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  1. #1
    Senior Member BearsysRevenge's Avatar
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    Touring and charging electronics

    I want to tour the US and tent camp my way through, so I won't have a terribly long time each day to keep my GPS, phone, camera, etc. charged... so are there any bike mounted generators that can tap into the drivetrain or something to generate a small amount of power consistently to keep handheld electronics charged?

    I don't need to charge a laptop or anything, just small lithium ion batteries. The ability to plug it in directly would be best, I think. Instead of storing power and charging at night, that way I could charge as I ride and swap each out as needed.
    2009 Specialized HRxc Disc

  2. #2
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    real cyclist can bunny hop potholes on a recumbent.

  3. #3
    Senior Member bktourer1's Avatar
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    My experience has been if staying at a campground I ask at the office to charge my phone & MP3 player. When I use the Mass. commuter train they have plugs for elec. I have found campgrounds that have elec. with no extra charge and have asked RV'rs if they would charge the phone.

  4. #4
    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, 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.. It is the size of a credit card but a little thicker, both standard and mini usb connection. These can be found on ebay for around 40.00-60.00..

    here is more info: http://www.amazon.com/APC-Mobile-Pow.../dp/B000GBN42E

  5. #5
    Senior Member RochMNTandem's Avatar
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    So, with an apc mobile power pack - any idea how many times you could charge an iPod or iPhone before the power pack would need to be recharged?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by RochMNTandem View Post
    So, with an apc mobile power pack - any idea how many times you could charge an iPod or iPhone before the power pack would need to be recharged?
    RochMNTandem,

    Some good reading about the apc power pack at link.

    http://tinyurl.com/5vq9uy

  7. #7
    Member Steve_Guelph's Avatar
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    A good time to charge is when you do your laundry.

  8. #8
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    How about an E-WERK from busch and muller?
    http://www.bumm.de/index-e.html

  9. #9
    Long Live Long Rides
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    I've toured for years and will admit I've been really lucky. Several years ago I started carrying an outlet tester (you know the one with two wires and a light in the center?). This thing is really compact and lightweight. I'll stop at parks that have a shelter and check the outlet. I almost always get lucky and can sponge some electricity to charge my headlight battery pack and/or phone. However, lately I have been feeling a little wierd about it.

    This year I'm planning on trying a small solar pack. I have a 900 mile trip coming up and will test it then. I've read decent reviews about the solar charger shown in the above post. I'll probably still take my outlet tester...just in case.

    Jerry H
    Jharte
    Touring...therapy for the soul.

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    I created a very in-depth blog entry and video about the electronics I used while touring:

    Electronics | WanderingUpward.

    These were some of the things I needed the electronics to handle while touring:

    Keeping up with a blog
    Taking pictures and videos
    Uploading videos to YouTube
    Linking YouTube videos to my blog
    Linking blog posts to Facebook
    Access to electronic maps and GPS location
    Hardware for solar charging
    Making phone calls

  11. #11
    Senior Member Nick The Beard's Avatar
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    I've been riding around with a Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus kit strapped to my handlebar bag for a while now and use it to charge my USB lights, backup battery, and iPhone 4s while running Endomondo to track my rides. I've used this set up on one overnight bike/hike trip, two centuries, and many commuting trips and it keeps my horribly beat iPhone battery juiced even on pretty overcast days. I've also used it very successfully strapped to my backpack.

    I met a few thru hikers on the AT, nicknamed the "green tunnel" because of the tree cover, a couple years ago that used these and had enough power to offer me juice to call home. I also met a guy on the tail end of an Alaska to Key West trip who carried it strapped to the back of his trailer. They pass the toughness test if you ask me.
    http://instagram.com/nickandbruce

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BearsysRevenge View Post
    I want to tour the US and tent camp my way through, so I won't have a terribly long time each day to keep my GPS, phone, camera, etc. charged... so are there any bike mounted generators that can tap into the drivetrain or something to generate a small amount of power consistently to keep handheld electronics charged?
    I have no idea how there's an entire thread and this doesn't seem to be mentioned yet, but it's called a dynamo. Generates power via the wheel spinning. Like the Luxos U is both a light and a usb charger (use one or the other, not both at the same time).

