Monday, November 13, 2017

Review: Kogalla solar bank

I love my portable batteries. mostly because I love my power-hungry iDevices and not only go to a lot of long meetings, but also occasionally camping trips and other away-from-the wall outings! Having portable power not only extends my mobile browsing and picture snapping abilities, but also makes me a hero when someone else is trying the same and didn't think to prepare.

However, even battery packs like the hefty Limefuel Limeade with its 18000mah
are only as good as their capacity. Once dry, they're done, which is why I am also really keen on alternate power sources , especially in the event of a long term power outage. My favorite power source is solar, being free, non polluting and very sustainable.

I also love it when two great flavours like this mix, such as in the Kogalla solar storage bank. The SSB2210 Solar Storage Bank is a high-energy, ultra-slim power bank matched to a high-efficiency foldable solar panel housed in rugged, waterproof fabric body.

Unfolding exposes four solar panels each roughly the size of the iPad Air 22cm (8")x 13cm (5") x 3.5cm (1 1/4") compared to (24 cm (9.4") (h) 16.5 cm (6.67") (w) 7.5 cm (0.30") (d)) and when fully unfolded it stretches out to an overall 61cm (24") when fully deployed the SSB2210 offers a huge 22 W capture capacity s worth of panels which allows for fast charging times in full sunlight.  Matching the panels to the power bank allows for energy harvesting even in low-sun conditions. 920g (2lbs) n not bad at all, considering both the panels AND battery in one.

Not unfolding the panels limits the capacity but reduces the footprint required. given that the four panels fold nicely and will constantia a bit to allow it to stand up whilst exposing more panels to the sun. This is also important when it comes to getting a good angle to the sun.

Maximum possible solar generation at your location is possible by angling the panels to the angle of the latitude at which you are located. In Melbourne, that would be 38°. You would ideally want to angle your panels at a greater tilt for maximum exposure to the low winter sun. 
The general rule of thumb is that panels angled at the latitude angle, plus 15°, is best to maximise winter sun exposure. Obviously placing the panel in the line of the sunlight is the other part of this equation. Direct sunlight is best but even dappled or overcast  sunlight will generate power, slowly trickle changing the on-board battery. 

The 10,000 mAh power bank provides long battery life between charges. The power bank can also be charged through a micro-USB power input for charging during no-sun conditions. from a wall socket tor other alternate power source like

Dual high-current USB power ports (up to 12 W) lets you power lights, accessories, or fast-charge devices. The unit folds into a compact, ultra-portable kit that includes a zippered pouch for accessories. The kit also includes a flexible-neck USB light, micro-USB cable, and lightning cable. For the charging of all kinds of devices. I especially like charging my USB chargeable flashlights and phone in a modern "make hay whilst the sun shines" situation. I also charge up my other batteries for the same reasons.

I've found that I can charge either an iPad or an iPhone but not both simultaneously, now, doing some research i find that the  An iPhone charger delivers 5 Watts (5 volts at 1000 mA) and the Retina iPad mini charger delivers 10 watts (5.1 volts at 2100 mA). so its not unreasonable to see that 5W + 10W is more than the 12 W output of the  SSB2210. Bearing that in mind, just like the Apollo 13 Mission Control team, do the math and know how much draw your gear is going to make on your batteries. Matching the panels to the power bank allows for energy harvesting even in low-sun conditions, but they can only do so much. Luckily I also have a dedicated iPhone solar charger...

Another neat feature of the SSB2210 is the fabric eyelets sewn into the middle of the unit and the four corners. These loops allow the solar panels to be lashed down into optimum position or onto something either for stability or portability. I lashed it to the side of my rain-fly one day, and also to the back of my hiking pack, such that my daylight hike would serve double duty of also charging batteries on the bounce.

I used four mounting points to fix it to my pack here, but left the bottom panels free-hanging.
 I knew I would need to be mindful of the panels when I shucked my pack, but it wasn't any drama at all on an hour long hike.

I generally keep this unit folded up and in the hydration bladder pocket of my day to day pack, ready to charge up my devices on the go, or to pull out and make myself a hero during long meetings.

 I can highly recommend it, especially as an off-grid power source in a sunny environment to keep your vital gadgets alive. I would couple it with other power generation and storage items such as the Beacon or the like. Diversify and empower yourself!

Also check out sites like Solar Calculator to optimize your solar experience!


  1. I got one of those too. I liked the usb light that came with it so much I ended up getting a couple dozen of them

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