Multicolor Camping Tent Lamp

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Want to bring some color to your trip?

These portable, rechargeable, multicolor camping lamps are perfect to stick on the picnic table or set next to the cooler while night fishing. They’re even magnetic, so you can stick them directly to your vehicle in a pinch. They charge quickly and easily via a USB cable, and, of course, have a variety of settings — including a fun multicolor glow perfect for nighttime campsite gatherings.

These are a few of our favorite LED camping lights (like SUNJACK CAMPLIGHT ) for the great outdoors, but there are endless variations and types. So if the right lights for you aren’t on this list, don’t be afraid to ask your campground neighbors for advice, especially if they have lights you admire.

And don’t forget — when worst comes to worst, you likely have an emergency light handy already, waiting in your pocket. Most smartphones have a quick and easy “flashlight” app built right into their default setups nowadays. And barring that, there’s always the best, most genuine campground standby… a good, old campfire, of course.

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Goal Zero 32001

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The Goal Zero Lighthouse 250 is also great. If you’re a techie who already owns a USB battery, an aid worker living in the developing world, or someone who hates disposable batteries, then you’ll love just about everything about the Lighthouse.

The lightweight legs allow it to collapse to the size of a big can of tomatoes. Like the Mr. Beams, a USB port allows you to charge another device from the lantern’s battery. And a USB cord allows you to recharge the lantern from an external power source, including a USB battery or any of Goal Zero’s batteries or solar panels, like the Nomad 7. A button switches on a helpful battery life indicator so you can know how long your bright night will last. It comes with a (short) one-year warranty. And when worst comes to worst, a hand crank on the top charges the battery and earns you more time.

The crank worked better than expected. We ran the Lighthouse to empty, cranked vigorously for a minute, and turned it on again at a medium setting. It ran for 27 minutes. That’s a lot of runtime for a little cranking.

In addition, it ranked second coziest in our tests, thanks to its warm-colored light and low low setting, and sixth in our range tests, allowing us to read at 30 feet. With a fully charged battery, it works great.

But it’s not the best choice for the majority of people. One: it costs more than twice as much as our more powerful, slightly less cozy main pick. And two: it runs for only 2.5 hours on high. So even if you fully charge it for seven hours one night, you won’t have enough bright light to last through the next night—let alone three more nights, like our main pick.

Also see: Coleman Lantern

Sleep Restoration Inflatable Mattress

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The inflatable mattress (like Coleman Cot )by Sleep Restoration has been taking the market by storm in recent months. Not just a comfy air mattress for guest usage, but also an extremely satisfactory Queen size bed for those who would like to use on a more permanent basis for regular nightly slumber. It claims to be puncture-resistant and has a flocked top coil system for extra comfort which evenly distributes weight across the thick mattress once it is inflated by the built-in pump. What we love about Sleep Restoration is the confidence in their product by offering a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, which with traditional mattresses is quite common but not so much with air mattresses.

Anker PowerCore+13400

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If you’ve read our review of the Anker PowerCore+ 10050 power bank, then you know that we really liked that the charger was designed heavily on a purpose base. The power capacity wasn’t exactly near the original power capacity, but everything else that followed matches the Output power capacity that you’d actually receive. Its single port made sense along with Quick Charge and PoweriQ, it was a great power bank charger that has precision in nearly every way.

In this review, we’re reviewing Anker’s PowerCore+ 13,400mAh power bank charger. It has some very similar traits from the PowerCore+ 10,050mAh one but just with a few things added on and some taken away. However, to call it a degrade or upgrade is something that we’ll decide in this review.

Power Capacity:

When I reviewed the PowerCore+ 10,050 what was found was a somewhat poor conversion rate and as a result, the real power capacity that you’d receive was 7,000mAh. This time, with this high capacity power bank, you’d think that a simple experience awaits. That’s somewhat the case.

Actually, power bank has a really good conversion rate during charging and you can expect a real power capacity of about 11,000mAh If you’re charging a single device. As a result, you can expect 4 full charges for nearly all smartphones. As for charging a tablet from a single port, you can expect the charger to charge a tablet like an iPad 1.5 times.

That’s the power capacity that you can get by charging through a single port.

However, the power bank has two charging ports(like RAVPower Power Bank ). If you’re using the two charging ports at the same time, you can expect the Output power capacity to be even lower than 11,000mAh. Also, it comes down to just how fast your device is charging. The faster charging that is happening, the lower the capacity will be. However, based on common usage of a power bank, this charger sits at about 11,000mAh of power capacity that you will most likely take advantage of.

Onto the charging options and speed, this power bank has two charging ports. Each of the USB ports features Anker’s PowerIQ tech, which means that both of the ports are able to charge at 5V/2.4A.

