Recharging mobile devices

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Recharging mobile devices

Postby sentry1 » Sun Jul 24, 2011 4:28 pm

We've all got these neat little cameras and camera phones that we love to use, but we need to recharge them! I'm looking for a way to do it without running a genny.

Our shower pump is powered by a car battery that charges from a solar panel. How can we attach some outlets to the battery? Someone suggested rigging an inverter to the battery, I was wondering if that's a good idea, or if there's a better way to do this.
Last edited by sentry1 on Sun Jul 24, 2011 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Recharging mobile devices

Postby JStep » Sun Jul 24, 2011 4:38 pm

I have a small inverter (enough to run my laptop and charge my blackberry at the same time) that, if I needed to, could be run by starting the engine of my bus. But, other than my blackberry, I don't plan on having anything that requires recharging. And, I plan on turning off my blackberry as I roll off the highway towards the playa and not turning it back on until I leave a week later. I guess I'm no help here, lol. I'd suggest avoiding rechargeable items if you don't already have the means to keep them going and just use regular batteries. We're bringing our old digicam for picture taking and are just bringing extra batteries to power it.
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Re: Recharging mobile devices

Postby percussivepaul » Sun Jul 24, 2011 4:49 pm

Yep, you want a power inverter. They cost about $30. It plugs into the battery on one side and has a normal AC outlet on the other that you can plug your phones and chargers into. It will work fine. Only risk is that you might drain the battery too fast.

http://www.amazon.com/Cobra-400-Watt-12 ... 247&sr=8-1
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Re: Recharging mobile devices

Postby sentry1 » Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:00 pm

Awesome Paul! That's exactly what I needed! From the looks of it, I can wire it up directly to the battery, correct?

Also, what's the math on power use here? Say I wanted to charge an iPod Touch off the battery, the charger draws about 500 milliamps, what figures should I be looking at to calculate battery drain?
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Re: Recharging mobile devices

Postby unjonharley » Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:33 pm

This is only the How many thread on the same subject..

To recharge those little toys.. A very small 75watt inverter plugged into your car will work fine.. 4 or 5 $ @ Big Lot or other cheap stores.. My big camera run all week plus on 4 AA.. The razor takes a tune up every day.. It would take two weeks to run the car battery down.. Ipods the same as the razor..

So I run the inverter close to output. I have three.. A 75watt, 150watt and a 350wat.. Pick most up at Good Will for 1/4th cost.. All three are cigar lighter plug ins..
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Re: Recharging mobile devices

Postby theCryptofishist » Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:56 pm

An iPod? really? You're going to play games? Listen to music? Or a novel?

You're at burningman. You really don't need to provide an alternative reality because real reality is too boring.

Just saying.
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Re: Recharging mobile devices

Postby unjonharley » Sun Jul 24, 2011 7:16 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:An iPod? really? You're going to play games? Listen to music? Or a novel?

You're at burningman. You really don't need to provide an alternative reality because real reality is too boring.

Just saying.


LOL I DJ into the Ipod then amp it out through a boom box.. Then again In times while watching people a good talking book would be good..
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Re: Recharging mobile devices

Postby percussivepaul » Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:23 pm

Yeah you can connect it directly to the battery. It should probably come with alligator-clip cables; if not you can find these at a hardware store. Whether your battery setup will work depends on the number of devices you charge and how often, battery size, and the draw from your pump and how often it's used... but the most important question is how big is your solar panel (in Watts, "W"). Most devices will draw about 5W when charging (the pump is probably similar), and if it takes two hours to charge, then you need two hours of sunlight with a 5W solar panel to refill that amount of energy into the battery. Or one hour with a 10W panel. Roughly. You can do some quick math and make sure it will work.
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Re: Recharging mobile devices

Postby SnowBlind » Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:26 pm

sentry1 wrote:Awesome Paul! That's exactly what I needed! From the looks of it, I can wire it up directly to the battery, correct?


Typically the smaller ones (80 Watts, for example) come with a cigarette lighter plug. The bigger units come with battery clamps, as they draw a lot of Amps on the 12 Volt side, and you can't draw that much thru the cigarette lighter. I've seen one inverter that came with both.

sentry1 wrote:Also, what's the math on power use here? Say I wanted to charge an iPod Touch off the battery, the charger draws about 500 milliamps, what figures should I be looking at to calculate battery drain?


Since you are going from 12 V to 120 V, the Amps on the 12V will be 10x higher, in order to give you the same Watts. If the charger draws 500mA, then the inverter would have to draw 5A on the primary side. More, actually, since it will have internal power losses.
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Re: Recharging mobile devices

Postby jkisha » Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:36 pm

There are camps that offer charging services. AEZ (I think) is one. There are some pretty impressive solar installations out there. (and that is an understatement)
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