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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:20 pm 
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Brunton Restore USB Solar Charger and Portable Power Pack
http://store.bruntonoutdoor.com/portabl ... rade-blue/

USB power is rapidly becoming standard for portable electronic devices, and makes it easy to charge them from either computers, 12 volt DC automobile sockets or 120 volt AC electrical outlets. However, what do you do when traveling away from such conveniences?

The Brunton Restore photovoltaic charger and its relatives provide a variety of recharging options for the traveler or outdoorsman.

Fully charged, the unit can dispense at least two full recharges to phones, cameras, GPS or similar devices, from its 2,200 mAh battery. This was doing full recharges of a drained device from a fully charged Restore. I wasn't able to test Bluetooth units, but they are claimed at 7-8 recharges, and portable game consoles at 1-2 charges.

A full Restore charge on a sunny day takes about 10 hours. From a computer, it takes about 4 hours. From the car adapter or wall, it takes about 2 hours. My tests concurred closely with their claims. The unit holds charge for a long time. I was only able to test for a week, but I'm quite sure it will last much longer than that.

It comes with USB and Mini USB terminals and cords, a Mini to Micro USB adapter, and a combination adapter for car (12 VDC) or wall socket (120 VAC). It has a small but bright LED light for locating accessories in the dark, which would also make a useful emergency footing light. It shuts off automatically after 5 minutes. It has LEDs to show charge level, and an indicator to show solar charging is taking place. The power button has a red indicator to confirm operation that shuts off after a few moments, while the unit continues to operate.

The unit is solidly built with rubber bumpers all around, a strong hinge and a sturdy case. While I didn't deliberately throw the device around, I was not gentle with it. I left it out in rain and high wind over two nights, temperatures slightly above freezing. I bumped it off tables and coolers. I consider this normal usage for outdoor conditions, and the Restore had no trouble with it at all. I put it wet in the freezer for a day, then thawed it. No issues. It provided power while still below freezing.

I did find the directions a bit unclear until I had a chance to work with the unit, but Brunton promptly responded to all my inquiries. The instruction booklet is in English, German, French and Spanish.

For backpackers or preppers needing to travel off grid while still having access to modern communication devices, the Restore is a reliable and useful piece of equipment. It retails at $120 MSRP, but is frequently available at significant discounts.

Full disclosure: I was furnished one unit for test, and return has not yet been discussed, but is typically done in 90 days, through the marketing firm. Brunton may have charged it off as promotional, in which case I will be able to keep it, but I have not been offered to keep the unit at this time.

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TOUR OF DUTY: STORIES AND PROVOCATIONS, Aug 2013 from Baen Books
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:09 am 
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Where's the pics Bro?


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:17 am 
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On their page, though I can get some of it in the rain tomorrow, if you wish.

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TOUR OF DUTY: STORIES AND PROVOCATIONS, Aug 2013 from Baen Books
CURIOSITY: ALIEN INVASION, Aug 2011 on Discovery Channel (military adviser and armorer)
HOW TO SURVIVE THE END OF THE WORLD, 2014, National Geographic Channel (props and consulting)

http://www.MichaelZWilliamson.com
http://www.SharpPointyThings.com Custom blades and historical costumes


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:24 am 
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Nice review.

I continue to wonder why mobile device manufacturers or after market manufacturers don't make something like a "gang charger" for batteries so you can charge up several of them at once. The batteries can be had for so cheap on amazon and other online places now, literally under $10.00 a piece. The last phone batteries I've ordered were well under $5 a piece. Supposing you got 2 days out of a charge on an Droid smartphone, which is what I have, if you had 5 aftermarket batteries (at a cost @ $10 ea), that would be 10 days worth of batteries. If you only used the phone for a brief period each day or if you put it in airplane mode, you'd EASILY get 15-20 days out of 5 batteries.

5 batteries would weigh under a pound and fit into the smallest of dry bags.

Therefore, if only there was a rapid rate gang charger to let you drop in 5 batteries at a time, you wouldn't need to fuss with solar power chargers and having yet another thing to remember to do and wouldn't it be pretty inexpensive? I'd tend to think it would be <$100.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 1:44 pm 
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Nice write up. :D

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Stuck behind enemy lines in the peoples republik of Massholes!
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"Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem"
By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty.

Kinda funny, for a state that takes and regulates your liberty's to such extremes to have this as the state motto.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 1:59 pm 
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zommoz10 wrote:
Nice review.

I continue to wonder why mobile device manufacturers or after market manufacturers don't make something like a "gang charger" for batteries so you can charge up several of them at once. The batteries can be had for so cheap on amazon and other online places now, literally under $10.00 a piece. The last phone batteries I've ordered were well under $5 a piece. Supposing you got 2 days out of a charge on an Droid smartphone, which is what I have, if you had 5 aftermarket batteries (at a cost @ $10 ea), that would be 10 days worth of batteries. If you only used the phone for a brief period each day or if you put it in airplane mode, you'd EASILY get 15-20 days out of 5 batteries.

5 batteries would weigh under a pound and fit into the smallest of dry bags.

Therefore, if only there was a rapid rate gang charger to let you drop in 5 batteries at a time, you wouldn't need to fuss with solar power chargers and having yet another thing to remember to do and wouldn't it be pretty inexpensive? I'd tend to think it would be <$100.


There are after market chargers / conditioners that have plates that snap on and off for different batteries. Most of the time they are for ham radios and commercial LMR stuff. I have one around here somewhere, had plates for a couple of different Motorola's, Yeasu, and Kenwood handhelds. I know they had plates for camcorder batteries too. The one I have is three bays, and was big buck back when I got it. I just cant remember who the heck made it. Either way the are somewhere in the price range of $100 per charging bay. So if you are looking at a 6 bay unit, it's gonna hurt.

I know some of the Nextel models had multi-bay chargers, but again stupid money for them (that is back a few years ago). Then again they are going after commercial user with deep pockets.

You might be able to find an after market external charger for the batteries and stick them to some kinda box to hide all of the wires and power strip. Might not be as purity but it would work.

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Stuck behind enemy lines in the peoples republik of Massholes!
A liberal haven from hell.

"Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem"
By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty.

Kinda funny, for a state that takes and regulates your liberty's to such extremes to have this as the state motto.


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