Frequently Asked Questions

General

 

Who is PowerFilm Solar?

  • PowerFilm is a global solar technology company located in Ames, Iowa, USA that manufactures flexible solar panels with a thin film plastic substrate.

 

Can I install PowerFilm Solar products on my home?

  • PowerFilm currently offers no residential or commercial building integrated solutions. We specialize in lightweight and portable solar solutions.

 

What is the base technology of PowerFilm?

  • Thin-film amorphous silicon photovoltaics using a plastic polyimide substrate.

 

How is PowerFilm solar material made?

  • PowerFilm is manufactured using internally developed, proprietary manufacturing processes. The core process is a true roll-to-roll process. The general process steps are Vacuum Deposition (Back Metal, Amorphous Silicon, Transparent Top Contact), Printing and Laser Scribing, Bus Bar/Lead Attachment, Encapsulation, and Die Cutting. PowerFilm is patterned on a 13-inch wide web on a roll-up to 2400 feet long.

 

What are the benefits of PowerFilm panels being produced in a true roll-to-roll process?

  • The proprietary roll-to-roll semiconductor manufacturing process of PowerFilm, Inc. enables lower-cost manufacturing and enhanced product functionality through ease of customization.

 

How thin are PowerFilm flexible solar panels?

  • PowerFilm is very thin, like paper. Encapsulated modules range from 0.22mm (8 mil) to 1.22mm (44 mil) thick. The thin aspect of PowerFilm allows it to be ultra-flexible.

 

How does PowerFilm solar panel flexibility compare to other solar panels?

  • PowerFilm is so flexible that it can be curved around a cylinder 2 inches in diameter. This is possible because PowerFilm has a plastic (polyimide) substrate. PowerFilm is the most flexible solar panel technology in the marketplace.

 

What can PowerFilm solar panels power?

  • PowerFilm solar panels can be used for both large and small-scale power generation. Panels are designed to be ultra-light and can power devices directly or recharge batteries.

 

How much wattage will a PowerFilm solar panel output?

  • This depends on the product, but as a general rule, the wattage listed on a solar panel measured under Standard Test Conditions (STC – temperature of solar module = 25C, solar irradiance = 1000W/m^2, air mass = 1.5, Orientation = perpendicular to incoming sunlight). If you are seeing a drop off in performance when the panel is not angled towards the sun don't be alarmed. This performance is to be expected and should be something to account for when selecting a panel to charge whatever your end device might be

 

What is the efficiency of PowerFilm solar panels?

  • Overall efficiency is strongly dependent on the module design, which determines the percentage of the area actively collecting sunlight. You can use 5% as a starting point. We have ongoing research and development programs to continue to improve the efficiency of PowerFilm panels. Note: Efficiency is measured at STC, which is not a real-world operational scenario. Low-efficiency panels may actually produce more power over an entire day or month depending on actual conditions such as shading, light angle of incidence, and temperature.  We encourage you to test actual commercially manufactured panels and compare side-by-side results in your application.

 

What is the recommended operating temperature range for PowerFilm solar panels?

  • The recommended temperature range depends on the specific lamination used on the panel. For nearly all PowerFilm products this is between -40° and 85°C. However, many of the Electronic Component panels use a less robust lamination stack, rated for -40 to 65°C. If you need something more robust, we can offer custom laminates to support your application. Contact us to learn more.

 

In what range of voltages are PowerFilm panels manufactured?

  • Standard outdoor products come in the following powerpoint voltages: 1.2, 2.4, 3, 3.6, 4.2, 4.8. 6, 7.2, and 15.4. Custom voltages are available.

 

What is the life expectancy for PowerFilm solar panels?

  • The encapsulation of the PowerFilm module will determine the life expectancy of the encapsulated module.
  • Photovoltaic Semiconductor Device - No particular life expectancy limitation in a protected environment.
  • Polyester Encapsulation - Limited to protected use (e.g., consumer electronics) or limited-time outdoor use.
  • ETFE Encapsulation - Best protection for permanent outdoor use.
  • For more information, read the PowerFilm warranty.

 

How do I get the best performance out of my solar panel?

  • Place the solar panel perpendicular to the sun for best performance.

 

Whom do I contact if I have a problem with my PowerFilm product?

  • Contact the company that sold you the product.

 

How do I know if my solar panel is working?

  • You can check if your PowerFilm Solar Panel functions appropriately with a voltmeter.

 

What type of connectors are used for PowerFilm solar chargers and accessories?

  • We use Aptiv (formerly Delphi) automotive-grade connectors in Amorphous Foldables, Rollables, and Soltronix Semi-Flexible panels. We use SAE connectors for our Crystalline Foldable panels.

 

Does the length of an accessory cable affect performance?

  • Yes, the length of an accessory cable will affect performance. For larger panels, a heavier gauge of wire is required for best results. Contact us to learn more.

 

Can I connect two different types of solar? c-Si and a-Si

  • Yes, you need to ensure that the voltages match.

 

What is the minimum amount of light at which my panel will operate?

  • 10,000 lux (equivalent to a cloudy day).

