Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > All Miscellaneous questions > Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else

Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 24 Feb 2012
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Sheffield
Posts: 1,037
Charging cameras etc without a battery?

Dear all, I am looking at the spec for my next adventure/RTW bike. I've decided on the frame, engine, suspension etc but cannot decide what to to in terms of electrics. Running a battery-less system is appealing but I would also like to be able to charge a digital camera etc whilst on the road - has anyone found a way to charge things other than off the bike electrics that actually works? It has to weigh less than a bike battery!
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 24 Feb 2012
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Moscow
Posts: 1,121
Cafes and lodgings?

It depends on how long you plan not spending half an hour in either.

A charged camera or phone battery, even without carrying a spare clipped into the charger, generally lasts a long time except in extreme cold.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 24 Feb 2012
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Oxford UK
Posts: 973
I ran a Honda XR600 as my long distance bike for many years and as you may know, that's a direct ac system without a battery. Quite honestly it was a pain in the a*se. You couldn't do anything without the engine running - and not much more when it was. I did eventually fit a small battery with a rectifier just so I could run stuff like led camp lights, sat nav etc.

Most of the time though I had to charge cameras, phones whenever I stayed in a hotel. I've tried solar chargers a number of times but in my experience the sizes you can accommodate on a bike just don't work. Maybe the door sized one you can bolt onto a Land Rover or similar might be different but if you're considering those you might as well just stick a battery on the bike.

I have had a bit of success with a small wind generator sitting on the handlebars. The fan charges up a small internal battery which will then power anything with a USB port. It won't charge it up but you can use it.

I'd guess if you're considering simple electrics then the bike'll be kickstart only. I've no idea what engine you're considering but kickstarting the XR regularly on a long trip eventually became something I detested doing. When I was tired or I stalled it in traffic I could quite happily have set fire to it and walked away. Something that requires less effort (smaller cylinders) might have been ok but the XR required a kind of ritual otherwise nothing would happen.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 24 Feb 2012
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Sheffield
Posts: 1,037
Thanks for the input.

The engine is a Triumph 650 twin from 1967 so I don't think that there is an electric start option. I'd thought about a fan system so it's good to know it wouldn't handle charging much before I found out on the road!

Internet cafes are looking like my best option at the mo.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 24 Feb 2012
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Moscow
Posts: 1,121
Quote:
Originally Posted by henryuk View Post
Internet cafes are looking like my best option at the mo.
I must confess to thinking of tea/snack cafes when replying above. Most would have a wall socket somewhere if there is electricity.

But I am not from the technology era! (more the 1960s Triumph )
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 24 Feb 2012
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Sheffield
Posts: 1,037
I hadn't thought about taking a plug-in charger due to the size/weight and the need for socket adapters, I was planning on using the now ubiquitous USB charger, problem is some stuff takes hours to charge that way...... If I was going to take a netbook then that would have had a charger but I'm trying to keep the packing list as lean as possible so I keep the weight saving from the frame I'm using (I'm aiming for about 150 kg loaded)
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 24 Feb 2012
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Oxford UK
Posts: 973
A Triumph twin is a lot easier to kick start than a 600 trailie. The kickstart isn't three feet off the ground for a start. Years (many) ago I did a trip to Greece on an early 650 Yamaha twin with a friend on a 650 Triumph. The Yamaha was electric (+kick) while the Triumph was kick only and there wasn't a great difference between them when it came to starting. Good choice of engine if it hasn't suffered from the ravages of intervening time and you're not looking to spend much time on motorways.



Yamaha on the left, Triumph on the right


So what are you going to do on the electrical side? Presumably you'll be leaving the alternator on the engine and using a capacitor in place of the battery? If it's weight saving that's binning the battery and you're aiming for 150kg, I don't think the Triumph or the Yamaha weighted much more than that anyway. You could use one of the new lithium lightweight ones (under a kilo) and get the best of both worlds.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 24 Feb 2012
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Sheffield
Posts: 1,037
Nice photo, think I've seen that one before! The weight saving is part of the reason to bin the battery, also it's less to go wrong - a spare capacitor weighs naff all. I don't really know anything about the newer hi-tech batteries (other than Colebatch ran one real low down on his G650 Xchallenge and rated it).

The bike I'm building is basically a copy of a bike that ran a magneto/capacitor setup so there is also a (albeit very marginal) advantage in terms of simplicity!

Good to know twins aren't that bad to kick over, I've suffered in the past at the hands of early Triumph singles, later jap singles and a Ducati 650, guess I'm a glutton for punishment!
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 25 Feb 2012
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: London, W3 (the nice part though!)
Posts: 219
I don't like to be negative, but if you're going to such an exteme with weight saving such as you don't want to carry a couple of wall chargers, why not just leave the gizmos at home as well and it's problem solved?

