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  1. #1
    deep stuff brucewiley's Avatar
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    battery pack USB chargers

    I can't seem to find any good info on battery pack based chargers for USB devices, mainly my Edge 305. My trips can take me into the boonies for a few days so now that I have one of this things I need to be able to charge it.

    Don't think I wanna go dynamo, I'm over-experienced with Solar (off grid for 8 yrs previous) and it seems the battery pack would be the simplest, least expensive route to go. Really would like Solar/battery combo but they look expensive and I don't think I believe much of the recharge hype from their solar specs. Plus keeping a panel in full sun all day on tour would be tough or I would consider building up a unit myself.

    Any experiences with battery pack chargers?

    Bruce

  2. #2
    carbon positive lifestyle carbonlife's Avatar
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    MintyBoost perhaps? Edit: Here's the original site with AA kits for sale.

    Here's a kit for 9V batteries.

    I don't have any experience with battery pack USB chargers, I just remember seeing this.

    Last edited by carbonlife; 06-08-08 at 08:04 PM.

  3. #3
    deep stuff brucewiley's Avatar
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    Thanks! that one looks cool and simple but sure would like to hear from someone actually using something like that before I plug in my 305. Also just a quick thought, how do they get the 5.5 volts from 2 AAs?

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    I have one of these:

    http://www.energizer.com/products/en...y-charger.aspx

    I've only used it a few times with my Garmin Forerunner, but it seemed to work well. They make one with a mini-usb tip.

  5. #5
    Thread Killer evblazer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammond9705 View Post
    I have one of these:

    http://www.energizer.com/products/en...y-charger.aspx

    I've only used it a few times with my Garmin Forerunner, but it seemed to work well. They make one with a mini-usb tip.
    I use the same type for my GZone phone and it also came with a mini-usb tip that charges my mp3 player. It works really well except when I charge I can't use the MP3 Players FM radio *shrug*.

    If you buy them in a store just make sure it comes with all the tips it says on the package before you leave the aisle. I had to go through a few stores till I found one that didn't have all the tips ransacked from all the packages. It was nice that they stick them out the back so you could try the tip but either people stole them for fun or so they would only have to buy one package to charge different devices.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    I have one of these:

    http://www.solio.com/charger/explore...magnesium.html

    and one of these

    http://www.apc.com/resource/include/...base_sku=UPB10

    The Solio will generally charge my Edge 705 twice before needing recharged. I have not charged by 705 with the APC but I did use it on my 305 and it would give me 1.25 to 1.5 charges.

    The Solio can charge in one day IF it is in direct sunlight for the entire day. So this is a valid concern however since it holds two plus days worth of power it may still work for a multi day trip.

    Prices:
    APC $70 +/-
    Solio $175 +/-

  7. #7
    deep stuff brucewiley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammond9705 View Post
    I have one of these:

    http://www.energizer.com/products/en...y-charger.aspx

    I've only used it a few times with my Garmin Forerunner, but it seemed to work well. They make one with a mini-usb tip.

    That looks like a good one to start with and reasonably priced, I'll look around for one. Thanks guys! I may still have to find a small 6V solar panel in the future and build up something just for the fun of it.

    Bruce

  8. #8
    EZ-1 SX to ebike Project
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    ebay is loaded wit these things. instructables.com has ways to build them from Radioshack parts.

    the capacitors I believe are key in the 5.5V from the AA's
    There are no strangers here among us; only freinds we havn't met.

  9. #9
    ...into the blue...
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    I'd love to hear if anyone has gotten one of these to work w/ an iPhone. I tried a 4-AA device (sorry, not at home, don't remember which). It would charge the iphone half way, and then the charge would start going back down. This happened w/ rechargeable AA's, AND w/ normal duracells.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Zero_Enigma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brucewiley View Post
    That looks like a good one to start with and reasonably priced, I'll look around for one. Thanks guys! I may still have to find a small 6V solar panel in the future and build up something just for the fun of it.

    Bruce
    Check Home Depot for a $5 off coupon attached to the Energi-To-Go. I'm not sure if this applies to the USA Home Depots but this is what I've seen at the Canadian Home Depots which I think carry the same promotion. That coupon is /NOT/ restricted to Home Depot. I have seen that Best Buy has that Energi-To-Go product for the cell/usb units for ~$20 CDN while Home Depot has it for ~$25 CDN so if I took that coupon to a Best Buy I can get it for $15 and get a sweeter deal. The extra money saved can go towards bikey gear or pizza!

    www.canadiantire.ca -> Top tab look for Auto -> Solar power -> and check out the 6.5W folding solar panels. I have one and plan on giving it a test out this summer. It's small enough to fit into a glove compartment of a car or cargo pockets in pants.

