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The Weasel
01-18-2008, 11:12
I don't rave about gadgets, but I got a Christmas present that makes some sense. One of my two biggest problems with carrying a cell phone (other is tech on the trail) is that batteries go dead too fast.

I received a "Totes" (brand) "Emergency Cell Phone Charger with LED Flashlight." This is a small unit - about 1.5" x 2.5" x 1" with a small crank for charging. It has 4 LEDs on one end that can be used either as 2 or 4, and seems to hold power for them for several days. A power cord with adaptors for all phones/PDAs is included.

Cranking for 3 minutes gives you about 15 min of talk time. You don't crank it more than that since it can overheat, but you wait a couple minutes and crank again.

Total weight - this is the deal closer - is about 2 ounces. I'm replacing my regular LED with this, putting a little velcro on the side of it to vecro to a headband, and it makes my phone/PDA usable.

"Totes" says on the box that it's a division of "Tandy Brands" which may mean it can be found at Radio Shack. It's the same company that makes Isotoner gloves.

TW

Frolicking Dinosaurs
01-18-2008, 11:17
These chargers are now available in several brands. I found two on the shelf at WalMart next to the plug-in hands-free earphones for cell phones. I've also seen them in camping gear at Target.

Footslogger
01-18-2008, 12:00
Is this the kind of thing you're talking about ....minus the flashlight ??

http://www.unbeatablesale.com/ptr12980.html?srccode=cii_11138&cpncode=08-43719364-2

'Slogger

Footslogger
01-18-2008, 12:05
Here's one from Radio Shack ...is this the one ??

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?parentPage=search&summary=summary&cp=&productId=2941760&accessories=accessories&kw=emergency+chargers&techSpecs=techSpecs&currentTab=features&custRatings=custRatings&sr=1&features=features&origkw=emergency+chargers&support=support&tab=techSpecs

'Slogger

Critterman
01-18-2008, 17:00
I bought a similar gizmo about 3 years ago and mine didn't work very well. I would be sure and give it a good test before you depend on it.

NICKTHEGREEK
01-18-2008, 17:17
I bought one of these for my son to charge his Ipod and blackberry.
http://www.rei.com/product/760968

REI was out of stock at the time so I got it direct from the mfgr, and it has a grey case rather than orange. First reports are good, there's no shortage of sun and warm temps where he is.

Panzer1
01-18-2008, 17:43
every "crank" thing that I ever used broke soon after the first use.

Panzer

Bob S
01-18-2008, 19:35
every "crank" thing that I ever used broke soon after the first use.

Panzer


Almost all these things are low quality Chinese made that are probably not going to last. I had one and it broke after like 1-hour of use (intermittent cranking over a summer) I donít see them for something you could expect to work. I think your best bet for an inexpensive charger is to use the one you have and plug in, in a town.

smokymtnsteve
01-18-2008, 19:52
they crack the first time U use them at -20, ;)

kayak karl
01-18-2008, 20:04
cranks work(sort of), but they make a horrible sound. i was alone and it annoyed me. i use a quick charge that has 2 AA batteries. if i keep the PDA off and use sparingly i can go 7 days with original carge and one charge off batteries. i'm working on a solar charger for the batteries. http://www.safetycentral.com/miposopaands.html ordered this. will let u know if it works.

darkage
01-18-2008, 20:06
I'm personally looking into a solar powered cell option ... they make panels that can attach to your backpack for easy charging and can come in different wattage ... anywhere from 4 and up ... 12 being around what i've seen recommended for cell phones, Checking some stuff out last night too i found some backpacks "medium day packs" that had solar panels built into the pack to keep "several" electronics powered ... "Not including laptops" ... anyone seen these or heard about um? .... I'll find um later and link um if no one has ... i thought they were kinda interesting, said it took about 5-10 hours to charge a cell phone ...

Bob S
01-18-2008, 22:17
Look at your cell phone wall charger. Mine is 400-ma (4 tents of an amp) A solar panel that puts out that much has to be 4.8 watts. (Ohms & watts law) 12-volts times .4 amps = 4.8. Basically a 5-watt panel. But it only puts out that much on a very sunny day with the sun pointing directly at it. Put it in the shade and you will cut it’s output by 75%. So to charge my phone I now need a 20-watt panel that is also portable, and can hook to my pack. Expect to pay about $500.00 for this. Even then you will have to buy a few other things to get it all to work. The smaller solar panels you see at campmor or REI or any other camping store are made to sell, not charge your phone. It’s like this, to start your car you need a 12-volt battery, but you have to have amperage and 12-volts to start the car. If you go to the local store and buy 2-lantern batteries (6-volt each) and hook them to your car, it’s not going to start. Yes they are 12-volt, but they are a little lacking in amperage (like 200-amps to 400-amps) your car will not start. It’s the same with solar panels. The small, cute & inexpensive ones will not work for you in the shade of the Appalachian trail. Do a search here for solar panels and I’m sure you will find lots of post by people that will say solar panels did not work for them. This is because these people made a mistake, The first question they asked is where do I find an inexpensive panel. they wanted to spend as little as they could and wanted small, cute & low weight. These things guaranteed failure.

