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Thread: USB Power Supply

  1. #1
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    Default USB Power Supply

    I hate admitting how much I used my Nook eBook reader this past week, on the Palooza Cruise. I grumble at being becalmed, and as a bibliophile I resent ebooks, but if I have to endure the one, the other has now proven its value in small boat cruising. ARansome, RKipling, ERBurroughs, and RSabatini make sweating out a glassy calm a lot more pleasant.

    So now I'm idly looking at an external power supply for re-charging the eReader. In an ideal world someone would make a 4-, 6-, or 8-AA cell pack that I can plug a USB cord into, since I already carry AAs for everything else and the versatility would be convenient, but I doubt anything that practical exists. I don't need anything huge --I don't have a smartphone or a tablet, and I don't typically take my laptop sailing (for me, cruising is partly a way to escape such interconnectedness)-- so I wouldn't want anything big. Just enough for a couple recharges of the eReader. At most, an emergency charge source for my dumbphone, which typically lives turned off, but that I have to acknowledge has become a piece of emergency equipment.

    Does anyone have any favorite products that they use on their small boat?

    Alex

  2. #2
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    Default Re: USB Power Supply

    Don't use it on the boat because I can plug in there, but there are numerous rechargeable power supplies for phones & tablets. There are also ones with a small solar array that will (slowly) charge a tablet.

    For some examples: https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&ke...sgnwmeif_b_p38
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  3. #3
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    Default Re: USB Power Supply

    Take a look at Anker brand...

    https://www.anker.com/products/107/2...table-chargers

    (I use a group U-1, sealed 12v gell cell battery mounted sideways under the floorboards, with a pair of power ports all hardwired into the boat and charge it with a small flexible solar panel. Often at the anchorage, I'm charging several of the phones in the fleet. Duracell makes a relatively inexpensive one)
    https://www.batteriesplus.com/produc...yABEgJoc_D_BwE

  4. #4
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    Default Re: USB Power Supply

    Alex I know it isn't what you are looking for but for anyone else searching for a similar product I have this and really like it:

    https://www.amazon.com/NOCO-GB20-Ult.../dp/B015TKPT1A

    Overkill for Bucephalus since you don't need the jump start feature but for anyone cruising with a motor (electric start at least) I think it's a must-have. The 1000amp version has enough power to start a medium sized diesel engine. And of course it has USB ports and a 12v outlet to charge your e-reader/hand held VHF/etc. as well.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: USB Power Supply

    The Anker 10,000 is the size of a cigarette pack. Many charges. Robust power for the size.

    https://www.amazon.com/Anker-PowerCo...B8L&ref=plSrch

  6. #6
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    Default Re: USB Power Supply

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    Alex I know it isn't what you are looking for but for anyone else searching for a similar product I have this and really like it:

    https://www.amazon.com/NOCO-GB20-Ult.../dp/B015TKPT1A

    Overkill for Bucephalus since you don't need the jump start feature but for anyone cruising with a motor (electric start at least) I think it's a must-have. The 1000amp version has enough power to start a medium sized diesel engine. And of course it has USB ports and a 12v outlet to charge your e-reader/hand held VHF/etc. as well.
    Yes, for me that will be the answer unless anyone can say why not ?


    https://www.ebay.com.au/p/68800mah-C...7456650&chn=ps
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: USB Power Supply

    Hmm. Some good info, folks. Thank you very much. Awfully good of you to provide links as a starting point for my search, too.

    I'm embarassed to say I hadn't considered a solar charged power pack. I'm still fifteen years behind the technology curve, I think. That might be even better than AA-power. Especially if I could find a solar-charged power-pack that could also charge the AAs I use in the VHF and flashlight!

    Now I've got a heck of a search on my hands...

    Again, many thanks!

    Alex

  8. #8
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    Default Re: USB Power Supply

    I always thought the battery belts pro photographers sometimes use would be handy -- someone else thought so, too ---

    Battery Belt (LINK)

    #include [std-disclaimer]

    Hope the voyage is a long one.
    May there be many a summer morning when,
    with what pleasure, what joy,
    you come into harbors seen for the first time...

    Ithaka, by Cavafy
    (Keeley - Sherrard translation)

  9. #9
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    Default Re: USB Power Supply

    LLBean sells a solar rechargeable flashlight that has a USB outlet to recharge mobile devices

  10. #10
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    Default Re: USB Power Supply

    I use a biolite stove. A nice little contained fire, and it charges or powers a light well.

    Peace,
    Robert

  11. #11
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    Default Re: USB Power Supply

    For portable solar I've gotten good service out of this unit outdoors and treated roughly. Very compact. Charges a phone pretty quick. I recall it was 20% an hour but could be mistaken.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B012Y...op_mb_pd_title

    Two usb outlets to charge AA Enelopes which are also well worth checking out.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: USB Power Supply

    Alex, there are available different ratings of rechargeable AA batteries for use in solar lighting - these, combined with a car jumpstart may provide just the solution you are looking for


    Rick

  13. #13
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    Default Re: USB Power Supply

    Wow. Just scrolling through Amazon's selection of solar USB power banks makes my eyes roll back. There are so darn many! I'm about to give up, just because I don't know what's important and what's a frill.

