Author Topic: Battery-charging: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?  (Read 39688 times)

Danneaux

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Hi All,

Though I have yet to ride with it (I'm currently in mid-installation routing the wires to facilitate future headset service), I have decided on Tout Terrain's "The Plug 2" USB adapter to meet my on-tour power-generating needs.  I am impressed with the design, and installation is fairly straightforward once the star-fangled nut is removed from the steerer.  See my post here for an easy way to remove the SFN: http://www.thorncycles.co.uk/forums/index.php?topic=3800.0

The Plug 2 has its circuitry fully contained in the top cap, and needs only an additional spacer or two so the electrical connector in the base can clear TT's optional removable anchor.  It is compact, built for stout, and appears to be as waterproof as possible for such a device.

Once it is fully installed, I can give a report on how it works in practice.  I intend using it in lieu of the extra batteries I have had to carry to power and charge my GPS, the UV water purifier, the cell phone, my camera batteries, auxiliary lighting like my head-mounted LED lamp, an occasionally-carried small radio for camp weather and road-condition reports, and even my electric shaver on extended trips (Hey!  It is light and requires no water -- unlike conventional shaving gear -- and is a nice addition for when I wish to look better when crossing paths with the Civilized World).

At this year's Cologne Bike Show, Tout Terrain announced a new addition to The Plug 2, called the "Extra Power".  There isn't much information as yet on their website ( http://www.en.tout-terrain.de/accessories/electric-power-supply/ ), only a small blurb saying...
-------------------------------
"The Plug II Extra Power

"Through our P.A.T. (Power Amplification Technology) system, that is optionally used, the power output of the Plug II can be optimized. This is particularly useful for users of smart phones or rechargeable batteries that want to maximize their power output on the road. Concealed, the extra power module is attached in the fork tube, so there are no other cables necessary outside."
-------------------------------
If I understand correctly, this is an inline addition to The Plug 2, and increases the output through some means (don't quite see how, as The Plug 2 is regulated at USB 2.0 output standards...).  It would be great if this accessory reduced charging times or allowed for directly powering devices like Smart Phones, which often have higher current draw than other devices.

Anyone seen one or tried it yet?  If so, I'd love to hear your impressions.

Thanks in advance,

Dan.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 02:05:42 AM by Danneaux »

AndrewC

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Re: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2012, 12:17:20 PM »
Hi Dan,

How are you getting on with The Plug ?   I've the usual complement of gadgets to charge whilst on tour and would be interested in this, or something similar.

Thanks

Andrew

Danneaux

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Re: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2012, 09:09:59 PM »
Hi Andrew,

A good question, and one I still have myself.  It's early days and the TTTP2 looks extremely promising so far, but the real test will be on an extended tour when it is used every day.  I also don't know how much actual riding it will take to charge up flat batteries rather than just topping them off, and that's why I was considering the TTTP2 Extra Power option they mention (but haven't described) on their website.  Anything that cuts charging time sounds attractive to me, though I can't figure how it is supposed to increase power, since the basic TTTP2 is internally regulated.

On the positive end of things, the TTTP2 is the best-executed of the on-bike chargers I've seen and researched and I am really happy with it.  It is solidly constructed, installs cleanly with wires inside the steerer, looks to be very long-lived in all weather, and works as advertised.  It is also very expensive by itself.  A person really does have to figure the extra cost (~USD$20) of the TT star-nut replacement into the overall cost as well.  I did choose the SON28 (original, more bulky, slightly higher drag, higher output) dynohub to power it, as I wanted to have plenty of generating capacity, though I intend to do my charging with my LED lighting off.  As it is, just a second or two after I start off, the TTTP2 LED glows green, showing it is supplying a steady USB2.0 current of ~5 volts -- and it does so at a reasonable speed, according to my meter.

I wanted to charge my batteries so I could save the weight and bulk of a kg+ of spare batteries, needed to see me through a good months' use.  I use mostly rechargeables, but unless I happen to stay overnight at a motel (rare), there isn't an opportunity to fill 'em back up; trees and sagebrush have no outlets.

The idea is to swap the charging appliances in and out of the handlebar bag and leave them off while charging rather than using the TTTP2 to power them directly. The GPS isn't needed all the time, so this makes sense and allows me to use the appliances when I'm not riding.