It’s like a new backpacker buying a school backpack (the kind that kids carry books in) and putting a few peanut butter sandwiches and pop tarts and saying they are going to through hike the trail. We all know it’s not doing to work. Well it’s the same way with solar power. You need more then a small panel to get the results you want. If you are not willing to spend the money for a good quality and powerful enough panel and all the hardware to get it to work. You are better off taking your wall charger and using it to charge your phone when in town.

darkage
01-19-2008, 02:32
I agree, i didn't say it was gonna be cheap ... the ones i was looking at were no less than $350 or so for 4 watts and up around like you said, $500+ for what they considered would do the job .... and i also said looking into it** .... =]

Not practical, but was very interesting when i saw it ... if i had the money, i'd try it ... but i wouldn't waste my money on something small and cheap like bob said ...

88BlueGT
01-19-2008, 04:00
Here's one from Radio Shack ...is this the one ??

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?parentPage=search&summary=summary&cp=&productId=2941760&accessories=accessories&kw=emergency+chargers&techSpecs=techSpecs&currentTab=features&custRatings=custRatings&sr=1&features=features&origkw=emergency+chargers&support=support&tab=techSpecs

'Slogger

I don't think thats it since it does not fit the dimensions or weight that he listed.

greentick
01-20-2008, 23:25
I got the "sidewinder" about a year and a half ago. Hand crank with LED light. Worked plenty well at home and then crapped out first attempt at charging in the field. I now use an Energizer AA charger. No moving parts, batteries are easy to come by.

BrianLe
01-21-2008, 13:01
This is listed as a cell phone charger by "Totes", so presumeably it's the one first referenced:
http://www.beltoutlet.com/emcephchbyto.html

I have no experience with these; mildly tempted for the OR/WA part of the PCT. I too am carrying a solar charger for California, and in summertime, it might work well enough in OR/WA too (TBD !).

The Weasel
01-22-2008, 12:21
Here's one from Radio Shack ...is this the one ??

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?parentPage=search&summary=summary&cp=&productId=2941760&accessories=accessories&kw=emergency+chargers&techSpecs=techSpecs&currentTab=features&custRatings=custRatings&sr=1&features=features&origkw=emergency+chargers&support=support&tab=techSpecs

'Slogger

No, it isn't. The one I have is primarily a crank-operated cell phone charger, with the flashlight as a bonus in the small dynamo unit. It works very effectively; I've used it now several times.

TW

The Weasel
01-22-2008, 12:22
cranks work(sort of), but they make a horrible sound. i was alone and it annoyed me. i use a quick charge that has 2 AA batteries. if i keep the PDA off and use sparingly i can go 7 days with original carge and one charge off batteries. i'm working on a solar charger for the batteries. http://www.safetycentral.com/miposopaands.html ordered this. will let u know if it works.

This one isn't loud, and you only crank if for 2-3 minutes for 15+ min of cell power.

TW

The Weasel
01-22-2008, 12:22
Solar doesn't work on the AT, folks, since either you're under trees most of the time or it's raining.

TW

Johnny Swank
01-22-2008, 12:42
I'd stay away from the crankers. Solar is questionable on the AT as well. I'd probably probably just charge the phone in town and leave it off during the week, and possibly carry one of those things that use AA or AAA batteries as a quickcharger for electronics if I was really going to use the phone/PDA on a regular basis.

FWIW, we just charged our phones on the Mississippi whenever we had a chance and had no problems keeping them charged.

Bob S
01-22-2008, 13:12
I agree hand cranks are not too well made. I have had 2 of them and both quit in less then 1-hour of use, 1 of them in 15-min.

I’m a big fan of solar power and being self sufficient power wise when out camping. But solar power takes 2 things you are not normally going to have on the AT. Direct sunlight on the panel, and then several fours of time to let that sunlight work. If you are willing to find a sunny spot and sit for several hours a day (like 5) when you need things charged solar can work for you.

