Solar Charging and Battery Care FAQ

What is the fastest way to recharge the battery? If the blue LED is not blinking (below the CE symbol), the battery is flat.  Recharging the battery takes more power than normal operation of the device. So you’ll need to lay it horizontally, tilted up at the sun (like in this photo). If convenient, turn it to follow the sun in morning and afternoon.  The more directly the solar panels face the sun, the faster your chargng will be.  One or two sunny days like this will usually get it charged enough to turn on, and a third day to fully top up the battery. You cannot charge up the battery with the Wind Instrument vertical on the mounting rod, because it does not get enough direct sunlight that way to charge up the battery.  The charging is faster outside rather than through a window. It will still charge on cloudy days, but not as fast. Solar charging is also faster with the blue cap for the magnetic off-switch, because the unit is not consuming power then. 
Can you clarify what the Owner's Manual says about the battery level icon? For the 3rd- and 4th-generation Wind Instrument, it takes about 6 hours for lingering solar charging effects to leave the system.  So the battery levels are not meaningful then. You need to check the next morning, in order to get accurate readings. Or, put the blue cap on, and leave the Wind Instrument in the dark all day in the box or in a dark room, then remove the blue cap and check the battery level. It is not affected by room lighting.   If the Wind Instrument is out in the sun, checking at mid-day is not accurate, because you’ll also be measuring the voltage from the solar charging. Kind of like if you checked the battery gauge on your car or boat while a battery charger was attached.
Is the battery chemistry or lifespan affected if I flatten my battery? First, prevention is always best:  try to avoid flattening your battery if at all possible.  Monitor the battery level gauge until you know that it is fully charged and operating sustainably.  For normal operation, your Wind Instrument generates a lot more power than it consumes.  But it is much easier to keep the unit charged and operating than to have to fill up the battery with the trickle charge from a small solar panel.  Leaving any battery flat for weeks could damage your battery chemistry.  This is out of the manufacturer's control, so is not covered by warranty.  However, as long as you recharge the battery without delay, the lifespan of the battery will not be affected. 
Do indoor lights or plant lights allow the solar panels to charge? These solar panels are designed for the wavelengths of sunlight. Indoor lights and plant lights will not charge the Wind Instrument. However, for Wind Instruments up to the 4th generation (2016):  based on reports from several customers we can confirm that the Snap-on Tools LED shop light in 2000 or 2700 lumens (available from stores like Costco in North America) does charge the Wind Instrument back up.  It actually appears to be faster than solar charging, because instead of 8 hours of sunlight per day for 3 days, you can get the same 24 hours with the shop lamp overnight.  If you have the 5th-generation (2017) or later:  it has different charging circuitry and this LED shop lamp should not be used.  The new charging circuitry provides a better display of battery levels, but can occasionally malfunction with the LED light. This is preventable, so is not covered by warranty.
Does the battery on my Wind Instrument lose power when temperatures are below freezing? These are very advanced batteries designed for use in a wide temperature range outdoors.  The battery specs say can still provide power (less efficiently) down as low as -40, which is much better than most battery types.  But it may not take or hold a charge as well when temperatures go below freezing.  In extreme cold the capacity is reduced, and the battery won't charge completely or efficiently.  If you have a Wind Instrument with an off-switch, it is recommended to store it inside for the winter (as also noted in the Owner's Manual because of the effects of cold on the tail encapsulation).  It will not lose power when shut off, so it does not need to be kept in a window.
Do I need to follow the instructions for solar charging if I am in a very sunny location? Yes.  Paradoxically, most enquiries we get about flat batteries are from users in sunny locations.  It may appear that a location in the tropics where you can easily get a sunburn makes solar charging easier, but that is not true in this case.  All solar panels put out more electricity when facing directly at the sun.  However, near the equator, the sun is higher overhead (so it does not face the solar panels as often). Also, summer days are significantly shorter near the equator, giving you fewer hours of sunlight.  Inadequate solar charging is not covered by the warranty. Therefore, to get the best out of your Wind Instrument it is important follow the instruction sheet in the box, regardless of your location.

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