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Trekking in the English countryside with Solio June 1, 2008

Posted by jupiterorbit in Solar Energy.
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This weekend, my better half and I decided to go on a lovely trek through the English countryside. We had planned to make it a rather technology intensive trek in the sense that I was going to track the entire walk using my Nokia N82 phone and the Nokia Sports Tracker software. My wife was going to photograph each major way point on her Nokia N95 (first generation). We both knew that the N95 was liable to run out of power half way through the day due to its notoriously bad battery life and I suspected that the N82 would probably give up towards the end of the walk if the GPS was going to be operating constantly for 4-5 hours. Both my predictions came true but the situation was half retified by having the Solio charger at hand to boost the N95 battery back up to almost full.

Solar trek

At the start of the journey, I had three flashes on the Solio power indicator, which meant it was about half full. I strapped it on the back of my rucksack so that the solar panels were exposed to the sun whilst we walked. It was a mostly overcast day with occassional breaks in the cloud. The Solio managed to get a few bursts of energising but on the whole I think I was just relying on it’s already stored capacity before the start of the journey. I found it quite easy to strap the Solio to the back of the rucksack. I just used a short length of nylon twine which I usually use on garden plants, passed the twine through the central hole and tied the Solio securely to the rucksack. You can see this in the photo.

At the half way point, when we stopped for lunch at a lovely pub, the N95 finally gave up. I plugged the charging cable in to the phone and tucked the N95 in to the top flap of the rucksack. At the end of lunch I took the phone out and hey presto, the N95 was topped up to what appeared to be full charge.

Towards the end of the journey my N82 also gave up, having had the GPS running for a full 5 hours, straight. Unfortunately, charging the N95 has drained the Solio’s internal battery completely and so the Solio was unable to give my N82 a power boost. Still, I was quite impressed that I actually go to use the Solio in a properly real life situation. I guess this is what the Solio was really made for and in this case worked really well. I’m glad I took the Solio along as otherwise we would not have been able to photograph the second leg of our trek.

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