In the post crisis world, communications, power, and light, are all going to be needs harder to satisfy than usual. While cell phones and other complex electronic gadgets may not work, you may still be able to use an old style radio, LED bulbs, and other gadgets that require only 5 – 12 volts of power.
If you happen to be an avid camper or have traveled in an RV, then you know that everything from refrigerators to coffee makers and computers can run on far less current than you use in your home or at work.
From that perspective, it makes sense to invest in the SunBell Solar Lamp and Phone Charger or similar devices that supply power and light all in one device.
Physical Features and Accessories
The SunBell was first developed in Norway, and is a trademark of Bright Products. It is an award winning product that offers an array of durable, clever design features that make this product almost limitless in its uses and applications. You can buy it for 79.95 via amazon.com, or from the provider – eartheasy.com.
When the SunBell arrives, you will get:
- Solar panel with transparent cover which makes it durable and easy to carry. The other side of the solar panel doubles as a stand that can be used with the gooseneck light.
- Lampshade that can be used to store all of the other parts of the SunBell.
- Gooseneck light with 3 LED bulbs inside.
- Rechargeable battery unit.
- USB adapter for charging USB devices.
- Comes in red, green, or yellow trim.
- Light comes with high, medium, and dim settings.
- LED near the power jack lets you know when the unit is charging.
- Light will blink when power is getting low.
In the Field
Perhaps the most exciting thing about the SunBell is the amount of light produced by the lamp. On its brightest setting, you will get about 1,000 LUX at 6 – 8 inches away from the lens. Since the lamp produces very little heat, this light intensity puts the SunBell well within range for growing plants indoors.
The light also has fairly good travel and covers an entire room. With the lampshade on, you get about the same lighting as a 40 watt incandescent bulb. When used just as a gooseneck, it provides an intense beam that will not disturb others in the room. This also makes it ideal for a flashlight on the medium and dim settings. Light from the SunBell does not flicker or become uneven. It will get dimmer as the battery drains.
My testing results (I used a Soil Master 3 in 1 meter with light intensity scale):
Aside from an excellent source of light, the SunBell is also an ideal source of power. The solar panel is small, yet produces a good bit of power.
In just a few hours of charging in full sun, you can power the included lamp for several hours, or hook up your cell phone, tablet, or other items that require 5v of power.Since the unit comes with both a 5v and USB connector, you can easily find adapters to accommodate other devices.
Other advantages include:
- Durable design.
- Charging cord stashes away in an innovative holder behind the lamp.
- Can be used easily as a lamp, flashlight, or floor lamp.
- Can charge devices and provide light at the same time.
- Short charging time in full sunlight.
- Solar panel cover is very reflective. With practice, you can aim it in various directions just as you would a compact mirror to see from different angles.
- Lamp shade can also be used to amplify sound.
Even though the SunBell is versatile and compact, there are a few issues that you may want to consider:
- Battery type is not as easy to obtain as AA or AAA.
- Cannot be used to charge batteries that can be installed in other devices.
- Drains power quickly at high light setting.
- Not water proof.
Recommendations for Further Development
Even though the SunBell is light weight and innovative, I would have preferred an easily accessible battery compartment that accepts AA and AAA rechargeable batteries.
Some other things I would recommend:
- Add one more LED for a laser pointer.
- Add a small AM/FM/weather band/emergency radio for a “deluxe” version.
How It Can Be Used Now
The SunBell is perfect for anyone that wants to get acquainted with some of the hottest trend in solar device designs. It is perfect for campers, RVers, and anyone that needs fast charging solar power options.
Since this device easily charges cell phones and other low wattage devices, it can also save you some money on your electric bill.
What Makes It Best for Preppers
Overall, versatility and durability make this a good choice for preppers. You can make the SunBell the core of an EMP survival kit, or simply keep it in your car in case you have to bug out fast. No matter where you go, this device will provide power and plenty of light efficiently.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I rate the SunBell a 9. It gets very high marks for innovation and versatility, however I would have preferred a few minor changes to readily accommodate long term issues related to obtaining rechargeable batteries.
That being said, the shape and size of the SunBell do lend themselves well to modifications that should not be too difficult to achieve.
This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.
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Kristian Bye | September 11, 2014
Thanks for a solid review. Let me just comment on the battery side that the LiFePO battery in the SunBell will last for 2.000 cycles, or up to 7 years in daily use. Have a bright day!