View Full Version : Wind up battery charger

03-06-2015, 11:56
So I've been thinking about external battery chargers for my phone. Has anyone tried one of these in the link below? Not necessarily this one but one like it.
My worry is finding a place to charge my phone because I'm planning to stay in hostels/motels as little as possible. If anything, winding this thing while hiking might give me something to do for a bit. Thoughts?

03-06-2015, 14:19
Well, how much winding to get it fully charged, or, for example to fully charge an iPhone?

03-06-2015, 14:29
Well, how much winding to get it fully charged, or, for example to fully charge an iPhone?

From an Amazon review:

"Now the internal battery is dead and I am cranking it to change it back up. 1-2 min of cranking boosts my phone 1%."

03-06-2015, 14:42
Carry a battery backup such as a Newtrent 10,000 ma or a solar charger (only going to get a charge when you're stationary and have a sunny spot for it) or even a Biolite stove before you carry a hand crank charger is my advice.

I've never heard of a crank charger being anywhere close to worth the weight and space of carrying it.

03-06-2015, 14:46
On Youtube, a guy said he cranked it from completely dead about 20 minutes or so. Charged it about 3/4.

03-06-2015, 14:53
If it's where you're gonna go, I'd say be sure that it does all you want well before you start on the trail. Leave yourself enough time to get a different method if necessary.

I'd love to hear from a real person that it works well because the concept appeals. I've just never had that happen. Only 'I threw it away' type responses.

03-06-2015, 15:20
If you can pay somebody else to crank it for you... maybe. :)

03-06-2015, 16:15
I carried a mycharge($60 Target) battery backup, it would charge my phone about 3-4 times off of a full charge. It takes a while to recharge those backups(7-8 hour for full charge) so remember when you get to town and hit a hostel or hotel to plug that thing in right away, don't wait until the morning or you will be out of luck...

Most solar chargers that I saw were pretty ineffective due to lack of steady sunlight.

I don't know maybe I'm just getting old but having to crank charger for 20 minutes at a time is about the last way i want to spend down time out on the trail. Too many calories wasted:-)

Old Grouse
03-06-2015, 16:18
Maybe you could install a little turbine in line with your Sawyer filter which would turn the crank while you replenish your water bottles.

03-06-2015, 16:26
Maybe you could install a little turbine in line with your Sawyer filter which would turn the crank while you replenish your water bottles.
I like that idea haha
I have a Droid Maxx and the battery will last a good 3 full days with what I use it for at home. Being I'll be in airplane mode most of the time, I'm thinking I should get another day out of it. Just looking at options to keep it charged.

If you don't stay in hostels (that much) then where else would you be able to charge your phones along the way?

03-06-2015, 16:39
On Youtube, a guy said he cranked it from completely dead about 20 minutes or so. Charged it about 3/4.

That makes me thing there's something fishy about this crank device. If it can only output 1amp, then it most likely can only charge at 1 amp safely. So that would take 2 hours of charging at 1 amp to completely charge a 2000mah battery.

If he was talking about charging his cell phone battery (and not the internal battery of the crank device), most cell phones (unless it's something like a huge cell phone with a ~5-6" screen) only charge at 1 amp as well so that would still take a LOT longer than 20 minutes to charge any modern cell phone to 75%...

03-06-2015, 17:23
The problem with these things is the generator is a small motor which produces very little current. It would take forever to get much of a charge out of it. The trick is recharge before you deplete the battery too much and to crank during every spare moment.

Even though you don't "plan" on staying at many hostels or motels (yea right), your still going into town to buy food. It's pretty easy to find an electrical outlet someplace tucked away if you learn where to look. Or ask. Keep your eyes open, spend a few hours at the restaurant.

I picked up a "lipstick" charger which runs on 2 AA batteries. 2.6 oz with batteries and not much bigger then the two batteries stacked end to end. The advantage is you don't have to wait for your charger to charge up. The disadvantage is it will start costing a fortune to keep it feed with AA batteries if you use it a lot.

03-06-2015, 17:47
I have a radio with a crank on it, it last a good long bit. But for a cell phone i'd think you'd spend a lot of time crankin'

03-06-2015, 18:35
Seems to be the consensus here. So I'll probably get a smaller (maybe 2-3 charge) battery and look for outlets along the way. I was mainly looking at the possibilities of a charge along the way other than hostels/motels/etc. I'm sure I'll be staying at them more than I think I will, but the intention is not to spend a crazy amount on my thru. As long as it's fairly easy to grab a quick charge somewhere, then that'll be real good.

03-06-2015, 19:03
I own the 4000mAh version and generally like it. The device is solid and not excessively heavy. Yes, the crank is slow charging but it does work. It works rain or shine, in town or 10-miles from the nearest road. And if you are in a bad spot out in the backcountry, my thought when I bought it was that a slow charge is infinitely better than having no charge at all.

My approach is to NEVER let either battery draw down to zero. For me, I only us my phone to check weather, send a daily safety text/email, and to occasionally check Guthook's guide. Otherwise, I keep the phone (iPhone 5) turned off. So I use very little charge per day.

But after a few days I will plug the phone into the Eton for a few minutes, just to bump the charge up. Not to 100%, but enough to replace a day or two of use. Then, I will use the crank to charge the Eton some (cranking it for a 10-15 minutes after dinner, while sipping coffee and watching the stars/campfire/etc). Again, not to 100%, but to replace some of what just went into the phone.

Following this pattern, neither device is ever 100%, but both are always charged albeit slowly d. Do NOT think of the Eton as a replacement for a wall socket. Judging by that unrealistic standard, you will hate the thing. But if you look at it as a means of maintaining a charge, slowing the rate of both batteries discharge, and extending the time you can go between wall sockets, then its pretty good.

