CES 2010 - Beautiful Freeloader Solar Chargers Finally Hitting the US


Photos via Jaymi Heimbuch

Freeloader solar charging products from Solar Technology International are making their way from the UK to the US...and we couldn't be happier. We first heard about the product line in 2007, when the chargers were released in the UK. Now, the product line is more stylish and powerful than ever, and we'll be able to buy them here in the US starting next week. Check out some of the chargers you just might want to add to your solar artillery.

The Freeloader Pico is a small charger meant for small devices. The company states that it takes about 10 hours to charge to full, and then about 30 minutes to deliver its power to handheld devices, supplying enough energy to give a mobile phone 35 hours, iPod 14 hours, or a GPS 1.5 hours. It comes with four connection tips, a master cable, and can be charged via USB for faster portable power.

For extra powerful charging, there's the Freeloader Pro. It can charge up in 7 to 9 hours of direct sunlight, and providing enough charge to electric devices to "give a mobile phone 70 hours of standby time, 5000 page turns on an eBook or a 100% full charge for a digital camera battery." It can also charge up higher power 9.5 v devices like portable DVD players and digital camera batteries. And speaking of cameras, it comes with a CamCaddy, which accepts virtually every type of camera battery whether a simple compact digital camera, professional SLR or a video camera battery. This is a fantastic improvement to solar chargers, making them more practical for taking along on vacations and off-grid trips, let alone simply using them at home.

And an even more impressive move for Freeloader products - the battery itself will start to wear out after about two years of recharging, but Solar Power International will take back the unit and replace the battery for you for about $13, and recycle the old battery. Nice move - that's the kind of company policy we love to see as it minimizes product waste as much as possible.

The Pico runs £16.99 and the Pro runs £69.99 - pricing will be similar in the US when they become available in the next week or so.

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Tags: Batteries | Electronics | Solar Power

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