SunWize Portable Energy SystemYou probably have heard that us folks in California have an electricity problem. While the press has not accurately reported the facts (big surprise) the fact does remain that energy is getting expensive. If you do any shooting with the D1 and have no electricity either because of a rolling black out or you' re simply nowhere near an electrical outlet, you' ve got to find another option for power. My dependency on 120v has bothered me and I swear when I plug in all my batteries for charging, my office electric meter nearly spins off the wall. All of these facts combined has caused me to turn to the sun for help.

Our trailer is already equipped with a solar panel that charges a 12v battery that in turn runs the inverter to power standard 120v chargers. This system is killer, but I needed something smaller than my trailer that I could put in a backpack for a couple of high Sierra and Alaska projects I' m starting this summer. Heading to the web and talking with other friends and biologists who are also into alternative power steered me to some solar panels, which have enough watts to charge some devices, but not everything. After a number of attempts I finally found the right solar panel that does it all!

The SunWize Portable Energy System (PES) is a great little panel! It' s only 10.5"x 15.5"x 0.56" and weighs a mere 2.5lbs! It comes with a case and all the cords you need except one.

I have opted to charge all of my electrical devices with their 12v charger so I made a 12v accessory plug socket to plug into the PES. With this, I can charge the D1 EN-4 batteries with the MH-17, my Dell Inspiron 5000 with a Targus Universal Auto/Air Power Adapter as well as my Powerex 1600mAH rechargeable AA batteries (see pg.20).

The SunWize PES has a meter on the front, which helps you align the PES for optimum power output. I was amazed when I first started to use the panel how sensitive it was to the direction of the sun!

I have found that with the SunWize, the meter needs to say 65 or higher for it to charge and power my notebook computer. This also holds true for the Quantum Car Charger or MAHA battery charger. To charge the MH-17/EN-4 the meter needs to read 80 or higher (the meter goes to 120).

As photographers we' re always chasing the light. Well, here' s just one more way we can take advantage of it when we do catch it. And we' re helping the environment at the same time!

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