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  1. #1
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    charger for phone

    Hello,
    I going to be up in no man's land for 4 days with no electricity at my disposal. So I am looking for a solar charger. Do you know of a good charger that will keep my smart phone going? Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member Western Flyer's Avatar
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    Wayne Estes wrote and continuously updates what is the most comprehensive article on solar charging and bike touring I have read. I use different equipment that seems to work for me, but I claim no expertise what so ever in solar or electronic in general.
    Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.
    - Helen Keller

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Why not just leave the phone at home ... take the opportunity to be electronic-free for 4 days?


    If you want it for emergency purposes, it shouldn't drain the battery if it is turned off.

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    I have a kit that cost something like $30 for the solar panel, $15 for a 4x18650 battery box with 3 amp cable and $20 for 4 18650 batteries.

    If you need it for 4 days, you could probably get away with just taking a battery bank along.


    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Why not just leave the phone at home ... take the opportunity to be electronic-free for 4 days?


    If you want it for emergency purposes, it shouldn't drain the battery if it is turned off.

    Some people use their phones GPS to navigate with

  5. #5
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    A rechargable battery bank is a far more practical solution for a short trip. Or long one for that matter. Unless practical is second fiddle to gadgetry.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    A rechargable battery bank is a far more practical solution for a short trip. Or long one for that matter. Unless practical is second fiddle to gadgetry.
    I agree. I have a Goal-0 solar charger which works fine for charging my phone and AA cells for my other devices on sunny days, but it still requires quite a bit of time and the proper orientation. It was bought for longer backpacking trips where there isn't any opportunity to recharge batteries. For bike touring I've found it to be better to just take along enough spare rechargeable batteries to last for a few days until I get to a place where I can recharge them (many campgrounds have outlets and otherwise restaurants are usually good about letting me plug in a charger somewhere while I'm eating).

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Why not just leave the phone at home ... take the opportunity to be electronic-free for 4 days?


    If you want it for emergency purposes, it shouldn't drain the battery if it is turned off.
    Mama would not be happy. If she could not get ahold of me. And besides I would want to do updates as to my where abouts if I get hit andd the person dont stop at leasrt they will have a point to start from.

  8. #8
    Senior Member simplygib's Avatar
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    +1 on the battery pack. Something like this would carry you through for a week, I would think.

    I've used one similar to that on several tours and it's worked out great.

  9. #9
    Garlic
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    If you're in that remote an area that does not have electricity, are there cell towers?

    I've carried a cell phone on short tours in remote areas before, without the charger, and turned the phone on once a day or so to call home and check messages, if there was cell service. The battery charge lasts for weeks in those conditions.

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Some people use their phones GPS to navigate with
    I suppose; Tech addicts , that never bothered to learn Map reading skills .

    Wise sailors dont go to sea with only GPS to guide them.

    but the Rocks that you run aground on don't care .


    Paper map and Postcard tourist


    solar chargers need square feet and being oriented to the sun right, so work best in one place.

    Hub dynamo powered trickle USB devices work with Motion..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 03-03-13 at 12:43 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member 12bar's Avatar
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    I just bought a Power Monkey solar charger that worked pretty good for keeping my Edge 800 and smart phone charged for 5 days of riding and camping.
    "It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for someone you love". Blazeman, Warrior Poet

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  12. #12
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    Thanks

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    My last tour was at least 500 miles from the nearest cell coverage for my cheap plan. Thus, I had no cell coverage for two weeks. My next tour will have no cell coverage for about 30 percent of the trip. If cell coverage is that critical to you, have you checked the map for your plan to make sure you have coverage?

    Have you priced spare batteries for your phone? While a battery pack that you can use to charge phones, tablets, and maybe other devices comes in handy, they can cost more than the phone battery would cost. Spare batteries for my phone were less than $10 on ebay, shipped from China (about a month delivery time).

    My vintage dumb phone is so old that it does not even have a camera in it. Does your phone plan allow you to switch to a cheap phone that has very low current draw and cheap batteries or are you locked into a smartphone that has high current draw?

