Best Foldable Solar Panel With 12V Battery Charger For Auto, RVs & Survival
Instapark Mercury27 Foldable 27 Watt, 12 Volt DC & 5V USB Solar Panel Battery & Device Charger
Best Foldable Solar Panel With 12V Battery & USB Charger For Cars, Trucks, RVs, Doomsday Preppers & Long Term Survival
Instapark's 27W Compact Foldable Solar Panel has everything you need in one small package to charge automotive & marine batteries, smartphones, tablets, head lamps, portable ham radios, power stations, power packs & more.
You can easily carry this all-in-one solar panel & controller with you in your backpack to charge most 12V batteries & 5V DC battery operated electronics for power needs in everyday situations like for RVs, backpacking, camping, or even for emergency preparedness survival situations.
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NOTE: This item is in our archived (older) recommendations folder. It is still a great solar panel, but please see our new article on the Best Foldable Solar Panels & Portable Power Stations In 2021.
For preppers, we recommend that every prepper have at least one Foldable Solar Panel and one Small Solar Generator that has LiFePO4 batteries, such as the Energizer & Beaudens portable power stations in different sizes. The LiFePO4 batteries have a 10 year life, 2000 recycles, no memory effect, and very low standby power consumption.
Why you might need it
The Instapark 27W Compact Foldable Solar Panel is the best affordable compact foldable solar panel that can charge 12V DC automotive, marine, Power Pack or Power Station batteries and your 5V DC small electronic devices via USB ports.
Good luck finding a better value in a small portable quality solar panel that has an included waterproof controller that can charge 12V DC batteries simultaneously while you charge up to two of your other electronic devices. We tried and still cannot find a better deal.
Granted you can find more expensive solar panels with more wattage and that can charge faster, but they can break your wallet and typically will not fit in your backpack like this model can. Note that no additional battery is required for charging external devices with this unit.
There are three output ports including one 12V DC port and two 5V DC USB ports. The 12V DC port is for charging 12V automotive or marine batteries via the included alligator clips, or via adapter connection to Battery Power Packs.
The included 12V DC output plug is also compatible with the Duracell PowerPack & Wagan Power Dome Series Battery Packs, along with the Instapark Mars20S with no additional adapter needed. See the YouTube video below to see a handheld ham radio being charged using the 12V DC port.
The Instapark 27W Compact Foldable Solar Panel was once ranked #1 in our Top Ten Best Portable Solar Panels & Solar-Powered Products list.
Most Power Packs Are Compatible Without Additional Adapters
You'll be glad you have the Instapark Mercury 27 while you are on the go or if there is a power outage or even worse if a long term disaster strikes.
Unlike most solar chargers that have unstable circuitry requiring a separate battery pack for power storage and charging external devices, the Instapark Mercury27 is engineered to not require a battery to charge external devices.
In addition to the 12V DC port, it comes with dual standard USB ports for simultaneously charging your smartphones (iPhones, Samsung Galaxy models and other Android smartphones), iPads, MP3 players, Amazon Kindles, Fire Tablets & other tablet computers, USB battery/power packs and many other USB compatible mobile devices such as rechargeable head lamps.
We believe the most efficient solar panel is the mono-crystalline panel and the Instapark 27W Compact Foldable Solar Panel is equipped with four of the highest efficiency mono-crystalline panels.
These panels fold up into a compact, portable and lightweight pack measuring 11.5 X 8 X 2 inches and weighing less than 3 lbs (perfect for hiking and for preppers). The folded case is made from scratch-resistant and weather-resistance fabric that is ideal for outdoor use.
The built-in pocket holds and protects the waterproof charge controller and other electronic components and provides extra storage. This solar panel kit charges a Duracell Powerpack 600 from 50% to 100% in 10 hours.
You can keep a 12V battery or battery pack topped off and recharged so it is ready to go when needed. Preppers will want this solar panel battery charger to charge 12V batteries that they accumulate or scavenge in a Doomsday scenario.
Folded Compact View
The Instapark Mercury27 27-watt Compact Foldable Solar-powered Battery Charger can be used immediately with many devices without buying additional adapters. If you use a solar panel for recharging any 12V DC batteries, you should also have a solar controller so that you do not overcharge or damage the batteries or power station.
Although the Instapark Mercury27 Solar Powered Battery Charger can be purchased separately from the controller, alligator battery terminal clamps, and other adapters that are pictured above, it makes sense to buy them together so that you have everything that you need in a complete set including a foldable portable solar panel with included solar controller, connectors and adapters that you will need to charge most power packs or any other 12V DC battery using the alligator clamps.
With the dual USB ports, this facilitates charging your power station or any 12V DC battery and up to two of your electronic devices simultaneously. If you couple the Instapark Mercury 27 with a power station (such as the Duracell Powerpack 1300), you can have ongoing extended use of your electronics in a remote location or in an extended long term power outage or survival scenario, making these two items perfect for preppers and survivalists.
