How Our USB Portable Solar Panel System Works – Off-Grid Living



Solar Panel Review. In this video we’re reviewing our 14 Watt E-Flex Portable Solar Panel and the Drifter Power Bank we use with it. We’ve been looking for a portable solar setup for the times when we’re not in our camper van, so we reached out to Renogy and asked if they could send us these 2 items to try, and to review. We had previously bought a 300 Watt solar system from Renogy in 2014 that we’re really happy with so that’s why we decided to try another product from them. We received both items in this video for free but we’re not being paid for our review and will be sharing our honest thoughts & opinions in this video.

The solar panel weighs 1.8 lbs and folds up into a portable bundle. The hard plastic panels are sewn onto a waterproof PVC material that has loops on all sides to hang it in different positions. There’s a voltage controller on one end with 2 USB ports, as well as a small pouch to hold USB cables.

The panel can charge 2 small devices at a time – things like smartphones, tablets, camera batteries, USB flashlights, etc. – pretty much any 5 volt device that can be charged with a USB cable. The panel is not powerful enough to charge a laptop though.

The E-Flex portable panel can also charge the Drifter battery pack (power bank), which can then be used to charge devices at night or later on.

We tested the panel outdoors in full sun, outdoors on a cloudy day, and indoors on a sunny day and the panel worked in all 3 situations, although it definitely produced less energy on the cloudy day.

Overall we’re very happy with the portable solar panel and with the battery pack, and we’re planning to take it with us on all of our upcoming trips. We’re also using it indoors while house sitting and visiting friends and family.

For more information about these products, you can visit the Renogy website here:

Thanks for watching!

Mat & Danielle

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Music & Song Credits:
All music in this video was composed, performed, and recorded by Mat Dubé of Exploring Alternatives.

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45 Replies to “How Our USB Portable Solar Panel System Works – Off-Grid Living”

  1. CampingCarJoa

    That's a great little set up.  I ordered a cheap one from china that looks almost exactly the same.  It works but it definitely doesn't do the 20 watts that it advertised.  Maybe 7 or 8 watts max on a very sunny day.  I'll look into the E-flex next time around.

  2. John Penniston

    That is really cool and light weight. Your right about letting a battery backup charge devices, I get tired of trying to find a outlet and having to keep up with a charger all the time is a pain.

  3. Beaverhausen

    Hi. I watched the video with the closed captioning, but I don't remember seeing/reading how long it takes to charge a device or the battery pack. Can you tell me how long it takes? Thank you.

  4. Mohsin Fareed

    THANKS VERY MUCH FOR YOUR EXCELLENT 3 VIDEOS ON SOLAR POWER . THEY WRERVERY WELL EXPLAINED AND ANSWERED QUESTIONS WHICH I COULD NOT GET FROM MANY VIDEOS I WAS WATCHING FOR HOURS.

  5. Bruce Forster

    Just a little "tech" note for your subscribers; a Life Hack, if you will.
    Some of the newer phones will not charge straight from the folding panels. One way around this issue is really quite simple. Connect a usb battery-even if it's FULL- to your folding panel. Then connect your phone to the output port of the battery. Using my Goal Zero Nomad 13 & 20 Panels, I have found that the battery gives the phone the REGULATED current that it needs, while the Solar Panel keeps the Battery topped off. Kind of an electronic Two-fer.
    Hope this is useful to somebody.

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