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woodcraft 08-05-18 01:39 PM

External battery question for Bolt
I want to use a lipstick type USB battery to make sure that GPS goes the distance on a DC.

Should I start with it plugged in, plug it in when the internal battery gets low, or what?

On a previous ride my plan was to turn on a 2nd head unit when the first ran down, but didn't see any low battery warning & it died,

so that didn't work out.


clasher 08-05-18 07:04 PM

I usually plug mine in when it gets down around 20 or 30% remaining battery.

unterhausen 08-05-18 08:49 PM

I plug my garmin in at the start of the ride. I think that's probably the way to go with a Wahoo. It's more a function of how fast you drain the external battery than the gps. The faster you drain the external battery, the less capacity it has

clasher 08-06-18 07:52 AM

My bolt gets hot when charging, the temperature spike is easy to see on rwgps. I wouldn’t want to leave it charging all day since heat is supposed to be bad for batteries... maybe trickle charging doesn’t make it so hot. I usually only charge it once on a ride, if there is an overnight I just plug it into a wall outlet.

woodcraft 08-06-18 10:00 AM


ksryder 08-06-18 10:18 AM

I don't think it matters. At Kanza this year I charged mine after it got to around 20% and it got back up to 100% pretty quickly -- maybe an hour or two? But plugging it in from the start probably has the same effect. Power is power regardless when it gets used.

joewein 08-06-18 08:31 PM

From a physics point of view, starting to charge it from the beginning should be better.

If the battery is still fully charged (usually with the battery voltage at 4.15-4.20 V) then the charger circuit will remain idle while an external power source is plugged in. The unit will be drawing power for its current needs from the USB input, but essentially no current will be flowing into or out of the battery. There should be no internal heating of the battery, only passive heating from the rest of the circuitry in the device.

While the unit runs on its internal battery, current will be flowing and the battery will heat up. Likewise, when it's being recharged from an external power source, current will be flowing and that will heat it up. This is due to internal resistance.

You can also look at it a different way, with the same outcome: Both charging and discharging are energy conversion processes, which are not 100% efficient. So drawing say 500 mAh from the battery and then putting it back in there may cost you 600 mAh in charge from the external battery. The difference is waste heat that heats the battery and the charging circuit. It's usually more efficient to directly draw 500 mAh from the USB port. So your lipstick battery should actually last longer if you use it from the start to keep the main battery at 100% rather than draining and recharging the main battery.

In practice it also depends on the efficiency of the voltage conversion devices inside the main unit's charge circuit and USB interface as well as the counterparts in the external battery. If you have an external battery that has a slide switch for multiple output currents (e.g. 1A, 1.5A, 2A), a lower setting may be more efficient.

woodcraft 08-12-18 12:04 PM

I ran it yesterday, & worked well. Turned the battery on about 6 hrs into 18 hr ride.

Lights still need work. Donated my backup light to another rider, which then ran down, leaving him to follow me on the fumes of my primary light at lowest setting.

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