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Messages - bogiesan

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Gear Talk / Old battery systems, convert to USB?
« on: October 22, 2013, 10:34:11 pm »
I recently acquired some new NiteRider LED lighting systems. They're very cool and insanely bright and they have self-contained batts that charge from USB. But these new systems (obtained serendipitously at deep discount) replace perfectly serviceable NiteRider 6V halogen and 12V HID systems. The older batts use NiteRider's 4-wire 6-12V cables. There must be a way to buy or build a box that will accept the old NR batts at the input end and provide a USB output.
Any clues where I'd start looking besides NiteRider? It's a product they don't make so I'll probably be soldering up an Altoids box-based unit after obtaining pin-outs from NR.

Gear Talk / Re: Briefly: NewTrent 120R extreme battery pack
« on: October 20, 2013, 10:03:44 pm »
sorry, I've got no clue how the device being charged knows the amperage of the USB circuit. But I know that there are two USB ports on the NewTrent battery, 1A and 2A, and, if you hook, say a power hog like the iPad4 Retina to the 1A side, it will not even see or acknowledge the power source; the charging indicator does not light up. If you hook, say, a little iPhone up to the 2A port, the phone will charge twice as fast.

If there are apps that will let a user examine the charging cycle and battery circuitry on Apple devices, I have not explored them. Interesting question, sorry I cannot be of more help.

Gear Talk / Re: Tire and tube storage
« on: October 20, 2013, 09:58:12 pm »
You know how bike shops hang their tires on dowels or hooks? Yeah, don't do that at home. Last couple of 451 tires I ordered fro the Hostel Shoppe for my recumbent showed severe deflection where they had been hanging on a round but small diameter obejct.

I store my 451 tires flat and I hang my 700s over a large diameter cardboard tube. I keep my tubes in a drawer in the shed with all the other bike related objects.

After more than 10 years with this bike, I buy my 451s in pairs because that's usually how I need them. And I always carry a spare 451 on tour because they're difficult or impossible to find on the road.

Gear Talk / Re: Briefly: NewTrent 120R extreme battery pack
« on: October 19, 2013, 09:11:56 pm »
A quick update:
Today I used the battery pack on my iPad 4/retina while in the backyard. Using the NT's 2A output and Apple Lightning USB cable, I was able to run Bluetooth and Wifi at full power but the NewTrent bTtery package was only keeping the iPad running at level consumption; the battery in the iPad never gained any energy.

As soon as I put the iPad to sleep the output from the NT was sufficient to add some capacity to the iPad's battery storage. After 30 minutes the iPad had gone from 25% to about 30.

After heading back inside and hooking up the standard Apple 2A mains charger to the iPad, I saw the iPad battery stays about level as long as I'm using all of the radios on the iPad, cruising the web and using the display at full intensity. As soon as I disable one of the radios, turn down the display or reduce activity, the mains adapter does, indeed, push more energy than the NT120 extreme.

So, results of this experiment are inconclusive. The NT appears to supply 2A, as promised, but it's not quite enough to replace more than the energy consumed while using an iPad 4 in a normal way. But a mains adapter does not do that much better or faster. 

I'll try another experiment using Maps or another GPS app on the iPad to see if the NT120 can keep up with the increased processing demands.

Gear Talk / Briefly: NewTrent 120R extreme battery pack
« on: October 15, 2013, 12:10:42 am »

I've had this unit for a couple of weeks now. Its main function for me is powering my iPhone 4S while I'm using a GPS app like MapMyRide which sucks the phone's internal battery to under 20% in 3-4 hours. It's heavy at 12 ounces but it packs a huge load of energy, 12,000 mAh, which, I think is 12 full Amp hours. Complete specs can be found at the mfr's site.

Part of my tests was to run my phone down to 30-40% and see how many full charges I could get out of the NewTrent. Answer: 9 before it stopped providing a charge output implying it could recharge an iPad mini or iPad retina from 50% to full maybe 3 times.
Pros: Bombproof case, water-resistant door protects the output connections, dual USB jacks for 1Amp and 2Amp outputs, recharges quickly from a 2A USB device and not so quickly from a 1A USB jack.
Cons: Heavy, door on the output jacks is a bit flimsy, no water protection when cables are plugged in, requires odd USB charging cable ("SD," hard to find but apparently it's all the rage for non-Apple phones so I wouldn't know), remaining charge indicator is difficult to see, truly bum-numbing gray color.

Would I recommend that you buy one? Not yet. Wait for more user reviews to show up around the webs. But if you need a high capacity power pack in your hands in a few days, I don't think you'll regret spending $60. There are dozens of similar devices on the market in varying capacities and with a variety of features and conveniences. Not many are water resistant and armored like this one.

I have not examined the physics carefully or run the numbers but I think it would take about 14 days of direct sunlight to top it off using my little Goal Zero #3.5 solar collector, if it was possible at all.

Gear Talk / Re: See the gear on Velo Orange
« on: October 07, 2013, 10:13:43 pm »
This is one of those things that shows it can be done but to what benefit?  The rig looks top heavy and awkward.   Racks and panniers were developed for a reason.

You would, of course, need to read the whole article to get to the point where they discuss the direct applications and modes.

I thought the photo of the gear, all spread out like a disemboweled grasshopper, would be of more interest than deconstructing or positing an argument of long distance gear swaddling on a mountain bike versus the more conventional application of gear to a road bike for touring.

