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SunJack solar system | Juan Valles | TechForDad.com

SunJack Portable Solar Charger – Jack into the sun

I first became aware of SunJack and their products at the 2015 Los Angeles Gadget Expo.  You can read about my experience at the expo here, Recap: LA Gadget Expo.  SunJack is a fairly new company that successfully became fully funded on Kickstarter back in May 2014 and have continued to grow since.  While at the expo I was so impressed with their products I decided to purchase the SunJack 20W Portable Solar Charger.  After about a year of owning it, I can tell you this product is awesome!

Before I tell you about my experience, let me tell you more about the product.

SunJack Portable Solar Charger with 2 amp USB outputs

First get it out of your head that solar panels are just for hikers, campers, outdoorsy people.  This product is also great if you go to the beach, the park, or on a road trip.  Basically anytime you’ll be outside for an extended amount of time, this product is for you.

SunJack 14 Watts solar charger connected to an iPhone 7 Plus | Juan Valles | TechForDad.com

The solar charger comes in 2 or 4 panels:  2 panels for 7 Watts of power and 4 panels for 14 Watts and 20 Watts.  Why does this matter?  Because the advertised wattage is what you get with direct sunlight.  Use it on a cloudy day and the amount of power is reduced.  Less power means it will take longer to fully charge your electronics.  SunJack thought about this and made sure their panels are powerful enough to charge your gadgets even in indirect sunlight.

The solar panels come with 1 or 2 2-Amps USB ports from which to charge your devices:  The 7 Watts solar panel comes with 1 port while the 14 Watts and 20 Watts solar panels come with 2 ports.  Because their USB ports provide a full 2 Amps each, you can actually charge 2 iPads at the same time under direct sunlight.  Impressive, right?!

USB ports on the back of the SunJack solar charger | Juan Valles | TechForDad.com

Well, what if you aren’t in direct sunlight?  SunJack came out with a battery pack that is just as impressive.

SunJack 8000mAh Battery

The SunJack battery pack can hold 8000mAh of energy.  Although that probably doesn’t mean anything to you, what you should know is that that much energy can charge 4 smartphones or 1 tablet.  I think that is plenty of juice for whatever you might need to do while you’re out and about.  If you need more power, then get yourself a second battery pack.  They actually run cheaper than most battery packs yet hold larger capacity charges.

SunJack 8000mAh battery pack | Juan Valles | TechForDad.com

To charge the battery pack connect the micro-USB end of their 2 amp cable to the battery pack and the regular USB end of the cable to the solar panel.  If you are in direct sunlight you’ll be able to go from completely discharged to full charge in 5 hours.  This is the same speed you would get if charging from a wall outlet!  And, yes, you can charge it from a wall outlet.  Just make sure the charger you use can pull 2 amps for efficient charging.

The battery pack is full.  How do you charge your gadgets?  The battery pack has 2 regular USB output ports.  Just connect your device using its charging cable to one of the two regular USB ports on the battery pack and voila, you are charging your gadgets!  It will charge your device as fast as it would have charged from a wall outlet.  And, I just got word that starting 2016 all their battery packs support Qualcomm certified quick charge QC2.0 technology, reducing charging time by up to 75%!  This will be available via port 2 on the battery pack.  You just have to make sure your device supports this technology.  Here are some examples of products that support it:

USB ports and LED light on SunJack battery pack | Juan Valles | TechForDad.com

My Experience

The night before I go out to the beach or park I make sure to charge the battery pack.  The next day just before I leave to my destination I make sure to take the solar panels, battery pack, charging cable for the batter pack, and charging cables for whatever devices I may need to charge while I’m out.  It’s a lot of extra stuff that I didn’t use to carry, I know, but trust me you’ll be happy you brought them along for that one time you or someone with you has a device that runs out of juice sooner than expected.  My friends can attest to appreciating the extra gear in those moments.  Plus, SunJack made it easy to carry all your battery packs and cable in the mesh pocket they put on the back of the solar panels.

