Charging two AA batteries everyday whilst touring

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stephenjubb
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Re: Charging two AA batteries everyday whilst touring

Postby stephenjubb » 10 Feb 2013, 12:58pm

andrew_s wrote:
bigjim wrote:I really want to know where the OP is going. This place where there is no mains electic available? Where is it?

Let's suppose cycle camping in Scotland, with a fair amount of wild camping thrown in.

Charging at a campsite:
1) leaving stuff charging unattended in the toilet block can be prone to pilferage.
2) charging in reception means that you are subject to reception opening times, and if it's a small site where the man comes round and collects the fee there may be no reception.

Charging in cafes:
1) Scotland is sparsely populated and cafes are thin on the ground in many areas
2) Sod's law says that the socket that's not in use for kettles, toasters etc is under the tables with a well settled party at it.
3) You need a fast 1h charger, which in general terms is bad for the batteries
4) I'd be worried about only remembering the charger when I was 5 miles down the road.


the above is brilliantly summarised. to take it a stage further by having a dynamo and able to charge yourself you can forget about all of the above as it does not apply.

So it makes it even easier to get away from it all by having less to think about.

As with anything I realise it costs and can be expensive but it's like having an hillberg tent (I wish :( ) it works well..

phil parker
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Re: Charging two AA batteries everyday whilst touring

Postby phil parker » 10 Feb 2013, 1:27pm

+1 for the above summary - and I will add:

I agree it might not be as cost effective when paying £200+ for a dynohub (as I just have for my latest build), but it is about autonomy and the way you travel. I have a Garmin that needs charging on a daily basis as well as a mobile phone every two days and sometimes and iPod (audio books), which I can comfortably do from my current set-up.

I've toured a few times in Scotland where it hasn't been possible to charge from a pub or reception ( 3 consecutive days in the Hebrides!). Reception closing times and opening times do not fit in with my touring regime - although most will charge for you if you ask (I like to depart before 8 am). I've never had a problem charging devices in a pub where I've bought a drink/meal, but I don't necessarily want to go every night. Wild camping...

I also like to be self-sufficient and not have to go cap-in-hand every time!
Last edited by phil parker on 10 Feb 2013, 2:00pm, edited 1 time in total.

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stephenjubb
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Re: Charging two AA batteries everyday whilst touring

Postby stephenjubb » 10 Feb 2013, 1:52pm

phil parker wrote:+1 for the above summary - and I will add:

I agree it might not be as cost effective when paying £200+ for a dynohub (as I just have for my latest build), but it is about autonomy and the way you travel. I have a Garmin that needs charging on a daily basis as well as a mobile phone every two days and sometimes and iPod (audio books), which I can comfortably do from my current set-up.

I've toured a few times in Scotland where it hasn't been possible to charge from a pub or reception ( 3 concurrent days in the Hebrides!). Reception closing times and opening times do not fit in with my touring regime - although most will charge for you if you ask (I like to depart before 8 am). I've never had a problem charging devices in a pub where I've bought a drink/meal, but I don't necessarily want to go every night. Wild camping...

I also like to be self-sufficient and not have to go cap-in-hand every time!


Another good point above, agree it is good not to be tied to businesses opening times just like taking your own cooker :oops:

andymiller
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Re: Charging two AA batteries everyday whilst touring

Postby andymiller » 10 Feb 2013, 8:31pm

phil parker wrote:I've toured a few times in Scotland where it hasn't been possible to charge from a pub or reception ( 3 consecutive days in the Hebrides!).


Given that a pair of rechargeable batteries last you a couple of days, 3 days without the chance to recharge is not really that big a deal. A few spares and/or a power pack will tide you over.

I'm not arguing against dynamos - but if the OP doesn't want to pay out for one (or can't afford one) I probably could manage without.

andrew_s wrote:
andymiller wrote:My vote would be for a PowerMonkey charger which will not only charge a couple of AA batteries

I've never understood why people recommend carrying a battery to charge AA batteries from.
Surely it's easier just to take spare AAs, which are at least instant use with no wait for charging.


Using AA batteries to charge AA batteries would indeed be pretty silly.

You put the batteries into the Powerchimp/PowerMonkey and then attach it to standard USB charger and charge the batteries up. I know that it is sold as a device for charging phones etc (and in my experience NiMH AA batteries are really pretty useless for that) but for charging the batteries in the first place it's lightweight, compact and flexible, and the kit of tips that it comes with are useful for charging outer devices.
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Reigncloud
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Re: Charging two AA batteries everyday whilst touring

Postby Reigncloud » 11 Feb 2013, 10:33am

andrew_s wrote:Let's suppose cycle camping in Scotland...

Charging at a campsite:
1) leaving stuff charging unattended in the toilet block can be prone to pilferage.
2) charging in reception means that you are subject to reception opening times, and if it's a small site where the man comes round and collects the fee there may be no reception.