    Just need to find me a 4xAA battery charger that works with that FOR A GOOD PRICE and I'm set.

    Very light weight solar panel. About the same weight as 3-4 Clif Energy bars.

    BTW I'm not affliated to any stores listed above. Just posting some savings cause we all can save something.

    The Energi-To-Go from my understanding tlakign to a BB CSR that had some family using it is that if you buy any of those units the tips are interchangeable with another unit. So if you buy two units with different tips but want to zip tie all the tips together and use one unit to save weight/bulk those tips will still work. Get a USB one for the GPS and another one for your cell phone. I don't know if they'll work with NIMH recharabgles as when I spoke with the CSR at BB he only stated his family mainly used disposibles for the emergency usages. I don't see why NIMH won't use but you may end up with less recharges and power retention unless you use the new NIMH LSD batteries. LSD = Low Self Discharge sometimes also called 'pre-charged (by Duracell)', 'Hybrids (by RayoVac)', 'Imodion (sp) (by Maha/PowereX)', 'Eneloops (by Sanyo)'.

    No we're not talking trippy 1960's here . You get about 500-700mAh less with NIMH LSD's vs normal NIMH but LSD's clain is they retain ~65-85% energy in one years time making them long term storage reusables over alkalines.

    The balance is if I remember reading this correctly at some sites was if you don't use your cells daily and use them like twice a week or every 3-4 days then LSD's are worth it for you. If you however use NIMH daily then normal NIMH would be better as you can have that exta 500-700mAh. However remember that normal NIMH can self discharge at a rate of 1-3%/day. The future IMHO is moving towards LSD's. Right now LSD's are new on the market so thier capacities are low but if the LSD's are 2500mAh then it's a no brainer which cell to get.

    If you'll be out in the sticks I think (if I was in your shoes) I would go with LSD batteries just incase anything happens you can still have some dependable batteries that can hold thier power till rescue comes should anythign bad happen. KNock on wood nothing bad happens *knock knock*.
    Zero_Enigma

  11. #11
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    igo makes such a product

  12. #12
    deep stuff brucewiley's Avatar
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    thanks rj and zero for the input. That igo looks good also but I'm leary of the recharging capacity available with two AAs. The Edge 305 batteries are rated just under 1 amp hour (1000 mah) , so how much of a charge can I get out of a couple of AAs before they deplete to the point of zilch charging? Zero- think I would like to be able to just take along a few AA Alkaline to use for recharging. Can get them anywhere and cheap.

    Yes, I would rather set up a solar system that really works. Perhaps 200+mah @ 6 vdc (rated), I'm not adverse to hanging out for a day on tour to let things charge up. Normally when out in the wilderness there isn't cell phone service so that's not a big consideration, it's off anyway.

    How about solar cells on a bike helmet? Several small mah 6V sections set up in parallel so if one section is shaded the others will produce? I'm actually just kidding (about half kidding) but it would be cool, or nerdy. Still need some open area for ventilation. Heck, if they get $120 for a regular bike helmet we ought to be able to get big bucks for a solar helmet!

  13. #13
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    I think one of the best mobile power sources is the apc mobile power pack.. This will charge anything that has a usb connection.. I can keep my Garmin 305, Ipod and Samsung phone all charged up when on the road.. You sometimes have to buy a charging usb cable for your phone but most phones have this option and the power pack lasts a long time.. These can be found on ebay for around 50.00-60.00..

    here is more info: http://www.apc.com/resource/include/...B10&tab=models

  14. #14
    ...into the blue...
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    Quote Originally Posted by luv2climb View Post
    I'm a bit confused. What does the magnesium solio have that justifies a $100 bump over the "classic"? The specs show that the battery is a bit bigger, and that it can deliver a bit more current, but the downside of the original was that it was very difficult to get it charged. Are the solar panels better in this version?

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    vpx3101

    You might want to look at the Black and Decker usb lithium charger. It also has an a/c inverter. It uses the state-of-the-art A123 batteries. They did a deal with B&D to ramp up production for a GM Volt contract...

    http://www.blackanddecker.com/produc...view=4#details

  16. #16
    Acetone Man
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    in the same boat as OP, looking for a way to keep my edge 305, MP3 player with same mini usb connector, and cellphone all charged on tour. I found an energi to go for my cellphone 75% off at target, at which point it cost less than the lithium batteries that came with it (and waaaay less than one of those damned mintyboosts). Unfortunately, that target didn't have the mini usb one, and the other target I went to still wanted $20 for it.

