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Equipping the Bike - what's the best gear? Anything to do with the bikes equipment, saddlebags, etc. Questions on repairs and maintenance of the bike itself belong in the Brand Specific Tech Forums.
Photo by Josephine Flohr, Elephant at Camp, Namibia

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Josephine Flohr,
Elephant at Camp, Namibia



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Old 16 Oct 2007
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charging camera batteries with bike

hi folks....i'm a photographer shooting digital and bound for Africa in 2008. Ideally, I'd like to hook up a system on my bike where i can charge batteries while i ride.
anybody have advice on rigging up something like this?
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Old 16 Oct 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd & Christina View Post
hi folks....i'm a photographer shooting digital and bound for Africa in 2008. Ideally, I'd like to hook up a system on my bike where i can charge batteries while i ride.
anybody have advice on rigging up something like this?
Its easy...

There are truck bed accessory outlets that essentially act as cigarette lighters that will allow you to plug in an inverter(convert DC to AC current, and look like a home power outlet)....see pic below...
dscn3889.jpg

With the inverter, you can plug in your camera battery...and charge away!

You can wire the outlet directly to the battery, BUT stick in a fuse along the way...you could also put in a relay that will allow the outlet to only function when the ignition key is on...

HTH

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Old 16 Oct 2007
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I have a little pentax optio S5, and I found a little charger for the battery type it uses (on ebay, where else?!), that has a 12v DC input.. so guess what I did.. It now uses a standard cigarette lighter plug, which goes into the socket I installed on the bike. It works fine when the bike is stationary, but is a bit hit and miss when the bike is moving. No invertor needed, cos the ones I saw were heavy and bulky.
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Old 16 Oct 2007
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There are many such devices which will plug into a ciggy lighter and generate 110 or 22-240V, depending on what part of the world you come from.

A ciggy lighter is anyways a useful accessory to have as you can also use it to drive an electric pumps to inflate your tyres/power the gps. Suggest you fit a largish fuse (20A) so that your pump does not keep switching off in action, preferably in a location high enough to avoid getting splashed on.

While it can certainly be connected to a relay (coupled to the ignition), I have not done so with mine (to me: needless complexity) and have not had anybody pinch power yet

Things to check (Re: Invertor)
  • Built in fuse (needless to say - carry extra)
  • Auto cut off. Some will totally discharge your battery, others will stop/warn once the voltage drops to 10.5V, still enough juice to start up.
  • Rating - good idea would be about double of what you would "normally use" - power for a cam/laptop is not much, you may want to factor in the small immersion heater which can make your coffee.
  • Compactness?
Hope this helps!
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Old 16 Oct 2007
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I use an ANSMANN Digicharger (Model 5025023) which takes a 12v input and will charge a range of digital camera batteries (it has a multitude of connectors so that it can take a wide range of batteries). I use it with my Nikon D50. It comes with an adaptor to let you charge AA and AAA cells - good for your other stuff. Look on the web or in magazines. No doubt others make similar devices. But have a close look at whatever you decide to buy as some of them are pretty poor plastic construction for a long rough trip. Make sure your battery is a good fit and gets well engaged with the charging terminals.
Regards.
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Old 17 Oct 2007
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Africa is short of many things but the sun should be in plentiful supply. Try a solar panel. I've got a fold out panel with a 12v cig socket on the end made by Silva (the compass company) I have charged my phone and AAA / AA batteries with it.
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Old 17 Oct 2007
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I'd suggest having a few spare batteries too, so you're not stuck when one battery goes, just when you find some cool photo-ops in the middle of no-where. I like the idea of a mini solar panel too. Are they fragile? Bulky? Heavy? What level of output do they produce?
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Old 17 Oct 2007
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So to summarize, go with a cigarette lighter plug and that will give you the outlet to access your battery power as DC.

NOW comes the difficult part...your appliances aside from you camera...what other gadgets will you be taking that will require batteries?


I simplified my stuff due to weight issues and had all my gadgets using AA batteries...that way I was able to swap between the two...I used an inverter as I didn't want to cough up the $100 for the DC laptop plug...the inverter is about $20 max...and allows you to not cough up more $$$s for plugs to your other gadgets...AND by keeping your normal plugs, you'll ba bale to use any 220V outlet at cafe's etc to charge up your stuff while on the road.

HTH
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Old 17 Oct 2007
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I've travelled with my solar panel in my topbox on scandinavian gravel but not any really rough roads. It seems to stand up well to being vibrated and just the outer casing got scuffed from the vibration. The output is 4.75W. Not massive but useful.



Link: Portable Power - www.silva.se}
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Old 18 Oct 2007
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Why bother with solar panels if typical motorbike already has generator and battery and that current can be easily used via 12-volt socket? Even more - if you have wired the socket directly to your battery you can also use it to recharge your bike battery without removing it from bike.
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Old 18 Oct 2007
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I agree. I recharge my stuff from the bike most of the time. I use it on rest days off the bike either on the campsite or when out walking for the day. It's designed to be strapped to your rucksac which means you can charge your spare camera batteries as you walk around. It's tankbag size so works well on top of there too. It gets very hot though so you have to watch that.
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Old 15 Nov 2007
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Go for film! (as well)

Buy a film body.

If using nikon, an old fm2 or using canon an eos 3. These will prove invaluable.
Wont need replacement batteries throughout the trip Shoot Ektachrome 100vs and enjoy the results, you wouldnt regret it.
Just one shot from each scene, two rolls of film should be sufficient, use the same settings, ISO dependent.

or take an Hasselblad xpan with 45 and 90mm lenses.
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Old 6 Aug 2009
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Thumbs up ANSMANN Energy 4 Speed

A very useful charger- ANSMANN Energy 4 Speed.
2 charge settings (fast and standard) see below
Takes both AA and AAA batteries
Each 'bay' has its own circuit and checks your battery then charges it to its optimum. Each battery is therefore charged on its own-
a flashing green tells you it is charging, solid = full , winking quick=battery failure
There is a fan below the unit which is on all the time and will turn off when the batteries are charged- This prevents the batteries from being 'cooked' which greatly reduces their lives.

This charger comes with both a mains charger and a 12 volt one.
Input 12VDC 1.5A
Output 4 x 1.45V
Fast charge Standard Charge
AA 2100mA 850mA
AAA 850mA 350mA

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