There are also many smaller USB battery packs available that can be charged from this unit including the RAVPower 22000mAh 5.8A Output 3-Port Power Bank or the Rugged Waterproof Shockproof RAVPower 10050mAh Outdoor External Battery Pack.
But you can also purchase solar powered small USB battery packs such as the iBeek Portable 10000mAh Dual USB Solar Battery Charger External Power Bank with Flashlight & Compass for Outdoors (Rainproof, Dustproof, Shockproof).
Instapark Mercury27 Solar Panel Output Ports & Connectors
Instapark Mercury27 Solar Panel Technical Specifications (click to expand)
Solar Panel Wattage: 27W
Solar Panel Type: Mono-crystalline
Total # of Outputs: 3
# of DC 12V Port: 1
Maximum Output Power: 27 watts
# of DC 5V USB Port: 2
Maximum Output Power: 15 Watts (Combined)
Open-Circuit Voltage: 16 - 18V
Operating Temperature: 0-120 F
36" x 11.5" x 0.1" (unfolded)
11.5" X 8" X 2" (folded)
Weight: 2 lbs 8 oz
The Instapark INCC1205 12V / 5A Waterproof PWM Solar Charge Controller is included in this kit, but be aware that this solar panel can be purchased separately from the controller. It's better just to buy them bundled together instead of purchasing them separately (at a higher cost).
So be careful that you are not purchasing the Solar Panel without the Charge Controller included. The links on this page are to the Instapark 27W Compact Foldable Solar Panel with the Charge Controller included.
Instapark INCC1205 12V / 5A Waterproof PWM Solar Charge Controller Features:
The following features of the Instapark solar charge controller explain why you need to use it when charging devices and batteries from the 12V DC port.
The Instapark INCC1205 solar charge controller is designed and engineered to prevent your 12V battery from overcharging and excessive discharging when it's connected to a solar panel, therefore protecting your investment and extending the battery life.
The INCC1205 solar charge controller is equipped with PWM technology to ensure that your battery reaches its maximum charging capacity without causing any damage to the battery.
Similar to other modern high quality battery chargers, the PWM algorithm gradually reduces the charging current to avoid over-heating of the battery, yet the charging continues to return the maximum amount of energy to the battery in the shortest time resulting in higher charging efficiency, faster recharging and a healthier battery at its full capacity.
Each INCC1205 charge controller comes with four green LED indicators and one red LED indicator displaying battery status, connection status and real-time battery charge capacity.
The INCC1205 solar charge controller is in full conformance with both CE and RoHS standards and is backed up by a standard 2-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Included Instapark INCC1205 Solar Charge Controller
Instapark INCC1205 12V / 5A Waterproof PWM Solar Charge Controller - Specifications (click to expand)
Rated solar input current: 5A
Rated output charging current: 5A
Load disconnect voltage: 11.1V
Load reconnect voltage: 13.2V
Equalization voltage: 14.6V/29.2V
Boost voltage: 14.6V
Float voltage: 13.8V
Temp Comp. (mV/°C): -30mV/-60mV
Temperature: -31°F to 131°F
Instapark INCC1205 12 volt / 5 amp Solar Charge Controller
Battery Terminal Clamps
5.5mm x 2.1mm female to bare wires (solar panel output) adapter
Check Current Price & Availability:
Amazon carries the Instapark 27W Compact Foldable Solar Panel.
Other Recommended Solar Panel Options
See our Top 10 & Best Solar Products articles:
Recommended Accessories (click to expand)
Eneloop AA & AAA Quick Charger (This is a non-solar battery charger that provides 3 hour quick charging of Eneloop AA & AA Batteries which can last as long as Alkaline batteries and can be recycled up to 2100 times)
Beaudens 150W / 166Wh Power Station (This ingenious portable power station supplies up to 150 combined Watts of self-contained AC power via a grounded AC outlets to operate lamps, portable lights, smartphones, tablet computers, GPS, small power tools, portable coolers, small appliances and much more. Click here for more details).
BESTEK 300W Power Inverter DC 12V to 110V AC Sine Wave Inverter with 4.2A Dual Smart Ports (If you charge your own separate 12V DC automotive or marine batteries, this is a great little affordable sine wave inverter which provides 300 watts continuous DC to AC power and 700 watts peak surge power, and features 2 AC outlets and 2 Smart USB 2.4A charging ports).
Cobra CPI 890 800 Watt 12 Volt DC to 120 Volt AC Power Inverter with 5 Volt USB output (This inverter can power up to 800 watts continuously. Click here for more details.)
Cobra Cpi1590 3000w Power Inverter With Digital Voltage Wattage Display & Usb (This inverter is rated at 1500 Watts continuous power and 3000 watts peak power.)
