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  1. #1
    nun
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    iPhone power on tour

    There was a recent thread on gadget power options that examined the dynohub and solar power options and I got the general impression that the dynohub approach is heavy and still a bit hit and miss and the efficiency of solar cells isn't quite enough to make it a satisfying solution.

    So IMHO the obvious solution is to simply take a spare external battery. There are now 10000mAh batteries that will charge an iPhone 8 times. This should be enough power for most tourists' applications until the next wall socket is available.

    There are 3 options that I've found and I wondered if anyone has experience of these or other recommendations

    http://www.hypershop.com/HyperMac-Mi...-USB-s/165.htm

    http://richardsolo.com/9000mahmobilecharger.aspx

    http://www.newtrent.com/Best-IPhone-...-p/imp1000.htm

  2. #2
    It's true, man.
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    On my last tours I used a Civilian Lab Tanker (TM) USB Power Bank. It charges and discharges 4x2300 MAh AA NiMhbatteries, It charges like a wall-wart and it has a USB port that I used to power my Android phone between charges.

    The AA batteries were also used to operate my Steripen and my digital camera before it went 10-toes-up in Colorado, keeping me from having to carry spares for it all. I liked the versatility of this unit.

    I have not checked to see if it will power my iPhone 4, but I'll do that before my next tour.

    http://www.amazon.com/Civilian-Lab-T.../dp/B000QUN63C

  3. #3
    "bikes bikes bikes" mbcharbonneau's Avatar
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    That's basically what I was thinking about doing. Throw in a couple of good USB charging lights and you're set for a tour without having to worry about batteries. You may want to also bring along a two or four outlet USB charger so you can recharge everything at once, without having to find lots of outlets.
    ThatBlueBike.com - On bike commuting and touring.

  4. #4
    Crazyguyonabike
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    Please forgive me if you already saw this, but there have been past threads on powering an iphone that might be useful - e.g.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ring-an-Iphone

    I have found the E-Werk interesting - here's a review of that:

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/revie...read_id=162525

    The reviewer was using it with a sidewall dynamo, but it would work equally well, I think, with one of the hub dynamos. I find this very interesting, since in the past discussions about charging your gadgets from a dynamo have always seemed to end up with people talking about DIY solutions that involve wiring and learning about voltages and diodes (or whatever) which I have absolutely zero interest in spending time on. So something like the E-Werk, which sounds like a ready-made package that makes the world of charging from a dynamo much more "plug-and-play", is very attractive to someone like me.

    You might reconsider looking at the dynamo hubs - from what I've heard, they really are very good. Never used one myself, but charging gadgets is such a hassle on tour that I may well try it out at some point.

    Neil

  5. #5
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeilGunton View Post
    Please forgive me if you already saw this, but there have been past threads on powering an iphone that might be useful - e.g.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ring-an-Iphone

    I have found the E-Werk interesting - here's a review of that:

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/revie...read_id=162525

    The reviewer was using it with a sidewall dynamo, but it would work equally well, I think, with one of the hub dynamos. I find this very interesting, since in the past discussions about charging your gadgets from a dynamo have always seemed to end up with people talking about DIY solutions that involve wiring and learning about voltages and diodes (or whatever) which I have absolutely zero interest in spending time on. So something like the E-Werk, which sounds like a ready-made package that makes the world of charging from a dynamo much more "plug-and-play", is very attractive to someone like me.

    You might reconsider looking at the dynamo hubs - from what I've heard, they really are very good. Never used one myself, but charging gadgets is such a hassle on tour that I may well try it out at some point.

    Neil
    The E-WERK, needs a "buffer battery" so with the hub or dynamo it works out to be quite expensive. It's nice that you're self contained, but you can pick up a 1st generation Hypermac mini for $50 and it'll charge your iPhone 6 times. As I tend to duck into a Motel about once a week it seems like the most convenient solution for my style of touring.

    My lights run off AAA batteries which are easy to buy and I carry a spare set. My best bit of electronics is a small Sony radio which will run continuously for a week on a single AAA battery and provides lots of entertainment.

