By Melissa Scheffler
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
November 20, 2012
Linda Cooper knows how to entertain almost any child. When she's at work as a school bus monitor for children with special needs, she relies on her phone to help her out.
"I have a couple of autistic kids that if they start getting agitated, I'll put on some mellow music and it just calms them right back down,” Linda said.
Linda's phone works just as long as she does.
"My phone is pretty much being used from 6:30 in the morning until about 4:30 in the afternoon,” Linda said.
Linda thought the Bell+Howell Solar Charger could help keep her Motorola charged. We bought two online for $19.95. But shipping and handling made it almost $34.
"So far it's working,” Linda said.
We gave Linda one of the chargers that was charged by the sun. She plugged it into her dead cell phone. About a minute later, it was done. But Linda couldn’t even turn her phone on.
Bell+Howell says you can also store power on its charger using your computer. So, we gave Linda another one that was charged that way. Her phone stopped charging 15 minutes later.
"It's showing about half charged,” Linda said.
Linda said that was proof it was working. We wanted to know if Linda would keep her enthusiasm for the charger's energy over time. So, we left the solar charger with Linda for a week.
A week later…
"It showed half a charge and the first time I used it, the battery went completely dead,” Linda said.
Linda says she had those results after charging the charger using her computer and leaving it in the sun for two days. She also tested it on her iPod.
"I decided to try my iPod--which normally doesn't hold a charge and it's held a charge all afternoon, after charging it with the solar,” Linda said.
Does it Work?
"I would have to say no,” Linda said.
However, Linda did like how it fueled her iPod. And... It might work as Christmas gift for some people on her list.
"Well, those family members I don't like too well might get it,” Linda said.
We reached out to Bell+Howell. The company has not responded to our concern about the charger. However, in the trouble-shooting section of the instructions, it says... if the solar charger doesn't seem to charge your phone, "you may have a phone or device that requires a very large amount of power which is greater than the amount stored in the solar charger battery."
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