    At this point I could solder together my own 2.5 mm (which the energi to go uses) to usb adapter cable, or just buy one of these guys, at 16$ shipped with every possible adapter the best value I've found in a 4AA solution:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...MEWA:IT&ih=020

    cons with the 4AA would be increased bulk, and not sure about the efficiency. 4AA=6v, and so I assume is reduced to 5v by burning off 1v with a resistor. Can anyone knowledgeable tell me which is going to be more efficient, that, or boosting 2AA at 3v to 5v with a capacitor?

    And I've got a solar AA charger too, but does it ever f'n suck...
    Last edited by Thasiet; 06-21-08 at 10:07 PM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Zero_Enigma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brucewiley View Post
    I can't seem to find any good info on battery pack based chargers for USB devices, mainly my Edge 305. My trips can take me into the boonies for a few days so now that I have one of this things I need to be able to charge it.



    Bruce
    Bruce,

    Disclaimer: I don't work for this company of any companies I mentioned before in my other posts.

    Forgot to mention this one. http://www.gomadic.com/battery-backup-cat.html

    I've been wanting for one of these for a while for the total portable charge and emergency solution in my AWOL bag. It takes 4 x AA and uses an interchangeable (custom heads to your device) tip setup which allows you to cut down on bulk and simply carry what you need. The price you pay for the unit comes with one tip of your choice for the device you need. $19.95 for the battery pack holder and one tip. $5.95 for each other tip you need for your devices. I'm sure you can cut up an old pair of socks and sew one end shut while the other end you sew a little loop and velcro the opening of the mini pouch then zip tie that loop to the battery pack cord so you'll always have you tips with you and velcro opening and closing makes it easy (tho not stealthy if you're in an E&E situation). I'm sure takign the device to a camera shop or any box store location to look at the mp3/audio/camera pouches you can find a thin unit to hold it in with a extra pocket to hold the extra tips.

    I own this unit http://www.canadiantire.ca/browse/pr...2503#ProductRR (tho not using it yet) and when it's on sale it was ~$65 CDN I think. Need to find the bill later to check on that. Anyways, good size unit. Fits in the pockets easy. I have seen a Burton product that charges 4 x AA that uses a 6.5W solar panel which you can keep inside a backpack while having the solar panel on the outside of the backpack. Good way to top up or recharge your cells while you're traveling for extra security. It's VERY lightweight. Off the top of my memory I think it weights as much as my cordless mouse with 2 x AA in it.

    And hey because you're using AA any pitstop to a corner store can find you some AA's (tho costing a bit more as the corner stre needs to make thier 'emergency rip off' profit) there or very good chance knocking on all the doors of homes along your route you'll find someone with AA more often then AAA or 9v.

    Edit:

    - If Can.T asks for a postal code enter ' H3C 3P3 ' . It's some random postal code I found while looking through my mail.

    - Also check the reviews for the Gomadic. I've seen a RoadWarrior review on that with good reviews as with other sites.

    -Found the Garmin 305 page. http://www.gomadic.com/garmin-edge-3...-extender.html
    Last edited by Zero_Enigma; 06-22-08 at 03:31 PM.
    Zero_Enigma

  18. #18
    ...into the blue...
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    Quote Originally Posted by quester View Post
    I'd love to hear if anyone has gotten one of these to work w/ an iPhone. I tried a 4-AA device (sorry, not at home, don't remember which). It would charge the iphone half way, and then the charge would start going back down. This happened w/ rechargeable AA's, AND w/ normal duracells.
    The one that did not work is PocketSolutions.

    However, I bought one for $11 ($8 of it shipping) from ebay (item 230260842907). I was able to get one complete charge out of fresh set of nimh's. I wasn't able to get a second, but the batteries are still usable for flashlights etc; they evidently just don't meet a voltage threshold.

  19. #19
    MTB Commuter EliteTempleton's Avatar
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    If you like solar panels you may like this, but it is ~$130. Expensive is different for different people so...

    But, I plan to buy one of these soon:

    http://www.xantrex.com/web/id/245/p/1/pt/32/product.asp

    It holds a 10 amp hour charge. From one of your post's I think you will know what that means, and if it would work for you.

    Cloudy? No worries, you can plug it into a wall outlet or a car's cigarette lighter adapter(maybe a ranger wouldn't mind you borrowing it for an hour?) to recharge as well. (presumably before you head into the bush/sticks/wild)

    If you want to use AA batteries, you might consider these: http://www.thinkgeek.com/homeoffice/gear/8e82/
    Maybe they could be used in conjunction with carbonLife's posted idea?
    I also plan to get some of these, and then buy things based off of AA's (Lights for the bike...etc)
    I pretend the blinking lights act as a cloaking device...

