Thursday, November 15, 2007

My camera hungers for a solar battery charger. but its owner is confused about where to find a good one.

NikonP50-sm
The good news about my Coolpix P50 is that it runs on (disposable or rechargeable) AA batteries. The bad news about my Coolpix P50 is that it runs on (disposable or rechargeable) AA batteries. So, what to get to keep this hungry little guy fed?

The NYT had an article about this the other day. "In Battery Buying, Enough Decisions to Exhaust That Bunny" gave a semi-exhaustive overview of the options -- store brand vs. brand name, alkaline vs. other alternatives, disposable vs. rechargeable, etc. It recommended Duracell's top-of-the-line rechargeables.
To address the problem of batteries that drain quickly, Duracell has introduced a nickel metal hydride rechargeable battery that retains power for up to a year. Called Duracell Pre-Charged Rechargeable, it is intended specifically for use in digital cameras, MP3 players and portable games, with a price of about $12.99 for four.
Rechargeables sound good at first glance, but there's something missing here. The reason I called the story semi-exhaustive was that it never once used the word "solar." A conventional battery charger still pulls power from the grid. It may slow environmental litter, but by adding to the demand on power plants, it still contributes to global warming. Charging the batteries to power all our small consumer devices would seem to be one of the most obvious solar applications., one that it should be easy to implement.

The trouble is, when I look online, there are plenty of solar battery chargers, but nothing that seems to have a large, happy installed user base. The only one Amazon sells direct has a single, highly negative review. Others are sold by other Amazon resellers, but there's nothing there that inspires confidence. I'm not sure who to trust. Does anyone out there have experience with a solar battery charger? What would you recommend?

1 comment:

Tom Bozzo said...

If global warming consequences of your electricity usage are the main concern, and you're an MGE customer, then signing up for their wind power program can address the entirety of your residential electricity usage, With the wind power premium falling to 1 cent/KWH as part of MGE's recently concluded rate case, it's relatively painless.