My gadgets tend to be high-draw/high-drain.  The touchscreen Garmin Oregon 400T GPS swills current, and works best with either lithium or Eneloop-type high-capacity rechargeables.  In my use, the lithiums may remain the best solution there.  The SteriPen Classic water purifier uses a lot of juice, but weighs less than the fuel used to boil water and doesn't clog like a filter and is ready in about 90 seconds with cold water, rather than waiting 30 minutes with pills.  I think the best route in each case is to charge the AA cells for them, and then swap the charged ones in as needed.  The more problematic appliances are the electric shaver (it is light and requires no precious -- and heavy -- water to shave so I end up ahead of the game weightwise) and the cell phone.  Those require me to construct specialized USB cords or adapters to power them and I'm doing so now.  When out so far from cell towers, my phone consumes a lot of power just to connect, so battery life is less than in urban areas.  I leave it off till I actually need to use it so it won't consume power "searching" while on standby.  The camera remains problematic, as I will have to make some board mods on its charger.  The camera batteries aren't bad for stills but go flat pretty quickly when shooting HD video.  Low-drain items include my LED headlight used around camp and my LED blinky, used to supplement the generator taillight in urban traffic and on night roads with limited sightlines.  The Eurocoin-sized MP3 player has a low-drain circuit powered by a li-po cell, and it doesn't take much to keep it going, though I almost never use it on-tour and never-ever while actually riding.

High-capacity batteries take a lot longer to fill back up, so that is a factor in charging options, too.  At least I'm not dependent on the sun and whenever I'm moving, I can generate power.  I have toyed with the idea of detachable ripstop-nylon "blades" I could clip to the front wheel of the bike when in camp.  It would surely be nice to go to sleep and awaken to find the desert or coastal night winds had charged my batteries overnight.  That would be ideal!

The effectiveness of the TTTP2 (or any on-bike charger) depends heavily upon the resistance of the cords and the efficiency of the charging adapters.  Some reel-type USB cords have unusually high electrical resistance and some of the USB battery charging adapters (the ones that hold the batteries) have really low efficiency.  I am beginning to realize the overall value of any on-bike charging system depends on getting all the sub-systems optimized as well.

I should know more as time goes by, but all looks good so far if I can get the rest of the system up to the same level as the TTTP2.   More reports later as I gain some extended experience with it.  I'll keep the Forum posted as I learn more.  I'm happy to answer any questions 'best I can.

Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 07:19:37 PM by Danneaux »

AndrewC

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Re: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2012, 12:19:05 AM »
Hi Andrew,

 I did choose the SON28 (original, more bulky, slightly higher drag, higher output) dynohub to power it, as I wanted to have plenty of generating capacity, though I intend to do my charging with my LED lighting off.  As it is, just a second or two after I start off, the TTTP2 LED glows green, showing it is supplying a steady USB2.0 current of ~5.5 volts -- and it does so at a reasonable speed, according to my meter.
 
Best,

Dan.

Hi Dan, are you comparing the SON klassik against the new model SON 28 here or against one of the other available models ?  What were the differences in output ?

Danneaux

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Re: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2012, 02:44:09 AM »
Hi Andrew,

My SON28 came with my Sherpa, ordered and assembled in August 2011.  It is the model now referred to on the Schmidt website as the Klassik (Classic), produced from model years 2000 to 2011.  The New SON28 is built upon the design of the SONDelux (the SONDelux weighs 140g less than my Klassik, with 15% less drag without a load -- not very noticeable in practice -- and has a lower output at a given speed because it was originally intended for smaller wheels).  At present, Thorn's option list offers a choice only between the SON28 Klassik and the SONDelux.  I chose the Klassik for its higher output so I could be assured it would produce enough juice to run my Tout Terrain The Plug 2 to charge batteries at a reasonable speed.  

It is awfully hard to find specific output figures to compare the various models, and I do not know for sure if the Klassik SON28 and the New SON28 have the same output, but I strongly suspect the do.  I do know the Klassik and New SON28 have a higher output than the Delux.

I get the impression any remaining Klassiks on the market are old-stock for most shell drillings.  I would imagine Thorn have a sizable backstock for bike builds, as they are still a current option on their order forms at this writing.  Peter White advises ( http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/schmidt.asp ) that as of Fall 2011, the Klassik (Classic) is "only being made" in 40 and 48-hole drillings and in polished silver finish.

