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  1. #1
    Senior Member liamof's Avatar
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    USB bicycle charger ... has anyone used this?

    Hi,
    Saw this on amazon, a smart phone USB generator for a bicycle. Seems like a great idea for anyone who tours. anyone have any experience with it?

    Here is the link:

    http://www.amazon.com/SpinPOWER-S1-U.../dp/B0051KID2Q

    thanks,
    Liam

  2. #2
    Waiting to commute... Amoxicillin's Avatar
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    Producing your own electricity while riding is awesome. I have used another system though. Shimano hub dynamo with a Busch & Müller E-Werk to transform to the correct voltage and attaching all sorts of devices via USB or phone charger cable. Worked like a charm on two 2-week tours in France. If you take it serious I would advise using a hub dynamo rather than the one shown on amazon.

    Hope this helps
    Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world. Imagine, they can even have cupholders...

  3. #3
    Trail Blazing NoTrail's Avatar
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    The concept is good, but I prefer the Tout Terrain 'Plug II' cause it's awesome! Runs off a dynamo hub like the E-Werk.

    http://www.en.tout-terrain.de/access...-power-supply/
    Specialized S-Works Roubaix | Specialized Epic Expert | Specialized Source Eleven | Cannondale Road Tandem 2
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  4. #4
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I'd stay away from the one you referred to Liam, looks like it will be only a disappointment,
    cheap bottle generator power source is only the start of the problems I see.

    Pay real money for the ones the others have referred to.
    or stay in motels and recharge off the mains power..

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    The device in the original link looks very similar to the Nokia DC-14

    http://europe.nokia.com/find-product...le-charger-kit

    I have just got one of these from ebay but haven't had chance to try it yet.

  6. #6
    jaywbee3 jaywbee3's Avatar
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    I used a BioLogic USB charger and SON dynohub on tour last year - It worked well and kept my Droid X and iPod touch charged.
    http://www.thinkbiologic.com/product...rge-power-pack
    http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/schmidt.asp

  7. #7
    crash survivor tate65's Avatar
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    Here is a great site to help choose a dynamo

    http://www.myra-simon.com/bike/dynotest.html
    Last edited by tate65; 02-16-12 at 08:37 PM.

  8. #8
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    Not to derail, but does anyone have strong feelings one way or the other regarding solar USB chargers? Any they particularly like or would avoid?

  9. #9
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garthb View Post
    Not to derail, but does anyone have strong feelings one way or the other regarding solar USB chargers? Any they particularly like or would avoid?
    My biggest issue with solar chargers is that they seldom produce the wattage advertised and can be picky about the amount and angle the light is coming from. I was told by one person that has used them that next time he would double the wattage. I already run dyno hubs on most of my bikes so adding a charge controller like the Biologic or the E-werks is the best way to go.

    Aaron
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  10. #10
    Senior Member simplygib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garthb View Post
    Not to derail, but does anyone have strong feelings one way or the other regarding solar USB chargers? Any they particularly like or would avoid?
    I think they can work for low-power requirements, especially if there is an intermediary storage battery. But I wasn't able to find one that would meet my needs (charging a smart phone, GPS and mp3 player). Main problem was it (Brunton Explorer) did not put out as much power as advertised. Would only charge my tiny mp3 player, nothing else. Ended up going with the New Trent iCruiser rechargeable battery pack instead. It keeps everything charged for a week at a time before needing to be recharged itself. Great little device.

  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Solar stuff, panel square feet is the key, and keeping it perpendicular to the sun.
    not so well suited to touring on a bike..


    The device in the original link looks very similar to the Nokia DC-14
    Ah perhaps its a knock off Copy, of the better quality unit, consider that.

