It seems every new gadget has a proprietary battery so gone are the days of grabbing a bunch of AAs anywhere along your route. I've read on this forum the virtues of solar panels but I was wondering if anybody has ever heard of rigging up a dynamo hub to recharge electronics. Seems like you could unplug it from the lights and plug it into some converter for a suitable current for small electronics.
I just hate roughing it without my GPS, MP3, hair dryer, military grade Taser and smokeless ashtray.
1 road bike (simple, light), 1 TT bike (could be more aero, could be lighter), 1 all-weather commuter and winter bike, 1 Monark 828E ergometer indoor bike
There's an easier, and safer, but slightly more expensive way to solve it.
At least for many mobiles, there are battery-fed chargers. Just put fresh cells (AA probably) in the charger, connect the mobile, and wait.
Don't know about GPS (thought they mostly ran off of AA cells...) and MP3 players.
Gilmour lugged steel, Bianchi Volpe, Bike Friday Pocket Rocket
[note] I posted this a while back in a solar thread - the dahon website has pulled this page, but the device is no doubt available somewhere else.
If you have or are willing to buy a front dynamo hub, the 2006 Dahon catalog was advertising a 12v charger that connects to it to power small electronic devices. so you could do this job without the sun and even in the pouring rain.
check out the last page of the catalog
Electronic Device Charger:
Ever drain the batteries of your iPod on a cycling trip? Or
wish you could recharge your dead mobile phone during your
cross town commute? If the answer is yes, then you need the
BioLogic™ Recharge. The ingenious Recharge connects to the
Joule hub dynamo found on many of our bikes and serves as
a universal charger for almost any electronic device, including
iPod, mobile phone, GPS, walkie-talkie, etc. All you need is a
recharger cable for your device that fits a car cigarette lighter.
Folks who are good with DIY electronics, reading circuits, and soldering can make there own recharger.
Start with a good dynamo (sidewall or hub)-and go for it. Altering a Schmidt/Son hub would be the way I'd go if a) I had the knowledge and b) there hub was suitable for the touring I intend.
2nd to a Schmidt/Son hub set up perhaps look at the "good" sidewall dynamos, and alter one of them. As far as I know there is no store bought version suitable for the rigors of touring.
The store bought dynamo listed above looks like poo for touring. No offense intended.
There are inherent problems associated with "good" side wall dynamos anyways, let alone unknown brands. I wouldn't use some "knock off" while on tour and hope that it's bearings don't fail and scour my tire sidewall (leading to a perhaps catastrophic blowout).
Then there is the electronics concern. For 30$, is the store bought model circuit protected for over/undervoltage? Is it "smart" charging, or will it fry the expensive proprietary batteries in many electronic gadgets within a month?
That store bought recharger "may" be a nifty doo dad for poodling about on a commuter. Perhaps usefull for the odd occasion where one forgot to recharge some nick nak at home/work, but absolutely needs a recharge now. Of course from a flat battery, most folks wouldn't have there nick nak recharged in a couple hours of riding (kind of making it pointless).
There are some interesting advances in solar these days, which I might give a try. Pricey, but perhaps worth it. For example have a look at the roll up panels from Iowa Thin Film. Also sold as branded items with added weight (Brunton/Coleman).
If I recall correctly, there midrange version weighs about a pound, unrolled is around 1 foot by 3 feet. Suitable for folding across a rear rack. Power output usefull to recharge most reasonable tourists power needs. Sturdy? I've no idea. Ken Kiefer (again if I recall correctly) wrote of problems with the connector failing with one he used.