The Goal Zero Switch 8 Recharger is a compact power supply, best suited for smaller USB powered devices, that can be replenished by laptop or by way of the sun.

The Switch 8 can bring life back to a flatlined smartphone within an hour and be ready to do it again in another 4. So if you’re the type to burn through an entire battery cycle in a day, the Switch 8 may provide a decent alternative to sitting on a dirty airport floor and cozying up to a wall plug and a random stranger knee-deep in season three of “Friends”.

Prepared power pack switch 8 Solar-8

In support of our “Stop Preparing For Emergencies” series, as well as my habit of swimming into beach coves to work, I’m after reliable, lightweight and simple to use power sources that perform. Though the Switch 8 is a bit on the small side, it can’t fully charge an iPad, I’m including it because, when out in serious technical environments, I want to be as light as possible.

Here is some relevant technical specs. As I dive deeper into the world of portable powerpacks and solar replenishment I’ll create some simple charts to connect the proper watts, miliamps and volts to the right devices. There’s just nothing worse than sticking the wrong plug into the wrong miliamp? Talk about one night in Bangkok making a hard man humble!

Relevant Tech Specs:


  • USB Power Source: 4 hours
  • Goal Zero Nomad 7 (Solar): 4-8 hours


  • Shelf life of 3-6 months – then you gotta recharge

Output: (This is important) more to follow as we progress. 

  • Devices USB output: 5V with a 1A & 5W max
  • Devices USB input: 5V with a 0.8A & 4W max

Of course I’ll see if I can blow one up

Batteries and chargers can be linked together in a variety of ways to produce more voltage, decrease charge times and extend life. Usually none of these devices are sold with this capability; but, with some wire strippers, a soldering iron and some decent health insurance it should be easy to turn that Switch 8 into a Switch 80!

More to follow on the mad scientist experiments as we go. In the meantime let me know if you’ve had any experiences, good or bad, modifying any similar devices.

And be sure to watch your “Miliamps”.