 

What is the shelf life of the butyl adhesive used in PowerFilm products?

  • Butyl backed panels have a 2-year shelf life from the date of manufacture when in humidity-controlled storage (10°C/50°F to 27°C/80°F and <75% relative humidity). We recommend installation within one year of receiving the panel for best results and ease of installation.

 

How should I dispose of my solar panel?

  • PowerFilm panels are 100% non-toxic. Therefore, they contain no heavy metals or toxins and can be disposed of in the standard waste stream. The exception to this rule is for areas with specific waste rules designating all electronic devices not to be disposed of in the regular waste stream. In this case, follow the laws of the particular municipality for disposal.

 

Why is my amorphous silicon solar panel different colors?

  • This is a natural part of the manufacturing process. The color variance will not affect your product's performance.

Foldable Solar Panels

 

How do I clean my Foldable Solar Panel?

  • Use a damp cloth with a mild soap solution and allow to dry thoroughly. DO NOT submerge or leave in a wet environment.

 

What can Foldable Solar Panels power?

  • PowerFilm solar panels can be used for both large and small-scale power generation. Panels are designed to be ultra-light and can power devices directly or recharge 12V batteries.

 

How do I get the best performance out of my Foldable Solar Panel?

  • Place your Foldable Solar Panel perpendicular to the sun for best performance.

 

Is my Foldable Solar Panel waterproof?

  • The Foldable line is not waterproof but is water resistant. If the panel gets wet be sure to let it dry out completely before packing it up to prevent moisture retention and mold. If you are looking for a fully waterproof solution the Rollable Line is a great option.

 

Are Foldable Solar Panels compatible with Rollable Solar Panels?

  • Yes, Foldables and Rollables can be daisy-chained in parallel using a Daisy Chain Cable (RA-6-HD) (Be sure to check that the power point voltages of each panel are similar. The standard Foldable and Rollable panels have a power point voltage of 15V but 30V versions are available as well in specific products).

 

Do Foldable Solar Panels come with a warranty?

  • Yes, Foldable Solar Panels come with a one-year limited warranty. Learn more.

 

What kinds of batteries can a Foldable Solar Panel charge?

  • Foldable Solar Panels are designed to charge 12V flooded, gel and AGM lead-acid batteries. With the proper accessory, Foldable Solar Panels can charge any number of different available batteries such as the EcoFlow DELTA or Inergy Flex Mobile Power Stations. Confirm functionality with the battery manufacturer.

 

How should I store my Foldable Solar Panel?

  • Foldable Solar Panels are very resilient but to ensure a long lifetime store in a cool dry environment.

 

How durable is my Foldable Solar Panel?

  • Foldable Solar Panels are incredibly durable and flexible. General flexing provides no issues at all. Do not crease the solar panel material as this will cause shunts and affect overall performance.  These panels are tested and conform to the Mil-Spec 810G standard.

 

Do I need to use a charge controller when charging my battery with a Foldable Solar Panel?

  • A charge controller is not required if the battery capacity is 100x greater (or more) than the panel output. For example, a 100Ah battery would not need a charge controller as long as the panel output is 1A or less. If a charge controller is required, please size it appropriately to the panel output.

 

What is the best way to secure my Foldable Solar Panel?

  • You can use the grommets on each of the corners and a tie cord to hold the panel in place. This is important to reduce loss or damage from high winds.

 

Can I leave my Foldable Solar Panel permanently connected to a battery?

  • Foldable Solar Panels are not designed for permanent installations. They are designed to be deployed and packed up. If you are interested in a permanent outdoor installation consider Rollable Solar Panels or Soltronix Crystalline Solar Panels. These panels can be permanently connected to your battery since the built-in blocking diode in the junction box blocks the draining of your battery. As with any permanent connection to a battery, safely clean the connection as needed (charge controller may be necessary).

 

Are the 4.5A, 6A, or 10A charge controllers compatible with lithium battery chemistries?

  • These controllers are designed to charge 12V lead-acid batteries. To charge other battery chemistries we recommend a Genasun charge controller. See available options.

 

What connectors are used on the Foldable Solar Panels?

  • Our standard connector type is Aptiv Weather Pack (formerly Delphi). Additional connector options are available however order quantity restrictions may apply.

 

What type of solar is used in Foldable Solar Panels?

  • Amorphous silicon on a flexible polyimide substrate.

 

What is the minimum amount of light at which my panel will operate?

  • 10,000 lux (equivalent to a cloudy day).

Rollable Solar Panels

 

How do I clean my Rollable Solar Panel?

  • Use a damp cloth with a mild soap solution and allow to dry thoroughly.

 

How should I roll my Rollable Solar Panel?

  • Always roll the Rollable Solar Panel solar side out. Rolling solar side in will damage the panel and affect performance.

 

How tightly should I roll my Rollable Solar Panel?

  • Rolling the panel too tightly will likely reduce the effectiveness of the solar panel. The inner roll should measure at least 3” across (42 Watt Rollable (R-42) and 60 Watt Rollable (R-60) at least 5”).

 

What can my Rollable Solar Panels power?

