With the recent rare uk heatwave, my mind drifted back to solar panels, and I dug out my solargorilla to see if it is capable of charging my nexus 4 phone directly via USB. Conclusion – yes it does, as long as there are no clouds. During my brief experiment, the phone would switch between “charging” and “please connect your charger”, as clouds obscured the sun. This is an improvement over my old 3gs iPhone, which would always throw its toys out of the pram when the charge dropped, and then not go back to charging, so charging via the powergorilla battery pack (which can be charged from the solargorilla) was the only realistic option. Unfortunately my powergorilla has stopped working altogether now and is out of warranty, which is a shame as it was very useful.
Charging phones and other low power devices really doesn’t make much of a dent in a leisure battery, so I have less need to use a small panel like this. I could use it to top up the van battery (starter or leisure) when it isn’t being driven for long periods of time, but I font think it will be particularly effective.
I really need to stop spending money on our campervan now, but I’m really keen to get myself set up with a decent 80 Watt or bigger solar panel. It would be nice to have something that could keep our 40 watt cool box, laptop, lights, water pump, stereo etc. running long-term away from mains hookup.