  13. #13
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    I have no idea how there's an entire thread and this doesn't seem to be mentioned yet, but it's called a dynamo. Generates power via the wheel spinning. Like the Luxos U is both a light and a usb charger (use one or the other, not both at the same time).
    Well, there is at least one thread about that light. I bet I'd love it, but I don't have a rationale for paying for one. Maybe I will one day.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

    Tom Reingold
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by weavers View Post
    how about solar power:
    Internal Server Error
    It might work OK if you are a vampire (ride at night; sleep in your coffin during the day).

    The solar charging works "best" if you position it directly at the sun. Since that's hard to do on a bike, you have to expect that it will not work nearly as well as the optimistic descriptions.

  15. #15
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    I have no idea how there's an entire thread and this doesn't seem to be mentioned yet, but it's called a dynamo. Generates power via the wheel spinning. Like the Luxos U is both a light and a usb charger (use one or the other, not both at the same time).
    This seems to be hands down the best solution, good to know.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by RochMNTandem View Post
    So, with an apc mobile power pack - any idea how many times you could charge an iPod or iPhone before the power pack would need to be recharged?
    An iPhone 5 has a 1440 mAh battery. The battery charger indicated has 10,000 mAh. You can't get all of that out. So, let's say it's 20% less (or 8000 mAh).

    Thus, about 5.5 full charges.

    A Garmin Edge 800 has a 1000 mAh battery.

    Even if you had some power source on the bike (like a hub dynamo), you probably want to have a battery also (which you could charge from the power source).

    If you can get access to electric power ever 2-3 days, an appropriately sized battery charger might be enough.

  17. #17
    Senior Member awfulwaffle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    I have no idea how there's an entire thread and this doesn't seem to be mentioned yet, but it's called a dynamo. Generates power via the wheel spinning. Like the Luxos U is both a light and a usb charger (use one or the other, not both at the same time).
    That's a very nice light/idea, but methinks the same ends can be achieved with any ole dynamo and a little bit of soldering. A 5V voltage regulator is not particularly expensive: 5V Fixed-Voltage Regulator 7805 : Voltage Regulators | RadioShack.com

    This regulator, with a few capacitors to help eat up noise in both the input and output signals, could be connected to any dynamo and a hacked up mini-USB charge cable and used to charge whatever device it is you have. Heck, you could even throw a switch in between the voltage regulator input and dynamo that would allow you to choose whether to power a USB device or a light. Heat generation may be an issue depending on the current draw, so a heatsink on the regulator may also be a good idea. Then again, at lower speeds the dynamo may not supply 5V and that point could be moot.

    On that note, I recently acquired a rather old bottle dynamo from a friend and am planning to rig up something like the above for my commuter/(hopefully later in the summer) tourer. Will be sure to post details for all once I get time to actually do it (if it works).

  18. #18
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Latest Ortlieb bar bag added, at the top of the range, Electrical contacts in the 2 parts of the Bag QR

    so the power from the Hub dynamo is wired to the Bar mount, and without any other wires to disconnect,

    all your E things in it, come off with the Bag ..

    those E werk things and buffer batteries need to go on the frame some where , otherwise.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB
    Last edited by fietsbob; 05-23-14 at 10:30 AM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
    This seems to be hands down the best solution, good to know.
    Yeah, I think it's (a dynamo hub) the #2 most common solution only behind "stay somewhere every night or every couple of days that has a power source". :-)
    Last edited by PaulRivers; 05-23-14 at 08:58 AM.

  20. #20
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    I'm surprised people are still asking this type of question with dynamo hubs having been out for a number of years now, so perhaps their marketing needs improvement.

    I use a Son28 dynamo hub which though initially a bit pricy, comes with a 5 year warranty.