If you do want to take just usb cable chargers, then take a simple wall-plug usb thing as well, and charge stuff at cafes like said - If the charge times are really that long then just take very long and laid back lunches? As well, part charging batteries is not good for their lifespan, but in this case are you bothered? An older phone can last two weeks if barely used. If you keep it turned off most of the time then the battery would last most of your trip? A good camera with a large battery will last a stupid amount of photos as well.


My dr350 was the enduro model fitted with a magneto and lighting coil arangement. I ditched this for a 3-phase alternator (along with the battery and reg/rec). In heindsight I wouldn't have bothered. The lighting coil arangement worked nicely, there is no capacitor just a tiny regulator. Kickstarting a bike numerous times a day is what reminds you that you are a man (and not a sissy girly with an electric start(and unbruised shins)).
__________________
UK to Mongolia 2009, on a DR350
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 26 Feb 2012
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: on the road...
Posts: 425
solar chargers might work as a back up to cafe charging.
__________________
'Life begins at the end of your comfort zone'-
http://fernsforays.com/ UK to Asia on a DRZ400 2012-2013
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 26 Feb 2012
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Sheffield
Posts: 1,037
Nath - I am leaving a lot of gizmos such as GPS and hairdryers but have decided a Camera is a must have - in case I ever get round to breeding I'll need proof of my tall tales for sceptical grandchildren......

I've never seen wall socket USB chargers, that might work.

The solar chargers I've seen in use at festivals etc seemed to be a bit big for bike travel IMO
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 26 Feb 2012
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Oxford UK
Posts: 973
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fern View Post
solar chargers might work as a back up to cafe charging.
Hi Fern. My experience of solar charging on a trip has been totally negative and I've been experimenting with the things since the mid 90's. On a bike I've set a max size of (roughly) A4 and my current one puts out about 50mA. I've left stuff attached to it for days and it's still been flat (or as near as makes no difference) at the end. Maybe I'm missing some sort of a trick (I do nothing more than connect the cables and put it in the sun) but not worth the effort imho.

"Kickstarting a bike numerous times a day is what reminds you that you are a man (and not a sissy girly with an electric start(and unbruised shins))"

Ha Ha - That's ok on a DR350 where the kickstart virtually falls under its own weight
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 26 Feb 2012
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Nieder-Olm, Germany
Posts: 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by henryuk View Post
I've never seen wall socket USB chargers, that might work.
Help yourself to an Apple USB wall charger (called the Apple USB Power Adaptor; beware of the ebay-fakes, get it directly from Apple). As tiny as it gets and a solid 1A output, should be around 29$. If you need to take an outlet adapter anyways, use the German version of the apple device as it´s not cubic but flat.

Regards
Chris
__________________
Need to fix your Africa Twin? Check out my step-by-step frame strip pictures at
Google+ album: http://tinyurl.com/6u93yv2
Dropbox with zip-File: http://tinyurl.com/czj8qgw
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 26 Feb 2012
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Nieder-Olm, Germany
Posts: 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by henryuk View Post
The solar chargers I've seen in use at festivals etc seemed to be a bit big for bike travel IMO
If you´re riding with a backpack, get a small flexible solar module to affix to your backpack. Will charge your small batteries during the ride. Stuff´s been around for at least two years, not expensive and working well.
__________________
Need to fix your Africa Twin? Check out my step-by-step frame strip pictures at
Google+ album: http://tinyurl.com/6u93yv2
Dropbox with zip-File: http://tinyurl.com/czj8qgw
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 1 Mar 2012
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: No Fixed Address (formerly Toronto)
Posts: 216
I use this wall charger:



http://www.igo.com/mobile-devices/us...t/ps002780004/

Fits in the palm of your hand and gives you 2 USB ports.
__________________
Gene - http://www.RideDOT.com
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Slightly dull question about charging a battery / a battery charger.. Lagan Tech 6 4 Feb 2012 08:51
Battery trickle charger.. bacardi23 Yamaha Tech 7 24 Dec 2011 22:37
Battery; decisions, decisions and even more questions Socks Yamaha Tech 4 22 Dec 2011 14:19
Motobatt Battery - Any good? kentfallen Yamaha Tech 9 21 Dec 2011 20:38
Underpowered battery bungle Land Rover Overland Tech 4 28 Nov 2011 19:28

 
 


HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!




All times are GMT +1. The time now is 13:48.