Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => General Discussion => Topic started by: mmounties on July 14, 2013, 02:25:26 pm

 
Title: Dynamo charger for cell phone and tablet
Post by: mmounties on July 14, 2013, 02:25:26 pm
Hi, I've tried the solio solar charger but found it doesn't work so well.  And I found that the outlets at the California State beach campgrounds have all been covered so they are no longer available for campers.  When I used to ride my bike in Europe (way back when) we used a dynamo to produce electricity when needed.  I now found what looks like the thing I need here:  http://www.sportsimportsltd.com/bicycle-bike-dynamo-w--usb-iphone-4g-charger---holder.html?utm_source=bicycle-bike-dynamo-w--usb-iphone-4g-charger---holder&utm_medium=shopping%2Bengine&utm_campaign=googleproducts&gclid=CMLtwM3Mr7gCFYdQ7Aod9zMAcg

Now I wonder whether anyone has any experience with this sort of a set up.  Many thanks in advance for your thoughts.
Title: Re: Dynamo charger for cell phone and tablet
Post by: Shane on July 16, 2013, 03:28:52 pm
If you can afford it I'd seriously recommend going for a hub dynamo(shimano or schmidt son). They are much more efficient and require less effort than those old things.  The charger doesn't look very waterproof either....

My thoughts can be found here -->>> http://www.shanecycles.com/africa/2012/12/14/gear-talks-gadgets-part-i/

I've used this set up for a while and works perfect for powering my gps, recharging my phone and if I'm away from power for more than 3-4 days i can also charge a couple of AA batteries.

This is all fine for a phone, I'm not sure cycling will really produce you power you need for recharging a tablet.

Title: Re: Dynamo charger for cell phone and tablet
Post by: mmounties on July 18, 2013, 06:44:54 pm
Thanks, Shane.  That's good to know.
Title: Re: Dynamo charger for cell phone and tablet
Post by: Bike2Power on July 20, 2013, 11:42:30 pm
Hi Tina:

My names is Alex and I work for the company Bike2Power. We specialize in pedal-powered USB chargers, and have numerous solutions for different levels of cyclists with different level of touring experience.

The kit you were taking about is sufficient to charge up your iPhone 4 - it looks like our SpinPOWER I4 (since the price is the same, they may be buying from us, and shipping to you).  Be aware that the dynamo that generates the power creates some drag (1-2 mph) on the wheel, which may or may not be sufficient for your purposes. Also, this charger will not be sufficient to charge a tablet - it produces power of 500 mAh. More information here: http://www.bike2power.com/SpinPOWER-Chargers

I agree with Shane - hub USB is the best option with the most stable power. But you still need a USB converter to convert the AC power from the dynamo into usable DC power to charge your devices. We have a highly popular solution, called a LightCharge USB Charger, which is compatible with most standard hub dynamos, such as Shimano and Schmidt. It has a USB port for your USB-chargeable devices, and a separate leg for a bike light. More information here: http://www.bike2power.com/LightCharge-Chargers
Please note that again, hubs and USB converters are not sufficient to charge the tablet.

We do have a solution that in combination with either SpinPOWER or LightCharge, is able to charge a tablet PC. I used it myself to charge my iPad mini, and my colleague uses his to charge his iPad. It is the BikeCharge Power Pack, a bike-mounted power pack that can be charged from a wall outlet, or from the bicycle USB charger. More information here: http://www.bike2power.com/Accessories/BikeCharge-Weatherproof-Rechargeable-Bicycle-Power-Pack.html

I hope the above is useful to you. Feel free to contact us with any questions - we are normally very good at responding.

Best regards,
Alex


Title: Re: Dynamo charger for cell phone and tablet
Post by: bogiesan on July 22, 2013, 12:38:43 am
To be efficient and useful, one way of handling electrics on tour is to use two steps unless you have a very powerful generation system. You use a solar unit or hub or rim dynamo, all with very small current outputs, to charge a battery pack. You then use the power held in the battery pack to recharge your devices.  In a few more years, maybe, generators and solar units will be powerful enough to charge your devices directly. Practically, you need two, or maybe three, battery packs; you can strap your solar unit onto the trunk bag on your bike and use it to charge one battery pack while you use the second to recharge your phone. The third is held in reserve for rainy days or if you should fail to get a good charge. If you were using products from, say, GoalZero, you're looking at $200-250 for their larger solar collector and three packs.

I don't know anything about the bike2power units described in this thread. Be sure to research them carefully.

Title: Re: Dynamo charger for cell phone and tablet
Post by: mmounties on July 24, 2013, 06:34:00 pm
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)
Title: Re: Dynamo charger for cell phone and tablet
Post by: pickupel on September 23, 2013, 06:53:40 pm
Hi,

I've used a couple of different charging systems, run off SON hubs. I've written a report of my experiences here: bit.ly/18SbTZt (http://bit.ly/18SbTZt)

Both the Plug II from Supernova and the B&M E-Werk (described in above article) would, if run in conjunction with a cache battery, be capable of charging a tablet.

Ed
Title: Re: Dynamo charger for cell phone and tablet
Post by: bogiesan 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.