|Voltaic Fuse 4W Solar Charger|
I ordered 3 extra batteries, and even purchased an external viewfinder for the camera, hoping it will extend the battery power, and allow me to complete the full trek without the need for any re-charging.
But real-world usage of the camera made me come to the conclusion that there was no way that the 4 batteries would last for 10 days. These new cameras, with their reliance on LCD or electronic viewfinders for composition, and electronic systems for controlling all aspects of the camera, simply need more juice than the traiditonal dSLR cameras that use optical viewfinders, and use the battery only for triggering the shutter, and saving the resulting image to the memory card.
I had 2 options. Buy more batteries - perhaps another 4 or 5 (which I would use only once for this trek), or look for other alternatives.
The obvious choice for me was a solar-charging solution. They are reasonably affordable, and instead of worrying about just charging the camera, the solar-charging solution would charge a number of other devices (most importantly, our mobile phones). Most of the solar chargers in the market seem to be targetted for charging just mobile phones, but I found an interesting device that is geared towards trekkers like me, and has the ability to charge camera batteries.
Voltaic Systems makes a number of solar charging solutions that can charge everything from mobiles, cameras and even laptops. I was not interested in charging laptops (as the solution is unwieldy and heavy for trekking), but instead settled on a device that would charge both mobiles and camera batteries.
|The Solar charging solution.|
The charger is light (about 700 grams), so it's not too much extra weight to the back-pack.
|Inside of the solar charger.|
But how would I charge the camera battery with this solar charger? Camera battery chargers are designed with AC input, and this thing outputs DC current.
|Selectable 6v or 12v output from the solar charger.|
While I was scratching my head for options, I suddenly realized that the Wasabi replacement batteries that I purchased, came with its own battery charger, and more importantly, it can charge via a car charger (12V input). I quickly wrote to the company and explained my situation to them. I was very impressed when they immediately replied and agreed to send me a free connector that would fit into the Wasabi!!.
The connector is on its way, so once I receive it, I will have a very flexible charging solution, and will not have to worry too much about taking pictures, or talking on the phone (as and when there is reception in the mountains).
This is a perfect solution for modern trekkers.
UPDATE: I received my connector from Voltaic, and it works perfectly with the Wasabi Charger, as shown in the picture below.
|A special connector links the Voltaic to the Wasabi charger.|