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  1. #1
    Senior Member robabeatle's Avatar
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    External (Extra) Cell phone battery

    I thought this would be a good spot to help me with a question:
    I will be traveling and plan to use my cell phone often for a few days away from the grid. I am looking for an external, portable charger or extra battery that can give me the most cell phone use time but still be somewhat compact.

    I will be trekking through the Himalayas soon and want to use my gps up there. Also, I am not impressed with the solar chargers as I have seen them. They seem to take very long to charge.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    radio shack has some, but the guy was trying to dissuade me. Might be cheaper to buy a few extra phone batteries.

  3. #3
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robabeatle View Post
    I thought this would be a good spot to help me with a question:
    I will be traveling and plan to use my cell phone often for a few days away from the grid. I am looking for an external, portable charger or extra battery that can give me the most cell phone use time but still be somewhat compact.

    I will be trekking through the Himalayas soon and want to use my gps up there. Also, I am not impressed with the solar chargers as I have seen them. They seem to take very long to charge.

    Thanks

    This is one of those cases where an external GPS is probably a better choice. It will be ruggedized, and will use batteries that last far longer and are easily purchasable all over the world.

    Also - I see you're in Tucson. I presume you realize that your North American CDMA ( if you're using Verizon/etc. ) or GSM ( If you're on AT&T/Tmobile ) phone most likely won't work in that area of the world, right? They use GSM, but on different frequencies. The USA uses 850 & 1900Mhz, while India & Nepal uses 900 & 1800Mhz.
    Knows the weight of my bike to the nearest 10 pounds.

  4. #4
    Because I thought I could ks1g's Avatar
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    Does your phone use a USB port to charge (or can be adapted)? How handy are you at soldering? http://www.ladyada.net/make/mintyboost/ AA batteries are relatively cheap, have excellent shelf life, don't (usually) upset airport security and customs inspectors, and are ubiquitous world-wide. The Mintyboost can be built/modded to work with larger C and D cells. Unfortunately, I can't yet comment 1st-hand on how easy it is to build and use, as my kit is still in the plastic bag (it's on the to do list). The instructions on line are excellent and the local hacker-space community uses the kit as their "learn to solder and build something electronic" starter project. RS and the usual on-line sources probably sell something similar. For solar, your choice is cheap and takes forever to charge your device (assuming it can give it a full charge) or expensive and works acceptably (as long as there is sun).

    Figure out how many day's use you need to get from your electronics, how that compares to their battery life, how much extra stuff you want to carry to keep the electronics working and what it's worth in $$ and peace of mind to you (and whomever you want to stay in touch with while you're away). Have a back-up plan for when (not if) they fail or just aren't available to you.

  5. #5
    Senior Member jimbojonez's Avatar
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    Search Amazon, ive picked up batteries for my original Motorola Droid for 5$ each. I also have a dock i got for 15$ that has a spot in it for a battery, so i can charge my batteries outside of my phone. On top of that i get 7 hours of GPS & Music use on my phone so power is never an issue for me when doing multi day and distance and i can use my phone to the fullest without concern.

  6. #6
    Senior Member robabeatle's Avatar
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    GPS or not, maps are available for the phone...My phone is unlocked and I will get a sim card there.

    Anyway, I want a prebuilt solution, no soldering involved. Any other ideas besides buying extra batteries?

    BTW: this is a Nokia Astound
    Last edited by robabeatle; 05-19-11 at 04:41 PM.

  7. #7
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Go on eBay and pick up some spare batteries for your phone. I bought a couple of spares for about $3 each, they work fine. Nothing is going to be more compact than spare batteries, since anything else will require cables, circuitry and will necessarily involve inefficiencies so you'll need a bigger battery to equal the same runtime as a precharged spare battery. And eBay spares will be far cheaper than an external pack too.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    the apc mobile power pack is a good solution on top of extra batteries. This has both standard and mini usb ports..

    http://www.amazon.com/APC-UPB10-Univ.../dp/B000GBN42E

  9. #9
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    Shucks - - if you can afford to go the mountains - buy a couple of more phones.
    Sorry about my comments - I thought you wanted honest feedback.
    2003 Lemond Wayzata - 2002 LeMond Malliot Jeune

  10. #10
    Senior Member robabeatle's Avatar
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    ^LOL, I have read that a lot of people will just buy a buy a phone while in India as they are not that cheap. I am not wealthy by any means...I am a teacher but careful with my money. Time to enjoy it!