  6. #6
    Senior Member simplygib's Avatar
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    The RichardSolo 9000 and IMP 1000 Extreme Pack look very interesting. I like the fact that they both offer a 30-day money-back return policy, and the RichardSolo 9000 even provides prepaid shipping for the return. This is attractive to me since my phone is so picky about charging devices.

    I've tried charging with a battery pack before with bad results, but that battery pack may not have had enough umph to get the job done. It was maybe 6 years old and had been used quite a bit for lights during my commute. It consisted of 10 rechargable NIMH c-cells.

    I may give that RichardSolo 9000 a go.

    Edit: On second thought, maybe I'll try the IMP 1000. Didn't realize the RichardSolo 9000 doesn't include the wall charger (lame, IMO).
    Last edited by simplygib; 01-25-11 at 12:28 PM.

  7. #7
    nun
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    [QUOTE=simplygib;12129815

    Edit: On second thought, maybe I'll try the IMP 1000. Didn't realize the RichardSolo 9000 doesn't include the wall charger (lame, IMO).[/QUOTE]

    I'm not too concerned about that as I have the iPhone wall USB plug

  8. #8
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    I am on the lookout for a USB charging battery that lets me charge my unit and the battery at the same time. Passive charging I think they call it? All of the batteries I have tried have not worked, but I know they exist. Please share if you know one, similar to the cache battery for the E-Werk.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member simplygib's Avatar
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    Sleizure - the HyperMac Mini claims to support that. See nun's first link above.

  10. #10
    It's true, man.
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    Sleizure, the Tanker I listed will do that. Plugged into a wall outlet, it charges the 4 AA's and powers/charges the USB device at the same time.

  11. #11
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by truman View Post
    Sleizure, the Tanker I listed will do that. Plugged into a wall outlet, it charges the 4 AA's and powers/charges the USB device at the same time.
    How many times can the Tanker charge an iPhone 3GS? I've read the Amazon review and it's a bit mixed.

    The Hypermac Mini definitely allows pass through charging and as you can get the older model that doesn't support the iPad for $50. Not bad

  12. #12
    It's true, man.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nun View Post
    How many times can the Tanker charge an iPhone 3GS? I've read the Amazon review and it's a bit mixed.

    The Hypermac Mini definitely allows pass through charging and as you can get the older model that doesn't support the iPad for $50. Not bad
    I don't have an answer for that. It charged my MyTouch 3g 3 times, but I never tried to go beyond that - and I haven't tried it on my iPhone4. Regardless, if you have no need for loose AA batteries t use elsewhere, it would make sense to get that Hypermac for $50.

  13. #13
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by truman View Post
    I don't have an answer for that. It charged my MyTouch 3g 3 times, but I never tried to go beyond that - and I haven't tried it on my iPhone4. Regardless, if you have no need for loose AA batteries t use elsewhere, it would make sense to get that Hypermac for $50.
    I just ordered the Hypermac Mini for $59 (including shipping). The cost was a factor as it's $37 less expensive than the Solo, but even on sale it's not much cheaper than the Newtrent IMP880 or IMP1000. However, Hypermac have a very good reputation as they've made backup batteries for Mac laptops for a while and the Hypermac Mini has the best form factor; it's only 0.5" thick and can slip into a pocket or bag easily, the others are far more brick like, although not that much heavier. It also allows pass-thru charging so you can charge it and your iPhone at the same time, the Solo doesn't and I'm not sure about the Newtrent models. The Hypermac also looks really cool ;-). Finally it's interesting to note that Hypermac Mini claim to recharge an iPhone (not sure which model) 6 times and Newtrent claim 5x for the IMP880 and 6x for the IMP1000 even with their larger batteries. This may be them just being conservative or Hypermac being optimistic, or it might be because of the grade of batteries used.

  14. #14
    It's true, man.
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    Excellent. I look forward to hearing your review.

  15. #15
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nun View Post
    There was a recent thread on gadget power options that examined the dynohub and solar power options and I got the general impression that the dynohub approach is heavy and still a bit hit and miss and the efficiency of solar cells isn't quite enough to make it a satisfying solution.

