Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gear Review: Ripa 2 Solar Battery Charger

I've been looking to get a battery charger that I can use to charge up my batteries and phone when out camping. The choices are pretty slim in this category. Brunton has a few but they are heavy and expensive so I went with the Ripa unit. They make 3 solar chargers in various sizes. I chose the 2 due to it's compact size and weight with 2600ma of charging power. This is about 4 charges for my phone or about 2 charges for a set of AA batteries in a usb charger. Not a ton of power, but just enough to get you through a couple days without power. To get a full charge on the unit, you must leave it in full sun for 18 hours or plug it into a usb charger for 4-6 hours depending on the source. Mine seems to charge fastest on a car charger.

The best thing about the unit is the size and weight. It fits perfectly in a small pocket and is about the same size as my phone. It comes with various connection ports and seems to plug into just about everything I need. If you have a device it doesn't have a connection for, just use the usb cable supplied with your device. The Ripa 2 has a standard usb port for charging devices and a mini usb port for charging the unit. The Ripa2 has only 1 button and that controls the outgoing voltage as well as the charge display. It's not the most intuitive press cycle, so read the directions so you don't muck it up and send too much voltage to your phone. The unit can output 5v for a regular usb or 9v for an Ipad. Handy, but the unit must be in sunlight to output 9v.

The green led will flash when it's charging from solar power. The charging indicator on the silver case will show the charging status while it's in use or charging. The unit is very robust. I've been using it for about a year now without a complication. It's a great option for those of us who seem to forget to keep our phones charged and need a simple option for a charge every once in a while. The biggest drawback is the time it takes the unit to charge once the unit gets past half charge. If it's in sunlight there is less time needed to charge. The cord can get a bit sketchy depending on the accessory attached. I'd just buy or use your devices regular cord instead.

Overall, it's a great unit for what it's intended to do. It's not high powered enough to keep you sustained in a long term emergency but will prolong your power needs for quite a while if you are careful with your power usage. If you are looking for something to keep your battery powered items charged up and running for an indeterminate time frame, you will have to look into the Brunton line of solar films and chargers. They are expensive but have a greater output for higher discharge items.

UPDATE 10/18/2014 Unit died. Went to a Jackery 12000 MAH unit and a coleman 12v folding solar panel.


  1. You forgot to mention a price or an approximate! lol

  2. OOps, it's around 39 bucks plus shipping from optics planet. Nice catch Rod.

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