As reported here, I recently purchased a LiPo Rider Pro in order to charge my gadgets while I’m outdoor. I’ve connected a 2000 mAh LiPo battery and a 3W solar panel. Since the LiPo Rider Pro Board was delivered without a housing, I placed the board into a small box for protection during transport. However, the USB ports and the test button were not accessible anymore and the charge/ok status LEDs were not visible.
Therefore, I decided to build a “sandwich” structure around it, just placing two acrylic glass pieces onto top and bottom of the board.
If you are travelling, hiking, biking or frequently being outdoor you probably have been in the situation when you were out of juice. Disconnected from the world you’ve been worried about missed phone calls and what to do in case of an emergency.
I have also accumulated a lot of gadgets (cell phone, mp3 player, ebook reader) with build-in LiPo batteries, which cannot be replaced with fresh batteries. Most of these devices have a USB plug. However, what to do if a USB wall charger is miles away? There are so-called “boosters” availabe, which contain a LiPo battery packs and some converters to provide 5 Volts and 500 mA for powering your USB device. If you haven’t forgot to charge your battery pack they can be quite useful … . The disadvantage is, that you probably have forgotten to charge it.
So here’s the solution. I recently discovered the LiPo Rider Pro, which is a credit card sized charging controller for LiPo batteries. It has a USB connector to charge the battery pack with a wall charger, but it can also connect to a small sized solar panel!
If you are hiking you can fix the solar panel to your backpack or wear it on your head 😀 and you’ll never again run out of juice, even at night. Depending on your device, solar panel installed (I have a 3 W panel connected) and wheather conditions, there can be even enough power for charging the LiPo and powering your gadget at the same time.
With a 2000 mAh LiPo battery ~50% charged, it took about 4 – 5 hours to get a full charge in the bright sun. I was also able to power up a Raspberry Pi, since the LiPo Rider Pro can provide up to 1000 mA output.
The LiPo Rider doesn’t come with an enclosure so I attached the LiPo battery with several rubber bands to the device. You should also secure the cable of the LiPo with some electric tape to avoid too much stress on the cable. Otherwise they can be ripped off and you have to solder them back to the LiPo.