    So IMHO the obvious solution is to simply take a spare external battery. There are now 10000mAh batteries that will charge an iPhone 8 times. This should be enough power for most tourists' applications until the next wall socket is available.
    Well the obvious solution is to switch off the gadets. Even with GPS I only need it for turns which can be hours apart on some routes. No need to run a phone and a GPS 24/7. Used sparingly I can charge everything I need at the odd lunch or evening meal stop.

    Having said that your point about an extra battery makes sense. I'd prefer not to have to deal with charging a device more than twice a week. So if a second battery allows that I'd be interested.
    safe riding - Vik
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by vik View Post
    Well the obvious solution is to switch off the gadets.
    Agree. I took my iPhone when I rode down the Pacific Coast. It spent most of the time in my handlebar bag powered off. In the evenings, I'd power it up to read e-mails and post a few trip updates to Twitter. Power it down after an hour and you can go for days without a recharge...

  17. #17
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    Agree. I took my iPhone when I rode down the Pacific Coast. It spent most of the time in my handlebar bag powered off. In the evenings, I'd power it up to read e-mails and post a few trip updates to Twitter. Power it down after an hour and you can go for days without a recharge...
    That's my normal mode too. On the bike I usually listen to a small radio that works off a single AAA battery and I set the iPhone in airplane mode and turn it off. It's just for email, some Google maps and blogging in the evening. I'll get 3 or 4 days use out of a single charge. However, I plan to be using the iPod on the iPhone a lot more so want some backup even if the iPhone can play 24hrs of audio on a full charge. With an external battery that can do 6 full charges and week or more spent away from a socket is possible without the expense of a dynohub or the frustration of solar cells. I like the idea of solar, but it just isn't efficient enough right now and the external battery seems like the cheapest, simplest and most elegant solution for the moment.

    I'll write a review when the Hypermax Mini arrives. FYI Hypermac also makes Mac laptop batteries and the smallest (60Wh (16000mAh)) will charge an iPhone 14x. It weighs 0.8lbs, however, it needs a separate AC power cord and supply to be charged, USB would simply take too long, so they start to get a bit bulky and heavy, but if I carried an iPad I might consider it.

  18. #18
    nun
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    The Hypermac Mini (7200mAh) arrived last Monday and I've been using it to charge my iPhone 3GS for a week, I recharged the phone from 20% to 100% six times.

    The battery itself is very sleek. Nice aluminum outside and it fits easily into a back or side trouser pocket because it is quite thin. It weighs 230g and doesn't feel heavy for the size which is just a bit bigger than the iPhone itself. My original design unit that was on sale (non-iPhone4 compatible) comes with a USB cable and small DC wall adapter for charging. The USB charging path is rated at 500mA and the DC at 2.1A leading to the conclusion that the battery will take 14hrs to charge over USB and between 3 and 4 hrs using the DC cable. This proved to be the case, so DC charging is far preferable, but the wall plug is small and light so it's no trouble to carry it. The newer version that works with the iPad and iPhone 4 has a high current USB cable so that should be slightly more convenient.

    My one criticism is the lack of a battery level indicator. There's a single light that glows different colors to let you know how what the battery is doing, but there's no way to know it is at say 50% charge. When the battery is charging itself the light is red and when it's full it turns green. The light is blue when it is charging the iPhone and after four charges it turned white/amber, letting me know it needed some juice.

    So I'm really happy with the battery and it is great value on sale at $50. I'd even pay the full price of the iPhone 4 version if I needed it. The Richard Solo and Newtrent batteries we also discussed look like good solutions too and pack a bit more power, but the Hypermac Mini has the best form factor of the 3, is the lightest and hits my spec of giving me a week's worth of iPhone usage away from a power socket.

  19. #19
    It's true, man.
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    That's great to hear, thanks for writing it up. I think my list just got an item longer.