    But I like the idea of having an integrated solar cell and power bank --the idea being to just keep the power bank charging, for those few times I need to charge something else-- so something like this looks good to me:

    https://www.amazon.com/X-DRAGON-1000...usb+power+bank

    Or even something like this, given how little electricity I use:

    https://www.amazon.com/Soluser-25000...wer+bank&psc=1

    I think I'm in for a long slog of self-education.

    And informationally, aside from the cell phone and Nook eReader, I'm using exclusively Eneloop AAs and AAAs. They are, as Bluedog225 says, well worth checkig out.

    Again, thank you all very much.

  14. #14
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    Default

    If you have a 12-volt electrical system, just hardware a suitable USB outlet. Not that expensive, either. https://www.fisheriessupply.com/site...itesearch=true
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  15. #15
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    Default Re: USB Power Supply

    But I like the idea of having an integrated solar cell and power bank --the idea being to just keep the power bank charging, for those few times I need to charge something else
    This is how I'm going to set up my next boat -- a moderate lithium battery continually topped off by a solar panel. All it has to do on a regular basis is run a few LED lights and charge a tablet and phone. I'm thinking of something like the photo below. There's a huge variety. Some have a built-in air compressor -- handy if you carry an inflatable dinghy. The trick is find one that matches all requirements. Some USB ports, for example, don't have enough amperage to charge newer phones and tablets. 12V power plug ports are also handy for running hand-held searchlights and air compressors. Might want a place to plug in a bluetooth speaker, too. Takes some figuring as well as some shopping.

    -Dave

  16. #16
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    Default Re: USB Power Supply

    Alex , a good review of solar chargers by a bicycle touring guy.
    https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=9258
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

  17. #17
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    Default Re: USB Power Supply

    Quote Originally Posted by cstevens View Post
    Alex I know it isn't what you are looking for but for anyone else searching for a similar product I have this and really like it:

    https://www.amazon.com/NOCO-GB20-Ult.../dp/B015TKPT1A

    Overkill for Bucephalus since you don't need the jump start feature but for anyone cruising with a motor (electric start at least) I think it's a must-have. The 1000amp version has enough power to start a medium sized diesel engine. And of course it has USB ports and a 12v outlet to charge your e-reader/hand held VHF/etc. as well.
    Thanks for the tip. I have good batteries, but am paranoid that I won't be able to start the engine if they go flat for some reason.

    The 1000 amp version should be able start my 2.4 liter Volvo Penta
    Last edited by Bobcat; 08-01-2018 at 04:26 PM.
    Elect a clown expect a circus

  18. #18
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    Default Re: USB Power Supply

    Alex , a good review of solar chargers by a bicycle touring guy.
    https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=9258
    That's a really good article.

    I think I was hoping to find something simple --a single unit that is an efficient solar-charged power-pack with a built in (and effective) AA/AAA charger, with USB outlets. Which is, of course, a ridiculous hope.

    Moving on from that, that article gives me a good starting point not just for what equipment I might want, but why.

    So far I have:

    Headlamp: 3x AAA
    Boat flashlight: 4x AA
    Mini-mag back-up: 2x AA
    VHF: 6x AA
    Camera: 2x AA
    iPod: USB charged
    Flipphone: USB charged
    Nook: USB charged

    Realistically possible additions:

    Garmin eTrex 10 GPS: 2x AA
    LED running lights: perhaps as many as three 3x AAA (so 9x AAA), depending on how I decide to arrange the illumination

    Having read that article, my current plan (so to speak), is to find...

    1) A folding solar panel, sized to my boat's cabin top, to be deployed during the daytime, with a USB outlet.
    2) A USB AA/AAA charger, capable of charging cells in odd or even numbers.
    3) An AC / USB-charged power-pack.

    ...And set them up...

    Typically with the panel arrayed on the cabintop, and the AA/AAA charger running to make sure the most "mission critical" batteries (VHF, boat flashlight, headlamp) are always ready.

    If the critical batteries are all at good charge, the second tier batteries (that category is flexible) will be brought up to full charge.

    If all AA/AAA devices are adequately charged, the recreational equipment (iPod, Nook, camera) will be plugged in.

    Whenever all the individual devices are adequately charged (it will take me some time to determine how consumption rates during a cruise define "adequate"), the power-pack will be plugged in to charge/top up, to provide a reservoir should I encounter a few days of overcast and a simultaneous need to charge devices.

    Any commentary on any of that?

    As for actually searching out those elements of the electrical system and purchasing them, all of that will likely need to wait: I am currently typing this as I sit at the mechanic's, waiting to see how much I get to spend on the truck's needs. And some people wonder why I don't have a motor on my boat...

    Alex
    Last edited by Pitsligo; 08-05-2018 at 11:18 PM. Reason: Typo: showed AA flashlight as AAA.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: USB Power Supply

    ^^ That sounds like a great plan to me Alex. Solar panel to charge various devices/batteries plus a battery backup for when the solar panel is not useful. I think you should easily be able to charge an e-reader, cell phone, VHF, etc. from a solar panel that would fit on the cabin top of Bucephalus.

    Good luck with the truck!

  20. #20
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    Default Re: USB Power Supply

    a very interesting thread

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