Gear Talk / See the gear on Velo Orange
« on: October 04, 2013, 07:30:59 pm »

No panniers. Full load. Not a road bike. Not really a tourer. 

General Discussion / Re: Saddle bags
« on: October 03, 2013, 08:46:49 am »
Once you've gathered your gear and purchased your panniers and racks, practice. Take some short overnight trips in different weather conditions. You must learn how to ride and set up camp in rain and wind. Sign up for a week-long supported tour. Refine your techniques and reduce your gear inventory to only what's necessary to remain warm, dry and comfortable. Everything else is known, collectively, as an anchor.

There are so many things newbies think are important to haul. There are many other things they don't know are necessary or can be acquired in lightweight or multi-functional versions.

Also, remember that bicyclists have been riding across the continents and around the world for more than a hundred years, without synthetics or electronics, and have enjoyed themselves tremendously.

General Discussion / Re: Motivation: why ride?
« on: September 27, 2013, 10:17:23 pm »
My dear wife often asks me, "Okay, you were gone for ten hours. What did you think about while you were out there on the desert or in the mountains?"

My answer is always, "I have no idea. I was conscious, I was alert, I was thinking, I was often talking to myself. No clue."


General Discussion / Re: Dynamo charger for cell phone and tablet
« on: September 25, 2013, 09:02:56 am »
Thanks for your thoughts.  I don't like the backup battery pack option both for reason of weight and environment.  It's the reason I'm looking for a better way to make a fire (so to speak).
I did check out the links listed in the Bike2Power reply but it looks like just another battery pack solution and even though it may be a really excellent battery I really don't want to go that route.  I suppose I'll rely on the library/Starbucks network a while longer to charge my tablet.  When I'm touring I only use it to read books, magazines, professional literature, etc.,.... you know, the "feed my brains" part of the trip.... 
As long as I turn it completely off between uses I should be able to make do well enough.  Eventually someone will come up with a better way to charge tablets as well. (sigh)

I call that kind of thinking misplaced verdancy. There's nothing green about taking your electronics on a bike trip but that's a different discussion. You look at the entire pathway from mining the raw materials through manufacturing and shipping to the thing you hold in your hand. The total view requires also that you know how the device will be disposed of once it is broken or obsolete. Battery packs can be obtained from very green manufacturers. You pay a premium for that peace of mind.

The reason a battery unit is required as an intermediate step is just physics. A hub dynamo that can push enough energy, in amps, into your phone or tablet is going to be huge (and likely built out of weirdly non-green materials) and will, of course, be significant mass you must push with your legs and, if the generation coils are engaged, will suck a noticeable amount of kinetic energy from your forward progress. As pickupel notes, even using an intermediate battery, which is linked to his hub through a power convertor, he must maintain at least 16km to produce enough energy to push energy into his iPhone. A tablet or lighting system has a much larger battery and a steeper energy input slope. A dynamo can easily trickle charge a battery pack that, in turn, contains the circuitry to intelligently push energy up the slope into your electronic package.

The article by pickupel is a good read.

Gear Talk / Re: Of Tires and Roads
« on: September 16, 2013, 09:02:53 am »
The question implies you believe your Volpe bike can actually perform the task. I've never seen your bike but, generally, trail riding is best on a trail-specific bike for reasons you already understand.
Find a similar set of trails within practical distance from your home and give yourself time to test this theory under real world conditions including a full load in rain.

General Discussion / Re: hydration options in desert
« on: September 16, 2013, 08:56:27 am »
I'm hoping to do some cycle touring next spring or summer in southern Utah, with long distances between available water sources. Besides carrying a few water bottles (inadequate), what options do I have to carry enough water on my bike? I really don't want to wear a Camelbak.

Lots of folks do those routes every year. Some get into trouble. You don't need to be on that list.

An adequate water supply depends on many factors. You add up the miles you need to cross between confirmed water sources, attentuate by temperatures and winds, divide by your known water consumption rate. The figure you arrive at is the number of quarts of water you must carry. Multiply that by 2 and you arrive at the approximate mass, in pounds, of that water. I think you will find your back turns out to be a good location for 6 to 20 pounds of the supply you must haul. So start shopping for a backpack or lumbar pack you can tolerate or even enjoy wearing. It doesn't need to have a reservoir pocket, it just needs to be able to comfortably haul a good portion of your crucial water supply in containers.

Back when I was backpacking, I learned to carry several water bottles instead of one or two. The  extra mass of the bottles was negligible. If one developed a leak or was lost I could still make the next river or creek or lake.

Gear Talk / Re: Of Tires and Rims
« on: September 12, 2013, 09:36:17 pm »
Take it to a good bike shop. Tell the wrench what you're concerned about and let them have the bike for an afternoon. go pick up the bike and let them sell you the rims and the hubs and the tires and the brakes and probably a new transmission, too.

Gear Talk / Mtn Hardware customer service rocks
« on: September 07, 2013, 12:13:07 am »
Eight year old Sojourn 2 tent and a few issues arose on a recent tour. Contacted Mountain Hardware about what I expected to be repairs I would pay for since the tent was so old. They handled everything to my satisfaction, faster than I thought possible and at a far, far lower cost than I had expected.

If there is a tent in my future, I will considern a Mountian Hardware unit first.

General Discussion / Re: Fake coops.
« on: September 03, 2013, 08:19:56 am »
Statements are easy to make.
How did your experience convince you this is a bogus operation?

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