  20. #20
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    Thanks for this as well. Have you tried hooking a USB Powered Hub to it to see if it will power multiple components and have you confirmed the PassThru Function? The reason why i am curious is that I am looking to create a sort of "Cache" Battery for my B&M E-Werk Dyno system, charging the battery, while charging the components at the same time through an independently switched 4 port USB hub. I don't need much power, a 3600mAH would suffice but I wonder if I should be getting the 1.0A or the 2.1 A option.
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  21. #21
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleizure View Post
    Thanks for this as well. Have you tried hooking a USB Powered Hub to it to see if it will power multiple components and have you confirmed the PassThru Function? The reason why i am curious is that I am looking to create a sort of "Cache" Battery for my B&M E-Werk Dyno system, charging the battery, while charging the components at the same time through an independently switched 4 port USB hub. I don't need much power, a 3600mAH would suffice but I wonder if I should be getting the 1.0A or the 2.1 A option.
    Pass through charging works. The iPhone charges first and then the Hypermac gets charged. I'd go for as much current as you can as these big batteries take a long time to charge.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleizure View Post
    I don't need much power, a 3600mAH would suffice but I wonder if I should be getting the 1.0A or the 2.1 A option.
    I apologize in advance if I've misunderstood what you're trying to do (or for any mistakes I make below), but the 3,600 mAH you mentioned isn't a quantity of power -- it's a measure of the total energy that can be stored in the battery. If you're charging simultaneously, your concern should be the rate of energy delivery to the battery and the rate of energy flow from the battery. Energy per time is the power, and the most convenient unit is the Watt (a Joule per second, by definition). For electronics, the wattage can be calculated as the product of current (in amps) and voltage (in volts).

    You can, at most, get a few Watts from your dynamo -- let's say 5 W for convenience.

    If you're powering all of your devices via USB that sets your voltage at 5 V and, accordingly, a maximum total current of 1 A.

    You can set the E-Werk to a current as high as 1.5 A, but at 5 V you simply won't get that much current. The standard USB specification is 500 mA per device, but some devices want even more than that (most notably an iPad at 2 A). Perhaps some will take less, but in any event, I think charging two USB devices at the same time is an upper limit set by how much power you can get from your dynamo, independent of your battery.

    I used a USB battery with a total capacity of 10 WH with my E-Werk on a coast-to-coast tour last summer. Note: since 'power in' and 'power out' were via USB, that means the voltage was always 5 V, so I can convert that capacity to the units you specified just by dividing by the 5 V: 2 AH = 2,000 mAH. And, most notably, I found that it took most of a day's riding to fully charge it, which implies that it was getting significantly less than 5 W from my dynamo.

    All that said, I enjoyed using the dynamo / E-werk combination for the novelty, and I managed to complete my 56-day tour powering my phone, camera batteries and iPad via the E-Werk without needing to plug in. (Were it not for the iPad it would have been easy, but to keep the iPad charged up meant I had to constantly cognizant of using my dynamo power most efficiently. By simply plugging as available, and using the dynamo / E-Werk just as a little bonus energy, however, would have been easy.
    Last edited by Derailed; 02-09-11 at 11:44 AM.

  23. #23
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  24. #24
    nun
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    The I like the integration of the biologic system, but a 1600mAh will only charge the iPhone 1.5 times. I suppose the battery doesn't need to be large if you are constantly charging it, but decent capacity batteries and a little sleeker design would be a big improvement.

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    Sorry for the late reply, I didn't see a notification -

    I have the E-Werk in my possession now, and plan on having it connected to a USB Hub (with independent power switches) conncted to a a few components - namely my GPS, Speakers, Mp3 Player, and a battery. What I was thinking might make the most difference is to have a battery that can support the output of 2.1A to charge the components (My understanding is that Amperage is only used if necessary) if I wanted to charge them at once - as I'd like to get away fro hearing my GPS freak out every time the power is lost (when I'm stopped) - which is where the usage of a "cache" battery would work for me. It's a different method intended than what B&M proposed to charge the new Iphones supplying constant voltage. It might work it might not, its a project none the less, and if it doesn't work out as intended, at least I can charge some of my components along the way on my world tour. Will post photos when I've decided to start working on it -

    Question for you however, do you have a power switch in between the Dyno and the E-Werk to eliminate it being "on" all the time?
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