Product review: Sun and Moon Jars (ThinkGeek)
For many ThinkGeekers, the idea of a geek toy that illuminates the dark abyss we call night can be very intriguing. It is true- most geeks are afraid of the dark. Well, not really the dark but the scary things that seem to come out only as the sun goes down (The Mist, anyone?).
After battling with the idea of purchasing a Sun or Moon jar from ThinkGeek for quite some time I was lucky enough to receive the Sun jar as a Christmas gift. As excited as I was to tear it open and see what it could do, the batteries were dead on arrival! Not that that is uncommon but it was a little disheartening as it needs direct sunlight to charge and in Saint Paul, MN there isnt a whole lot of that going around during the Christmas season. We set it up near the window in hopes it would charge before the next dreadful night.
The next night after the sun went down the Sun Jar was merrily glowing and, like magic, made the night that much less frightening. It was really neat to see the glowing power after just one day of solar charging. It glows quite well but it doesnt really brighten up the room. Unless youre looking in its general direction you wouldnt even know it was there. The Sun Jar from ThinkGeek has a soft warm glow to it but it doesnt share it well with its surroundings.
Our Sun Jar is used every day to glow in our toddlers room and he loves having it around at night! Every morning we move it to another room in the house that gets the most natural sunlight. When nightfall comes we move it back into our toddlers room. This will probably be the most typical behavior unless the room youll be using the Sun or Moon jar in gets a lot of sunlight during the day. Moving the jar every day can be tiresome but it is absolutely worth it!
Whats inside of the Sun Jar:
The sun jar is essentially a cloudy mason jar. There is a light bulb in the middle with a solar power charger and battery right underneath the lid. The battery inside is a AA rechargeable so if it were ever to die out, it can simply be replaced with another rechargeable. The lid is closed with a metal clasp that is quite secure. The lid is lined with a plastic/rubber to make it withstand the forces of nature for those who brave it enough to allow their Sun or Moon jars to live outdoors. Structurally the Sun and Moon jars are built solid and I anticipate it will last quite some time unless it gets dropped.
On a geeky note: the solar power panel is visible under the lid when the jar is open. It would be possible to tweak it a bit and add your own solar panel on it J
How to use the Sun or Moon Jar:
The first thing that you need to do is open clasp of the Sun or Moon jar and find the switch inside. The switch says automatic or charge. Flip it to charge and let it sit for a solid day near a sunny window. At the end of the day flip the switch back to automatic. When the Sun or Moon jar find a dark room it will automatically emit its awesome glowing beauty. It actually glows brighter the darker the room is.
It is a good idea to flip the switch to charge every day you want to use it. The automatic feature does not charge it (or at least not very well). Then when you want it to run, flip it over to automatic.
The Sun and Moon jar can last all night:
Weve found, under most circumstances, that the Sun or Moon jar can last the entire night and still have enough juice to glow through the first hours of the morning. By this time the glow is quite dim but you can tell the Sun or Moon jar doesnt call it quits just because the sun is coming up.
For it to last all night you need a really good day of sunshine.
Is the Sun and Moon jar worth the $36?
The price is steep for a geek toy that glows but doesnt illuminate a room but if you were to find it on sale Id say its absolutely worth it. It isnt built cheaply so it should easily last you a few years. And if youre one of those geeks who are afraid of the dark, these would work very nicely on your nightstand. It glows just enough for you to see it but not enough to keep you awake.
The Sun and Moon jars can be purchased from ThinkGeek.com @ http://www.thinkgeek.com/homeoffice/lights/994a/.