    .. it has been known to happen..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 02-17-12 at 11:22 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by simplygib View Post
    I think they can work for low-power requirements, especially if there is an intermediary storage battery. But I wasn't able to find one that would meet my needs (charging a smart phone, GPS and mp3 player). Main problem was it (Brunton Explorer) did not put out as much power as advertised. Would only charge my tiny mp3 player, nothing else. Ended up going with the New Trent iCruiser rechargeable battery pack instead. It keeps everything charged for a week at a time before needing to be recharged itself. Great little device.
    Does this Trent charger require 120 VAC input to charge, or can it be charged via 5v USB? I am looking for a cache battery for a week and a half long unsupported tour, and this the largest mAh/$ I've seen yet.

  13. #13
    Senior Member simplygib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyLemurBoy View Post
    Does this Trent charger require 120 VAC input to charge, or can it be charged via 5v USB? I am looking for a cache battery for a week and a half long unsupported tour, and this the largest mAh/$ I've seen yet.
    Officially, charging it with USB is not an option. It only comes with a 120v/240v charger, with the typical round plug going from the charger to the battery pack. However, the wall charger's output is 5v @ 2amps, so USB would seemingly work, if the problem with the round jack was overcome. It would take a long time to charge with a low-amp output USB though. At 2 amps it takes 5 hours if the unit is almost dead.

    If I remember correctly, there was another battery pack that had 16k mAh for somewhere around the same price. I believe nun has one of those. Can't remember the brand.

    EDIT: Correction. It wasn't nun, it was Chiroptile, and this is the 16k mAh one that he got. Reviews don't seem to be as good, but I didn't read them so don't know why. It doesn't appear to have the USB recharging option either.
    Last edited by simplygib; 02-20-12 at 10:07 AM.

  14. #14
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    That tout terrain plug looks pretty trick. I like the lack of cords and cables and whatnot... any experiences?

  15. #15
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    I'm using an E-Werk with much success around the world charging everything from a set of speakers to a laptop. I use a Son Hub, all detailed here: http://www.tiredofit.ca/2011/03/19/p...arging-system/ -

    The only thing I've had to watch out for was the terminals coming loose if I was going through some especially bumpy areas, usually this has been in the deserts of Namibia and I've noticed at the last minute. But other than that, 20,000 some odd km of trouble free service and charged components.
    Currently Pedaling around the world away from a career in Information Technology - Tired of I.T! www.tiredofit.ca
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  16. #16
    Fat Guy Rolling dcrowell's Avatar
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    Has anyone successfully used one of these things to charge an iPhone 4S? I already have dynohubs on two bikes.
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  17. #17
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    You could ask them.. info@bumm.de ..


    Wonder what the Physical OD of the Busch & Müller E-Werk, is . one inch?
    will it fit in thick wall alloy tubes of those forks or thicker if a Carbon one?
    or just the Steel.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 02-28-12 at 06:31 PM.

  18. #18
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    You need to have a battery at as an intermediary source for the 4S, something like a Tekkeon Passively charged battery will do the trick for you. I've heard reports as well as adding a resistor to the cable - but that just sounds like far too much hassle. Best of both worlds with a battery that can be taken with you off the bike if on a long tour or need to charge other components.
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    Anyone know where I can buy the Tout Terrain 'The Plug II' stateside? I see that SJS sells them, but Peter White no longer has a link.

  20. #20
    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    The product that caught my eye from Tekkeon is this one.
    http://www.tekkeon.com/products-tekcharge1580.html

    It has the option of running off both alkaline or rechargeable batteries. Alkaline batteries are easy to find and fairly inexpensive and have a shelf life of 5 plus years. Rechargeable batteries as everyone knows will internally drain over a relatively short time period. So your choice of batteries using one or the other or both on tour would depend on the type of touring you plan on doing and availability for recharging along the way. This product also says the unit will work in reverse as a charger when AC power is available. Most campgrounds have limited accessibility to AC power and many people would want to leave their iPhone sitting in a bathroom etc while charging something like this device might be a bit safer as no one will know what it is and have no use for it, plus you would have use of your phone while charging the backup batteries.
    AA batteries would be my size of choice also to pack of both types. They can be swapped out into other things cameras and lighting as needed.

