How well does a solar mobile work at the end of a Lapland summer?

Summer time in Lapland is like nowhere else in the world. For a start, there are the 73 polar days, when the sun never sets.  Then there’s the average temperature that even in July is just 14°C. Add to that the fact, that summer starts in mid June and ends in mid August, and you can see why you have to be pretty tough to live in the far north. Our Lokki solar phone tester, Ilkka belongs to this hardy breed. But with the summer disappearing fast, how useful will his solar phone be. To find out, read on.

Goodbye sun. Hello clouds

Diary: It has been pretty cloudy. Yet the last three days have been hot. The nights are starting to get cool and soon even the days will cool down. From July 18th to 22nd, I worked mainly in the lab and office, plus the days were not too sunny. Consequently, the phone run out of battery and turned off.  On the 20th I tied it to a light pole and left it to charge all day.

Analysis: The phone battery had run flat, but on Wednesday July 20th it got pretty good charge when hanging on an electric pole. 64 mAh, is good for 38 minutes of talk or 32 hours of stand by time.

Fishing days, but no sun’s rays.

Diary: Friday 22nd July I went out into the countryside with some English researchers, but the sun was behind a thick veil of cloud.  From the 23rd to 24th I went fishing with my eldest son. No sunshine, but otherwise the trip was a success.  During Week 30, I once again worked mostly in the lab and office. Doesn’t make sense anymore to try and charging at night as the sun has started to set and the nights are getting colder.

Analysis: The record harvesting was at the end of the month. 170mAh is good for 102 minutes talk or 85 hours stand by.

It’s in the bag!

Diary: Got a new carrying bag. It’s way better than the old one, but you can’t leave the phone out in the rain as the bag has rather large holes. The phone doesn’t heat up as it did in the watertight bag. By the way, we’re now getting visits from lots of Norwegian Lemmings!

Chilin’ out during the cold nights

August analysis: On Sunday, August 14th, it looks as if Lokki had stayed outdoors over night. The lowest Lokki temperature in the morning was 4 °C. When you remember that Lokki’s inside temperature is always higher than the outside environment, you can see how the nights are getting colder.  After 4pm the sun came out. The battery was still flat, but started to get some charge. By 8pm Lokki had harvested 32 mAh.


On Monday Aug. 15th, Lokki harvested 48 mAh in just 4 and half hours, between 4pm and 8:30pm. 48 mAh is the minimum required for 24 hours of stand by operation. During these 4 and 4.5 hours periods, Lokki harvested enough for a total of 48 minutes of talk time.

It’s clear from August’s data that the summer will soon be over. In just a month’s time, it will be the Autumnal Equinox when the days in Lapland are shorter than the night. Nonetheless, if the sky is clear, it’s still possible to harvest solar energy for up to 14 hours. Does anything surprise you about Lokki’s performance in these conditions? If so, let us know in the comments below.

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