Every bit of power you don’t use is that much power you don’t have to make or look for. Only turn your phone on when you need to talk. Having a phone on and walking into an area of no coverage will cause the phone to go into search mode. When in search mode the phone will turn it’s transmit power up to 3-watts instead of 6-tents of a watt. This will be different power with each phone but they all do this. It causes the phone to consume the battery reserves fast, sometimes in only an hour or 2. It may be a nice thought to have anyone able to call you at any time of the day, but it’s going to cost you a lot of battery power. Also a phone uses more power when you talk; keep your talk time short.

Having power for your electronic toys is a 2-step process, reduce your power consumption needs to have it when you need it. And then find a good way to replace the power when you need to. Solar is not practical if you are unwilling to spend about $500.00 for it to work in the shade. Hand cranked power sounds great, but I haven’t found a generator that is made very well. (I have even taken the ones I had a[part to fix and found them not worth repairing.) Right now I see 2 ways to have power, charge up in town using your wall charger. And buy or make an extra external power pack that has replaceable batteries you can use when needed. I made one of these for a few dollars from parts from Radio Shack for my Palm Pilot. I can easily run it for over a month on this pack with no loss to the internal battery; in fact it keeps the internal battery topped off. I have only taken this in the field for 9-days, but to test it I used it for 5-weeks at home in place of my wall charger and it works. I use this palm pilot for work, reading e-books and playing music.

jzakhar
01-22-2008, 13:55
I use this for my MotoQ.. It works very well. Just 2 batteries http://www.circuitcity.com/ccd/productDetail.do?oid=162608&WT.mc_n=93&WT.mc_t=U&cm_ven=COMPARISON%20SHOPPING&cm_cat=BIZRATE&cm_pla=DATAFEED-%3EPRODUCTS&cm_ite=1%20PRODUCT&cm_keycode=93

ofthearth
02-09-2008, 18:38
This knee brace could charge batteries (at 1.6 kg)

http://www.news.com/2300-1008_3-6229842-1.html?tag=ne.gall.pg

Frosty
02-09-2008, 18:45
I'd stay away from the crankers. Sound advice.

BugGirl
02-10-2008, 17:19
has anyone used the solio solar charger? we are looking at it to charge our phone, camera and ipods

NICKTHEGREEK
02-10-2008, 20:03
has anyone used the solio solar charger? we are looking at it to charge our phone, camera and ipods
yes look back at the replies

RenoRoamer
02-10-2008, 20:10
One thing about those crankers, you need to test charging your cell phone when it has a battery at zero level of charge, not just when it is partially charged. As I understand, the crankers don't work so well at resuscitating batteries with a very low charge level. What is more, you need really, really high endurance finger strength to keep cranking them for several minutes at high enough speed to generate a good charge.

budforester
02-10-2008, 20:13
There are cellphone chargers that use AA batteries for power. I have not heard field reports; but wonder whether those are practical alternatives.

mweinstone
02-10-2008, 21:54
you guys really havent nailed down this issue well in my opinion. heres how i play the game. the energizer chargers are the only option for full flavored celling. watch. watch and learn matthewskis magic algerythum.anyone carrying a wall charger , carrys their cell into town either out of power, witch is a period when you cant use it. or they walk into town with it only needing parcial charging. yeah, they could choose to move on knowing they wont make it to the next town with any power,....or they must find an outlet. finding an outlet for the sake of a phone sucks. it isnt nessesary and assumes too much. like that your not in a hurry. or you wont be seperated from friends who dont need outlets. so wall chargers weigh more, are useless at all times while on trail. and only have a use in town where phones grow on trees. next.
chargers of all kinds suck but for the energizer types. one, they can be bought and replaced anywhere. two they weigh less , empty than any charger. and empty is also what your male wall charger is , without its fembot bedmate the outlet.
the carrying of a cell is not for pleasure or confidence or reasurence. its only possible nessesary interaction with thru hiking can be to save a life. for that, it can have no lapses in power. it must not only have the two aa batts it comes with for itself, it will require and use your headlamp batts as well should they be the same and should the phone be needed in that way in a crissis. and if you carry a phone and use it to chat, thats okay, as long as an emergency method of chargeing exists. otherwise you carry a fools brick my peeps. make the brick earn its keep by allways being at the ready and by letting yourself use it freely knowing you have the chargers batts, your lamps batts and your lamps extra batts for all the uses you like. i carry 8 aa batts. 2 lamp 2 camera, 2 phone, 2 charger, 2 spare lamp.they are all lithium and so weigh much less than that much power in any other form.
basicly im power hungry and powere rich. its how i roll. and it is good. allways attatch the cord from the charger with duct tape or you will loose it. they are made to loose the cord. crazy glue wont help. duct tape it good. then it can dangle from the phone with no harm if needed.