Solar Powered iPhone – Part 1

Recently I was privileged to have been invited to the Sydney media launch of the Power Monkey range of products.

Briefly, Power Monkey manufacture a range of rechargeable portable power sources for our everyday digital devices. The basic idea is that you charge up your Power Monkey, and you then use that as a power source for your device. This means that, in theory, you just need only your power monkey, and from that you can charge up your mobile phone, your iPod, your bluetooth headset, and so on.


For many of their power sources, they also include a matched solar cell from which you can recharge the included power source. This gives you a choice of charging your Power Monkey from either normal mains power or from the sun, or perhaps from within your car if you get the optional car adapter.

They supplied me with a Power Monkey Express, which comes with the battery, solar charger, and a series of replaceable tips to suit different user devices that one might own.

With this product in hand, I’ve decided that my iPhone is now to become fully solar powered. I’m now going to only recharge my iPhone’s battery using the Power Monkey’s battery, and the Power Monkey, in turn, is going to only be recharged using the solar cell.


So far I’ve managed to get two charges into the iPhone with no issues, with the Power Monkey being reduced to, according to its status display, about 50% power. About one hour in the afternoon sun in Studio A at 2RDJ, seems to have restored the Power Monkey battery to full power.

Product impressions thus far are that the primary components – the battery unit, the solar cell, and the mains power supply – are all robust and very well constructed. The connectors have water resistant rubber protectors on them to help protect them from the elements.

So far, the only device tip that I’ve used has been the iPhone one, and my impression is that this may not be up to the same build quality as the rest of the product. For instance, the tip’s fit, into the iPhone, doesn’t quite feel as positive as a real iPhone connector does, and in fact, on about its third insertion, it actually fell apart! This was not a really serious problem in terms of this disabling the device, as it was a simple matter to fully reassemble the tip, but it was disappointing, and disconcerting, nonetheless.

For completeness of information, my iPhone is a one year old, series 1 (2G) iPhone.

More to come as I continue this test over a longer term.