Anker PowerCore+13400 Offers some Very Powerful Charging

This where the power bank shines the most because it’s able to deliver a max standard charging speed with both of its ports at the same time. This means that you can charge two iPads at a max charging of 2.4A because the total output capabilities of this charger is 4.8A. It’s also great for smartphones because smartphones will charge at their max speeds, expect for Quick Charge compatible smartphones. Unlike its other version, the PowerCore+ 10,050mAh; this PowerCore 13,400mAh power bank does not feature Quick Charge. Although that isn’t to say this power bank is worse and has slower charging. That’s not it at all because it can still provide a fast charging rate out of both of its ports. You can connect an iPad to one port to charge as fast as possible and connect a smartphone to the other port and it will charge at its max speed if it’s not Quick Charge compatible (This is assuming that Quick Charge charging is the real max speed for Quick Charge compatible devices.)

Unlike its other version, the PowerCore+ 10,050mAh; this PowerCore 13,400mAh power bank does not feature Quick Charge. Although that isn’t to say this power bank is worse and has slower charging. That’s not it at all because it can still provide a fast charging rate out of both of its ports. You can connect an iPad to one port to charge as fast as possible and connect a smartphone to the other port and it will charge at its max speed if it’s not Quick Charge compatible (This is assuming that Quick Charge charging is the real max speed for Quick Charge compatible devices.)

There really isn’t a limit to the charging speed this fast charging power bank has to offer. The usual case for chargers like these is for one port to be 1 Amp and other 2.4A, but the PowerCore+ goes all the way and is able to provide max power to any two devices that are connected to its ports.

Input Charging

Unfortunately, the power bank does not recharge at Quick Charge speeds. The power bank is recharge through a Micro-USB input and is able to recharge 5V/2.0A speeds. I highly recommend using a wall charger with an Output of 5V/2.0A or higher because the power bank will be able to recharge at its max speed by doing so. If the charger is charged at its max speed, then it will be able to recharge fully in about 5-6 hours. If you recharge it with a wall charger that supplies 5V/1.0A charging speed, then you can expect a full recharge in 8-9 hours.

RAVPOWER EXTERNAL BATTERY

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What’s the current charge on your phone? Perhaps you’re reading this on a tablet – how long until the device needs to go back on charge? Do you even have access to an electrical outlet?

The solution is a portable battery charger, and devices manufactured by RAVPower should be your first port of call. Today we’re taking a look at the RAVPower portable AC-capable battery pack with a humongous 27,000mAh charge capacity, available through the RAVPower store direct or Amazon (US $170 / UK £150).

Portable devices have an obvious shortfall: constantly insufficient battery life. It’s as if there is no device that can regularly get you from breakfast to supper without having to be recharged (even slightly) somewhere along the way. The solution, therefore, is portable battery rechargers. These are essentially rechargeable batteries with the correct circuitry and wiring to safely recharge your mobile device.

The more compact they are, the more convenient, but there is obviously the necessity to trade off size and weight with a reliable charge. One charge isn’t enough – most devices are capable of providing multiple charges for smartphones, and one or two charges for a tablet. Meanwhile, you should also be able to power other devices, such as a Raspberry Pi, or charge a quadcopter battery.

What’s In the Box?

The RAVPOWER EXTERNAL BATTERY 27000mAh RP-PB055 comes with a useful black case. It’s quite bulky, and betrays a bit of weight, but it does feature a loop of material on the side. This might be useful for hanging the case up, for instance.

You’ve get two USB micro type-B cables, a mains electricity connector, and for UK and European users, a socket adaptor. You’ll need this to take advantage of the RAVPower 27000mAh RP-PB055’s AC output, which it offers in addition to a Type-C USB output (max 3A) and RAVPower’s two iSmart USB output ports (max 2.4A each).

RAVPower’s iSmart system is a useful piece of technology that can automatically detect the optimal charge settings for any connected devices. This means that your hardware will be charged correctly, rather than receiving too much or too little charge.

Is it Heavy?

You might think that a device capable of charging your favorite tech might be a little bit tricky to carry around. In fact, the RAVPower 27000mAh RP-PB055 is surprisingly easy to handle. While it isn’t the lightest piece of kit, it certainly isn’t the heaviest. It won’t feel good in a school bag (or even a handbag!) but thanks to the handy carry sack you can keep it in your hand if necessary.

So, inconvenient is probably the better description, rather than heavy. Around the size of a thick tablet, or netbook, the RAVPower 27000mAh RP-PB055 is not an ideal size, but you’ll probably soon get used to it.

The rubberized finish makes it easy to hold, however, and any heat that is collected by the case is effectively expelled via a vent on the side. You’ll find this at the opposite end of the mains input, for charging the battery. Around the other side, the two iSmart USB ports, USB Type-C, and AC out sockets are found. There’s also a power switch, which when pressed will display the strength of the current charge, via eight blue LEDs on the top.

