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  1. #1
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Power banks - which one did you get?

    We have a small, 4xAA powered USB charger, for making sure we have juice for at least one phone when we're off the grid. It works well for that intended purpose (emergencies) and we're definitely keeping it for hiking trips and such, where weight is a consideration. But for non-emergency use it's obvious we gradually need more and more capacity, and current too. Plan right now is to get around 10 000mAh of capacity at minimum, and it should be able to output @ 2,1A instead of (or in addition to) 1A. Because we will be using it outdoors, I'd like it to be rugged and at least splash proof. An actual proper IP rating wouldn't hurt.

    As I run through the list above, Google starts showing fewer and fewer results. It seems there's one water resistant design sold under many brand names, here's an example:

    Water Resistant 10,000mAh Power Bank | Brown Dog Solar

    and even that doesn't provide the 2,1A. If I drop the splash proof requirement, I have dozens of models to pick from. Soo, please tell me what you bought and why you bought it.

    --J
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juha View Post
    It seems there's one water resistant design sold under many brand names, here's an example:

    Water Resistant 10,000mAh Power Bank | Brown Dog Solar

    and even that doesn't provide the 2,1A. If I drop the splash proof requirement, I have dozens of models to pick from. Soo, please tell me what you bought and why you bought it.

    --J
    $100?

    2.1A is only useful if the device can draw it.

    I'd probably get a less expensive (but good quality) one and store it in a waterproof bag. These don't last forever.

  3. #3
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    I picked up a 4800 mAh for about $20 at Microcenter this summer. Lithium ion battery. Don't think it will put out 2.1 amps and is not waterproof, but at that price, I'm willing to take the risk. Ziploc bags keep things pretty dry. Don't know if that helps, but $100 sounds high for what you get, and it probably weighs a ton.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Ride more. Fret less.

  5. #5
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I'd recommend going with a name brand. Anker makes good stuff. I got a cheap one and it doesn't have anything like its rated capacity.

    BTW, the ratings are all bull****. When they say 10,000 mAh, they mean they have 10AH worth of 3.7 volt batteries in there. At 5 volts, you'll get 10 * 3.7/5 = 7.4 amp hours (7400 mAh) output, AT BEST, if the converter is 100% efficient (impossible) and if the rating is accurate (it seldom is) when the thing is new.

    So don't think 10,000 mAH means you'll be able to draw an amp for 10 hours at its 5 volt output.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  6. #6
    Senior Member demoncyclist's Avatar
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    +1 on the Anker stuff. I have a 20k mAh unit I take on multi day tours to keep my iPhone apps working (I use the Wahoo RFLKT+ computer, and it syncs with the phone). I have a solar panel that I take on camping trips (but I suppose I could lash it to my rack trunk) to charge the battery during the day. I also have a small PoweRock that is about the size of a AAA maglite that I keep in my work bag all the time (had a phone battery issue while trying to locate my sister who was running in the Boston Marathon in 2013, so I always have an extra power source handy).
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Of course the 5V gets converted to 3.7 V in the device being charged, so there are two conversion, in the charger from 3.7 to 5 and in the device from 5 to 3.7. These conversions are done by DC-DC converters which can be pretty efficient but your still going through two so if they're each 90% efficient the total is still only 80%...and the batteries in the charger and the device being charged both have inefficiencies themselves.
    Ride more. Fret less.

  8. #8
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Yeah, I'm aware the advertised ratings are bugger all accurate, but thanks for the heads-up.

    @demoncyclist, I've thought about solar recharging so I read your reply in the solar panel thread with interest. I've tried solar charging myself with a small panel years ago and wasn't impressed. I'm sure the panels have come a long way since then, and also I'm no longer looking to recharge while on the go. In our current family situation we'd stay put for a couple of days, in camp or a wilderness hut. What kind of panel do you use (nominal wattage)?

    Ziplock bags... in my experience, if we're camping and it's raining for a couple of days, gradually everything gets damp, bagged or not. Unless of course one doesn't open the bags at all. That's why I prefer manufacturers' water resistant designs, with IP ratings if possible.

    Thanks for the suggestions so far!
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  9. #9
    I am a caffine girl colleen c's Avatar
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    I have couple of the Anker USB battery. They are great external pack. I do not believe they will be very water resistant and the plastic look like they will break if drop on a hard surface such as a rock. Never tested to see how rugged the darn thing actually can withstand (SO won't let me). However the price is fairly cheap where I would chance it and take one outdoor to camping if needed.

    Amazon does sell an IP rated 9000mah pack that also has a 2.1 amp output. I personally do not own one of this but the limited reviews does reflect it as being good. The price at $40 is not bad. It might be a bit bulky or at least more bulky compare to a same rating pack from another company. Here is the link:

    Amazon.com: Photive BOLT 9000mAh Rugged and Water Resistant Portable External Battery Charger. Water/Shock/DustProof USB Charger for Smartphones and Tablets.: Cell Phones & Accessories


    Another option is using an adapter that allow the use of those standard 8.4v Magicshine battery pack. If you have a pack that is a hardshell casing and water resistant, you can get a Magicshine USB adapter and use the lighthead battery to power your phone. I have one and tested it. The result is mixed. It is listed for 2amps but I don't think I get that although it does charge the phone. Under heavy use, it stay neutral where the battery is not draining nor charging. The downside of this is that you will not be able to charge the battery pack unless you have an outlet and charger. On the other hand, you can charge the Portable usb power pack with something like a solar panel. I got mine from Action LED:

    Action-LED-Lights ? Magicshine MJ-6086 USB Adapter

  10. #10
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    It seems I cannot get any of the larger capacity waterproof models delivered here. Anything I can find locally or delivered seems to max out at about nominal 7Ah.

    But I found this. I'm strangely tempted... though to refill the hydrogen capsules, one needs to buy the charging unit too. USD400 or thereabouts in total. But like I said, I'm tempted...

    --J
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  11. #11
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    You can get a USB converter for the quad 18650 battery packs that we all have.

    Action-LED-Lights ? Magicshine MJ-6086 USB Adapter

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