Rollable Solar Panels: Powerfilm LightSaver | Canadian Prepper

hi folks Canadian prepper here so some of you may recall the review I did at the lightweight thin film Amorphis power film solar panel I've done a couple reviews on it about a year ago now and still going strong with this 10 watt panel that I've had for many years power films and making these for quite a while and if you don't know it's basically a flexible foldable exceptionally durable solar panel which can sustain all kinds of abuse and keep on ticking you can puncture holes in this you can scrunch it up it doesn't matter you know how you mistreat this thing you're probably not going to destroy it you may compromise the output level the power level but you're definitely not going to destroy it entirely it is somewhat weather resistant as well and of course because it's foldable it's amendable to a lot of different backpacks and tents set up shelter setups and whatnot so power film recently brought another product to market called the light saver which I'm going to be reviewing today and it has unique rollable form factor to it it employs the same thin film solar technology that you've seen here and what we're going to do is we're going to take a look at it we're going to discuss the pros and cons of it break it down in depth and we're also going to have a general discussion about the various pros and cons of the three main types of solar panels that you can get for portable backpacking so let's get into it so the main advantage of these thin-film solar panels is that not only are they more flexible and agile and in some respects more durable they also have a much higher shade tolerance so in a monocrystalline solar panel if any part of that panel is covered by dirt or shade or snow or any sort of debris the entire circuit can be affected and this is going to reduce the panel's ability to produce power now with the thin film solar panels this is not the case so I'm going to post a link to a video which demonstrates how a thin film solar panel of half the specified wattage 40 watts compared to a 80 watt mono crystalline solar panel actually produces more power than the mono crystalline when there's a certain amount of shade covering that mono crystalline solar panel now certainly the mono crystalline solar panels are more photovoltaic they have a higher efficiency meaning that they're going to convert about 15 to 20 percent of that sun's light into actual energy that you can use whereas the thin film solar panels range between 7 and 13 percent but the thin film panels are a lot lighter personally I like them more as long as you have this space basically you're going to be ok with thin film panels and they're going to function a lot better in low light conditions so today we're talking about the new power film light safer which integrates a battery pack which is powered by a rollable solar thin film amorphous panel all right so with the power film rollable a light saver solar panel what you're going to get is something which is readily accessible you can use it in a pinch and it can be very subtly stowed away as you can see on the 5-11 tactical pack that I have here so I want to show you I think that this is the perfect match for this 511 tactical pack so as I said before the bladder hose holes here which are sealed up with Velcro were perfect to hold the power film in place and when you need it is simply and unroll it let it hang down in front of course you could strap it on there if you were going for a walk and when you need access to your main compartment you still have that access there so you can just flip it over and then of course you can re-roll it up and so and it's ready to go and you can just get some elastic bands or something to fold that in place there so the light saver does come with a 2-year warranty unfortunately it's not entirely waterproof it is somewhat water resistant but due to the micro USB and USB output it's going to limit the water resistance of the product so there is that micro USB input so you can charge it from a wall and of course you have your standard USB output that outputs one amps and this is going to be compatible with most of your USB 2.0 devices most battery packs nowadays come with a 2.1 amp output which makes for faster charging so this doesn't have that but I'm told by power film that future versions will incorporate this into the design now having the integrated battery pack is great but unfortunately you can't charge direct from the panel so basically you're putting the energy into the battery pack and then that is of course going to charge your devices now it is only a 3200 mil a battery pack so I have a lot of concerns about this because I think nowadays you need at least 10,000 mil abs in there for this to be worthwhile so my suggestion to them would be to expand the surface area of the panel you know make it a bit longer and increase the size of the battery pack in order to be competitive with other products on the market today so inside the rule there's one 18 650 lithium ion battery in there and the way I see it you could probably easy squeeze at least two of those in there that would up the power storage capabilities to over six thousand milliamp Sande you got to remember that due to the seventy to eighty percent conversion rate and the power loss when that energy is moved from the pack to your device so if they're saying it's 32 hundred milliamps really you're only getting about 2400 of those me labs into your phone enough to charge an iPhone once but not enough to fully charge most modern larger smartphones and tablets now this product is manufactured in the United States which should win at some points for anybody who is concerned about the current economic downturn in order to revitalize the economy we need to start supporting small businesses we're manufacturing their products right here in North America there is overcharge and over discharge protection in order to protect your devices and the unit itself so the weight of this product is four point nine ounces so it's incredibly light the size of it when it's rolled up is seven point eight inches by one point six inches and the deployed length is seven point eight by 18.5 inches now if you want to charge this from the wall it's going to take about three hours and to charge from a solar panel they predict it's going to take about six hours of full sunlight so in spite of the fact that this will trickle charge even in low light conditions they're predicting that the battery pack itself will fill up in six hours in full sunlight now the obvious question that hasn't been answered yet here is how many watts is this panel and I did some back-and-forth with the product manager at power fill in an attempt to get a straight answer about the wattage of this panel I'm just going to read you the explanation that they provided me with regards to why they are not posting the wattage of this panel and I think they do make some convincing arguments here so here's a personal message I received from power film about why they do not post the wattage on this particular panel here we go so we do not typically provide the wattage rating for the panel and the light