    With this I have an E-werk with cache battery.

    The combo allows me to keep my Garmin Edge 800 gps and my iPhone charged up.

    Theres lots of info out there on the topic.

    Perhaps this link might help and be a decent start researching the topic OP.
    Lighting systems

    Hope this helps

    On a side note, for me, there is nothing worse than sitting in a campground bathroom or laundry for hours at a time awaiting your phone or gps to charge, too terrified to leave it unattended for a moment knowing it will likely disappear before you return.

    For me this makes the expense of my investment well worth it alone.

    Solar might work for some but I dont think the technology is there yet for cycle tourists who ride during the daylight hours.
    Or at least it doesnt suit me.

    I've even bought a second dynamo hub to sit in my single wheel trailer
    (http://www.extrawheel.com/en/3/bicycle_trailer/)
    to power my notebook and Petzl Tikka2 XP headlight torch with usb rechargeable Core battery.
    http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Headla...tzl-Tikka-XP-2
    Last edited by rifraf; 05-22-14 at 09:20 PM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    Yeah, I think it's the #2 most common solution only behind "stay somewhere every night or every couple of days that has a power source". :-)
    Right now I think the combination of dynamo plus back-up battery is the way to go. I plan to take this approach myself once I get the money for a dynamo. A dynamo should be able to keep the average cell phone from fully discharging during a long ride even with a navigation app being used full time. Coupled with the right external battery set-up you can also have a plan B waiting in the wings.

    If I were planning on doing a long tour I would consider using a 4-cell 18650 battery holder coupled with a USB DC voltage converter ( for use when needed ). To charge the batteries I would use the best four-bay "fast charger" I could find. That would help alleviate some of the time needed to wait while charging the batteries on the road. While "fast charging" is usually not recommended for charging Li-ion batteries, it can be done safely. It will age the batteries faster but in certain venues ( such as a 24hr race ) speed of charging is more important than the life span of the battery. As such "touring" fits into the same dynamic because no one wants to wait 4 hrs for a battery to charge. With the right dynamo/battery set-up I think it conceivable that a person could go 3 to 4 days without having to seek out an AC power source for recharging. Besides, I would think that in 3 or 4 days you would need to stop to replenish supplies needed for touring anyway which should bring you into an area where AC power should be available.

  22. #22
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Dyno powered 1 amp USB charger... Charge your electronics (and/or battery pack) while riding during the day and run your lights at night.

    Sinewave Cycles Revolution | Sinewave Cycles

  23. #23
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by znomit View Post
    Dyno powered 1 amp USB charger... Charge your electronics (and/or battery pack) while riding during the day and run your lights at night.

    Sinewave Cycles Revolution | Sinewave Cycles
    Yep, I remember seeing that product posted before. Wish it didn't cost so much. I'm confused though, I thought a typical hub dynamo could only supply about 500ma.@ 6volts. (?)

    Interestingly while reading about the Sinewave charger it looks like it will work in parallel with a solar unit to run/charge a device. That is an interesting option if you have the money and don't mind the extra weight.
    Last edited by 01 CAt Man Do; 05-23-14 at 01:26 PM.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
    Right now I think the combination of dynamo plus back-up battery is the way to go. I plan to take this approach myself once I get the money for a dynamo. A dynamo should be able to keep the average cell phone from fully discharging during a long ride even with a navigation app being used full time. Coupled with the right external battery set-up you can also have a plan B waiting in the wings.
    Yeah, that seems like the best option to me as well (though note that I am not actually doing tours).

    I don't know of anything more reliable than a dynamo (other than being 100% sure you're always stopping somewhere with a regular power outlet) - it constantly outputs power as long as you keep moving. Solar power means attaching it to the back of your bike somehow, it doesn't work much when it's cloudy, and having to try to keep it pointed at the sun. I've heard of people doing it, but it seems like they already have a dynamo and just need to charge more stuff, stuff like an iPad that if it runs out of juice for a day or two it's annoying but not horrible.

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