USB-Werk or E-Werk?

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nickpaton
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Joined: 4 Mar 2013, 9:07pm
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

USB-Werk or E-Werk?

Post by nickpaton »

Thought I'd document my experiences when choosing which B&M -Werk regulator to use to connect up to my SON28 dynamo to prevent others from making the same expensive mistakes I did.

My requirements are to charge a large battery (Anker 10000mAh) via its 5V DC USB port. The Anker then charges a variety of phones, tablets, cameras, AA batteries using it's own USB battery charger, all via their USB ports. Reason for choosing this method is it's easier to have only one battery being charged during the ride rather than having to remember to swap devices as they become charged during the ride. Also USB plugs tend to easily fall out whilst riding, and I'd need to find different ways of keeping the plugs in the sockets for a lot of devices rather than just for the Anker (lacky band round the plug and body).

OK, the two B&M devices. First the USB-Werk. This outputs 5V DC only with an internal small cache battery to give continuous power when the bike's stopped or during slow riding (SON28 generates full output from 10mph). Is normally used to charge phones etc.

The E-Werk outputs several DC voltages with selectable current limiting; there is no internal cache battery. It's also more expensive than the USB-Werk.

As I needed 5V DC only output I bought an USB-Werk. The first ride showed that this does not charge up external batteries like the Anker, as the charging current drawn by the Anker is greater than what the USB-Werk can supply so it also draws on the internal cache battery, which in turn is quite rapidly drained.
At this point the USB-Werk disconnects the output to the Anker to recharge its own internal cache battery, and then when recharged it reconnects the output and continues charging the Anker; and so on. In short charging the Anker is an on-off-on process and I've not yet managed to fully charge one.

Turns out the E-Werk is the device that should be used to charge external batteries as it supplies what it can supply with no internal cache batteries to keep charged which could interrupt external charging.

Closer reading of the manuals for the two devices make this clear, but for the USB-Werk it's somewhat buried http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/Downloads/USB_WERK_English.pdf. E-Werk manual here http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/Downloads/Ewerkmanual.pdf.

Hope this stop others from making the same expensive mistake I did - my almost brand new USB-Werk will be up for sale shortly in the relevant forum pages so keep an eye open in the for sale pages over the next few days...
giles
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Joined: 8 Oct 2014, 9:15am

Re: USB-Werk or E-Werk?

Post by giles »

I wasted money on the USBwerk. I tested it will a few devices and it doesn't work with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, iPhone 3GS, iPad 1 or iPad 3.

B&W didn't accept they were at fault but I'd at least expect a warning on the product that it doesn't work with certain (a lot of) devices..
james-o
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Joined: 11 Jun 2008, 10:27am

Re: USB-Werk or E-Werk?

Post by james-o »

As I needed 5V DC only output I bought an USB-Werk. The first ride showed that this does not charge up external batteries like the Anker, as the charging current drawn by the Anker is greater than what the USB-Werk can supply so it also draws on the internal cache battery, which in turn is quite rapidly drained.
At this point the USB-Werk disconnects the output to the Anker to recharge its own internal cache battery, and then when recharged it reconnects the output and continues charging the Anker; and so on. In short charging the Anker is an on-off-on process and I've not yet managed to fully charge one.

I'm no electronics expert but from using one and learning a little in this area - I have the USB Werk and have noticed this, it was expected as I bought it for the internal cache battery so that I can get a consistent charge into a Garmin 800. When charging something like a battery pack or a rear light I can feel the hub vibration going on and off as the USB werk pulls current for the internal battery then drives the to-be-charged unit from that until the internal battery charge drops to a certain level.
I think the USB werk is only 150-200mah capacity, I forget now. The output of it is 5A / 500mah (EDIT - 5v / 500mah) and will charge in this 'hub<>pack' switching or balancing manner. If it's disconnecting to charge its own internal pack I guess the Anker pack you have can pull current faster than you can charge the internal pack and that's related to hub output / speed? If the internal battery is ~150-200mah, for me that would be about 15 mins riding to charge and I've not experienced a gap that long in charging the device even when charging items that can pull more than 500mah (ie the Garmin draws 1000mah when wall-charged, under half the charge times as on the bike). But it will drop charge on a longer climb, ie 15-20 mins at 5-7mph. So I think there's circuitry inside the USB Werk that balances input and output of the battery while input is sufficient.

Is the issue just the size of pack you're trying to charge? I can charge a near-flat Garmin 800 (2000mah battery) in about 2hrs, averaging 15-17mph with no lost charge with a few hills that drop my pace to under 10mph for 5-10 mins. It'd take me a long ride at good pace to get a 10,000 battery filled. If the USB Werk regularly runs flat and stops charging, is the hub output as high as it could be, ie your av speed, lights on also?