There have been a number of changes between the Klassik and New SON28s, and across the entire line.  The hub shells are the most obvious difference; the newer ones have a sphere-shaped center section with what appears to be a zig-zag center pattern (a join line?  engraved pattern?  I have yet to examine one...) and in many cases, different flange spacing (even super-narrow versions for Brompton, Dahon, Moulton, and Bike Friday Tiket folders) and the option to mount a brake disk.  The spherical design and change in flange spacing has cut weight and reduced the interior shell volume, making it even less likely water will be drawn in past the bearings as the air within the shell equalizes between warm and cold temps (as when taking the bike out of a warm house on a winter day).  The older design handles this with a small vent hole midway through the axle, and it is important to use an ungreased quick-release to avoid plugging the vent (doing otherwise will void the warranty).  A smaller shell will also minimize the problem which has not been a problem in practice for the vast majority of users.

The SL versions of SON hubs connect to plates in specially-built fork ends/dropouts, eliminating the external wire connectors from the hub.  It is a very clean and clever design, but requires either a custom-built fork or one available from Schmidt.  The dropouts/fork ends are available to builders.

As far as nomenclature goes, it appears the SON28 hub produced from 2000-2011 is now referred to as the SON28 Klassik.  It has been replaced in the current model lineup by the New SON28 using the same shell design as the SONDelux (or Deluxe, with an "e" added to the end in some markets and advertising).  Meanwhile, the outgoing SON20/20R (intended for use on bikes with nominal 16"-20" rims) has been redesigned with the new spherical shell and renamed the SONDelux.  These hubs are popular with fast randonneurs and others riding 700C rims at speed because of their lower drag with the larger wheels; higher speeds compensate for the lower output.  The name change came about in part due to a change in German lighting laws governing labeled light output.  According to Peter,
Quote
Previously, it was illegal under German law for Schmidt to sell the SON20R in Germany for use in 700c wheels. But the law has been changed, provided the customer also buys a LED headlight. So now, Schmidt can sell the SON20R for use with 700c rims, as long as the wheel is used to power certain LED headlights that produce high output with very little power. So there's no longer any need to call the hub a "SON20R", implying it's only suitable for 20" and smaller wheels. Hence, the name change to SONdelux
 This month (January 2012) Schmidt will make available a wide-body version of the SonDelux with increased spacing between the flanges.  This should recover some lateral strength in wheels built with it compared to the older Klassik (my Klassic measures ~62mm to the outside of the flanges; the SONDelux is 50mm and the Widebody SONDelux is 68mm.  No disk or SL versions in the Widebody Delux).  

Whew.

As for your question comparing specific output, well, that's where it goes from confusing to murky.  I only have my SON28 Klassik at-hand to measure, and there isn't much readily available on the 'Net at present to show how the new model compares.  As for mine, an output chart available here ( http://www.baldurdash.org/OtherStuff/www.nabendynamo.de/12vinfo.htm ) indicates the output varies with the speed and load, as expected.  With no load, the SON28 Klassik put out a measured 6 volts at about 7kph/4,3mph  At roughly 13kph/8mph, 12 volts is available no-load.  With a 6v/3w incandescent lighting system, 6 volts is available at about 8.5kph/5.28mph and 12 volts at about 21kph/13mph.  This squares with Peter Whites inference that a 6v/3w system will achieve "full power" and  "bright light" at about 8.8kph/5.5 mph.  Peter indicates a SONDelux in the same conditions would require a minimum speed of 12kph/7.5mph.

Powered by my SON28 Klassic (with 26x2.0 tires), the green LED on my TTTP2 indicating adequate USB output (5 volts) comes on solidly above about 5.5 mph by my bike computer, and that agrees with my voltmeter.  The TTTP2 is voltage-regulated, so the output should remain constant independent of dynamo output.  If my device draws current and voltage beyond what the TTTP2 can provide, the green LED blinks.  Turning the device off allows the batteries to be charged even if there isn't enough juice to power the device directly.