  • Rollable Solar Panels power portable electronic devices ranging from cell phones to laptops and more. Rollable Solar Panels are also perfect for keeping 12V batteries topped off and ready to go when you are. Connect up one of our weatherproof panels and start your boat, car, RV or ATV the first time.

 

How do I get the best performance out of my Rollable Solar Panel?

  • Place your Rollable Solar Panel perpendicular to the sun for best performance.

 

Is my Rollable Solar Panel waterproof?

  • Yes, Rollable Solar Panels are designed for permanent outdoor installation and are 100% waterproof with an IP67 rating.

 

Are Rollable Solar Panels compatible with Foldable Solar Panels?

  • Yes, Foldables and Rollables can be daisy-chained in parallel using a Daisy Chain Cable (RA-6-HD) (Be sure to check that the power point voltages of each panel are similar. The standard Foldable and Rollable panels have a power point voltage of 15V but 30V versions are available as well in specific products).

 

Do Rollable Solar Panels come with a warranty?

  • Yes, Rollable Solar Panels come with a one-year limited warranty. Learn more.

 

What kinds of batteries can a Rollable Solar Panel charge?

  • Rollable Solar Panels are designed to charge 12V flooded, gel, and AGM lead-acid batteries. With the proper accessory, Rollable Solar Panels can charge any number of different available batteries such as the EcoFlow DELTA or Inergy Flex Mobile Power Stations. Confirm functionality with the battery manufacturer.

 

How should I store my Rollable Solar Panel?

  • To store the product, simply disconnect the cords. Ensure the product is clean and dry (use a damp cloth and a mild soap solution), and then roll with the solar side facing out. Use the attached Velcro® strip to hold in place when rolled.

 

How durable is my Rollable Solar Panel?

  • Rollable Solar Panels are incredibly durable, flexible and 100% waterproof. General flexing provides no issues at all. Do not fold the solar panel material as this will cause shunts and affect overall performance.

 

Do I need to use a charge controller when charging my battery with a Rollable Solar Panel?

  • A charge controller is not required if the battery capacity is 100x greater (or more) than the panel output. For example, a 100Ah battery would not need a charge controller as long as the panel output is 1A or less. If a charge controller is required, please size it appropriately to the panel output.

 

What is the best way to secure my Rollable Solar Panel?

  • You can use the grommets on each of the corners and a tie cord to hold the panel in place. This is important to reduce loss or damage from high winds.

 

Can I leave my Rollable Solar Panel permanently connected to a battery?

  • You may leave the panel permanently connected to your battery since the built-in blocking diode in the junction box blocks the draining of your battery. As with any permanent connection to a battery, safely clean the connection as needed (charge controller may be necessary).

 

Are the 4.5A, 6A, or 10A charge controllers compatible with lithium battery chemistries?

  • These controllers are designed to charge 12V lead-acid batteries. To charge other battery chemistries we recommend a Genasun charge controller. See available options.

 

What type of solar is used in Rollable Solar Panels?

  • Amorphous silicon on a flexible polyimide substrate.

 

What is the minimum amount of light at which my panel will operate?

  • 10,000 lux (equivalent to a cloudy day).

 

What connectors are used on the Rollable Solar Panels?

  • Our standard connector type is Aptiv Weather Pack (formerly Delphi). Additional connector options are available however order quantity restrictions may apply.

Soltronix Solar Panels

 

What does an integrated charge controller mean?

  • The charge controller is built into your panel and built for your application. Soltronix meets your needs with a charge controller optimized for the solar panel. This helps provide you with the most power you can harvest and ensures your battery remains healthy by not allowing it to be overcharged.

 

What makes the PowerBoost Charge Controller better than others on the market?

  • PWM charge controllers are cheap, and the efficiency of the power transferred from the solar panel into your battery depends on the battery level. MPPT are very expensive, however, you will get the maximum amount of power out of your panel regardless of battery state of charge or illumination level.
  • Both are off the shelf. PWM offers 70% efficiency or less. MPPT tracks and optimizes the power transferred from the panel to the battery and can be > 90% efficient.
  • PowerBoost is built for your application. Since the PowerBoost charge controller is tailored to the Soltronix panel, it is capable of >90% at a low cost making it an ideal system.
  • Over a full day of clear sky in the sun you may not notice a significant difference between charge controller types, but over two cloudy days, you certainly will see that the system with the PowerBoost will provide significantly more power than the system with the with a PWM controller.

 

Can I connect a Soltronix Solar Panel to a lithium-ion battery?

  • Currently, all of our off-the-shelf solutions are designed to charge 12V lead acid systems. You can only use 6Ah or larger lithium-ion batteries designed as lead-acid replacements. These batteries contain charging circuity designed to protect the battery. Charging many lithium-ion batteries will terminate at roughly 90%, but for some (K2 Energy) you can charge the battery completely.

 

What is the minimum amount of light at which my panel will operate?

  • 10,000 lux (equivalent to a cloudy day).

 

How do I know what wattage panel will be the best for my specific application?

  • Contact us. We’re experts at designing, engineering and providing custom solutions to meet client needs. From 20W to 200W we can build what you need.