    I built my own unit that works nearly the same but required 8 AA to give me 12V and then I used a car charger USB adapter to charge my phone. With my iPhone 3GS I was able to go without any outside power connection several weeks to a months working off the AA pack depending on how I wanted to use the phone. Most people think autos put out 12V but they actually when running are between 14 and 15V most of the car charger USB types are designed to run between 12 and 25V and my iPhone 4 is much more sensitive to charging sources than the 3 series phones were. I have plans to redesign my power pack system to better use the battery’s down to full discharge. Right now once they reach about 9V in discharge the interaction between the charger and the phone give me error messages. I used this method because when I built this these units like the Tekkeon were not on the market and not wanting to design my own current and voltage limiting circuit to interact with the apple device I went with something that was out there that contained what I needed (car charger). This is a much more elegant solution and things like a charger built in are very nice features. If I get one of these I would still carry my alkaline batteries in my packs as they plug straight into my lighting etc. At some point the Tekkeon pack will get a low voltage signal on the iPhone and maybe the batteries will still have life to run a few LED’s in the tent or something like that to finish them off.

    I know the OP was asking about a system that used a bottle dynamo and like someone posted I grew up with these on quite a few bikes for lighting. I still have a bunch of them in the shop I have collected off donor bikes over the years. I have never had a hub mainly because I don’t like the idea of drag or the extra rotating mass. Like I said I haven’t had one and really don’t know if I would even notice the difference if I had one, but in my head I probably would. I like the idea more of something like the bottle that could be unloaded when not needed. I don’t think anyone has ever made one that worked during braking or could be easily switched in say when riding on the flats or slightly downhill when extra effort wouldn’t be a problem. It would also be nice if such a unit had a charge gauge that would let you know where you were with charging the backup battery. The phone will show where it’s at in the charge but it will be taking from the battery pack at a different rate than you will be charging the pack.

    Here is a photo of my less eloquent solution but shows the battery holders and how I have them adapted with plugs for other uses. This was my old setup back in the good old days of i3G.



    On edit: i see they thought of everything, it has a power meter also.

    http://www.tekkeon.com/downloads/dtasht_mp1580.pdf


    On edit edit: Well i just ordered one. For $29.95 we will test it out.

    http://www.tekkeon.com/productcart/pc/viewPrd.asp?idcategory=9&idproduct=194
    Last edited by bud16415; 02-28-12 at 07:54 AM.
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  21. #21
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by simplygib View Post
    I think they can work for low-power requirements, especially if there is an intermediary storage battery. But I wasn't able to find one that would meet my needs (charging a smart phone, GPS and mp3 player). Main problem was it (Brunton Explorer) did not put out as much power as advertised. Would only charge my tiny mp3 player, nothing else. Ended up going with the New Trent iCruiser rechargeable battery pack instead. It keeps everything charged for a week at a time before needing to be recharged itself. Great little device.
    I agree. I'd only go with dynomo or solar solutions for expedition touring. I used a Hyperjuice mini on a trip to Iceland and it worked very well. I got 5 full charges of an iPhone 4 out of it and as i was using the iPhone for wireless, camera and music mostly a single charge lasted a couple of days. It was easy to recharge at cafes and motels.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyLemurBoy View Post
    Anyone know where I can buy the Tout Terrain 'The Plug II' stateside? I see that SJS sells them, but Peter White no longer has a link.

    SJS ships to the US, no problems.

    its also tax-free...

  23. #23
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    Not to derail the thread here, but has anyone had an experiences with SJS? I've never heard of/used them before.

  24. #24
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyLemurBoy View Post
    Not to derail the thread here, but has anyone had an experiences with SJS? I've never heard of/used them before.
    Order from them all the time, no problems takes about 6-10 days to get to NC from there.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

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