    One of my former employers a few years ago asked me if I would be willing to carry a company cell phone on my canoe trip to Boundary Waters Canoe Area. I replied that it would give me a chance to test it. She asked, you mean test it for range? I replied, no, see how long it would work when submerged. I was not bothered by any phone calls on that trip.
    Last edited by Tourist in MSN; 03-04-13 at 09:10 AM.

  14. #14
    __________ seeker333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
    Does your phone plan allow you to switch to a cheap phone that has very low current draw and cheap batteries or are you locked into a smartphone that has high current draw?
    +1

    My cutting edge LG Accolade will last at least 6 months with no discernible battery decline when turned off. I can talk for >5 hours on a fully charged battery. A spare battery is miniscule, weighs and costs next to nothing.

    You can buy a "burner" on a PAYG plan from Walmart for less than the cost of a solar charger / supplemental battery for a power-hogging smart phone.

    Paper maps should be perfectly adequate for a 4 day bike tour, especially in a rural / sparsely populated area where there are relatively few roads/services. A map and research before trip should do the job.

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kardar2 View Post
    Mama would not be happy. If she could not get ahold of me. And besides I would want to do updates as to my where abouts if I get hit andd the person dont stop at leasrt they will have a point to start from.
    How about just turning it on only to make calls? It should last 4 days easily if you make a brief check in call every evening and leave it off the rest of the time. Do be aware that in "no man's land" you might not have a signal and most cell phones kill their batteries very quickly if searching for a signal.

    Another suggestion... I have found that text messages work well at times when the signal is too weak for a voice call and go in seconds saving battery life.

    If you must have more battery time carrying a couple extra phone batteries weighs less that any solar charger that I have seen that works even moderately well. They can be found fairly cheaply with a web search.

    No good if you are away from outlets the entire time, but there are some light weight chargers that are 2 ounces or so and charge the battery out of the phone. Some have a USB connector and can charge one battery in the phone and one in the charger simultaneously.

  16. #16
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Exactly ... just turn it on to make the calls ............................ if you have cell phone coverage. If you're really out in the middle of nowhere, you might not have cell phone coverage.

  17. #17
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    If you're really out in the middle of nowhere, you might not have cell phone coverage.
    True. Any place I have been where you are likely to be away from outlets for 4 days is also very likely to not have a signal much of the time.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by kardar2 View Post
    Hello, I going to be up in no man's land for 4 days with no electricity at my disposal. So I am looking for a solar charger. Do you know of a good charger that will keep my smart phone going? Thanks
    Other options for the next time you are upgrading might be a dynohub from wheel or a SunUp add-on dyno off the rear wheel. For either, SunUP sells on ebay a little module with batteries in side and UBS charge ports on it. If using on non-SunUp dyno, easy to just cut off their style and of connector and wire it in to your setup. Of course as you posted a solar panel would be slick... should be a nice fit on the top shelf of a front or rear rack. Would be really cool to have it gimbled so you could tip it up a bit to face the afternoon/evening sun, etc. The gimble mount would be simple to design/build to fit onto a rack. /K

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    Is this a trick question?......"I'm going to no man's land but need to bring man with me"????...

    Cell phone towers use electricity ......so,unless there are giant solar fields next to the towers,chances are you precious cell phone will be disabled......

    Of coarse,if you climb high enough,you can get line of sight to somewhere......

    Have fun anyways! I'd bring a battery pack to recharge stuff if need be.
    Last edited by Booger1; 03-06-13 at 10:00 AM.
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

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    Will no man's land have signal? I have a 20 Nokia. It has nothing on it so the charge lasts very long in comparison to phones that have all the extras. I charge it full, turn it off and hit the road. If for some reason i need to make a call which i never do then i would turn it on. Get one of those and you won't need a charger.
    Rice is important

  21. #21
    Senior Member Ekdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Why not just leave the phone at home ... take the opportunity to be electronic-free for 4 days?


    If you want it for emergency purposes, it shouldn't drain the battery if it is turned off.
    I love cell phones, especially smart phones. They allow me to keep in touch with my family, listen to internet radio, keep up on the news, read books with the Kindle app., make hotel reservations... What a fantastic technological advance they are!

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