 

What accessories are available for my Soltronix Solar Panel?

  • PowerFilm accessory cables are compatible with Soltronix panels. More Information

 

Why do Soltronix Solar Panels use SunPower cells?

  • We source cells directly from SunPower because of their high efficiency, >21% and industry-leading quality.

 

What does semi-flexible mean?

  • With our custom fiberglass backing panels can be flexed to a 3’ diameter with no risk of degradation.

 

Can I walk on my solar panel?

  • Soltronix Solar Panels feature a rugged encapsulation that will stand up to the elements, but we do not advise that you walk on your panel.

 

How do I clean my solar panel?

  • Simply wipe down your Soltronix Solar Panel is with a damp cloth removing dirt and dust.

 

Can I connect more than one Soltronix Solar Panel?

  • You can connect any Soltronix panels with Integrated Charge Controllers together. You cannot connect a Soltronix panel without a charge controller with Soltronix panels that includes an integrated charge controller. Connecting two Soltronix panels in parallel to charge a battery will work fine. The charge controllers will still protect the battery and prevent overcharging. The Daisy Chain Cable (RA-6-HD) can combine panel outputs up to 20A, which will work fine for combining multiple panels up to 240W total. To supply 200W of power to the battery, special cables will be required after the RA-6HD. Except for the RA-6-HD, all accessory cables can only transfer 7A of power without significant voltage drops that will reduce the charge rate. To achieve full-rate charging capability, all cabling should be 14 gauge or better.

 

I have a PowerFilm Solar Panel, can I connect my Soltronix panel with Integrated Charge Controller to it?

  • Yes, as long as the voltage of the panels match, they can be connected in parallel. You will need a charge controller for charging 12V battery systems connected to your PowerFilm panel. The output of the Soltronix Solar Panel with Integrated Charge Controller and the charge controller on the PowerFilm panel can then be connected in parallel.

 

Why is a charge controller needed?

  • A charge controller is necessary when the power output of a solar panel is greater than about 1/100th of the watt-hour capacity of the battery. If a charge controller is not used in this instance the battery can become overcharged and damaged over time reducing the life of the battery.

 

Do Soltronix Solar Panels come with a warranty?

  • Yes, Soltronix Solar Panels come with a one-year limited warranty. Learn more.

 

What connectors are used on the Soltronix Panels?

  • Our standard connector type is Aptiv Weather Pack (formerly Delphi). Additional connector options are available however order quantity restrictions may apply.

Electronic Component Solar Panels

 

How do I connect to an Electronic Component Solar Panel?

 

How do I connect multiple Electronic Component Solar Panels together?

 

How tightly can an Electronic Component Solar Panel be wrapped?

  • Depending on laminates used, these panels can be wrapped to a 1 inch fixed radius or 3 inch repetitive bend radius. For tighter curves please contact us.

 

Are Electronic Component Solar Panels waterproof/UV resistant?

  • The Classic Application Series and Indoor Light Series products do not come standard with a weather seal border or UV protected laminate since they are commonly used in applications that do not have those requirements. The WeatherPro Series product family does include a weather seal border and UV protected laminate and is ideal for use in outdoor, rugged environments. In general, weather and UV protection can be added to any Electronic Component Solar Panel and provided as a custom solution. Contact us for additional details.

 

Do Electronic Component Solar Panels work indoors?

  • Our thin-film technology has excellent performance in heavily shaded or indoor/artificial lighting environments. The Indoor Light Series is optimized to collect indoor/artificial lighting below 10,000 lux. The Classic Application Series is optimized to collect sunlight and performance is measured and guaranteed at 25% direct sun intensity with functionality extending below 8,000 lux.

 

Can I buy a custom-sized Electronic Component Solar Panel?

  • Custom Electronic Component Solar Panels are readily available for purchase directly from PowerFilm. Depending on size and complexity, a custom size may only be available at higher minimum order quantities. Please contact us for more information on custom solutions.

 

Can I bend a panel's busbar over to make contact underneath?

  • Yes, we have many customers who specify die cut busbar tabs, which can be folded over to make connection to a PCB. Folding the panel improperly can cause permanent damage. Please contact us for details on acceptable busbar folding.

 

Can I buy panels with pre-exposed contacts?

  • We have several processes available that can expose contact on the front or backside of the busbar. This can simplify soldering and SMT connection.

 

Where can I buy Electronic Component Solar Panels?

  • See a list of distributors that carry panels under the "Where To Buy" section of each Electronic Component Solar Panel. Medium and larger quantities of standard or custom panels can be purchased directly from PowerFilm. Please contact us for MOQ and pricing details.

 

How can I mount an Electronic Component Solar Panel?

 

Can Electronic Component Solar Panels be mounted onto a PCB?

  • Electronic Component Solar Panels can be mounted to traditional PCBs using conductive adhesive, conductive soldered tabs, spot-welded tabs, conductive epoxies, or mechanical fasteners. See the Connections & Mounting section for further details.

 

Can Electronic Component Solar Panels go through a standard PCB reflow process?

