solar Archives - HighTechDad


Post image for Capture, Store and Use the Sun’s Power Easily with GoalZero Solar Products

I love solar energy. And I guess my dog loves it as well – basking in it to stay warm. The sun is seemingly a limitless source of power. It only needs to be harnessed. With the proper equipment, you can be ready for just about any situation, a camping trip, an emergency or a way to simply save on your electrical bill. And as we get more and more devices that require precious energy, we need to begin to think about saving the planet in the process. While much of the energy that comes to our homes is getting “cleaner” (of course that depends on where you live), the sun still remains much more environmentally-friendly than carbon-burning energy production. This is where GoalZero Solar Products come into play.

GoalZero Escape 150

GoalZero Escape 150

For the past few weeks, I have been experimenting with the GoalZero Boulder 15 solar panel and the Escape 150 power pack. Before I go into these products, let’s talk a bit about GoalZero, the company. Goal Zero has been around for many years, creating innovative solar products that are portable and designed for all types of environments. Their products can charge devices using USB, AC and DC power and are designed to work in conjunction with each other. You could get a large solar panel to charge up a smaller power pack (although I wouldn’t recommend the opposite). Remember, the larger the solar panel, the more surface area there is to capture the power of the sun. As I have seen with other solar power innovators, the roots of the company comes from experiencing first hand, the communities who do not have access to regular, reliable power. Many of these areas are severely impoverished and have minimal infrastructure. But they all have something in common, the sun. To that end, Goal Zero donates a portion of its proceeds from revenue made from Goal Zero products to TIFIE (Teaching Family Independence through Enterprise) – an organization devoted to fostering economic development via “establishing sustainable business enterprises that produce goods and services and create lasting jobs.”

If you want a quick overview of the Boulder 15 and the Escape 150, take a look at the quick video below (also available directly on YouTube):

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Post image for Using the Sun to Power your Gadgets & Light the Way – WAKAWAKA POWER

If you look up into the sky, assuming it’s sunny and daytime, you will see a vast energy source that is incredibly untapped – the sun. Solar power technologies have been evolving a break-neck speeds and the size and costs have been reduced dramatically to the point where you can throw a solar panel, charger and battery into your backpack and never worry about plugging your smartphone or tablet into the wall again. The WakaWaka Power, is no exception. This small device, in my opinion, is critical to have for camping trips or in your emergency kit or just quietly charging in a sunny windows somewhere.

WakaWaka Power - Lights on

WakaWaka Power – Lights on

I actually really like this little “gadget helper” for a variety of reasons. Let’s start with the name, “WakaWaka” which means “shine bright” in Swahili. WakaWaka is created by Off-Grid Solutions (OGS) which is a company that develops and manufactures solar-based portable charging and lighting solutions. They got their start via a initiative (which raised over $419,000 – 838% over their initial $50,000 funding request) and are now a global brand. In fact, in 2012 they made it their mission to deliver 1 million WakaWaka’s worldwide as part of a pledge to the Clinton Global Initiative.

WakaWaka Power - packaging

WakaWaka Power – packaging

But OGS and WakaWaka haven’t stopped there. For every WakaWaka Power charger that they sell, they are donating $10 to the WakaWaka Foundation which has been set up to finance entrepreneurial education, micro-loans to women energy entrepreneurs and also subsidies for poor countries like Haiti, Nepal, Nigeria, India and others. One of their goals is to replace dangerous, expensive and polluting kerosene lamps with their solar-powered solutions. You can read more about their mission here. With initiatives and dreams like this, what is there NOT to like?!

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Post image for Old Fashioned Content Delivery About New Fashioned Technology – Scholastic Discover More “Technology” Book

I usually write about technology and gadgets. Anything bright and shiny really gets my attention, so much so, that I have little to no time to read books as most of my reading is confined to trade publications and articles. My children, however, especially my youngest daughter seem to LOVE reading, which is exciting. However, I just got my hands on an advanced copy of new book coming out soon by Scholastic as part of a new series called “Scholastic Discover More.” The book that caught my attention in particular was one called “Technology – How today’s technology really works” by Clive Gifford.


Targeted towards the “Expert Reader” (ages 9-13), the “Technology” book actually was one of the first books that I have picked up and “read” in quite a long time. I put “read” in quotes because it is actually more of an advanced picture book than a book of literature. However, that doesn’t mean that it is better or worse in any way. In fact, the book is not only engaging, but it is truly educational. And, as with books about any type of technology, I would have thought that it would be instantly out of date. In fact, it is pretty current and discusses and breaks down the latest technology trends in easy to understand examples (complete with bright and shiny pictures as well). And, to top it off, each book comes with a unique code that allows you to download a digital companion to it.


The structure of the “Technology” book is unique. For starters, it is broken up in to chapters around certain subjects and within each subject are sub-sections. The primary sections (and some of the sub-sections – I did not list all of them) are: [click to continue…]


Post image for The Casio Edifice – Form Following Function or Function Following Form? It’s Both!

Have I said that I love watches? I think that I have before. In fact, a year ago, I reviewed a Casio Pathfinder that had lots of technology baked into it (that’s the other thing I really love). I actually have had a long-running affair with Casio, having owned various G-Shocks and Waveceptors. Now I’m going to talk about the latest addition to my Casio collection, the Edifice EQS500C-1A1. I’m not sure why some of the naming conventions for the Casio watches are so cryptic, but I believe it is because they have a style to match just about anyone’s taste.


Casio has quite a big line of Black and Silver Edifice watch styles which, in my opinion, are a blending of functionality and edginess. Each model boasts something different, whether it be that they are solar powered or atomic time setting (self-adjusting) or rugged or waterproof or full of spinning dials.

The Sliver edition:


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HighTechDad’s 2010 Gadget Roundup & Gift Guide

December 20, 2010

Better late than never I guess! Over the past year, I have tested out and reviewed a variety of gadgets and consumer electronic devices. Most of these were hand-picked for review purposes in that they are devices that, to me, looked really interesting and intriguing. Given that there are only a few days left for […]

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Charge Your Gadgets Even When the Power is Out with the Scosche solBAT II Solar Charger

February 17, 2010

I spent a few hours at the MacWorld Expo 2010 and I saw a lot of innovative and cool products. But many of those devices were really only the “nice to have” kind. However, one device in particular stood out in my mind as something that every household should have: the Scosche solBAT II which […]

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