I have yet to find data showing the output of the New SON28 compared to the Klassik.  For that matter it has been hard to find specific output data for the SONDelux.  SON only list their dynohub outputs "per StVZO".  I've spent quite a lot of time wading through the German StVZO governmental regulations for bicycle lighting, but all those reference minimum standards for output at minimum speeds using incandescent light sources.

If you're still with me, the best information may be found in a translation of Schmidt's current SON28 data sheet.  Here's my own translation:
Quote
SON28 means 'Schmidt's Original Hub (Naben) Dynamo', with general approval for 28 (29) inch wheel sizes. Introduced Fall 2011, the new model is similar in structure and appearance to the SONdelux. Flange and bearing distance (for the non-disc-Version) are considerably larger, so it can be viewed as the Big Brother of the SONdelux, both technically and electro-mechanically.

The SON28 produces its rated voltage and power at about 20% less speed than the SONdelux.

Because of this, we recommend the SON28 if you need more light at low speed of use it to operate other devices.  In terms of drag, it is between the best and the SONdelux.

The New SON28 weighs about 25% less than the Klassik SON28.

From this, it appears (as yet unconfirmed) the New SON28 is identical in output to the Klassik SON28.

Hope this helps; wish I could be more definitive.

Dan.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 07:20:29 PM by Danneaux »

AndrewC

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Re: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2012, 02:14:51 PM »
 :o   That's quite a reply Dan !  ;D   Thank you for going into so much detail.

Still havering over a Schmidt, or a much cheaper Shimano.    I think I'll go for one of the external chargers rather than the ToutTerrain Plug though. I have 2 bikes with 26" wheels and it makes sense to be able to move the wheel and charger between them.

There is a discussion of chargers here http://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=55583.0  The Softhema chargers from Germany appear to be a new possibility.

 

rualexander

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Re: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2012, 05:46:21 PM »
I took a Softhema cable charger on holiday in September.
It worked well for three or four days then failed, wouldn't charge anything and was getting hot with increasing speed.
When I got home I contacted the seller by email and he said there may have been a short circuit and to send it back. I had already cut it open just in case there was anything obvious like a broken wire, so I didn't bother returning it, given the low cost of around ?15. However the seller admitted in his reply that he was producing these units on a "hobby" basis, so I don't think I could recommend them.

Danneaux

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Re: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2012, 09:46:14 PM »
One thing for sure, we could all use cheaper, good alternatives for bicycle lighting and (generator) charging.  The high-end kit works very well indeed, but is terribly expensive due to a number of factors. There is the exchange rate, customs, and shipping.  These are semi-handbuilt, limited-production items, and one pays a premium as an early-adopter. If the market develops further, costs should drop thanks to production economies of scale. We're seeing a bit of that in Shimano's lower prices and increasing dynohub efficiency; they certainly have the production capacity. Thanks goodness for LEDs making everything brighter at lower speeds; that alone makes good lighting more available, and Shimano's hubs are an effort to plug the gap between basic "be seen" battery lighting and the more costly Schmidt dynohubs.

If a lower-cost setup can work even 80% as well as the expensive stuff and cost only 65% as much, it is well worth considering. If it can be made portable for use on more than one bike -- even better. Adequate lighting makes such a difference to safety and the basic usability of a bike, but is only as good as one can afford, and price is something most of us struggle with. I surely do. As it is, I'll be selling several frames and a couple bikes to pay myself back for the Sherpa and his lighting and charging systems.  I'd love to have similar lighting on my rando bike, but it will have to wait some time till I can afford it. Even then, the most likely upgrade will be a Cyo-type headlight for the ancient Sanyo BB generator, currently running a horrid Sanyo Xenon supplemented with a couple LED battery lights.  Till then, I'll choose which bike to ride based on the likelihood of being out after dark.

Some products work well and others don't, independent of price.  For example, I'm learning overall charging system efficiency depends on every component in the chain being optimized, and it is costly to make a mistake.  This forum is a wonderful venue to exchange information on what works and doesn't.  If we can each report our experiences, we'll create a database of sorts for good lighting and charging solutions at whatever price-points they become available.

Best,

Dan.

« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 10:21:13 AM by Danneaux »

Danneaux

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Re: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2012, 11:39:10 PM »
For those interested in alternatives to Tout Terrain's "The Plug 2" charger, here are links to various commercial alternatives. I compiled them while researching the TTTP2 summer and fall 2011.  There are more but these are some leading contenders that have made it to market and persisted in use for awhile. There are some new products on the horizon that are either fresh to market or not fully developed and have yet to appear on my list.  Among those are a dynohub that is geared and powered off the rear hub, mechanically switchable to eliminate all drag in an idle state. I will update these links periodically with commercial and homemade solutions, so check back if you're curious. When not working and dealing with the business of Life, I am Riding/Adventuring.  I realize others may also be interested in these things, and I really need to take the time to put up a fresh website for my lighting, framebuilding and bike-related stuff and tour pics/trip accounts so they can be easily found in one place.  

For those who have asked, I chose Tout Terrain's The Plug 2 because it seemed the most fully-realized solution for my needs at the time I ordered it.  It also appeared the most likely to actually work in practice and continue working in severe conditions. Given the cost, I am committed to it at present, but am still very interested to see what else is available that might be as good or better.  I thought seriously of making my own charger; it is not that different from the voltage regulator/DC rectifier I made in the past. The real problems related to packaging and sealing.  I just couldn't come up with a solution as compact or well-sealed as the TTT2, though the Sherpa fork's generator mounts were simply crying out for a small case and circuit board in that location.  Larger-scale components instead of small ICs and surface-mount components make for packaging, cooling, and sealing problems and some of my earlier attempts resulted in cracked boards and cards no matter how well I isolated them with rubber bumpers. These same problems afflict some of the commercial products as well.  The Plug 2 was ready to roll and well-executed; it should last awhile.

Also in answer to a question, the TTTP2 will apparently charge all models of Apple's iPhone directly, without a special cable. I cannot confirm this, as I do not have an iPhone.  Some dynohub/charger combos cannot provide the current needed to power GPS units or SmartPhones directly.  In that case, the device batteries can usually be charged while the appliance is turned off.  An alternative is to power those devices through use of a buffer battery.  In that case, the dyno hub charges a separate battery by various means, and it is used to directly power or recharge the device (in an on or off state) to the limit of the buffer battery's capacity.  The unloaded buffer battery is then recharged by the dynohub and made ready for use again.  Basically, the buffer battery is a relatively short-term, high-load battery and charging supply for high-draw/high-drain appliances and is simply trickle-charged by the dynohub.

Best,

Dan.

Andreas Oehler, of Schmidt Maschinenbau produces a good overview of the available commercial charging products as of July 2010; see his test site here:
http://fahrradzukunft.de/12/steckdose-unterwegs-2/
Google-translation to English: http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Ffahrradzukunft.de%2F12%2Fsteckdose-unterwegs-2%2F&act=url

ADA Bikeconverter
http://ada-bikeconverter.de/
English translation: http://ada-bikeconverter.de/?page_id=112

AXA Nano headlight with USB charger (won't charge with light on)
http://www.axa-nano.com/
Google-translation to English: http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.axa-nano.com%2F&act=url

Bike2Power SpinPOWER S1, I3, and I4
http://www.bike2power.com/

Busch und Muller E-werk dynamo battery charger
http://www.bumm.de/produkte/e-werk/e-werk.html
Peter White description: http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/ewerk.asp
Factory manual PDF: http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/Downloads/Ewerkmanual.pdf

Busch und Muller Ride & Charge dynamo battery charger
http://www.bumm.de/produkte/mehr/ride-charge.html
Described by Peter White (in combination with the Ixon series of B&M lighting to charge batteries within the light): http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/b&m.asp

Dahon/Biologic ReeCharge dynamo charger
http://www.thinkbiologic.com/products/reecharge-power-pack

Kemo model 172 dynamo charger
http://www.kemo-electronic.de/en/House/Home/M172-Bicycle-charge-controller-USB-Mini-B-.php

Michael Paudler's Low Drop-loader adaptable to dynamo charging
http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?act=url&hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=de&tl=en&u=http://fahrradzukunft.de/12/low-drop-lader/&usg=ALkJrhiy1yzv2BtXJ10qjbu5BJh076aA3w

Nokia Europe DC-4 dynamo charger
http://europe.nokia.com/find-products/accessories/all-accessories/power/chargers/nokia-bicycle-charger-kit

