Video: RainPerfect solar-powered garden water pump

Given the downpours of the last few weeks, it seems a long time ago since many of the UK’s water companies felt the need to impose a hosepipe ban. Here at Latest Gadgets we’re optimistically hoping the summer will return soon and when it does, we thought the RainPerfect might come in handy!

Strictly speaking this isn’t a ‘latest gadget’ (it came out last year) but nevertheless we thought it would be useful to do a hands on unboxing and test. In a nutshell, the RainPerfect transforms your garden water butt in to a hosepipe friendly water supply -saving you the monotonous task of filling up your watering can over and over. Furthermore, because it’s solar-powered, you don’t have to worry about the tricky job of running mains powered out to your garden.

One of the reasons we wanted to do a hands-on review of the RainPerfect is because it provides a beautifully simple system. As you can see from our video below, you simply drop the pump inside, mount the power supply on top and then put your solar-panel in a sun-friendly spot. Give it a while to charge up and then connect your existing hosepipe to the RainPerfect outlet for an easy solar-powered (and hosepipe ban free!) way to water your garden.

Overall we found the product easy to set-up and we were pleasantly surprised by the water pressure both on short and long hoses. One area for improvement might be to include a more detailed charge indicator. Rather than the existing traffic-light system, it would be good to have a number of bars (or a percentage indicator) so you can be more confident that the battery is actually charging.

The RainPerfect is available now from a variety of suppliers for around £90-£100.

Check out our video of the RainPerfect here:

The Sunnybag: fashionable and responsible?

We’ve all been in the situation haven’t we? One too many drinks on a Wednesday evening whilst trying desperately to impress the slightly common HR girl who always wears the skimpy skirts; failing miserably, watching her cop off with your boss who’s really very smug about it before arriving home far too late and dishevelled for a school night. In the haze you forget to charge your phone, and by the time you arrive late to work in the morning the battery has run out. Truly a 21st century dilemma it be.

Well, thanks to Austrian inventor Stefan Penfold this can be a thing of the past. Stefan has invented the Sunnybag which had its release on the 12th November. These range of bags with an in-built 3 Watt solar panel which powers a 1600m Ah LI-Ion battery pack, which in turn can be connected to over 400 mobile phones, PDA’s, iPod’s, iPhone’s and USB’s.

Great, you may think, but surely a bag with a solar panel is going to look like a misplaced prop from Total Recall? Oh ye of little faith. The Sunnybag team have knocked together two swanky leather satchels, appropriate for businessmen, everyday-ers and students alike with multiple compartments. These come in dark brown or black, while there is also a green canvas bag that will suit those who are looking for a bag for camping trips and the like. Somewhat perversely, generating electricity from sunlight n’ all, the bags also do not necessarily need a sunny day to get your equipment charged; a cloudy one will easily suffice- good news for all those used to English Winters (and Summers, thinking about it…).

Stefan himself says of the bag: ‘Our solarbags are more than a fashion statement, they are a personal statement about a commitment to sustainability, sensibility, and responsibility.” And it is in this that the Sunnybag really becomes an invention for our time, with its admirable use of the worlds natural resources to fuel our needs. However, and here is the rub, this comes at a high price with the product retailing at 199 Euro’s, which puts it out of reach of the high street market. If the Sunnybag is a success, though, this price will surely come down and make forgotten chargers and low battery an oft-mocked memory.