When I was reviewing my initial post I found that some of the old links were not working and it appears as if they have been doing some site redesign. So if you visited the original post and found links not working, it appears web site changes are the cause. Anyway, I took a bunch more pictures to give readers an idea of everything that came with the bag.
As can be seen, the straps have reflective tape, there is a car charger adapter, the battery, and a USB adapter with 10 different plugs meant to fit almost any mobile phone, camera, or portable game device.
Also included is a rain sack in a small packing pouch . . .
. . . that fits nicely over the bag. I have not tested to see how waterproof the cover is, but my guess is not very. I am guessing that Scotchguard would be necessary to get the desired effect.
The cable from the solar panel to the battery comes out of a little rubber doohickey and there is a small pocket inside the bag for the battery to fit into.
When charging the red light on the battery is supposed to glow.
The paperwork that came with the bag provides info on how it works and how to monitor the status of the battery.
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In my testing I found that only very direct sunlight or very direct artificial light will charge the battery. This picture shows direct sunlight in my office window which made the battery light glow quite bright.
I did not have much luck with cloud obscured light through my office window or my overhead office lights. However, if I put the battery right under my office lamp it charged. It also charged right away of course when I plugged it into a USB port on a my computer. When I plugged the charged battery into my mobile phone it started to charge it right away. I have not run a "full" test to see how long or if the fully charged battery will fully charge my phone battery.
The only "problem" for me personally is that the messenger bag is a bit small for my taste. It will hold say a lap top and a few other miscellaneous items, but I tend to be the kind of person that carries quite a bit of stuff. I always like more room than I need and the number of errands I run requires a bag that is a bit heftier.
In hindsight I should have perhaps requested the solar backpack made by Scicon. It seems to have a larger carrying capacity. To be honest, I am thinking about hacking the messenger bag by cutting the outer flap that holds the solar panel off so that it can be attached to other bags or clothing. This could be done without harming the function of the panel and I could then perhaps attach some sort of clamps that would allow the panel to be attached to other things, like say my current backpack or rear pannier. If done well I could actually make it so that the panel/flap can be attached back to the original bag, perhaps with velcro.
I will think about it a bit more before I go and knife it up and will post again when I decide what to do. Overall the concept is sound, the bag is great for those that do not want to carry much, and I think it is worth looking in to, especially for long trips that take you away from regular power sources. If you have experience with similar products, feel free to contact us or comment.