Charging Items while Camping

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by Rescue Wagon, Aug 6, 2010.

  1. Rescue Wagon

    Rescue Wagon Been here awhile

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    So how do you all manage to keep items like cell phones and ipods charged while traveling and camping? My bike doesn't have any outlets on it. Any ideas will be greatly appreciated.
    #1
  2. Unstable Rider

    Unstable Rider Moto Fotografist

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    You did not say what kind of bike you have, but most of us either ordered kits from the sponsors that sell us our other farkles, or simply went to the local auto parts store and picked up the parts, a socket, some wire, fuse holder, battery terminal rings. Like flowing water, it's not that hard- most of the guys at the parts counter of an auto parts store will fix you up, and or draw you a diagram. Do yourself a favor, run the wires all the way to the battery, fuse the hot wire close to the battery.

    The other side to this is, once you have had your seat, side panels, gas tank and so forth off the bike to properly run the wires for this, you get a free hands on tour of your own bike.

    PRICELESS.

    If you want to be able to run some things/charge things off your bike when parked or sitting at camp, check to see if you can get a DEKA glass-matt technology battery for your bike. You will never look back. Stock batteries are old school, the Deka's can be had in the USA with free shipping if you look around. They have BIG BALLS...

    I have 12 volt stuff I run all night long when camping, specifically a machine I need to breath while sleeping... I can run my sleep machine two nights straight, and still start the bike the last morning. I am probably beating up the battery, but it allows me to camp in remote locations for now, and the fix was the Deka that I think I got for about 70 dollars delivered.

    I have two 12 volt lines running off my batt- one goes forward to run the GPS, and the other goes backwards to my tailbag. I can charge a video camera, cell phone, etc., while I drive in the tailbag. I have an extension I made up to run 12 volts into the tent to run my "sleep" machine.

    Where there is a will there's a way. These guys a great local source for me, perhaps you have one in your town- They hooked me in with the parts for about ten bucks. They sell a 12 volt line with the fuse holder already in place, and perfect terminal rings already molded onto it. It's a dream to work with, no solder, no crimp, no heat shrink required, plug and play.

    http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/search/Lighter%21s%21Outlet%21s%21Adapter/N0225/C0335.oap
    #2
  3. ScottDill

    ScottDill TANSTAAFL

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    Add a power outlet to your bike....simple as that.
    #3
  4. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    I have a power outlet on my bike, but I also have one of these available. It's not as convenient as a power outlet, but it doesn't require any wiring and you can hook it up (temporarily) to almost any motorcycle.

    [​IMG]

    Jamie
    #4
  5. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    Good post.
    What's the amp draw on the sleep machine.
    Two nights use is a hellavalot before recharging.

    Places like Mickey D's, truckstops, etc have outlets for topping off laptops or whatever if you aren't recharging them while the bike is running. The phone is easy to recharge while riding. At one time, I rigged a bike to charge a camcorder and POV, and recharge it's batteries.

    Lay it all out on your bike, what you need/want to charge, where that/those items will ride (pocket, tank bag, rear box, etc), and string your wire so that it interferes as little as possible with your riding. Convenience will be very important.
    #5
  6. Rescue Wagon

    Rescue Wagon Been here awhile

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    My plans for Mondays trip is to add a 12v outlet just below my seat for general use. After returning from this trip I'm going to get a tank bag and lay out some other 12v runs. I have an auxiliery fuse block from an old project laying around that allows for 6 circuits. What fuse do you all think should be put on a 12v outlet? I'm going to reserve one for a future gps and another for an audio system so that should leave me 4 12v outlets that I can run off of it.

    Thanks again for all the great input.

    Happy Trails.:beer
    #6
  7. Ron_Ces

    Ron_Ces Aging Hacker

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    REI sells solar charges that can hold a charge for days. Charge it by day, connect your goodies by night.
    Ron
    #7
  8. bretedge

    bretedge Do Epic Shit

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    Brunton makes several solar chargers that aren't that expensive, aren't that big and work quite well for most small electronics. You should be able to find one model or another at just about any decent outdoor store.
    #8
  9. grogger123

    grogger123 fatbastard

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    I just bought a charger that uses 2 aa batteries. The only items I take that need charging are my phone and my Creative Zen. As the Zen gets a five hour battery life watching a movie, I only need to charge it once every second day. Where I camp you cant generally get mobile reception so I dont need to charge the phone that often either. So for me the battery powered charger is the go. I could fit a power socket on the bike, but really, I cant be stuffed.
    #9
  10. Ceri JC

    Ceri JC UK GSer

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    Just got an inverter to let me charge my netbook from the bike. Should come in handy when wild camping. Bulkier than I'd like, but the netbook is small so the combined volume of it and the inverter is only about as large as a normal laptop. As I have the netbook, I use this to charge my blackberry, mp3 and gps (via v. small USB cable common to all my devices). I might look into getting a direct to Hella USB connector for charging the other devices if I wasn't taking my netbook, but my netbook is with me at least 90% of the time on the bike, so I've not bothered yet. I saw some in a car shop the other day. Presumably these must have some sort of small capacity inverter built in?
    #10
  11. Riteris

    Riteris Dessert Runner

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    #11
  12. LasseNC

    LasseNC XSessive!

