Portable Solar Panel Keeps USB Gadgets And Cell Phones Charged Off The Grid

Sunbox USBA new charger from Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies can help power your gadgets when there’s nowhere to plug into but the sun.

The Sunbox USB has a panel that can be attached outside of a house or tent that connects to a box with several charging ports. Horizon claims the unit can power an LED light included with the device for as long as 11 hours, so long as the panel sees the six to eight hours of sun it needs for a full charge.

A pair of USB ports help keep gadgets charged, and two other ports – one for charging cell phones and one that connects to a couple of AA batteries – could help you stay connected in remote areas.

The $79.99 two-part system might not be the most convenient thing to toss into a backpack for a camping trip, but it could provide power in remote areas or in an emergency. Other products like Lenmar’s Powerport for $69.95 and are more compact but don’t offer and LED light and the option to charge AA batteries.

Less expensive options like the $30 Scosche solBAT II we reviewed earlier this year are much smaller, but take a lot longer (four to five days!) to produce a full charge from solar alone. Charging while off the grid could be convenient, but whether or not a cell phone can find signal after it’s charged is another story.