saver for two major reasons first it is not a consumer or even reviewer testable number with no ability for outside parties to confirm or deny the number given it becomes easily misused and miss quoted leading to false advertising and comparisons and I just want to interject here and say that any power film panel that does not have an integrated battery pack does provide the wattage carrying on second in a system like the light saver the panel wattage is much less bearing on the performance of the total product then for that standalone panel when the wattage produces obviously the entire function of the product as a mobile power bank the light saver and similar product have two major parts that can overwhelm even fairly large differences in panel output that is the charge controller and the boost converter from the USB output efficiency for both of these components ranges from 75 percent to 92 percent in devices readily available on the market so when the panel output is listed in watts it tends to be treated as the only number that matters for a device and thus can be used to mask deficiencies in the performance aspects that actually matter to the user ie how much power will they get into the device and how long will it take to generate that power due to these issues we had powerful focus on listing charge times rather than wattage in an effort to get the consumer the information that is both testable as direct bearing on the use of the system and hope that over time both consumers and reviewers will demand and test these numbers from all manufacturers so really power film is trying to set a new industry standard with respect to how we assess solar panels that have onboard battery packs to such an extent that we may have in the future some sort of equation or abbreviation that indicates how many milliamp of power you're getting in X amount of hours of direct sunlight as opposed to the mere wattage of the panel which as they explained here can be skewed by a variety of variables you know I'm as traditionalist and skeptical as an X guy when it comes to wanting to know how much wattage a solar panel is outputting so I definitely challenged on this but I finally come around to understand the reasoning why they're marketing this way maybe you guys want to weigh in on the comments section I know there's a lot of techies out there who know a lot more about this stuff I'm really interested in your opinions on how they're trying to market this in terms of charge times as opposed to panel wattage output really the main thing I like about this design is its Portability and just the ease and practicality with which it can be used as you seen there on my 511 packets those away very conveniently it can be rolled out in a pinch and you can because of the tube like form factor you can easily stash it in places in your pack where you know otherwise that space might go to waste because there isn't anything else that could fit in there so even if they were to make future larger versions of this design just the fact that it's a roll and not a flat thing which you have to worry about you know keeping straight and breaking like those monocrystalline panels I think that's one of the main benefits of this device and also of course the main benefit of thin film is that shade tolerance and the ability to function in low-light conditions in addition to that I think power film is just a great company all around they've been around for about 26 years they're putting a two-year warranty on this which is admirable for the reasons I listed before I think I personally might hold off and wait till they expanded the size of the battery pack for device like this before I went out and purchased it but that's not to say anything about the quality there are other products they have they've made a lot of great products over the years and if there's any company that I can get behind you know I get behind companies like silky and mono Walker power film is right up there with the best of them the main criticism of this device is that you could just carry a battery pack right now which contain three times the amount of power in an equivalent weight so finding the right fit for a pack solar combo like this which is so small you know it would be very challenging to do to find the ideal conditions in which you need something like this but if they could up the size of it a bit up the capacity then it would be a winner for sure I also think they might want to reconsider the notion of not disclosing the wattage of the panel if they want to transition into a new industry standard I think that's something that we are going to have to gradually work our way towards I think it's a lot to expect the market to just instantly adjust to a new nomenclature about charge times as a measure of solar panel efficiency another thing I would like to see is for them to up the IPX rating on this a bit I think that easily could be achieved by allowing for some waterproof caps the cap those micro USB and USB output ports that would just provide it a bit more water resistance because certainly because this does function in low-light conditions it's very likely that it will still function when it's overcast and there might be a light drizzle so the device might get wet so you're definitely going to want that protection for it especially if this is something I'm going to have on the top of my backpack ready for deployment in a pinch I'm going to want to make sure that it is water resistant and my last criticism is that they need to increase the amperage of the output from the USB to 2.1 amps so you can get that fast charging of your phone because it's going to take you six hours to charge this in sunlight then another three hours to move that power into your device so that's just to slow by today's standards now power film does claim that they have larger version of this in the works it's supposed to be sixteen thousand milliamp so stay on the lookout for that product in the future so anyways all in all I think the idea is great I think the product itself needs some upgrading before it's an economically viable option for most people but as it stands power film has a plethora of great products on the market from low wattage output panels to big purchase items like 120 watt foldables which are incredibly lightweight and compactable so definitely go and check those out if you were wanting to pick one of these up you can get it through my store this helps me support the channel so I can get better equipment to make more videos of course most of you know my passion is to make the after the collapse and the apakah talk stuff and that's definitely where I'm heading but in order to keep providing you content in-between those I do these gear review videos so there's going to be quite a few of those gear reviews and interviews in between the apakah talk stuff because we don't want to be all apakah talk and no action so please don't forget to Like comment and subscribe and check out those power film panels thanks for watching Canadian prepper Oh check out the Canadian Preppers Network blog and excellent resource for survivalists and Preppers

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