Freeloader Pro Solar Charger Charges all Your Gear (yes, even your reflex camera)
We’ve written a few articles on travel adaptors and multi-chargers that help you to get rid of cable clutter and charge all your devices through one single charger. This solar charger takes the idea a step further and allows you to give those power-hungry devices a full charge without being bound to a power outlet for a few hours. Several of these are around, but this Freeloader Pro even charges those high-voltage Li-ion batteries needed for DSLR reflex cameras or camcorders.
In fact I like those nifty multi-chargers that can charge all your gear at the same time. They’re ideal for home use, and they really clear space your kitchen counter. They even allow you to take one single charger with you when traveling, which is a big advantage. The main drawback is that you’re bound to a power outlet to charge your gear. That can take a while, and it’s certainly no use when you’re walking around in a city and suddenly your camera tells you that the next picture will also be your last one for the day.
Basically, you have two options to get around this. You can take a fully charged spare battery with you for each device that you carry – a cell phone battery costing roughly the same as a new cell phone. Or you can consider a solar charger such as the Freeloader Pro. In the latter case, you only have to carry one thing that, in the end, is probably less expensive than the sum of those spare batteries. And the really good thing about it is that you don’t need to stop to charge your devices. When you carry a bag or small backpack, you can connect your device to the solar charger inside the bag, and it charges on the go.
The Freeloader Pro features an integrated Li-ion battery that’s charged from its solar cells when you place it in bright light. Or you can use a USB cable to charge it at night, while you’re asleep. The power that’s stored in its battery is then transferred to your device’s battery when you connect them. The charger comes with multiple connection tips for various devices, making it compatible with most gadgets. You can check compatibility info on the Freeloader website.
So far, this seems roughly similar to most of the solar chargers already out there. But what’s really special is that the Freeloader Pro comes with a CamCaddy that accepts virtually every type of camera battery (3.2 to 7.9 V), using its variable slider bar and adjustable contact pins. That’s the reason that we prefer this charger over the others available.
- Solar charger Charges most devices using the supplied tips
- 1600 mAh internal Li-ion battery
- Charges internal battery through solar energy or USB
- Battery-level indicator
- One of the rare chargers that can charge a reflex camera or camcorder battery
- Supplied with ten adaptor tips for iPod, iPhone, Nokia, Blackberry, Sony Ericsson, LG, Nintendo, and many more
- 5.8" x 2.4" x 0.8" (150 x 63 x 20mm)
- 6.2 oz (174 g).
We favor the Freeloader Pro because of its ability to charge a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex camera) or camcorder battery. If you think that you’ll never ever need this, you might consider cheaper options such as the standard Freeloader, the Solio or the Uvee.
If you just need a multi-charger for home or travel, check out our multi-charger comparison table.
Other charger solutions on Clever & Easy
Where to buy
You can get it from the Freeloader website or other online sources.
Approx. price: $80 (September 2009)