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Brunton Explorer

photo: Brunton Explorer solar panel


Price MSRP: $94.00
Historic Range: $27.50-$122.47
Reviewers Paid: $65.00
Weight 14.8 oz
Dimensions 4.5 in x 9 in x 1 in
Panel Type Polycrystalline
Output USB / 5V / 800mA


1 review
5-star:   0
4-star:   0
3-star:   1
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

Not ready for prime time. This is coming from a guy who makes silicon for a living.


  • Folds up
  • Uses high quality panels
  • USB port
  • Carges some items
  • Durable codura case
  • Charges iPod and All Clear


  • Carges certian items but not my phone
  • Heavy, 14.8 oz !!!
  • Doesn't charge my Samsung Galaxy

If anyone would be an advocate of this panel it would be me. I work at a plant that makes the very same silicon that these panels are made from. I like solar energy and have a vested interest in seeing solar work and thrive. 

At the same time I have a problem, I have this honest streak in me that I can't shake no matter how I try and I must say that this panel disappoints me. 

I had high hopes that this panel would make my longer trips more fun by keeping my phone, GPS and MP3 player charged, reducing my reliance on disposable or finicky batteries. 

I live in a very sunny area with 300 or so sunny days a year.  I have no problem getting direct sunlight to fall on these panels.  Even on a sunny day, in direct light, I can't get this panel to add one bar to the battery on my Galaxy phone. It will, after an hour or so, add one bar to the charge on my Camelback All Clear UV purifier and it eventually adds a bar to an iPod. I have owned this device for two years and used, or attempted to use, it on several very sunny days.

Let me give you a little background in solar: The panels on this unit are made from polycrystalline silicon; the highest output type of silicon panels made today.  Thin film, flexible and mono-crystalline panels do not give the output of poly panels and poly-panels have a longer lifespan.   You can ID a poly panel b/c it looks like pieces of blue flakes pressed together, they are beautiful.  Mono- panels, which appear as one solid color, work well in filtered light or on cloudy days but don't equal the output of poly nor do they last as long.  Unfortunately, poly is also heavier.

So, you can see why I hoped for more from this unit. 

If you need to charge a modern smartphone, forget it.  An MP3 player or UV purifier, yes, but it's slow.  I'm going to wait a few years for this technology to improve.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $65


Any chance your unit is defective?

8 years ago

A good possibility my friend. I have read some reviews that give it glowing praise so I should look into that.

8 years ago
Ryan Bastien

I have one and read that doesn't have enough juice in sunlight to charge an IPhone. My workaround would be to hook up a USB adapter battery pack and just charge the battery pack with the solar panel.

8 years ago

I own the 13 volt solar panel from Goal Zero. It does allow charging of the Samsung S3. Have you looked into this one yet? I opted for the 13 volt so I could use either the usb port or a 12 volt adapter to charge my accessories and also to trickle charge my scooter's battery as well. I have the older version and I think that the newer one has a smaller footprint.

8 years ago

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