge, Zen wakes up, Freeloader stops charge.... etc Effectively it makes them "incompatible".

    Apparently the Freeloader does work for quite a few other devices. One of my mates has one, I'm not sure that he uses it much or with which devices, but his observation is that it isn't really good enough to impart a full charge on a device but its enough to keep a battery reasonably well charged. Of course you have to factor available sunshine, power consumption and juggling the (re)charging process.

    I think I'll be trying to find another mp3 player that runs off regular AA batteries.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Default Re: Freeloader (solar powered energy instead of batteries))

    Old thread but I thought I might bump it. Having used some of these items for trekking in the past I would probably forget the Freeloaders, Solio's and Powermonkeys and do it right the first time.

    The better option is to go for something like a Sunlinq 12 watt unit. Far more efficient and better value for money (although dearer than the listed items). Little panels are just junky toys.
    Last edited by jafa; 6th July 2009 at 07:40 PM.

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