  • Electronic Component Solar Panels CANNOT survive a standard PCB reflow process due to the laminate encapsulation covering the panel. Please contact us to help evaluate other connection options. Please contact us for more information.

PowerDrive Golf Car Solar Panels

 

What type of solar material is the PowerDrive Panel made out of?

  • PowerDrive Panels feature SunPower crystalline silicon solar technology. We source cells directly from SunPower because of their high efficiency, >21% and industry-leading quality.

 

Will the PowerDrive Panel overcharge my batteries?

  • No, PowerDrive Panels charge through a charge controller that you purchase alongside the panel. The controller is installed in the battery compartment under the seat and prevents overcharging.

 

What type of batteries does the PowerDrive Panel support?

  • PowerDrive Panels are designed to charge flooded, gel and AGM lead-acid batteries. PowerDrive Panels will support aftermarket lithium-ion lead-acid replacements (due to the included electronics mimicking a lead-acid battery) but will not function with a lithium-ion based golf car.

 

What battery configurations does the PowerDrive Panel support?

  • PowerDrive Panels are designed to function with 36V, 48V and 72V battery configurations.

 

How much does the PowerDrive Panel weigh?

  • E-Z-GO TXT, RXV, Club Car Precedent and Generic models weigh roughly 10lbs.
     

Do I need to replace my canopy to install a PowerDrive Panel?

  • PowerDrive Panels utilize a snap-on installation method and will fit your existing canopy requiring no replacement.

 

Can I charge my golf car with the standard charger when my PowerDrive Panel is installed?

  • Yes, the PowerDrive Panel charges independent of the standard charging function of your golf car.

 

How much additional driving distance will I get with the PowerDrive Panel?

  • Based on our tests, you can expect 50-60% increased driving distance depending on how you drive the car and what part of the world you are located in.

 

What golf car models do PowerDrive Panels fit?

  • PowerDrive Panels are designed to fit E-Z-GO TXT, RXV, Club Car Precedent, a generic option to fit most other cars and an extended top model for cars with larger canopies.

 

What is the environmental impact of using a PowerDrive Panel?

  • Using a PowerDrive Panel helps offset over 250 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

 

Can I install the PowerDrive Panel myself?

  • Installation requires no special tools and can be done by the golf car owner following the step-by-step instructions included with your purchase.

 

Will my PowerDrive Panel break if a golf ball or low hanging tree limb hits it?

  • PowerDrive Panels are extremely durable and designed to weather impacts and will not break from hail, tree limbs or other incidents that might occur on a golf course.

 

 Can I charge other devices with my PowerDrive Panel?

  • PowerDrive Panels can be used to charge other devices, but we would suggest using a Foldable Solar Panel or Rollable Solar Panel for your additional charging needs.

 

How do I clean my PowerDrive Panel?

  • Use a damp cloth with a mild soap solution and allow to dry thoroughly. This will ensure that you enjoy great performance for as long as possible.

 

Do PowerDrive Panels come with a warranty?

  • PowerDrive Panels include a one year limited warranty. Learn more.

 

What kind of connection does the PowerDrive Panel use to charge my battery?

  • PowerDrive Panels use a Delphi Weather Pack connector. 

LightSaver Portable Solar Charger

 

How do I best take care of the LightSaver solar panel?

  • Don’t crease the panel. This will reduce the performance.
  • Keep the solar panel dry. If it gets wet dry it off and let it air out in a cool, dry place.
  • Ensure that the LightSaver is not deployed while on your bike or other fast moving vehicles. If it starts to flap in the wind it can create creases and breaks in cells that will damage the solar cells, dramatically affecting performance and the lifespan of your product.
  • Roll the thin film panel solar side out. If you roll it the other direction it can damage the performance of your LightSaver.

 

Is the LightSaver waterproof?

  • A small amount of water on the LightSaver is not a problem, but allowing significant water inside the unit may corrode components. Saltwater is particularly corrosive and should be kept out of the device.

 

What do I do if my LightSaver gets wet?

  • Wipe off as much water as possible and take your LightSaver into a dry environment and allow to air dry for 48 hours so there is no moisture remaining.

 

Can I repair or replace cells?

  • Batteries are not replaceable. Solar cells are non-replaceable, but due to their durability and the minor impact on power when damaged, the panel will continue functioning for a long time even when damaged.

 

What do the different light patterns on my LightSaver mean?

  • Solid Red: Battery life is less than 10%
  • Blinking Red: Battery life is between 10%-50%
  • Blinking Green: Battery life is between 50%-90%
  • Solid Green: Battery life is between 90%-100%
  • Blinking Green and Red: your LightSaver has overheated. Move the LightSaver to a cool environment and wait for blinking pattern to stop. Then resume normal use.
  • Note: LightSaver’s light only illuminates during charging to maximize energy stored for use in your end device.

 

How long should it take to charge my LightSaver from solar?

  • The LightSaver will completely charge in about 6 hours, a day’s worth of full sun. It will take longer on cloudy or overcast days.

 

How long should it take to charge my LightSaver from a wall outlet?

  • It will take between 3-4 hours to charge your LightSaver with the included micro USB cable.

 

What is the best way to charge my LightSaver’s internal battery from solar?