I might add that at one place we stayed in Interlaken (Camping Seeblick Bönigen) they charged me 1 Fr per battery I charged at reception! I was shocked - certainly as they only told me after I'd already charged two!I've stayed in hundreds of campsites around the world and never once has anyone charged for this before. All the more reason for a self sufficient dynamo set up - to avoid greedy campsite owners (as rare as they are).

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andrew_s
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Re: Charging two AA batteries everyday whilst touring

Postby andrew_s » 11 Feb 2013, 11:56am

andymiller wrote:You put the batteries into the Powerchimp/PowerMonkey and then attach it to standard USB charger and charge the batteries up.

Using the powermonkey with a mains to USB adapter as a battery charger?

USB charging is normally relatively slow as USB output is limited to 5V 1A, or 0.5A in some cases, so for AA batteries alone a direct mains charger may be better. Still, if you want phone charging too, it limits the number of bits of kit.

br8ker
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Re: Charging two AA batteries everyday whilst touring

Postby br8ker » 14 Feb 2013, 4:24pm

good discussion! i'm having the same to and fro in my head for an upcoming 8+ month cycle tour me and my girlfriend are planning. she thinks i'm being ridiculous,.. but i think it would be pretty amazing to charge electronics on the go. i was thinking more of an ultraportable laptop for editing photos, ereader, gps, ipod, digital camera etc. have found an excellent post by the guy from "Tired of IT" where he details how he hooked up his hub dynamo and was able to charge his laptop and other devices. looks pretty cool...
http://www.tiredofit.ca/2011/03/19/pedal-powered-electronics-charging-system/

good additional info in the comments section as well

JulesDawes
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Re: Charging two AA batteries everyday whilst touring

Postby JulesDawes » 16 Feb 2013, 12:17pm

Just to add my set up. When I needed a new front rim, I bought a shimano xt dynamo hub from germany for about 60 quid.- I built this into my new rim. I then found an easy schematic for building a usb charging unit which ofc takes the 6v ac put out by the hub, and converts it to 5v dc. This cost less than 20 quid and works very well. I can charge my phone or any other usb item directly from it- although I am going to buy a small lithium battery pack that could charge my phone 2 or 3 times over, and charge that whilst it charges my device, enabling me to capture any 'spare' juice for using on off days or charging say a kindle or other items occasionally.

If you dont feel like tackling the charger DIY you can now get as mentioned above a synopsis light with built in usb charger.

In my opinion this setup or similar is the only viable option other than charging via mains at stops. It works well but it still only gives you a maximum of 4-500 milliamps , half an amp. Enough to charge a phone over the coarse of about 4-5 hours.

Hope this helps.
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Reigncloud
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Re: Charging two AA batteries everyday whilst touring

Postby Reigncloud » 18 Feb 2013, 10:18am

JulesDawes wrote:Just to add my set up. When I needed a new front rim, I bought a shimano xt dynamo hub from germany for about 60 quid.- I built this into my new rim. I then found an easy schematic for building a usb charging unit which ofc takes the 6v ac put out by the hub, and converts it to 5v dc. This cost less than 20 quid and works very well. I can charge my phone or any other usb item directly from it- although I am going to buy a small lithium battery pack that could charge my phone 2 or 3 times over, and charge that whilst it charges my device, enabling me to capture any 'spare' juice for using on off days or charging say a kindle or other items occasionally.


Thanks for the info. Do you happen to have a link to the schematic? Some pics of your handy work would be great!

Wile the e-work etc look fine personally I'd like to go down the DIY route as you have in order to make the system *exactly* what I want in terms of physical form factor, connectivity and general electrickery.

wirral_cyclist
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Re: Charging two AA batteries everyday whilst touring

Postby wirral_cyclist » 18 Feb 2013, 11:46am

This looks like it might fit the bill, ignoring the brompton bits as appropriate

http://chestercycling.wordpress.com/201 ... n-luggage/

and from that you get to this for the circuit:-

http://parttimetinkerer.wordpress.com/2 ... ub-dynamo/

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CJ
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Re: Charging two AA batteries everyday whilst touring

Postby CJ » 18 Feb 2013, 4:24pm

meic wrote:Is there anywhere that we can cycle which doesnt have restaurants, hotels and B&B?

Nobody questions why we should wish to take tents, mats and bags, cooking equipment and fuel on those grounds.

Last year I went on an organised tour in Ladakh, where for several days we did not pass a single permanent building or spend long enough in anywhere with an electricity supply (which was probably intermittent anyway, generator run only when needed for lights in the evening) to charge anything for almost two weeks. Beforehand I'd enquired if one could recharge off the support vehicles, but was discouraged.

I already had a hub dynamo, so I got an E-Werk to feed my power-hungry digital camera - and less hungry GPS. Complete success. The E-Werk and whatever it's charging fit inside a little top-tube bag (Topeak Tri-Drybag) you can see in this photo.
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