Solar-powered bags

FSB asked me to test these small pieces of luggage, which have external solar panels that can charge small devices such as PDAs and cellphones. (None generated enough juice to charge a laptop.) For each, I ran my T-Mobile Dash cellphone until the battery died, then timed a full solar charge outside.

Messenger, $229
Messenger, $229
This laptop carrying case comes in black, green, orange, and silver. It ships with an internal battery that charged my Dash in a bit less than four hours. But the Voltaic lost major points when it fried my phone as I tried to bypass the battery and charge directly from the panels, which, it turns out, deliver higher voltage than the battery. Note to Voltaic: Please idiot-proof future releases of this bag. The Voltaic was also finicky about sun - it stopped charging in both full sunlight and moderate shade.



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