Recent solar-powered camping lamps from BioLite were provided to us for evaluation, but I soon realized that they were much more than just lanterns. Additionally, they serve as children’s toys, mood lighting, party lighting, phone chargers, and perhaps even emergency signal lighting. Additionally, the business sent us a solar panel that can power phones, lamps, and its own internal batteries.
250 and 500 LANTERNS FOR THE ALPENGLOW Does it function well as a lantern? is the obvious first thing to ask about any rechargeable lantern. That is undoubtedly true, too. It has adjustable brightness levels, is bright enough for a camping on the maximum setting, and is diffused enough not to make you completely blind. Even better, you can adjust it so that it behaves more like a standard lightbulb or like daylight (more white). So, if you wish, you can obtain the cozy glow you’d get from a conventional gas lantern.
However, it goes further (even though stopping there would be good enough). You can get a dimmer flickering setting that looks like candlelight or a little fire by pressing the appropriate buttons. That is a very beautiful touch, whether you are at home or in the woods.
Do you feel like more color? You are also taken care of there with the AlpenGlow lanterns.
These lights can be programmed to emit color in any shade you like by pushing and holding the button in various ways (the handbook goes into great depth on how to do this). Alternately, you might program them to alternate between colors. They perform even more actions when you shake them. So they may provide you with party and mood lighting instead of just light for working.
Do you wish to skip the manual? Just give your kids one. In 5 minutes, they’ll figure out how to program the lights to perform a variety of tasks. That is exactly what my children did. Then they decided not to return them. So, if you have kids, make sure to purchase a few of them. The greatest electric chemlight (glowstick) substitutes ever are these little lights.
As you undoubtedly already know, military personnel utilize chemlights for a variety of purposes, such as signaling, locating themselves, and even playing games. There is no reason the AlpenGlow lights couldn’t fulfill any of those functions given the variety of alternatives they offer. These would make excellent Capture the Flag targets, for instance, if you were leading Boy Scouts or other youth organizations into the woods. One of these could be used by a missing person to announce their location and make themselves easier to find.
In other words, there are countless outdoor applications for these lights. Furthermore, there is no need to worry about leaving them outside. They won’t be damaged by rain, dust, or even small drops of water. They are in fact constructed to withstand outdoor use.
But they are not limited to lights. Additionally, you can utilize a cable to charge phones or other USB devices using their built-in batteries. The 250 has half the battery capacity of the Alpenglow 500, which has 6400 mAh (3200 mAh). This provides these lights even another emergency usage.
BY USING THE SUN TO RECHARGE THEM BioLite donated something something incredibly cool: a small solar panel to power them up off-grid, knowing that we at CleanTechnica are focused on renewable energy. Giving us a tiny solar panel would have been fantastic enough, just like the lamps, but the business didn’t stop there. They offer a solution that is much more versatile than merely a solar collector.
The built-in sight the panel has to get the most direct sunlight possible was probably the greatest aspect I noticed. I refer to it as a sight because, like gun sights, it facilitates accurate aiming without the use of elaborate techniques.
To use the sight, focus on the area of the lens where the center dot’s shadow falls. Once the shadow dot is directly in the center of the crosshairs, adjust the solar panel. Consequently, your panel is receiving the maximum amount of direct sunshine. This is made simple by the built-in stand, which can be clicked into a variety of settings to change the panel’s angle. You will need to re-aim it multiple times throughout the day, but this makes the task simple.
Once the panel is producing adequate power, you’ll note that it has a large hump on one side, which houses a battery pack of its own. Therefore, even if you don’t need to charge any devices right away, you can simply turn the panel off to conserve energy for when you do. Alternately, a USB cable can be used to directly charge items like AlpenGlow lights. The panel can be used with any other device that uses a 5 volt USB port, including USB-C devices, and a standard USB charging cable. I utilized it with several phones.
The panel is flexible enough to endure a battering, and the entire unit seems to be composed of durable materials. It may be packed into a large purse or backpack by folding it into a little square.
I discovered something that, despite its outward appearance, is quite positive. Cheap solar gadgets frequently lack adequate safety for the battery cells inside of them, which leaves the possibility of catastrophic outcomes in the event that a battery pack catches fire. Battery management allows the SolarPanel 5 and 10 to stop charging when they become too hot (which happened to me in 105 degree heat). If that occurs, place it on grass or in the shade to keep it cool (which should help).
Speaking of safety, I also discovered that if you’re worried about placing the AlpenGlow lanterns in the sun while they’re charging, the panel can shade them. The AlpenGlow 500 can fit behind the panel if it is laid over and the entire 250 light can as well. By doing this, you can extend the battery life of the lanterns.
LAST THOUGHTS I’m truly astonished by the capabilities of these tiny lamps and solar panel. They should have just provided standard lanterns that could be powered by the sun while camping, but they went out of their way to make every one of them more useful. Everything that could be utilized for additional purposes can be used for more purposes.
I’d heartily suggest these to anyone.
Products reviewed here:
by Jennifer Sensiba, photographer.
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