    I will look on ebay. So the idea is to use the phone itself to charge the batteries, one at a time and then have them on reserve. I hope that they can hold a decent charge for a few days when not sued.

  11. #11
    Senior Member robabeatle's Avatar
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    So, I ordered three for $3 a piece. It does seem that shipping will take a while.

  12. #12
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    If they're coming from China, my experience has generally been about 1.5 weeks. China Post stuff sometimes takes 2 weeks. DealExtreme takes 3 but I'm convinced that's because they're lying when they say they shipped something.

    Yes, I don't think you can possibly do better than buying spare phone batteries. No other battery will be as compact for the amount of power delivered, extra phone batteries are cheap, and you don't have to carry some additional means to charge batteries.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  13. #13
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robabeatle View Post
    ^LOL, I have read that a lot of people will just buy a buy a phone while in India as they are not that cheap. I am not wealthy by any means...I am a teacher but careful with my money. Time to enjoy it!

    I will look on ebay. So the idea is to use the phone itself to charge the batteries, one at a time and then have them on reserve. I hope that they can hold a decent charge for a few days when not sued.
    If you want a phone, for, well, actual phone service, I bought the North American version of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola_FONE_F3 on Ebay for $20. New. :-) It was actually manufactured originally for use in India. The battery lasts for weeks without a recharge. And it's amazingly rugged.
    Knows the weight of my bike to the nearest 10 pounds.

  14. #14
    Senior Member robabeatle's Avatar
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    The battery lasts for weeks?!

  15. #15
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robabeatle View Post
    The battery lasts for weeks?!
    Yep. The display is E-Ink, so it doesn't use any power at all unless something on it changes. And you would really only want to use it for voice call - the text capabilities ( and user interface in general ) are beyond awful. :-) I take mine camping/kayaking/etc with me, using a pay-as-you-go SIM.
    Knows the weight of my bike to the nearest 10 pounds.

  16. #16
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robabeatle View Post
    The battery lasts for weeks?!
    Although I'm sure that depends on the environment, it wouldn't be hard to get that in a best case scenario. The battery on my cheap flip phone lasts a week on standby if I'm somewhere I can get 4+ bars. A battery double the size would therefore last 14 days, which is "weeks"

    Of course, if I leave the phone on at my house where I get about 0.000001 bars, the battery is dead in about 3 hours. I think it's safe to say that millions of people in India have better cell coverage than I do.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  17. #17
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    Although I'm sure that depends on the environment, it wouldn't be hard to get that in a best case scenario. The battery on my cheap flip phone lasts a week on standby if I'm somewhere I can get 4+ bars. A battery double the size would therefore last 14 days, which is "weeks"

    Of course, if I leave the phone on at my house where I get about 0.000001 bars, the battery is dead in about 3 hours. I think it's safe to say that millions of people in India have better cell coverage than I do.
    At least in the case of my F3, I've had it last at least two weeks ( without actually being used for calls ) when off the charger. At that point the battery indicator is at its lowest level.

    The one really annoying thing about it is that it uses a proprietary charger jack, so you can't just use a standard mini/micro USB charge system.
    Knows the weight of my bike to the nearest 10 pounds.

  18. #18
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulveyr View Post
    The one really annoying thing about it is that it uses a proprietary charger jack, so you can't just use a standard mini/micro USB charge system.
    Well, at least that should be gone now or soon, the EU passed a law and now every phone sold there has to charge via micro USB.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

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