The types of solar iPod chargers available today can be used to charge only an iPod if you so desire, but most of them are multi-tasking chargers that can charge just about any small hand-held device. Often you'll see the term hybrid included in the name of the charger and that is how you can know that that particular brand of charger can re-charge many devices including your iPod.
Each charger has its own features, but many of them come equipped with several styles and sizes of USB plugs so you have the ability to charge different devices. A few come with window suction cups so you can attach them to a vehicle window and allow the sun to charge it while you travel. Some models even have a built-in flashlight! Most of them can be charged via the sun or by plugging into an AC or USB outlet. That's handy on a cloudy day!
Styles of models include foldable models, windmill-style models, and compact rectangular shaped models, to name a few.
Solar chargers are equipped with solar panels that capture the sun's energy and then transfer that energy to the devices in a form of DC power the device can use. Chargers can be used to charge devices like iPods, iPads, MP3 players, cameras, laptops, cell phones, MP4 players, hand-held games, and even AA batteries. The power can be used right away to power up your device, or the power can be stored to use later.
The lowest you can probably find a solar charger for is $20 or so, but you can also pay upwards of $150 for some of the more versatile models.
It's relatively easy to make your own solar iPod charger right at home using a few tools and a few miscellaneous items. You can gather all of the items separately or you can buy them in a kit that's already assembled. This is an example of a kit you can buy and assemble a solar powered charger that fits into a tin the size of an Altoid tin! It's compact and easy to build yourself. www.adafruit.com
We know the sun doesn't shine every day, so on the cloudy or overcast days of the year; a solar charger won't do you much good. This technology is getting better and better, but there are a few brands of chargers that consumers say take too long to charge or are not very well constructed. Keep these things in mind as you shop!
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