PedalPower dynamo battery charger
http://www.pedalpower.com.au/
PedalPower Plus from Peter White (with full explanaton)
http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/pedalpowerplus.asp

Softhema USB dynamo charger
http://www.softhema.de/
Manual: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=Softhema&source=web&cd=6&ved=0CDQQjBAwBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.softhema.de%2Fbicycle%2Fdownloads%2FSOFTHEMA-S25A_Manual-English_2011-10-01.pdf&ei=4pobT5WTO6qWiAKqltmtCA&usg=AFQjCNEoaByDiMZlJLqA95JX-JKzoejMHQ&cad=rja

SuperNova offer the Tout Terrain The Plug 2 for distribution under their name.  At this writing, their website has not been updated to reflect this, but it is listed in their 2012 PSF catalog, along with their own dynohub:
http://www.supernova-lights.com/downloads/SN_katalog2012_web_lowres.pdf

Zzing dynamo battery charger
http://www.zzing.de/index.php/en/
http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Zzing
http://itchy-wheels.exploder.org/images/main.php?g2_itemId=3029
« Last Edit: January 24, 2012, 09:22:14 AM by Danneaux »

slim

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Re: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2012, 12:23:41 PM »
Dan, your knowledge and enthusiasm is mind boggling.
If you haven't done so already it's time to do a web site on selecting, configuring and maintaining touring bikes.
Monetize it appropriately and in no time you can have a stable of Rohloff equipped bikes.

il padrone

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Re: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2012, 01:43:57 PM »
 An alternative is to power those devices through use of a buffer battery.  In that case, the dyno hub charges a separate battery by various means, and it is used to directly power or recharge the device (in an on or off state) to the limit of the buffer battery's capacity.  The unloaded buffer battery is then recharged by the dynohub and made ready for use again.  Basically, the buffer battery is a relatively short-term, high-load battery and charging supply for high-draw/high-drain appliances and is simply trickle-charged by the dynohub.

Which is just what I've decided to go with, using the B&M ewerk to power up a Power Monkey Extreme (just ordered). This way I can keep the voltage/mW requirements simpler for my poor non-electrical brain, and use the wide range of plugs supplied to get the required power connectors for my few current (and any possible future) devices. A mate of mine is doing similar with good results so it should be OK.

geocycle

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Re: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2012, 12:31:15 PM »
Which is just what I've decided to go with, using the B&M ewerk to power up a Power Monkey Extreme (just ordered). This way I can keep the voltage/mW requirements simpler for my poor non-electrical brain, and use the wide range of plugs supplied to get the required power connectors for my few current (and any possible future) devices. A mate of mine is doing similar with good results so it should be OK.

The ewerk is good and works well.  I used it to charge my phone/GPS on the last tour.  The only issue I had was that the miniUSB connection to the phone bounced out on a regular basis and led to me bending the pin.  This is a problem specific to my set up and may be different for others.  In light of this I am now using it to charge  a powermonkey and then charging the phone when stopped for lunch etc. It also rained very heavily and I was concerned about the water tightness of the connection, whereas the powermonkey can be in the bar bag.
 

Danneaux

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Re: Battery-charging: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2012, 09:06:48 PM »
Thanks, fellows (and for the kind comment, Chris!); I really appreciate the PowerMonkey and other charger reports, and am looking forward to longer-term reports as you use them at length.  ToutTerrain say they are also working on a buffer battery (a la PowerMonkey) in addition to this Extra Power in-steerer booster they allude to but have yet to describe.  Right now, I'm using the TTTP2 as a USB power port to operate individual AA/AAA battery chargers (for the GPS, SteriPen, and LED headlight) and to top off my (basic ="dumb") cell/mobile phone.  As for weight, I only have to deal with one cord, a few end-adapters, and the minimal weight of the plastic battery charger.  The PowerMonkey is heavier, but  is a bargain weight-wise because of its versatility, capacity, and outright power reserves for high-drain appliances.