  20. #20
    Senior Member Pig_Chaser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EliteTempleton View Post
    ...
    If you want to use AA batteries, you might consider these: http://www.thinkgeek.com/homeoffice/gear/8e82/
    Maybe they could be used in conjunction with carbonLife's posted idea?
    I also plan to get some of these, and then buy things based off of AA's (Lights for the bike...etc)
    Those batteries are super cool! The only drawback is they have roughly half the capacity of a regular nimh.

  21. #21
    ...into the blue...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pig_Chaser View Post
    Those batteries are super cool! The only drawback is they have roughly half the capacity of a regular nimh.
    Right. How long do they take to charge, and how long do they last. My main need is batteries for touring, and these just won't do.

  22. #22
    deep stuff brucewiley's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by EliteTempleton View Post
    If you like solar panels you may like this, but it is ~$130. Expensive is different for different people so...

    But, I plan to buy one of these soon:

    http://www.xantrex.com/web/id/245/p/1/pt/32/product.asp

    It holds a 10 amp hour charge. From one of your post's I think you will know what that means, and if it would work for you.

    Cloudy? No worries, you can plug it into a wall outlet or a car's cigarette lighter adapter(maybe a ranger wouldn't mind you borrowing it for an hour?) to recharge as well. (presumably before you head into the bush/sticks/wild)
    Wow man, that Xantrex unit weighs over 12 pounds, 2/3 the weight of my road bike. Doesn't look like something I'd want to carry on a tour.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Bnjmn's Avatar
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    The Gomadic piece is a ripoff. You can get the same thing without screwing around with the tips off eBay for about $4 or $5 shipped. You can also get them from http://www.batteryspace.com/index.as...OD&ProdID=2970

    Remember that with NiMH- you are dealing with cells that are 1.2+ volts- so you are are right around 5V and no need for a power-robbing voltage regulator (though I am thinking of using 8 AA NiMH cells with one of these high efficiency switching transistors to power my 705: http://www.dimensionengineering.com/DE-SW050.htm).

    I am taking an AC quick charger and a bunch of 2600mAh AA NiMH cells (12 + 2 for the digital camera) on my 7 week bike trip, after doing much research. It was the lightest, smallest, longest lasting solution.
    I think. I am still larger capacity NiMH packs made out of C cells and just soldering on the mini-USB connector, but then I would need to go lithium for the camera (or carry another small charger for the camera batteries). I like the AA solution because the recharge times are relatively quick.

  24. #24
    ...into the blue...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bnjmn View Post
    I am taking an AC quick charger and a bunch of 2600mAh AA NiMH cells (12 + 2 for the digital camera) on my 7 week bike trip, after doing much research. It was the lightest, smallest, longest lasting solution.
    This is my plan for my 6 week trip as well. However, it appears all the 15-minute chargers are exceedingly large and heavy. Right now, my fallback is to take my La Crosse, which is small. Unfortunately, even on the high setting it takes 2.5 hours.

    Does anyone know of a decent, SMALL, LIGHT, hour-or-less charger?

  25. #25
    Senior Member Bnjmn's Avatar
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    Nothing for an hour or less if you are going to use a "real" battery (2600mAh). I just received one of these:
    http://www.all-battery.com/index.asp...OD&ProdID=1321
    but I am returning it. The charger itself is a little bulky, and the AC adapter is a brick. Instead I am going with one of these: http://www.all-battery.com/ProductIm...arger/6280.jpg
    (cheapest battery+charger price is the "all-battery" store on eBay-- has the charger + 16 AA 2600mAh cells for about $45 shipped.

    Though, I am thinking of the sub-C battery pack route (a couple of these 4.8v 5000mAh packs- http://www.batteryspace.com/index.as...ROD&ProdID=201) and a quicker charger (http://www.batteryspace.com/index.as...OD&ProdID=3005). The charger looks relatively light but the batteries are heavy (25oz for the 2 packs, in total), though they will hold tons of juice (though less, in total than all 16 of the AAs combined). Recharge time would be 2.5 hours per pack. However, total price jumps from $45 shipped for the AA set-up to $90 shipped for this setup. The 5 hour total recharge time is not worth it to me, and there is a 9oz weight penalty (at least) with the sub-C route.
    Going the sub-C route would mean using lithiums for the camera, which isn't the end of the world (or bringing a small 2 cell MiMH charger).

    In any case, a truly "quick" charger needs to push some amps, and the travel-friendly 120 gram power adapter that comes with the lower charge rate "quick" chargers is not going to cut it. I think you only get to pick 2 of these 3: low weight, high capacity, quick recharge

    Ben
    Last edited by Bnjmn; 07-06-08 at 11:02 PM.

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