It is rare that we recommend a device or accessory and then, at a later date, retract that recommendation. When that does occur you can be sure that it is for a good reason; that’s the case with the Bracketron Xolar3000. We reviewed it last week and are now withdrawing our recommendation. The reason? Read on and we will explain.
The Xolar3000 is a 3000mAh battery for on-the-go charging. You can use it the way one might use a traditional external battery and simply plug it into a power source to charge it up before heading out. What makes the Xolar3000 different is the solar panel on one side. It means you can also use the power of the sun to recharge the battery on the go. It is a great idea and, as one promotional picture suggests, lends itself to recharging the battery while playing golf.
My experience yesterday however suggests that, despite a lack of warnings on the product page, when it comes to external batteries there is such a thing as “too much sun”. You see, I left the Bracketron Xolar3000 on my dash yesterday and went into a Mother’s Day Party for a few hours. The sun was strong and, by the time I got back the interior of the car was pretty warm. It was, in fact, so warm that the battery went from this…
And while that might not look like much, once I opened the Bracketron Xolar3000 casing to see what was happening the battery swelled even more and turned into this.
Let’s face it,this just can’t be safe.
I fully understand and appreciate the fact that a battery should not be left on the dash in direct sunlight, but when a product’s main selling point is the ability to use the sun to charge I think it behooves a company to, at a minimum, include a warning.
Update: Bracketron contacted us to tell me that there is a call out in the instructions about a maximum temperature but that my early version that did not have the instruction packet. As it was explained to me, “The temperature inside the car with the windows up probably exceeded the maximum temp and was just too hot”. That may be so and anyone buying the charger should be aware and… take care.