I do note (and with a bit of concern) that dynohub charging doesn't provide as consistent charging as the mains -- it comes and goes as one starts and stops -- but it is regulated.  At present, any effect on battery life will be limited to the Sony-version Eneloop high-capacity AA/AAA batteries and one of the cheap eBay replacements used in my phone.  Has anyone used a PowerMonkey long enough to notice any diminution in battery life or "memory effect" in use?  I'm reassured it is a Li-Po (lithium-polymer) cell, which seems to not suffer the memory effect of other designs.  Also, with its capacity to power high-load devices, it must take quite awhile to recharge from flat using only a dynohub.  Do you top it off using the mains in motels or while eating at restaurants?  I'm really intrigued by it, especially as it would allow me to more readily use Unix netbook to update my daily log entries. They really don't get done by hand, 'cos after riding all day even I can't read the result; my hands are just too sore and cramped after 17 hours or so in the saddle on rough roads.

I just want to make sure I eventually jump the right way when going on from here.  TT's The Plug 2, plus the SON28 and head-taillight plus a good buffer battery is the better part of USD$1,000, and I don't want to buy a buffer battery that doesn't last a good long while.

Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2012, 05:06:25 AM by Danneaux »

Danneaux

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Re: Battery-charging: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2012, 09:21:02 AM »
For those who have asked me about other things on the horizon or in recent memory relating to generating power and charging batteries on the road...

In the "maybe coming soon, but not-quite-ready" category of other battery chargers, Powertrekk have announced their water-powered, ion-exchange fuel-cell power supply will at last be available Spring 2012. It appears to be a variation on a hydrogen fuel cell. It can charge devices either directly from the fuel cell or from the built-in rechargeable battery.  There is no indication how long the fuel packs last, or how long it will operate on one.
Details here: http://www.powertrekk.com/
FAQ here: http://www.powertrekk.com/support/  
Explanation of technology here: http://www.powertrekk.com/powertrekk/technology/
Fuller explanation by third party here: http://ktrmurali.wordpress.com/tag/powerpukk/

In a similar vein, Apple have filed two patent applications (published in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database 22 Dec 2011) for portable fuel cells designed to allow users to operate their devices away from mains-recharging.  The patents are broad and open to a variety of fuel-cell types. It looks like compact fuel cells are coming. How soon remains to be seen. According to Powertrekk, we'll only have to wait till Spring, which is what they said last year.

BioLite have announced their forthcoming line of battery-charging portable woodstoves: http://biolitestove.com/BioLite.html  These claim to use a thermo-electric module (possibly a Heusler alloy producing a Seebeck effect thermocouple) to convert 5000+BTU of thermal (fire) energy (heat) into 1-watt of electrical energy.  Their campstove looks possibly suitable for bike touring: http://biolitestove.com/CampStove.html  Basically, a small fire made of twigs and sticks is kindled in a metal can.  Once it is fully alight, the heat from the fire is converted to electricity, which powers a small electric fan to make the stove into a clean(er) burning mini-forge; any electricity beyond that needed by the fan is available for charging external devices.  There's some big names behind it:
Quote
The BioLite team together has over 30 years of product development experience and holds more than 30 utility patents. Previous clients include OXO, Johnson & Johnson, Hewlett Packard, Nike, Lego, Church and Dwight, Pepsi, GE, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Motorola, and Bosch. More than 90% of our developed products have gone on to be successful in the market.
 The drawback is it appears to charge only while alight, limiting practical charging time.

As for geared dynohubs, I seldom see the Renak Enparlite mentioned ( http://renak.de/wordpress/willkommen/ ), probably because it is not very efficient compared to Shimano's and Schmidt's offerings. It is way behind, according to the CTC's Chris Juden in tests conducted at Schimidt's own facilities: http://www.myra-simon.com/bike/dynotest.html . It does have a couple unique features that might be nice to see in other dynohubs: It has a clutch that allows it to truly freewheel when not in use and is internally geared so the generator runs faster than the wheel, reducing low-speed handlebar vibration and eliminating low-speed flicker. Unfortunately, the internal gears have proven subject to wear and there is the poor efficiency. Pity.

