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Re: mapping

Posted: 13 Feb 2020, 5:19pm
by andrew_s
teamroche wrote:One more question.... how do you keep everything charged? 1. rely on staying somewhere everyday to recharge. 2. use power packs 3. use solar chargers. 4. have dynamos?

If you are staying in paid for accommodation (hotel/hostel/B&B) there's no problem. A smallish powerbank, in case you run short during the day will do.

If you are camping, it's more involved.
If you rely on mains electricity, it's worth going for a larger powerbank with quick charge and/or a multi-port USB plug, so you can maximise the gain if you find a cafe with a socket. Campsite reception means you can't leave until it's reopoened in the morning, that you don't have access after they've closed in the evening. Shower block are theft prone, and may not have anything other than above-washbasin shaver sockets anyway. Electric hookups cost, and mean carrying a fairly builky adapter.
Solar means a fairly large panel if it's to be successful - A4-size, folded, with a 15-20W rating. Quite aside from clouds and shade, having the panel on the back of the bike means it's not pointing at the sun a lot of the time, and in the evening the sun is often too low for good charging.
Dynamos are reliable/forecastable, but the power rating is quite low, and if you are in a mountainous area and spend a lot of time riding slowly uphill, you may find that generation doesn't keep up with usage, particularly if you have high requirements, like feeding a laptop or tablet.

It's simplest to reduce your power requirements as much as possible.
That might mean an e-ink kindle rather than a tablet, or navigating using an AA-powered Garmin rather than a phone.
Alternatively, you could go old-school and learn how to read a paper map (as available in shops along the route).

I use a an e-ink kindle and an AA-powered Garmin, and find that a 10Ah dynamo-charged powerbank with occasional mains top up is sufficient

Re: mapping

Posted: 13 Feb 2020, 5:30pm
by HobbesOnTour
andrew_s wrote:
teamroche wrote:you may find that generation doesn't keep up with usage, particularly if you have high requirements, like feeding a laptop or tablet.



All excellent advice, but to pick up on this for a moment (and I don't mean to be picky)

My research pointed to very, very few laptops or Chromebooks that could be charged from a regular powerbank. Some could be charged from a specific "designed for laptop" powerbank which are big, heavy and very expensive.

Not aware of similar issues with tablets.

Of course, things may have changed in the meantime. These kinds of things can change quickly.

Re: mapping

Posted: 13 Feb 2020, 7:34pm
by scottg
Note RWGPS now has route planning in their phone app,
at least in the paid version.

Re: mapping

Posted: 14 Feb 2020, 4:49pm
by aflook
Everyone has their own preffered system, don't they? What has worked fro me is using Osmand on a (cheap) waterproof Samsung phone which I keep plugged into a charger run from a hub dynamo. If I start with a full charge, I'm seldom left with less than 80% at the end of the day, even after long hauls up mountain passes (and I'm not fast). I've never had anything stolen when leaving it in the campsite shower block to top up. This year power is a bit more crucial because I have an insulin pump controller to keep topped up and I've also started using a widget which sends blood glucose readings to my phone every few minutes, requiring Bluetooth to be left on (but which should avoid some of the unpleasant hypos). So I'm going to get back-up in the form of a powerbank charged with AA or AAA batteries (any recommendations welcome). Or I might keep a power bank charged from the hub. I also carry a maph-holder so that I can revert to paper. Whatever you do about power and navigation I hope you have a great trip. I'm sure you will.

Re: mapping

Posted: 14 Feb 2020, 5:00pm
by mjr
HobbesOnTour wrote:My research pointed to very, very few laptops or Chromebooks that could be charged from a regular powerbank. Some could be charged from a specific "designed for laptop" powerbank which are big, heavy and very expensive.

Not aware of similar issues with tablets.

Big? About the size of a 200-page A5 notebook. Heavy? Probably. Expensive? IRO £50.

What really should push tourists towards tablets (or those hybrid notebooks) is the power consumption. A full charge of a big 10Ah powerbank may give you less than 3h usage time of a laptop, or less if you don't change the setting that disables some power-saving features when on charge (makes it perform better in a shop demo, the electronics equivalent of VW's trick :roll: ). Generally, the bigger the screen, the faster the power drain.

Re: mapping

Posted: 14 Feb 2020, 5:06pm
by mjr
aflook wrote:So I'm going to get back-up in the form of a powerbank charged with AA or AAA batteries (any recommendations welcome).

I wouldn't. I have one and 2x1.5v AAs get rather warm trying to charge stuff at USB's 5V 1A. If you do go down that path, I think you want one which takes at least 4 AAs, so it's stepping the voltage down not up.

I suggest a powerbank which can take the higher voltage but larger 18650 batteries. I have https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2X-5600mAh-M ... 3689064821 and it's worked fine, although I mostly leave the same cells in it.

But as you say, everyone has slightly different requirements, so does things a bit different. Find your joy ;)

Re: mapping

Posted: 14 Feb 2020, 8:29pm
by andrew_s
mjr wrote:I suggest a powerbank which can take the higher voltage but larger 18650 batteries. I have https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2X-5600mAh-M ... 3689064821 and it's worked fine, although I mostly leave the same cells in it.