Ultimately, I find it useful enough to justify carrying the ounces.

03-06-2015, 19:13
I would count on lots of competition for outlets to recharge if staying in a "bunkhouse" hostel . Maybe a dual port charger plug would be helpful to you. No leaves on trees in Mar . Should be able to use a solar charger on top of your pack on any day but a rainy one ( rains 50% of the time? ).

03-06-2015, 19:46
Noseeum, that was exactly what I was planning. Just to keep them both charged for a longer time. I use my phone about as much, if not less, than that on the daily at home. On the trail would probably be a little more (checking weather, and shooting the occasional 30 second video clip here and there, etc) but not much. When staying at a hostel or somewhere with a plug, I would charge both to 100% and go from there. I think I'm going to keep looking into this, but if I don't feel comfortable, I'll just get an external battery.
From my understanding, you use these just like the external battery, but you have 2 ways to charge up the charger (plug it in or hand crank it).

kayak karl
03-06-2015, 20:26
those hand cranks are noisy and annoying.

double d
03-06-2015, 20:28
No offense, but keep that stupid sh## at home, hike free of that stuff.

03-06-2015, 21:38
Yeah Christoph I had the exact same thinking as you last year when told that I should plan on staying in town about once a week. I can't tell you just how important it was for my personal trail survival to be able to get a shower and wash my cloths once a week. Although the one thing that I was always disappointed with was the bad sleep I got in the hotels and hostels, I guess i got so used to my sleeping bag/sleeping pad that when i got into a real bed it felt awkward.

03-06-2015, 22:04
Being retired military, I'm used to sleeping in crazy situations. But I've never had a strenuous hike like this either. I sleep better on the floor or against a wood pile then in a bed it seems. Probably why my back is all jacked up. Haha
Anyway, I found both types (external battery and wind up external battery(that can also be charged like a regular one)) for the same price. So price isn't an issue now. I do feel better knowing there's outlets sort of readily available.

03-06-2015, 22:35
Although the one thing that I was always disappointed with was the bad sleep I got in the hotels and hostels, I guess i got so used to my sleeping bag/sleeping pad that when i got into a real bed it felt awkward.

That and the corrupting influence of abundant electricity - the lights and TV which keeps you up well past your normal bed time :)

03-07-2015, 09:24
I carried a newtrent 5200 (4.5 oz) last year, and honestly it was more than I needed to go 5 days between recharges. This year I bought an Anker Astro Mini 3000mAh (3.0 oz).
I use this for an iPhone 5, camera, journal and occasional phone use. For any more is overkill

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

03-07-2015, 11:09
I carry two (2) Brunton Pulse (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/995201-REG/brunton_f_pulse_yl_pulse_1500_mah_1x.html) chargers total weight 4.1ozs I can recharge my phone twice if needed, I keep it off and packed away anyway. I do get several charges of my MP3 sansa clip with the clip removed and light weight soft ear buds. The chargers can charge by a USB port with its built in connector or a very small Ac to duel USB port charger (has no cables just ports) I carry. I can charge from computers, laptops, and outlets and have in restaurants, libraries, hostels and hotels and from outdoor outlets at stores that I shop at. Just Yogi some power, it is easy just smile when you ask.


03-07-2015, 13:16
I've got a portable radio about the same size as that gizmo that runs on a crank like that. Its little more than a novelty...only useful in a true survival situation. You'll get tired of cranking that thing real fast. Its supposed to run the radio for half an hour on one minute of crank. Seems like you do as much cranking as you do listening and it gets old quick. I'd hate to try to charge a cell phone that way.

03-07-2015, 14:56
I just bought two extra batteries for my phone. They weigh about an ounce each and cost $25 for both, including a charger. I can now go for over two months by only turning the phone on when I'm using it.

You gotta spit out the iPhone Kool Aid though to get this convenience/common sense solution. :)

03-07-2015, 23:29
I think a solar battery pack is a better option anymore. They can be charged by the sun, by a USB cable, or by a standard charger should you find yourself somewhere you can plug in. Many of them also have a single LED flashlight made into them, so it's two useful items in one.

03-08-2015, 18:44
+1 for solar if you are using a lot of electronics

03-08-2015, 19:18
Only electronics I'm taking is my AA powered camera and my phone. Phone will be on Airplane mode or off most of the time. Still on the fence with the windup charger vs. a regular battery. Since you can use the wind up one like a regular battery pack, I'm thinking the wind portion would be a last case scenario type thing. My phone should last about 4-5 days tho, it's a Droid Maxx and the battery in it is as good as they claim.

03-08-2015, 23:20
I would only go for solar over a battery pack like the Newtrent if you know you will be unable to plug into an outlet and get a charge.

Solar weighs more, takes up more space, has less capacity and you will only get a decent charge on it when sitting still and when sunlight is available. The charging issue is my biggest hangup with it for this particular purpose. Do you really want to sit around somewhere when the sun is out and wait on your solar charger to do its thing? Sometimes, sure. Other times, it's the last thing in the world you want to do. Don't let that define how you spend your time.

You can always get a charge from an outlet pretty easy on the AT and I found the Newtrent 10,000 ma battery we carried to be adequate for recharging my GS3 and my wife's Iphone 5 despite us both taking pictures, blogging and reading on them.

If you just feel like you have to be grid-free, get a Biolite stove. It'll recharge its battery pack whenever you cook a meal and you can recharge your electronics off it as needed. Not compact or light, though.

03-08-2015, 23:26
From what I've read on here, solar isn't very reliable on the AT, so that's not even an option, for me anyway. I've been researching a little bit more and am finding that actually finding places along the AT to plug in for a few to top off isn't really that difficult. That puts my mind at ease in case someone needs to get hold of me along the way (emergency back home, etc).