The Aufa FER 2002 also has a clutch, is driven by a belt, has already come and is now nearly gone, thanks to extremely poor efficiency. It is a type known as a Speichendynamo, or "spoke dynamo". An informative article on it is here: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speichendynamo, Google-translated English version here: http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fde.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FSpeichendynamo&act=url

A variation on the Aufa FER 2002 is the Sunup DS-series, specifically the DS1r by Taiwan's Sunup Eco (a brand-engineered version was marketed poorly by Dosun). It is also a spoke dynamo but attaches only to the left-side of a rim-braked cassette rear hub, and is unusual in having a three-phase permanent-magnet (DC output) generator; most dynohubs, are single-phase (AC output; current must be rectified to DC for LEDs).  Test results are intriguing, but unfortunately, it is not quite here yet.  It does not seem to have found a distributor or be finalized in design (it has been delayed over concerns related to voltage overprotection due to the 3-phase design), though some prototypes were released for testing and evaluation in 2011. A rear-mounted generator has some promise for generating power at camp; invert the bike, crank the pedals, and hey presto -- power on demand. I'll post a link when it is a bit further along.  It appears future marketing will come direct from Sunup under their own name.  A more refined version is promised for 2012, with more power at lower speeds.  I think this is one to watch in the next year.

For those who remember such things, Sturmey-Archer made internally-geared rear hubs with internal generators.  The 3-speed AG was an AW with a dynamo in it, and their FG was a 4-speed FW with an internal dynamo. They are now unavailable and are unsuitable to our on-tour battery-charging needs, having only 3- or 4-speeds and less efficiency than contemporary models.

Those wishing to inexpensively dabble a foot in the waters of dynamo-powered battery chargers may wish to look at the Bike2Power SpinPOWER S1, I3, and I4, the latter priced at USD$59.95 on a current sale. Also available through Amazon. It includes a sidewall generator, but most people I know discard that and use the USB power converter alone with their hub dynamo. The company site is here: http://www.bike2power.com/  I'll add this to the link collection in an earlier post, above. Usual disclaimers, as I have no financial interest in the company or experience with them.  Limited reviews of their S1 model here: http://www.amazon.com/SpinPOWER-S1-Universal-Smartphone-Bicycle/product-reviews/B0051KID2Q/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1 It would be terrific if this charger was workable for the price, as it would open up a world of possibilities for extremely reasonable cost.

American online retailer and supplier Velo-Orange have fueled persistent rumors of a clutch-type dynohub, detailed in their blog posts here: http://velo-orange.blogspot.com/2010/10/those-new-dyno-hubs.html#uds-search-results and by searching their site using "dyno hub" as a search term. Their Grand Cru model appears to be [ Edit: confirmed, it is] a Taiwanese Shutter Precision unit with bespoke branding. Apparently some early VO Grand Crus had problems due to misassembly at Shutter, but I understand Shutter soon caught the problem. See: http://www.sp-dynamo.com/spproductswitchrim.html , home page for Shutter here: http://www.sp-dynamo.com/index.html By appearance, their designs seem to be um, "inspired" by Schmidt's SON series.  Unfortunately, I have no objective efficiency data to share at present.  It appears the clutch simply adjusts the gap between the magnets and the windings, decreasing drag and vibration to virtually nil in the off state.  There is no earthing through the alu axle and no pressure-equalization to match Schmidt's design.  The _Bicycle Quarterly_ Reader's Review has an interesting discussion related to this hub and clutchless hubs in general: http://groups.google.com/group/bqrr/browse_thread/thread/892d834880ec2fcf  From what I have seen so far (and lacking objective test data), I believe Shutter's dynohubs - both clutched and extremely lightweight clutchless -- show some real promise at about half the cost of the Schmidt offerings with the same 26 poles. They have also come up with a plano-convex collimating fisheye-lensed LED headlight that looks promising in terms of output if not beam pattern and has a 9-minute standlight.  Stay tuned, I think Shutter are due to come on strong.

Best,

Dan.


« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 08:58:57 AM by Danneaux »

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Re: Battery-charging: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2012, 06:34:40 PM »
Hi All,

Tout Terrain just wrote me with more information regarding their forthcoming Extra Power attachment for their The Plug 2:
Quote
Through the PAT cable the power output of the Plug II can be optimized. This is particularly useful for users of smart phones or rechargeable batteries that want to maximize their power output on the road. For example, if you need to go 25km/ h to charge an iPhone with the Plug II you only need 18km/ h with the PAT cable. The PAT cable is sitting between the plug and the dynamo in the fork tube, so there are no other cables necessary outside.

More details and photographs should appear on their website soon.  See: http://www.en.tout-terrain.de/accessories/electric-power-supply/the-plug-ii/

Best,

Dan.