Bicycle Travel > Gear Talk

Generator Hubs and USB Devices

<< < (2/3) > >>

iPhones if i recall correctly can be very selective in what voltage and current they will accept for charging purposes.  It is very important that you check that whatever device that you choose has an output that is suitable for charging an iPhone. Most other rechargeable devices are not so fussy.

For what it's worth I use a Busch and Muller eWerk which has a range of adaptors and adjustable voltages and currents.  I use it to charge my Samsung SIII GALAXY phone and HTC Desire HD.

I have been looking around the interwebs for a few weeks, trying to find a complete (and hopefully accurate) package of information on the topic of staying powered up on tour. It's a perfect topic for Adventure Cycling's researchers and writers to tackle.

Here's what I'm finding:
1. The devices (we think we must have) on our bikes have small built-in batteries and can deplete their energy supplies quickly due to usage and possibly cold weather.
2. Some of these devices, such as a smartphone in GPS mode, require supplementary energy supply in the form of energy generation or an attached auxiliary power pack or they only last a few hours.
3. Devices and auxiliary power packs can be deeply discharged during the day's riding (or riding out a storm in a tent) and must be thoroughly recharged.
4. You have several options for the energy to recharge including AC power, hand-cranked generation, bike-powered generation, solar, secondary battery storage or fuel cells and other energy sources.
5. There is a direct correlation between the mass and cost of these auxiliary charging and generation systems and their ease of use which includes storage capacity, ruggedness and other factors.
6. The marketplace is crowded with a range of low- to high-quality products being sold to a largely uninformed public.

REI recently had a good discount on a product from Goal Zero, a 3.5 amp solar panel and a battery pack that holds 4-AAs. You can charge the pack from almost anything and you can pull energy from it to recharge your phone or other devices or you can use the AAs. MMy experiments so far indicate I can deplete the Goal Zero pack charging my iPhone to a total of 100% (one charge from 40-100% and one charge from 60-100%). The solar pack will NOT power anything, simply doesn't have the energy output, it's not large enough, but it will recharge the battery pack from 10% to 100% capacity in 6-8 hours of FULL sunlight.
So if I want to run the iPhone on the bike in mapping/GPS mode, I will need at least two of these auxiliary batter packs. One to carry on the bike and one to have recharging on the back of the bike or in camp.

More to come later as the season starts up.


I bought one of those at an REI used gear sale, complete with X on it.  I toured with it last summer, and was usually able to keep my old Garmin Edge charged with it, or the battery pack.  But I was always happy to see an unused outlet.  You can buy an insert which lets you charge AA or AAA batteries.

I also just bought an ORANGE JOOS, and it proudly sports another X on it.  I'm experimenting with charging and discharging it.  I need to find some better instrumentation if I'm going to do very much, though.

Thanks for the feedback,


Itinerant Harper:
I wrote two extensive posts on my blog last year about my experience with various charging systems. Not a comprehensive overview - I tended to research extensively first and settle on a specific system. So these reports are based on my experience of a couple of systems on long tours.

Charging Systems
Charging Systems Revisited

I appreciate you having the courage to experiment while on tour.  And I am grateful you took the time to share your experiences in such an informative and entertaining matter.  You hit on many of the points that I've been considering.




[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

[*] Previous page

Go to full version