Several years ago, Popular Science wrote an article about creating your own mobile hotspot with a Voltaic Backpack. A lot has changed since then. We tested the very small $150 Cradlepoint CTR350 Mobile Router with both the Backpack and Generator and were impressed with just how easy it was to set up a solar-powered WiFi network.
Cradlepoint CTR350 Mobile Router ($150)
1 Generator or JetPack Battery – ($75-$149) the CTR350 requires an external 5 V power supply to run
Voltaic solar bag or solar panels purchased separately ($90-$350 in addition to the battery)
USB Modem (We used the Sprint Sierra Wireless Compass 597)
A circuit box and Generator “B” adapter ($3 and $4, only if using JetPack Battery)
Step 1: Connect the Battery to the Power In
With the Generator, all we had to do was connect the USB Out to the DC In on the Router. We used our “B” adapter which has a 5.5mm outer diameter and 2.5mm inner diameter. For the JetPack, we created a bridge using the JetPack universal “H” adapter, the circuit box and the “B” adapter from the Generator. If you want this solution, email us and we can include these adapters in your order.
Step 2: Connect the USB Modem and go
In five minutes, we were working off 3 laptops from up to 25 feet away. This was an easy way for a group of us to work away from an office or Wi-Fi.
Other options
If you don’t already have a USB modem, the Verizon MiFi has an internal battery and also charges from the Voltaic Backpack. It has a four hour runtime so you will likely need the backup power.

3 Responses to Mobile Hotspot Redux

  1. anonymous says:

    This is DIY like “Buy these hundreds of dollars of equipment and plug them into each other… Done!”

    • admin says:

      Fair criticism. We have a range of projects and we admit this one is pretty simplistic – several years prior it did require more DIY-ness, so this was an attempt to show how much progress there was with the technology.

  2. Pingback: Looking for Solar DIY Projects? Voltaic’s Got ‘em… : Sustainablog

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