Author Topic: All-weather charging adaptation, ToutTerrain/Cinq5 "The Plug"  (Read 1107 times)

Danneaux

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Hi All!

Described with text and photos in my "Danneaux's Nomad" gallery, here: http://www.thorncycles.co.uk/forums/index.php?topic=4523.msg78205#msg78205

Pointer here for thread continuity.

Tests continue, but early results are very encouraging for continued USB charging in wet conditions.

Best,

Dan.

julio

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Re: All-weather charging adaptation, ToutTerrain/Cinq5 "The Plug"
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2017, 05:00:40 PM »
Hi everyone,

Can i charge any external batteries pack from my Supernova The plug ?

Even if most of the time i will charge from house or other place (110-220v), i would like to know if i need to respect a limit about capacity with my usb charger...

mickeg

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Re: All-weather charging adaptation, ToutTerrain/Cinq5 "The Plug"
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2017, 05:36:22 PM »
Hi everyone,

Can i charge any external batteries pack from my Supernova The plug ?

Even if most of the time i will charge from house or other place (110-220v), i would like to know if i need to respect a limit about capacity with my usb charger...

I can't comment on "The Plug" but I have two different USB chargers that are powered by dynohubs, both of them will charge up a powerbank just fine.  When you say "external batteries" I am assuming you mean a Li Ion powerbank that is normally charged with USB.

Some devices appear to have a minimum current flow requirement, if they do not get enough charge fast enough, they do not charge.  But the powerbanks that I have used will continue to accept a charge when I am going up a hill slowly, the charge is slower then but they still accept a charge.

Dan is the expert, he may have more thoughts on this topic.

energyman

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Re: All-weather charging adaptation, ToutTerrain/Cinq5 "The Plug"
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2017, 06:33:40 PM »
What the world really needs is a RAIN POWERED CHARGER.

Danneaux

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Re: All-weather charging adaptation, ToutTerrain/Cinq5 "The Plug"
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2017, 06:34:15 PM »
Quote
Can i charge any external batteries pack from my Supernova The plug ?

Even if most of the time i will charge from house or other place (110-220v), i would like to know if i need to respect a limit about capacity with my usb charger...
Hi Julien!

Determining which external battery pack can be recharged by the Tout Terrain/Cinq5/Supernova "The Plug" series can be very much trial and error and -- yes - it does depend on the limits of the battery pack, both in terms of overall capacity and in terms of the internal charging circuitry for the batteries.

If the demands are too great for The Plug to deliver, you will see it when the green LED atop the unit blinks, indicating an over-demand situation with power requirements greater than the charger can supply.

Surely Cinq5's own buffer battery (a external battery pack that allows pass-through charging) will work, but it can do so in part because it has an adjustable charge rate which the user must set themselves. You can see my in-depth review of it here: http://thorncyclesforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=10387.0

In my own experiments, I've experienced luck -- both good and bad -- in charging other external battery packs, but success depends on a combination of the battery capacity and battery pack's own charging trigger threshold, determine by the circuitry used. I've had really good luck charging smaller units like my 2,200mAh unbranded Chinese power pack, purchased from eBay for only USD$7.73 including shipping costs. I've had some luck charging my Anker Power Core Mini external battery, rated at 3,200mAh...but only if I am pedaling reasonably fast when I plug it in -- say, >20kph. This seems to overcome the charging trigger point in the circuitry so refilling can initiate. Charging keeps working down to about 13kmh, then I hit an overload indication (blinking LED on The Plug). I have not had any consistent success charging my Anker Ingress 16,000mAh battery pack when it drops below 80% (it really shouldn't be allowed to drop below 15%, as it can affect ultimate battery life). From about 20% remaining charge on up it can accept a charge. Clearly, there is some difference in the charging circuit of the 3,200mAh Anker Core Mini and the larger 16,000mAh Ingress model, which also incorporates "smart" charging ports and seemingly more sophisticated circuitry.

Some things to keep in mind:
The Plug units are limited to USB 2.0 charging levels (5vdc @ 500mA), so you surely won't get the recharging speed possible from a "fast charger" of 1.0A or more.

The greater the capacity of your battery pack, the longer it will take to recharge from a depleted state.

Like every other on-bike charger that is not equipped with a reserve pile or buffer battery, charging will only take place a) while you are moving and b) while you are moving at sufficient speed. The good news is The Plug units start charging at reasonably slow speeds. The bad news is, you may have to be riding fairly briskly to get the maximum output needed to overcome charging trigger thresholds to initiate charging before you can slack off a bit for "regular" riding and charging.

As a corollary to the above statements, if you are trying to charge a large battery that is pretty much depleted, a full day's riding may not be enough to fill it back up to maximum again. This is especially true of you ride like a typical tourist and take rest, photography, and lunch breaks, and find yourself slowing to climb hills.  When you stop, so does dyno-powered, on-bike charging. For this reason, I tend to leave my battery "kettle on the fire" and use my dyno-charger to trickle-charge my battery if it is in use, and if the battery is only partly depleted, I still charge it back to maximum whenever the opportunity presents itself (remember, if I decide to layover in a spot due to heavy weather or other reasons, charging won't take place because I'm not riding and so it helps to have some reserve charge in the battery).