That seems fairly pointless to me.
Most powerbanks have 18650 cells inside anyway, so all you gain is the ability to take them out.
Unlike AAs, you can't just wander into a shop and buy some pre-charged 18650s, which is the main point of having something that will give USB from AA.

Re: mapping

Posted: 14 Feb 2020, 9:29pm
by teamroche
Thanks again for all your replies. My queries about charging related to camping - wild and 'civilised! I think I will go with Power packs and dynamo hub.

I had to laugh at - 'learn how to read a paper map (as available in shops along the route).' I'm 64 and most of my mountaineering, cycling, hiking has been done in the age of paper maps :D . Whilst I love a good map, electronic navigation is far more efficient and safer when negotiating complex routes in unknown towns and cities, especially when you are on your own. A mix of trad and modern seems the best way.

Re: mapping

Posted: 14 Feb 2020, 9:40pm
by mjr
andrew_s wrote:
mjr wrote:I suggest a powerbank which can take the higher voltage but larger 18650 batteries. I have https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2X-5600mAh-M ... 3689064821 and it's worked fine, although I mostly leave the same cells in it.

That seems fairly pointless to me.
Most powerbanks have 18650 cells inside anyway, so all you gain is the ability to take them out.

...and put in fresh, charged ones. And you know that they're good cells of known capacity rather than the cheap junk soldiered into most powerbanks.

Unlike AAs, you can't just wander into a shop and buy some pre-charged 18650s, which is the main point of having something that will give USB from AA.

Maybe to you, it would be - but AA-USB converters are generally poor and many aren't powerbanks because they cannot make deposits, only replace the "vault".

Re: mapping

Posted: 14 Feb 2020, 10:32pm
by Sweep
teamroche wrote:Thanks again for all your replies. My queries about charging related to camping - wild and 'civilised! I think I will go with Power packs and dynamo hub.

I had to laugh at - 'learn how to read a paper map (as available in shops along the route).' I'm 64 and most of my mountaineering, cycling, hiking has been done in the age of paper maps :D . Whilst I love a good map, electronic navigation is far more efficient and safer when negotiating complex routes in unknown towns and cities, especially when you are on your own. A mix of trad and modern seems the best way.

+1 to this.
All very sensible.

Re: mapping

Posted: 15 Feb 2020, 9:18am
by nirakaro
andrew_s wrote:a paper map (as available in shops along the route).

I've never found it easy to buy maps while touring in the UK, and more so on the continent: actual bookshops are a very rare breed, petrol stations with a shop big enough to stock maps are few and far between (especially if you're avoiding major roads), and small newsagents rarely have maps unless the are in popular tourist areas. Do others share that experience?

Re: mapping

Posted: 15 Feb 2020, 3:37pm
by HobbesOnTour
nirakaro wrote:
andrew_s wrote:a paper map (as available in shops along the route).

I've never found it easy to buy maps while touring in the UK, and more so on the continent: actual bookshops are a very rare breed, petrol stations with a shop big enough to stock maps are few and far between (especially if you're avoiding major roads), and small newsagents rarely have maps unless the are in popular tourist areas. Do others share that experience?

I'd tend to agree. I distinctly recall rolling into France the first time intending to pick up a map to discover it was a holy day and everywhere was shut! The next couple of days were small villages so I just used OSMand on my phone.

But, on a lot of the main cycling routes there can be large, outdoor maps along the way. A quick photo can have me set up for days.

Re: mapping

Posted: 15 Feb 2020, 3:49pm
by nirakaro
HobbesOnTour wrote:But, on a lot of the main cycling routes there can be large, outdoor maps along the way.

Yes. I met a bloke who'd ridden from Stockholm to Rome in ten days, without smartphone, GPS or maps. He made notes from outdoor maps at petrol stations and such. He asked people for directions. IIRC he used a compass. I think he was off his trolley!

Re: mapping

Posted: 15 Feb 2020, 4:42pm
by Sweep
nirakaro wrote:
HobbesOnTour wrote:But, on a lot of the main cycling routes there can be large, outdoor maps along the way.

Yes. I met a bloke who'd ridden from Stockholm to Rome in ten days, without smartphone, GPS or maps. He made notes from outdoor maps at petrol stations and such. He asked people for directions. IIRC he used a compass. I think he was off his trolley!


Cripes.
Though impressive.
If he can/could write there would surely be a decent book in the waywardness of just a trip dependent on the kindness/ignorance of strangers, maps of macdonalds branches etc.

did he tell you why he was doing it that way?

An urgent need to just leave town/country very quickly?

Need to go under the radar?

Just bonkers?

Re: mapping

Posted: 15 Feb 2020, 5:14pm
by aflook
I've never found it easy to buy maps while touring in the UK, and more so on the continent: actual bookshops are a very rare breed, petrol stations with a shop big enough to stock maps are few and far between (especially if you're avoiding major roads), and small newsagents rarely have maps unless the are in popular tourist areas. Do others share that experience?

But if you're not in a rush, it can lead to finding nooks of towns where you might otherwise not go. A funny little newsagent in Sicily had just what I needed....
Thank you mjr and andrew_s for your thoughts about powerbanks. I am considering a solar charged powerbank.