  • Face the LightSaver’s solar panel directly towards the sun for best charging results, but the LightSaver is able to charge, albeit more slowly, in less than ideal light conditions as well.

 

At what battery level should I store my LightSaver?

  • The internal lithium ion battery pack will slowly discharge over time. If the battery voltage gets too low, it can reduce the overall health (capacity) of the battery pack. Because of this, we recommend storing the LightSaver with the pack charged at least 50%.

 

How Long will my LightSaver hold a charge?

  • If you completely charge your LightSaver it will last 10 months before its battery is emptied. We recommend fully charging the device every six months to maintain optimum battery capacity and health.

 

What kinds of devices can my LightSaver charge?

  • The LightSaver features a USB port and can charge most USB charge enabled electronics (cell phones, GoPro cameras, USB lights etc).

 

Can the Lightsaver be charged from a wall socket with voltage of 240-220V (to use in countries outside USA)?

  • The LightSaver can be charged from the wall using a cell phone wall charger that provides a micro-usb connection. So, if you have a wall charger (either 120Vac or 240Vac) for a smartphone with micro-USB it will provide the 5V necessary to charge the LightSaver.

 

How fast can this device charge a dead iPhone 8 Plus?

  • The LightSaver will take between 2 and 3 hours to charge a dead iPhone 8 Plus. Note that because some inefficiency in the phone's internal charger (which results in heat during the charging process), the phone may not reach 100% full using 1 LightSaver charge.

 

If the internal battery is fully charged, will the solar panel remain active if a USB device is connected (ie. a second power bank)?

  • The solar panel only functions to charge the internal battery. If that internal battery is fully charged and does not have a load through the USB then the solar panel is effectively inactive. If you plug in something on that USB port (which puts a load on the battery), then the solar panel will work to recharge the battery.

 

How many times will my LightSaver charge my GoPro?

  • You can charge a standard model GoPro about 2.5 times.

 

Will this trickle charge a 12v battery?

  • No it will not. Other PowerFilm products can do this with the right accessory cables.

 

What happens when the built in battery eventually loses the ability to charge? 

  • The built-in battery is a high quality lithium ion battery (18650) that should last a long time. Batteries of this type should be able to take hundreds of charge-discharge cycles without issue. That said, the panel cannot be used directly if the internal battery is not working.

 

What is the wattage rating of the included solar panel?

  • As this product is an integrated system (with solar panel, charging circuit, battery, etc.), the efficiency of the unit as a system is the most important thing. For example, if a high power panel is used but the power is wasted because an inefficient charging circuit is used or the battery is of low quality, then the high performance panel won't matter.
  • Because of this, PowerFilm has decided to focus on building a complete package that works very well (extremely good solar panel that works well in all conditions, a charging circuit that is very high efficiency, a top-grade battery with long storage life and good capacity and charging characteristics). Easy way to remember this is that the LightSaver can be fully charged in about a day of full sun (or 3 hours from a wall charger), and can then be used to provide ~3200 mAh to power various USB devices.

 

Does the LightSaver have a warranty?

  • PowerFilm, Inc. warrants that this PowerFilm® Solar product is free from defects in materials and workmanship that impact performance for a period of one (1) years. The duration of the Limited Warranty is from the date of initial purchase. To obtain warranty from purchases made from our dealer/distributor network a purchase receipt must be provided with the product. The foregoing warranty does not apply to any defect, failure or damage caused by improper use, unauthorized modifications, neglect, improper testing, attempt to repair, inadequate maintenance, or damage from accident, re, abuse or other hazard. PowerFilm’s sole obligation and liability for a product failing to comply with this warranty shall be, at PowerFilm’s choice, either to repair the product or replace the defective product with a new or re-manufactured equivalent at no charge provided that the warranty procedures have been followed. 
  • To obtain service under this warranty, customers must return a failed unit to PowerFilm with the return authorization number, original proof of purchase, description of the failure, contact information, and a return shipping address. PowerFilm will return a repaired or replacement product at PowerFilm’s cost.

 

Why isn't the LightSaver's charging indicator light coming on when charging from the wall?

  • In a few instances, the indicator light may be delayed coming on due to interactions between the wall charger and the LightSaver's charge circuitry (this is especially common if there is an inline meter on the wall charger). This delay will typically only last 30-50 seconds, but on rare occasions may last longer. Leave the LightSaver plugged in for a few minutes and if nothing changes, please contact us.

 

Can my LightSaver be used in extreme heat or cold?

  • The LightSaver performs best between 35° to 115° Fahrenheit (2° to 45° Celsius). The solar material is rated for far colder temperatures, but the lithium battery is a limiting factor. Once you hit a specific temperature, the battery will stop functioning as designed.

 

Am I able to fly with my LightSaver?

  • Yes! At the time this was written, the LightSaver was well below TSA's 100Wh restriction but check with your local TSA to confirm.

LightSaver Max Portable Solar Charger

 

How do I take care of my LightSaver Max solar panel?

