Off-grid charging for the AA or AAA battery and other consumer batteries can be accomplished with a combination of the right portable solar panel and battery charger to get the job done.
When might this be useful? While off-grid, camping, hiking, a remote location, or simply for your own preparedness.
While on the go, out in the field or backpacking, the following off-grid charging equipment will charge the most popular size consumer batteries (AA, AAA).
There is also a recommendation for a solar charger for USB devices (see below).
Off-grid Charging System For AA, AAA Batteries
Did you know that the AA size battery is the most common consumer battery?
The following off-grid charging system includes two components:
-A solar panel
-A complimentary battery charger
Note that this will only charge “rechargeable” batteries (had to say it…).
Related article: Best AA Rechargeable Battery
I also want to mention the following all-in-one solar battery charger for AA – AAA – C – D batteries which works in a pinch. It does not charge nearly as fast and it’s not a “smart” charger, however I wrote an article about it a while ago which may be of interest:
That said, the following off-grid charging system will charge faster and will “smart” charge today’s NiMH rechargeable batteries.
Smart Battery Charger For Use With Solar Panel
This “smart” charger is unique. In addition to plugging into a standard AC wall outlet, it also operates on 12 volts DC.
It includes a car adapter which not only enables battery charging capability from your vehicle, but also enables use with some portable solar panels (10 watts or greater @ 12-16volts DC).
Another benefit of this charger (look for this feature if you’re looking for other chargers) is that you do not need to insert batteries in pairs.
Each battery slot is independently monitored and uniquely charged according to the state-of-charge of each battery.
Smart chargers also have more sophisticated charging and sensing circuits improving charge quality and promoting longer battery life.
Portable Folding Solar Panel For Use With Battery Charger
Solar panels come in many sizes, shapes, and various electrical specifications.
This 10 watt solar panel (pictured on the left) is portable, folds up, and provides the correct output operating voltage and minimum current requirements to power the charger listed above.
It also comes with a 12-volt-DC car adapter of the correct gender orientation making it compatible with the battery charger adapter shown above.
Here are the PowerFilm (10 watt solar panel) specs:
Another attribute of this folding solar panel is the fact that they can be daisy-chained in parallel if you want even more power. Two of them will become a 20 watt source.
Note that solar panel specifications are under ideal direct sunlight conditions.
USB Solar Charger For Cell Phones & Other Devices
For a USB-only portable solar charger, the following ‘Anker®’ solar charger uses “Fast Charging Technology” which they call “PowerIQ”.
It delivers the fastest possible charging speed up to 2.4 amps per port or 3 amps overall under direct sunlight.
In addition to charging USB devices straight away, this panel is also popularly used with many of the various USB External Batteries. I have been using one of the “Anker” external batteries for many years with great success. The current most popular model is this one:
Related article: How To Keep Your Cell Phone Charged During A Power Outage