SunJack 14 Watts solar charger, 8000mAh battery pack, carabiners, charging cable | Juan Valles | TechForDad.com

On my trip to Hawaii this year I brought along my SunJack solar system.  It was incredibly useful while I was there.  My wife, kid, and I stayed in a small 1 bedroom house.  Unfortunately, it did not have enough outlets to charge all our cameras, computers, and phone gear.  Luckily,  I was able to put my solar panels out on the patio, charge my battery pack, then charge other devices on both the solar panels and on the battery pack at the same time!  That’s a total of 4 extra charging ports that I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t brought it along.  Safe to say we got all the pictures we ever wanted to take of our trip.  Sweet!

Pros

The well-built compact solar panels, the quality charging cable, and recently improved battery pack with certified Qualcomm quick charge makes this solar system a superb package.  They also provide a variety of configurations of solar panels and other accessory options in order to accommodate peoples’ different needs.  Not to mention that from my minimal experience they have quick-turnaround friendly email customer service.

Cons

I did find myself losing track of the charging cable to charge the battery pack as I do have similar cables with slower charging capacities.  My only suggestion here is to brand it for easy recognition.

I would also like to see the output USB ports on the battery pack labeled with their output capacity.  I’ve seen other charging devices where they don’t specifically say what the capacity is since most people won’t know what they mean, but instead use device symbols to indicate what is recommended for each port.

Lastly, the mesh pocket on the solar panels eventually stretches out and stays that way.  Not sure what could be done in this case but thought I’d mention it.  How about a replaceable pocket?!  Just a thought.

In Conclusion

I am glad I stopped by the SunJack booth at the 2015 LA Gadget Expo.  That is when they opened my eyes to how useful solar panels and battery packs can be even if I am not going camping in the jungle but merely spending the day at the beach.  Although I am now having to carry a few more devices whenever I go out, they are invaluable in those moments when you need to charge your phone, camera, or bluetooth speaker and keep enjoying your day.   SunJack hit the nail with producing products that are able to keep up with today’s energy consuming needs.  Thanks, SunJack!

Does this look like something you would get?  Do you have a similar product that you like?  Let me know what you think about this product or similar ones in the comments section below.

Image recap

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SunJack solar system | Juan Valles | TechForDad.com
SunJack 14 Watts solar charger connected to an iPhone 7 Plus | Juan Valles | TechForDad.com
USB ports on the back of the SunJack solar charger | Juan Valles | TechForDad.com
SunJack 8000mAh battery pack | Juan Valles | TechForDad.com
USB ports and LED light on SunJack battery pack | Juan Valles | TechForDad.com
SunJack 14 Watts solar charger, 8000mAh battery pack, carabiners, charging cable | Juan Valles | TechForDad.com
SunJack 14 Watts solar charger | Juan Valles | TechForDad.com
SunJack 14 Watts solar charger | Juan Valles | TechForDad.com
 
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3 comments

  1. Great article. I have to admit that I initially scrolled through to gauge how much time I would have to invest into reading a tech article. Just being real compadre. It’s either tech for Dad, instagram or porn. This tech age has made a lot of us lazy or expecting reviews like, “buy it. It works with the sun and will save your ass if you don’t charge your phone”. Not to mention the panels being held by a very busty girl with glasses. Yet I found it very informative, balanced and entertaining. Had a nice “flow” and didn’t drag. In my opinion it was an “easy” for anyone tech savvy or not. 👊🏾👍🏿

    • Hey Luis, thanks for the feedback. I do try and keep reviews short and to the point for that reason. People are busy, want the answers they are looking for instantly, and don’t want to got through unnecessary stuff. If the review is too short, then you don’t get enough info. Too long and it gets boring. This website is also aimed at people that like gadgets and technology but aren’t necessarily tech geeks. Thanks again for the feedback.

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