  • Don’t crease the panel. This will reduce the performance. Keep the solar panel dry. If it gets wet dry it off and let it air out in a cool, dry place.
  • Ensure that the LightSaver Max is not deployed while on your bike or other fast moving vehicles. If it starts to flap in the wind it can create creases and breaks in cells that will damage the solar cells, dramatically affecting performance and the lifespan of your product.
  • Roll the thin film panel solar side out. If you roll it the other direction it can damage the performance of your LightSaver Max.

 

Is the LightSaver Max waterproof?

  • A small amount of water on the LightSaver Max is not a problem, but allowing significant water inside the unit may corrode components. Saltwater is particularly corrosive and should be kept out of the device.

 

What do I do if my LightSaver Max gets wet?

  • Wipe off as much water as possible and take your LightSaver Max into a dry environment and allow to air dry for 48 hours so there is no moisture remaining.

 

What do the different button presses do on my LightSaver Max?

  • Single press - state of charge display will turn on for 5 seconds. The 12V and USB outputs will also be enabled. Outputs will stay enabled until the system is shut off with the button or 90 minutes have passed with no load on the outputs (this is to allow the Max to remain on for long periods of time while charging lower draw electronics completely).
  • Double press - Changes the state of the flashlight. With the flashlight turned off, the first double press will turn the flashlight on to the high setting, the second double press will change the flashlight to the low setting, and the third double press will shut it off.
  • Press and hold - turns off the unit. After a press and hold all LEDs on the outputs will be shut off indicating the unit has been turned off.
  • *Note there is a slight delay after the button press before the function is completed.

 

How do I charge this device using solar?

  • Unroll the LightSaver Max and place it in a sunny location. Roll the tube under the solar panel to prevent potential overheating of the circuitry.
  • ​* While the yellow portion of the LightSaver Max's charging gauge only takes up 4 led lights, it holds nearly 70% of the battery.

 

Can I charge my LightSaver Max faster by adding an auxillary PowerFilm solar panel to the 12V input?

  • Based on the all inclusive design, you could take a PowerFilm foldable or rollable panel and using the right accessory (RA-2) plug that into the 12 volt input for additional solar charging/power (maximum input 24V).

 

How do I charge the LightSaver Max not using solar?

  • When charging the unit and not using solar, make sure the panel is completely rolled up. If any solar is exposed the USB and 12V inputs are disabled, with one exception. The exception is if you are using an auxiliary solar panel as input on the 12V. In that case the battery will charge from both the built in solar and the auxiliary solar panels.

 

How long does it take to charge this device?

  • One full day of good sun using solar, 3-4 hours from 12-volt input (car charger or wall charger), or 4-12 hours if using USB depending on the specific USB charger you are using.
  • ​* While the yellow portion of the LightSaver Max's charging gauge only takes up 4 led lights, it holds nearly 70% of the battery.

 

What are the differences between USB chargers?

  • The time to charge using USB depends strongly on the USB source. Typical, older generation USB charging blocks will put out 1A and take about 12 hours to charge the LightSaver Max. Many put out less than 1A and will take longer. New higher quality USB charging blocks will put out over 2A and charge the LightSaver Max in 6 to 8 hours.

 

Are there any limitations on what USB chargers will work with the LightSaver Max?

  • USB charging from wall cuts off at ~5.2V so some high voltage chargers (USB-C rapid chargers) will not fully charge the Max. Be sure to check the specs on the charger you are using to ensure best performance with the LightSaver Max.

 

How fast will my USB-C and 12 V inputs charge my LightSaver Max?

  • The USB power limit is not based on the current handling capability of the batteries or the battery charger circuit. The Max does not operate a USB-C power delivery protocol, so it will only ever draw 5V from a type C power supply. The standard USB-C cable current carry capability is 3A, so the max is set up to draw the maximum amount of power from a given USB adapter, but no greater than the 3A that a standard USB-C cable is capable of handling.
  • For the 12V input, during the design process, a choice was made to limit the current into the batteries to no more than 4A. That means that depending on the state of the battery (6 - 8.4V) the current draw when charging the batteries from a 12V power supply is limited to 2 - 2.75A.
  • ​* While the yellow portion of the LightSaver Max's charging gauge only takes up 4 led lights, it holds nearly 70% of the battery.

 

Why is my LightSaver Max charging gauge off when charging?

  • This will happen if the unit is not within its operating temperature range (35-115 F) and has shut down for battery safety, there is an issue with the input connection, or the battery has been drained below functional level. To determine if this is a low battery issue charge the LightSaver Max for several minutes (from solar, USB-C or 12V inputs) in a cool location.

 

Why is my LightSaver Max charging gauge not consistent charging from different sources?

  • The display is an approximation of the battery voltage and the amount current flowing. With different charging sources the amount of current going into the battery changes as well as many other factors (sunlight, heat etc.). This leads to different readings.

 

What USB devices can I charge?

  • USB devices including cameras, flashlights, cell phones, tablets, bluetooth speakers, and fans.

 

The LightSaver Max charged my cell phone to 90% and then stopped.

  • Cell phones and similar devices reduce the charging rate near the end of charge. The LightSaver Max may have interpreted this as fully being charged and shut off its output to conserve battery. Just push the button and it will turn on the output and finish charging your phone.