I may be wrong in how the USB Werk uses its internal battery and have made assumptions based on how it charges devices that I previously used a direct through-charger hub-to-USB box with (same bike, hub, pace etc), so interesting to read your experiences with the larger battery as your reason for using it is a good one. I'm partly thinking through how it works here also so let me know if I'm wrong in these assumptions.

The USB Werk charges my Nokia smartphone ok but phones generally are more sensitive to current output or fluctuations, the Iphone / Apple products generally more so than any other and they won't charge at 500mah. Tablets etc generally need the E-Werk. All in all I'm happy with the USB Werk for charging my mp3, phone, Garmin and rear light as well as a 2000mah spare battery, no issues and at £55 it was a good buy I think.
Last edited by james-o on 17 Oct 2014, 8:24am, edited 1 time in total.
jb
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Re: USB-Werk or E-Werk?

Post by jb »

The E work is better I find because it allows you to up the voltage to the next notch to compensate for voltage drop on long cable runs to the saddle bag.
Cheers
J Bro
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andrew_s
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Re: USB-Werk or E-Werk?

Post by andrew_s »

giles wrote:I wasted money on the USBwerk. I tested it will a few devices and it doesn't work with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, iPhone 3GS, iPad 1 or iPad 3.
B&W didn't accept they were at fault but I'd at least expect a warning on the product that it doesn't work with certain (a lot of) devices..

I don't know about the Galaxy, but Apple are notorious for fiddling with "standards" such as USB, in order to try to force you to use only their cables and chargers.
Psamathe
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Re: USB-Werk or E-Werk?

Post by Psamathe »

andrew_s wrote:
giles wrote:I wasted money on the USBwerk. I tested it will a few devices and it doesn't work with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, iPhone 3GS, iPad 1 or iPad 3.
B&W didn't accept they were at fault but I'd at least expect a warning on the product that it doesn't work with certain (a lot of) devices..

I don't know about the Galaxy, but Apple are notorious for fiddling with "standards" such as USB, in order to try to force you to use only their cables and chargers.

Which is something I really never understood. Apple sell massively overpriced phones and tablets. And as a lot of their stuff is sold at full RRP direct to end users their margins must be the envy of many. So why do these silly things to force you to buy an Apple PSU for £15 - which compared to their computers/phones/tablets makes them virtually no £ profit and shipping/stocking/etc. is probably more of a nuisance than a profitable exercise. And it really irritates many users forcing them to seek out an Apple USB PSU ...

(and in being critical of Apple, I am a Mac/iPhone users; just not somebody who has to kneel facing Cupertino 6 times an hour chanting worship to ...).

Ian
phil parker
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Re: USB-Werk or E-Werk?

Post by phil parker »

I use the EWerk, and I've experimented over the years, but I find it also does not produce enough current to charge a larger battery like a 10000 - 12000 MaH unit, which I wanted to also charge my iPad. I can easily charge a 3000 MaH unit and over a long day a 5000 MaH unit, which is more than enought to charge my phone, my Garmin 800 and my iPod.

I have also used it in conjunction with a cache battery (reasonable price for original unit from Rose Cycles) for use just with my Garmin when not carryin an additional battery.
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andrew_s
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Re: USB-Werk or E-Werk?

Post by andrew_s »

phil parker wrote:I find it also does not produce enough current to charge a larger battery like a 10000 - 12000 MaH unit

It's hardly surprising when you think about it.
It depends on what the manufacturers mean by 12Ah*, but if you take it to mean that it will supply 1A at 5V (USB) for 12 hours, then that's 60Wh, plus you will have to put in maybe 20% more than you get out, giving 72Wh that you have to supply. A dynohub will supply 3W at 15 kph, and 6W at 30kph, pretty much, so if we guess 4W at a typical average touring speed of 20kph, that's 18 hours of actual riding, not counting stops, which is likely to be 3 days.

*
They could also mean that there are 4x3000mAh 18650 cells inside, which at 3.7V each is only 44.4Wh
<pedant mode>
12Ah == "12000MaH"
M="mega", m="milli"; a factor of 10^9 different from what you meant. You couldn't carry a 12000MAh battery (it would be 100-150 tonnes).
Also, the unit symbol for the ampere is a capital A, and saying "twelve thousand thousandths of an amp hour" seems a bit of a perverse way of stating the capacity (I know you are just echoing the vendors, who like big numbers in their advertising).
</pedant mode>
edocaster
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Re: USB-Werk or E-Werk?

Post by edocaster »

Charging USB battery packs with dynamos, it can be hard to work out what is going on, as some of these packs have charging lights which don't tell the whole story, and the charge level indicators (if they have any) will often be in 20-25% chunks, so it may take hours to know if anything has happened.

I found my Tecknet 6000mAh pack didn't charge when the voltage was allowed to spool up from a complete stop. I presume the pack protects its input when it sees an incorrect (low) voltage. But if the connection is made when the bike is moving (i.e. a solid 5V from the regulator), the charging is fine.

