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Image for article titled You Should Use a Solar Battery to Charge Your Cordless Tools

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Making charging more mobile for job-site tools or more cost-effective for a home shop can be a major game changer. As power tool battery systems get more efficient and compact, charging on the go has become much more practical. And with new, more compact solar cells on the market, solar charging for tools has become way more affordable. To get started with a solar tool charging station, you just need some basic information about the type of charger you have.

A simple DIY charging station

A solar tool-charging station can be a simple DIY project using a portable solar cell and a power station to distribute power to your battery chargers. For the setup to work well, making sure that you have sufficient power to run at least two chargers at a time is a good idea. For most cordless tools, a power station that’s set up to run at 120v is sufficient, but if you’re not sure, it’s useful to check the label on the power station against the one on your battery charger to double check. Check out this video for more information on what kinds of solar panels will work with what kinds of power stations.

For larger tools

If you have a larger job that takes two or more tools, it’s also possible to use a job site kit like the one from Klein Tools that will run corded power tools as well as cordless. Having a power station that you can charge for free with sunlight and run tools off of anywhere you take it that has some sunlight is a great solution for camping, adventuring, or for a home hobby shop. Since the system is foldable, you can pack up your solar cell when the weather gets bad, but still use the charge on the power station for as long as the charge lasts.

For specific battery types

Some tool brands have already come out with their own integrated solar charging stations like this one from Ryobi. These kits will be designed to handle the type of battery that works with the brand of tools you have, but you can also plug in devices like cell phones, tablets, or other tools as well.

Size matters

One important thing to remember about a solar charging system is that you will need ample sunlight to charge the power station. Having the solar panel set up to receive maximum sunlight is a must to get a full charge. Solar cells that will power your tools can take anywhere between one and a half to 48 hours to charge, depending on the capacity of the system and the size of the solar cell. The capacity is marked in kWh or kilowatt hours, with a larger number being the highest capacity, and likely taking the longest to reach a full charge. Remember to check the label to determine charging time and capacity before choosing a system so that you get the right amount of power for the tools you plan to use with it.

Safety first

It’s important to remember when you’re working with any electricity that there could be a risk of shock. Make sure not to work on any electrical components while they are connected to a battery or other power source. If you smell smoke or if any part of the solar charging system you’re working with overheats, you should unplug it immediately.

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