 

Can my LightSaver Max charge its battery from the solar while charging one of my devices?

  • The LightSaver Max can charge its internal battery via the solar panel while charging devices if the internal battery above 10%.

 

What 12V devices can I charge?

  • Small laptops and some larger laptops (depending on power draw) may be charged from the 12-volt output. Devices above 60 watts can be charged using the PowerChain accessory cable and two LightSaver Max units.

 

Are there any special instructions for charging devices utilizing the LightSaver Max's PowerChain function?

  • You will want to ensure that both Max units are as close to full battery capacity as possible to deliver a consistent and constant charge into your higher draw electronics.

 

Why does the 12V output on my LightSaver Max measure less than 12V?

  • The measured output voltage of the LightSaver Max will be dependent on a few factors. First, the output is generated by a DC-DC boost converter that takes the voltage of the lithium-ion battery pack and increases it to nominally 12V. The converter then regulated the voltage to hold it at 12V. The point at which it regulates is just before the 12V output connector.
  • With no load on the output, the voltage should be nominally 12V. When powering a device off the 12V output the voltage at your device will depend on how much current is being drawn and how much voltage loss is in the cable assembly connecting the Max to your device. A lighter gauge cable will have more resistance and therefore more voltage and power loss.

 

What are the sizes of the input and output 12V barrel connectors?

  • 12V input barrel size: 1.30 mm ID x 3.50 mm OD
  • 12V output barrel size : 2.1 mm ID x 5.5 mm OD

 

Are there any devices I can't charge using the LightSaver Max?

  • Anything with either an instantaneous or continuous draw of over 60 watts. Certain power adapters have extremely noisy draws (electrical noise) that can produce brief draws over 60 watts even if they are rated under 60 watts. Devices like these will cause the input to shut down by tripping the internal fuse and the Max will need to be power cycled with the button to enable the 12V output once again.

  • Outputs will stay enabled until the system is shut off with the button or 90 minutes have passed with no load on the outputs (this is to allow the Max to remain on for long periods of time while charging lower draw electronics completely).

 

Can I plug a 12V inverter into my LightSaver Max?

  • No, the power requirements are too high for the LightSaver Max output.

 

Can I charge the LightSaver Max on my car's dashboard?

  • Do not leave the LightSaver Max on your car’s dashboard whether charging by solar or from the 12V adapter. This could cause the unit to overheat. Remember that the power plugs in most cars turn off when the ignition is turned off.

 

What is the best way to store the LightSaver Max long term?

  • To preserve battery capacity, do not store the LightSaver Max under constant charge. For long term storage the LightSaver Max should be stored with over 50% charge in the battery. This is about the middle of the orange LED section of the charging gauge. Charge till at least 50% state of charge is shown on the LED gauge. Force the unit to sleep by pushing and holding the button until the indicator turns off. This will put the unit into a deep sleep state for long term storage. We recommend that the LightSaver Max be brought back to over 50% state of charge every 6 months.

 

Can I replace the battery in the LightSaver Max?

  • The LightSaver Max is a contained system not designed to have replaceable batteries. Attempting to change the batteries will void the warranty.

 

Can I take the label off of my LightSaver Max?

  • Please keep your LightSaver Max label as it has your serial number, which will be required if you have any problems during the warranty period (two years).

 

Does the LightSaver Max come with a warranty?

  • Yes, the LightSaver Max comes with a two-year limited warranty. Learn more.

 

Can my LightSaver Max be used in extreme heat or cold?

  • The LightSaver Max performs best between 35° to 115° Fahrenheit (2° to 45° Celsius). The solar material is rated for far colder temperatures, but the lithium battery is a limiting factor. Once you hit a specific temperature, the battery will stop functioning as designed.

 

What do I do if my LightSaver Max gets wet?

  • Wipe off as much water as possible and take your LightSaver Max into a dry environment and allow to air dry for 48 hours so there is no moisture remaining.

 

Am I able to fly with my LightSaver Max?

  • Yes! At the time this was written, the LightSaver was well below TSA's 100Wh restriction, but check with your local TSA to confirm.

 

What is the maximum input voltage for the LightSaver Max?

  • The Maximum input voltage for the LightSaver Max is 20V.

 

What is the LightSaver Max’s battery voltage when the battery is fully charged?

  • The LightSaver Max’s battery voltage is at 8.4V when the battery is fully charged.

PowerPier Marine Solar Panels

What is the shelf life of the butyl adhesive used in PowerFilm products?

  • Butyl backed panels have a 2-year shelf life from date of manufacture when in humidity-controlled storage (10°C/50°F to 27°C/80°F and <75% relative humidity). We recommend installation within one year of receiving the panel for best results and ease of installation.

PowerTour RV Solar Panels

What is the shelf life of the butyl adhesive used in PowerFilm products?

  • Butyl backed panels have a 2-year shelf life from date of manufacture when in humidity-controlled storage (10°C/50°F to 27°C/80°F and <75% relative humidity). We recommend installation within one year of receiving the panel for best results and ease of installation.