Sanyo develops portable solar charger for gadgets

Solar panels are paired with a lithium-ion battery pack to provide a portable power boost

Running out of power while on the road is something every gadget user has to deal with at sometime or another, but a new portable solar charging system from Sanyo Electric could help in such situations.

The system, which is part of Sanyo's Eneloop line, combines a portable solar panel with a lithium-ion battery pack and can be used to charge gadgets via USB. It should work with many portable products including mobile phones, music players and portable game devices, the company said at a Tokyo news conference on Wednesday.

Two versions will be available: one with a single solar panel and one with two panels. The panels are built into a case that can be hung in a window or placed anywhere the sun is shining and are then connected to the smaller Lithium Ion battery-based 'mobile booster', which acts as a reservoir and charges up from the panels.

The booster is needed because the solar panels don't provide enough power to directly run a gadget.

A full charge of the booster will take three days on the single panel and half that on the twin-panel model but after just an hour it will provide enough energy to power a mobile phone for 20 minutes of talk with the single panel model and double that with the twin model. It will charge faster on sunny days than overcast days.

When fully charged the booster can supply five volts at 500mA for two hours, according to Sanyo.

They will both go on sale in Japan on 10 August and cost ¥9000 for the single-panel model and ¥14,000 for the twin-panel model. Overseas launch details were not announced.

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Martyn Williams

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