What You Can Charge and Power

Most portable battery packs are designed for use with smartphones and tablets. They’re ideal for carrying around with you for a recharge on days out or weekends away. They can also add portability to smaller hardware, like Raspberry Pi computers and Arduino boards. These don’t have their own batteries to recharge, so instead are powered directly by the battery pack.

With the RAVPower 27000mAh RP-PB055, however, you have a whole new dimension for your hardware recharging. You already know that it can recharge your smartphone and tablet — but what else is on offer?

Insect eyes inspire new solar cell design from Stanford

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Packing tiny solar cells together, like micro-lenses in the compound eye of an insect, could pave the way to a new generation of advanced photovoltaics, say Stanford University scientists.

In a new study, the Stanford team used the insect-inspired design to protect a fragile photovoltaic material called perovskite from deteriorating when exposed to heat, moisture or mechanical stress. The results are published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science (E and ES).

“Perovskites are promising, low-cost materials that convert sunlight to electricity as efficiently as conventional solar cells made of silicon,” said Reinhold Dauskardt, a professor of materials science and engineering and senior author of the study. “The problem is that perovskites are extremely unstable and mechanically fragile. They would barely survive the manufacturing process, let alone be durable long-term in the environment.”

Most solar devices, like rooftop panels ( for example: GOAL ZERO NOMAD 7 PLUS)use a flat, or planar, design. But that approach doesn’t work well with perovskite solar cells.

“Perovskites are the most fragile materials ever tested in the history of our lab,” said graduate student Nicholas Rolston, a co-lead author of the E and ES study. “This fragility is related to the brittle, salt-like crystal structure of perovskite, which has mechanical properties similar to table salt.”

Eye of the fly
To address the durability challenge, the Stanford team turned to nature.

“We were inspired by the compound eye of the fly, which consists of hundreds of tiny segmented eyes,” Dauskardt explained. “It has a beautiful honeycomb shape with built-in redundancy: If you lose one segment, hundreds of others will operate. Each segment is very fragile, but it’s shielded by a scaffold wall around it.”

Using the compound eye as a model, the researchers created a compound solar cell consisting of a vast honeycomb of perovskite microcells, each encapsulated in a hexagon-shaped scaffold just 0.02 inches (500 microns) wide.

“The scaffold is made of an inexpensive epoxy resin widely used in the microelectronics industry,” Rolston said. “It’s resilient to mechanical stresses and thus far more resistant to fracture.”

Tests conducted during the study revealed that the scaffolding had little effect on the perovskite’s ability to convert light into electricity.

“We got nearly the same power-conversion efficiencies out of each little perovskite cell that we would get from a planar solar cell,” Dauskardt said. “So we achieved a huge increase in fracture resistance with no penalty for efficiency.”

Durability
But could the new device withstand the kind of heat and humidity that conventional rooftop solar panels endure?

To find out, the researchers exposed encapsulated perovskite cells to temperatures of 185 degrees Fahrenheit (85 degrees Celsius) and 85 percent relative humidity for six weeks. Despite these extreme conditions, the cells continued to generate electricity at relatively high rates of efficiency.

Dauskardt and his colleagues have filed a provisional patent for the new technology. To improve efficiency, they are studying new ways to scatter light from the scaffold into the perovskite core of each cell.

“We are very excited about these results,” he said. “It’s a new way of thinking about designing solar cells. These scaffold cells also look really cool, so there are some interesting aesthetic possibilities for real-world applications.”

the world’s largest floating solar plant starts producing power in huainan, china

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in the city of huainan, china, a mass of solar panels ( for example: GOAL ZERO NOMAD 100 ) can be found floating on a mass of land that once used to be used mining. the floating solar plant is based in the south anhui province of china—an area famous for it’s coal-rich land. yet since the area is now flooded due to rainy weather and covered with water ranging from four to ten meters deep, the chinese government have been able to optimize the land to farm a much more sustainable energy source. sungrow—the global leading PV inverter system producer—has announced that the floating solar plant has just been connected to the grid, and can now start supplying solar energy to homes in the area.

the 40-megawatt facility takes the title of the world’s largest floating solar plant, overtaking other floating farms in india and australia. by placing the solar panels on water, the cooler air at the surface helps to minimize the risk of the panels overheating and decreasing in performance. the panels have been linked up a central inverter and combiner box, both supplied by sungrow and customized to work with floating power plants, made to be resistant to high levels of humidity and spray.

a professional from the local government explains the ‘the plant in huainan not only makes full use of this area, reducing the demand for land, but also improves generation due to the cooling effects of the surface.’ the new solar farm forms part of an ongoing initiative from the chinese govenment to rid the country of its bad reputation when it comes to energy consumption, making china the world leader in renewable energy production.