ML35-12 35AH Deep Cycle AGM Solar Battery (This is a great deal on a pair of quality sealed 12V 35AH SLA / AGM type batteries perfect for use with solar panels.)
LED Headlamp for Hiking Camping Riding Fishing Hunting (Any USB rechargeable headlamp would be a good accessory for any hiker, camper, or prepper to include with this solar panel kit. This particular headlamp is a very good choice).
12Vto 5V3A DC-DC Step-down Power Supply Module 12V to 5V USB + Micro (Converts 12V to 5V USB for direct charging USB devices).
The following YouTube video is an excellent demonstration and review of the Instapark 27W Compact Foldable Solar Panel showing it charge multiple devices. Also included is a review of the Anker Astro Pro Series battery pack and how it is very compatible with this solar panel.
One note: Although you'll see that the solar panel output voltage is roughly 17V and the Anker battery pack actually regulates the voltage & amperage of the charge, it is still advisable to also utilize the Instapark INCC1205 Solar Charge Controller and let it regulate the float voltage to 13.6V which is ideal for charging 12V batteries and power packs.
Using the controller will also better protect and maximize the life of batteries as described above. In addition to optimizing (reducing) the charging voltage, using the controller would also increase the amperage.
So the reviewer's initial disappointment of lower charge amperage is not really an issue at all, and he does the math immediately afterwards to correct his initial statements, and he proves the charge wattage is similar to using an AC charger.
It is advisable to always use the controller between the DC port on the solar panel and the device or battery that you are charging.
Sample Amazon Feedback (click to expand)
"Love It!!! I am so thrilled with this!! I bought it to charge my Duracell Power Pack 1100, which is an equally useful and cool product. This solar panel system was very thoughtfully designed. Solid construction, self contained and comes with adapters which will come in nicely for other applications. It performed like a champ in full sun- charging my half charged power pack in just over 2 hours. A lot of power and utility for something that fits in a backpack. This is just what I wanted. And, you cannot beat the price!"
"Great panel and great accessories! At first glance, this panel seems similar to many other solar panels. But it comes with more accessories than other solar panels I've seen. It's these extra items that really sets this product apart. These accessories give you many more options and make the panels more useful."
"Great size and construction. Works great. Rugged design, great electrical connections. Folds up very small."
"Works fine. I bought this to charge my Duracell Powerpack. I have it hanging in a window and it seems to working fine keeping the battery topped off. The Duracell input is a 2.5 mm and the panel has a 2.1 mm output connection but the panel included a simple 2.1 to 2.5 adapter. It works the best in direct sunlight when the unit is open and all the panels are exposed. I tried it with only 2 panels exposed and didn't work. It's light, compact and easy to transport. The quality seems to be good and the price is great compared to other 30W panels. I was hesitant buying this without any customer reviews but the price was so good I decided to take a chance and I'm happy with the product. - updating my review and bumping it up to 5 stars. It's a cloudy day and the charge light is still on hanging in an east facing window at 5pm."
"I Like it. Compact, Portable and works great."
"Awesome for campers! Super great product, and it charges my jump starter in no time. I will never go camping without again!"
"Use it to charge aa, aaa, 18650, and cr123 batteries for shtf situations. Was advised to charge at low rate. Works great."
"Fantastic item, works well, charged things as I drove down the highway."
"Ok, this thing is awesome! If you're a survivalist, prepper, or just someone who wants to charge at the beach this thing can take it. The size of an iPad, when closed. Here in Puerto Rico we enjoy hot sun all year round. Even when cloudy it would charge an iPad and iPhone at the same time. Comes with a 12V battery charger."
"Excellent Portable Solar Power! This thing is AWESOME! I use it 2-3x/week to help extend the usage of a PowerPack 600 at a storage unit. It helps add about 20-30% of the capacity of the battery back during the course of a full 6-8 hours (some of which I don't get direct sunlight). I also use it to charge the PowerPack while not at the storage unit. Takes about two bright days to fully recharge the PowerPack, which is pretty impressive given how large the PowerPack is. This also works great for charging a couple of cell phones or even two tablets. I've been able to fully recharge an iPad and Samsung Tablet at the same time with this!"
"The customer support I received from the folks at Instapark was very helpful and best in class. I had some initial trouble connecting the Instapark Mercury 27 to my DPP600 due to what I thought was unclear instructions sent with the instruction manual for the solar charge controller. However, the customer support I received from the folks at Instapark was very helpful and best in class. With their assistance I was able to successfully connect and charge the DPP600 to the solar charger. The only complaint I have is not with the solar panel, but rather the compatibility with some of my apple products, the apple products seem to have the "This accessory may not be supported" error. This is only with some of my apple devices, and there are no other charging issues with other non-apple devices."
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