A convenient way to check this is with a device like this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Estone%C2%AE-Ch ... pd_cp_ce_1 - if the current is 0.00A, it's not charging.

As for bigger packs, the size is possibly not the issue per se, but rather that the expected charging current may be too high, dragging the voltage to well below 5V, to the point that the pack no longer accepts it. Again, the above device can confirm this. This is probably an issue if the pack is less than half full, as the charging circuitry will be aiming for constant current, which may be a relatively high current.
nickpaton
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Re: USB-Werk or E-Werk?

Post by nickpaton »

edocaster wrote:A convenient way to check this is with a device like this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Estone%C2%AE-Ch ... pd_cp_ce_1 - if the current is 0.00A, it's not charging.


When trying to work out why the USB-Werk wouldn't charge the battery pack, I rigged up a couple of test meters set to volts and amps, and this little device would have been much better for the current bit.
Something to bear in mind is it needs a bit of power for its own operation, so probably not best to keep it permanently connected.

edocaster wrote:I found my Tecknet 6000mAh pack didn't charge when the voltage was allowed to spool up from a complete stop. I presume the pack protects its input when it sees an incorrect (low) voltage. But if the connection is made when the bike is moving (i.e. a solid 5V from the regulator), the charging is fine.

I assume you're using an E-Werk. When first trying with the USB-Werk, IIRC I tried this and it had the opposite effect, in other words the Anker battery had to be connected to the device with the bike at rest before it made any attempt at charging. Not sure whether this was due to the internal Anker circuitry.

Re the charging light "blocks", yes it can be a tad tricky to work out where the battery is "at" in the charging cycle, and I've sometimes found myself questioning whether my system is working correctly.

I found the weak point in the charging chain was the feeble micro USB charging connection to the battery pack which either kept falling out on the slightest bump (even when rubber banded to the battery), or which break in the battery pack (due to the strain from the rubber banded connector!). To get round this I've modified my battery packs with chunky audio three pin XLR connectors with a matching XLR soldered to the wire from the E-Werk. Details http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=88942 OK it looks a tad industrial but I know the battery is solidly connected to the E-Werk.
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ConRAD
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Re: USB-Werk or E-Werk?

Post by ConRAD »

edocaster wrote:...a convenient way to check this is with a device like this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Estone%C2%AE-Ch ... pd_cp_ce_1

With a built-in bypass switch and an enhanced AC/TRMS version (...for dynamo...) it would be perfect !!
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edocaster
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Re: USB-Werk or E-Werk?

Post by edocaster »

nickpaton wrote:I assume you're using an E-Werk. When first trying with the USB-Werk, IIRC I tried this and it had the opposite effect, in other words the Anker battery had to be connected to the device with the bike at rest before it made any attempt at charging. Not sure whether this was due to the internal Anker circuitry.

Re the charging light "blocks", yes it can be a tad tricky to work out where the battery is "at" in the charging cycle, and I've sometimes found myself questioning whether my system is working correctly.

I found the weak point in the charging chain was the feeble micro USB charging connection to the battery pack which either kept falling out on the slightest bump (even when rubber banded to the battery), or which break in the battery pack (due to the strain from the rubber banded connector!). To get round this I've modified my battery packs with chunky audio three pin XLR connectors with a matching XLR soldered to the wire from the E-Werk. Details http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=88942 OK it looks a tad industrial but I know the battery is solidly connected to the E-Werk.


I'm using a DIY dynamo-to-USB regulator, but like the eWerk it has no cache battery of its own.

For the Tecknet, I ended up putting that in a bar mounted phone case like this (when the phone I planned to use for navigation didn't prove up to the job, and was hence relegated to a pannier): http://www.amazon.co.uk/TechDealsUK-Wat ... pd_cp_ce_1 - with the two zips of the case keeping the micro-USB cable in place. It was an 'on the road' bodge which worked a lot better than the mess of velcro straps I was initially contemplating.
albal1
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Re: USB-Werk or E-Werk?

Post by albal1 »

My ewerk has stopped working. The son dynamo is working ok. I am no techy, so any ideas would be useful. Is there a fuse inside the ewerk? Anybody have same problem? HELP PLEASE? THANKS
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ConRAD
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Re: USB-Werk or E-Werk?

Post by ConRAD »

albal1 wrote:... my ewerk has stopped working ...

... no fuses inside but .... try to have a look HERE, maybe your problem is something like mine.
Cheers.
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Sweep
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Re: USB-Werk or E-Werk?

Post by Sweep »

Cripes, i thought these things were supposed to be easy, give you a blessed independence.

I have been toying with the idea of a dynohub to charge stuff but am inclined to think that i will just stick to finding mains plugs now and again for charging AA/AAAs and a backup battery.
Sweep
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