I've combined my bike-powered dyno-charging with a solar panel equipped with an accumulator battery so I can top off my batteries in my tent while sleeping (the solar-charged accumulator battery transfers its charge to my gadgets overnight and is itself replenished over the course of the next day...or couple of days if it is raining and the sun is not as strong.

Energy independence while touring off the grid is not just a technique, it is a lifestyle...one that becomes fairly easy to integrate after a little practice.

As a final note -- important enough to rate its own bullet...
Be sure to use quality USBcables and keep them as short as possible. Probably the single largest factor affecting on-bike charging beyond the charging unit itself and the capacity/circuitry of the batteries is voltage drop/resistance due to overly long, poor quality cabling. In my testing, it was not unusual to see output voltage vary by as much as 25-30% due to variations in USB cables. Post-mortems showed most of the QC problems are due to poor soldering -- mostly cold joints -- at the socket/plug pins. If you're handy and have spare connector shells for making custom cables as I do, some quick work with a soldering iron can make poor cables into relatively good ones, much better anyway. On the other hand, it is much easier and better to simply buy better cables in the first place. Do beware, however, not all "premium" cables are actually better beyond more creative packaging and cosmetics. Thicker vinyl dip on the cabling won't make a difference on conductance but it can help prevent flex-failures, so all is not lost. Do a search for "best USB cables" and see what turns up before buying.

In other notes...
I recently tried an AA/AAA USB-powered battery charger that looked to be *the* economy solution, but it proved unsuitable due to a remarkably slow charging rate and the possibility to damage my Eneloop batteries. It is not in itself a bad charger, but unsuitable for my needs while cycling. I later found a Danish review that fully corroborated my own test results, confirming my impressions. Details in a later post.

I have two examples of a handmade charging unit on their way to me from Germany, made by a company different from Tout Terrain. It offers the possibility of full 1.0A charging at speeds >21kmh, allowing for the possibility of charging either higher-demand/capacity gadgets/batteries or charging the same devices in half the time of chargers that output only 500mA (0.5A). Even better, it offers the possibility of all-weather charging and does so at about a third the price, roughly half the price landed (including shipping). I need to thoroughly wring it out in a variety of conditions in instrumented testing and under load, but published specs look encouraging. The two examples of this unit should arrive early this coming week.

I'm currently swamped with demands on my time, but I will get to these tasks and deliver full details as soon as possible because I have a major tour coming up later this Spring and it would be nice to get the new setup dialed in before I leave.

All the best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2017, 06:57:53 PM by Danneaux »

John Saxby

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Re: All-weather charging adaptation, ToutTerrain/Cinq5 "The Plug"
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2017, 04:41:45 AM »
Julio, a couple of notes on my experience, which echo George's post above. (My experience is vastly more limited than Dan's, and also uniformly positive -- a case of "Bumble on regardless," perhaps?)

I have hooked up my SON28 dynahub to a Sinewave Revolution charger, which feeds an Anker 5200 mAh cache battery. The battery cost me CAD25 at the Cdn equivalent of Radio Shack.

On my tour in the Rockies this past summer, the battery easily recharged my camera, cellphone, and AA/AAA batteries overnight (usually only 1 or 2 of that list). The battery was rarely down more than 25% -- it handled my modest recharging requirements in a couple of hours. To recharge the battery the next day, in up-and-down riding, usually took not more than a couple of hours.

There was one exception to this pattern of use:  I used my Anker batt to recharge the Samsung tablet of the Kiwi with whom I was riding. His tablet was down to about 25%, and as I recall, the Anker recharged it to 80% in 15-20 minutes, and to 100% in a couple of hours. That exertion ran down the batt to about 25%.  I recharged it to full in about 4-5 hours of riding, including a long slow uphill to Bow Summit on the Icefields Parkway, and a delicious long fast downhill into Lake Louise.

Assuming that the Cinq plug behaves in similar fashion to the Sinewave Revolution, I suggest mating it to an Anker 5200.

A final note on my charging set-up:  Unknowingly, I followed Dan's recommendation of using a short, high-quality usb cable between charger and cache batt.  Fortune sometimes favours the clueless.

julio

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Re: All-weather charging adaptation, ToutTerrain/Cinq5 "The Plug"
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2017, 03:17:35 PM »
Thanks very much for yours comments

First it will be fine to choose which capacity i really need, maybe 5200 mAh .. because i'm carrying only my Huawei phone, camera, and aa/aaa batteries

I'll do a test, if it works so much better ! if not so much for that..  ;)
« Last Edit: March 18, 2017, 05:40:17 AM by julio »

jags

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Re: All-weather charging adaptation, ToutTerrain/Cinq5 "The Plug"
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2017, 10:16:56 PM »
Julio i just watched a class film on my new huawei smart phone MAGIC

anto.

julio

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Re: All-weather charging adaptation, ToutTerrain/Cinq5 "The Plug"
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2017, 07:15:34 PM »
What you mean by that ? it's a joke maybe ..  :)