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    I just ask at the reception if I am at a campingground, they're always happy to help. Or there will be sockets for RVs around.
    #12
  13. halliwood

    halliwood Been here awhile

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    #13
  14. Kevin Toms

    Kevin Toms n00b

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    Scodill has the best suggestion - add a power outlet to your bike. Then you can charge your kit whilst on the move.

    Kev
    #14
  15. LeftCoastMan

    LeftCoastMan Been here awhile

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    I don't know if you read some of the reviews on these small solar power units, but most don't push enough amperage to recharge a high amp battery such as in an iPhone 3G or above, most Droids, iPad or other small computer. If you read the reviews on Amazon, most buyer experiences are less than exemplary. Also the smart charging systems on most portable devices just don't do well with the trickle charge that comes out of these smaller solar chargers.

    The less than $100 models just don't cut it. Then there seems to be a big jump in price to around $200-500 to get real technology that actually charges your devices. I was reading the reviews of several of the better devices, and the proof of quality is which ones the troops in Afghanistan are buying. It sucks what they're going through, but I've read some great reviews from our soldiers on outdoor equipment from REI or Amazon, and you get a quick idea of stuff that's delicate and stuff that works.

    Here's one that gets high reviews and is a top seller at Amazon. I looked at it late last year, and I believe it was over $600. Now it's a deal at $300 or so. I guess this goes to the point of buying stuff that will work and last, or stuff that doesn't. And even this one gets some bad reviews from people who use it.

    I've wired my tank bag directly to battery. I think I'll use that.
    #15
  16. LeftCoastMan

    LeftCoastMan Been here awhile

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    I posted this previously, but I can't find it. Doesn't matter, here it is again:

    I wanted to electrify my tank bag for several reasons. I have several small electronic items (cell phone, iPad, camera, etc.) that I would like to keep charged. I don't want to be unplugging one to plug in another (I'd just forget). I wanted to have them charge, even if the bike is not running. And I wanted to be able to run a good tire pump without shutting down the accessory plug circuit (which keeps happening to me).

    I also wanted it to look neat, maintain the waterproof feature of the bag, and be easy to use. After looking at numerous options, including just running an accessory cable from the outlet near my tank to the bag. However, that just didn't look neat, and I think that passing it through the zipper would defeat the waterproofness.

    So, I decided on the Powerlet system mounted on the rear of the bag. It's pretty easy to install, and they provide some good instructions. I didn't take any photos of doing this, but I thought some of you might find the end product interesting.

    First, I wired it directly to the battery running up along the left side of the tank, exiting approximately near the rear of the tank bag. The wiring is fused, so I don't have to worry about a sudden wiring meltdown.

    [​IMG]

    Next, I installed the connector to the rear of the tank. I'm sure I could have done it on the sides, but this was a bit cleaner from a visual perspective. I did as the instructions said, and used a soldering iron to melt the pattern so that the connector and screws would fit. It's a bit scary to melt the nylon, but it was easy, and it does cauterize the nylon, so the weave doesn't fall apart. One important watchout is to pull the internal waterproof lining away from the area which you're going to melt. You don't want to ruin the liner.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Next, I had to repeat the process on the interior. It's a bit more difficult because the liner isn't stiff like the exterior. I just used a scalpel for this part of it, because I was afraid of melting a bunch of the liner. I also put some silicone between the plate and the liner to maintain waterproofness.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Then I plugged in the adapter. I am using a dual USB auto accessory plug, which does an excellent job in charging my stuff.

    [​IMG]

    I probably did this in an hour. I actually ran the wiring to the battery while changing out the battery to a new one, so it was a two for one job!
    #16
  17. VIVID1

    VIVID1 Ducatistanna

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    I have the above powerlet system on my tank bag since 2006. Since I camp at primitive campsites while riding, I depend on my tank bag to charge all my electronics. It works great. Also, one of my bikes has an accessory plug, but one didn't - so I installed a cigarette lighter type plug on the bike that didn't have an accessory plug. I also can run my Widder heated vest and Gerbing heated liner through my tank bag. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>

    Here are the parts and the install:

    http://excessivelocity.blogspot.com/2006/01/project-electrify-part-1.html

    http://excessivelocity.blogspot.com/2006/01/project-electrify-part-2.html
    #17
  18. wheatwhacker

    wheatwhacker It's raining here

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    #18
  19. a2ronm

    a2ronm Been here awhile

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    That is the setup I have on my Versys, a FuzeBlock switched 12V socket on the dash with a USB adapter to charge my phone, camera, bluetooth while riding, and a unswitched 12V socket under my seat to charge items overnight/parked with them locked in my sidecase. Works great.
    #19
  20. Twistn'roads

    Twistn'roads Been here awhile

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    That's what I do. I put a power bulkhead through my Givi topbox and found the smallest "full" sine wave Inverter I could. I prefer to use an inverter to charge my netbook that way I don't have to carry additional adapters for 12V outlets. I just use the 110V power adapter that came with the device. I also have 12V powerlet sockets elsewhere on my bike.

    [​IMG]


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    #20