Author Topic: Battery-charging: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?  (Read 39683 times)

Danneaux

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Hi All,

SJS Cycles now carry The Plug 2 Extra Power, marketed as the PAT cable, standing for "Power Amplification Technology":
http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/tout-terrain-plug-pat-power-cable-for-the-plug-ii-prod27694/
Price is 23.50 (USD$36.77 at the time this is written) alone, but only 20/USD$31.29 additional if bundled with a TTTP2 purchase. About USD$42 ppd to the western US.

Basically, it is a replacement power cable running between the dynohub and TTTP2 mounted atop the steerer. Midway (and inside the steerer), there is a screw-top capsule containing insulating gel and the needed circuitry.

Tout Terrain now describe The Plug 2 Extra power as...
Quote
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.
...with a user testimonial, saying...
Quote
Testimonials
User Henk T. comments the PAT technology: "Exactly as you wrote the hub (SON DELUX) now starts charging the iPhone 4 if I cycle around 18km/hr. On a three hour ride overall ride,..., and an average ride speed of around 17.5 km/hr the iPhone remained charged to exactly the starting level. So I am very impressed now with the set-up. I can only commend the excellent Tout Terrain after sales service..."
See:  http://www.en.tout-terrain.de/accessories/electric-power-supply/the-plug-ii/

Looking at the chart below (attached pic), it appears the PAT unit shifts the output curve so more power is produced at lower speed, just as one would hope. The chart is titled "Performance Curve Comparison".*

As soon as I learn a bit more about it, I'll probably install one and offer a full report.

Best,

Dan.
*[EDIT: Supernova now carry the TTTP2 with their own name sillscreened on it instead of Tout Terrain. Their version includes the PAT cable, and is described as...
Quote
Supernova The Plug II Plus ? USB power supply  

Transforms dynamo AC to exact USB spec. DC 5V, 500 mA
E?Bike compatible for 12? 48V DC with optional cable
Works with Garmin, Ipod&Iphone 3GS & 4G
Plus?Version, now with 50% improved low speed charging!
New, power?enhancing PAT?Cable included.
See: http://www.supernova-lights.com/shop/SUPERNOVA_PREISE_2011-43.pdf
SJS Cycles also carry the PAT unit alone or with the Plug2 as the Plug2 Plus. See: http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/page/find/?name=the%20plug&page=1 ]
« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 04:04:55 AM by Danneaux »

Danneaux

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Hi All,

This evening, I ordered a Tout Terrain PAT (Power-Amplification Technology) cord, also known as a Tout Terrain Extra Power for The Plug2.

I think I will splice into the existing TTTP2 wire I have already attached to the fork blade, rather than replace it entirely, but we'll see when it arrives. Because I used separate zip-ties for the computer cabling, I only have to deal with one lead, so it won't be much trouble to go either way. Just clip the zip-ties, remove the front wheel, fender, and TTTP2 cap, and swap cables. I already have a second set of piggyback connectors for the SON terminals and the light leads will simply slip on to those as they do the original TTTP2 piggyback terminals I soldered on when I first installed the unit. The PAT is essentially the same cable as the original, but with a gel- or silicon-filled capsule shielding the amplification circuitry inside a plastic screw-capped tube. It all fits in the steerer in the same way as the original lead, and shows every promise of lowering the speed at which maximum power is produced.

After considerable thought, I realize the TTTP2 is the heart of my onboard power-generating capability (along with the SON28), so it pays to maximize output there first before considering other gadgets, like solar panels and such to augment my efforts to recharge gadgets. Anything I can do to boost power at the source will only be reflected in reduced charging times and increased capability to charge or actually power higher-drain/current-draw devices, especially if crawling along dirt and gravel roads or uphill when speeds are lower than on the flat or on good roads.

On the wish list of gadgets/projects:

- A full set of custom USB adapters, as soon as I can solder them together. Needed for cell phone, electric razor, direct-power to GPS. Already have leads done for MP3 player and AA/AAA rechargers (for SteriPen water pruifier, GPS, LED headlight, LED blinky, multiband radio).
- A netbook or tablet with keyboard of some sort for in-camp journaling and light photo editing, and to connect at Internet cafes.
- A buffer battery as an extended power supply for high-draw/drain gadgets, to be topped-off by the TTTP2.
- Solar panels to augment TTTP2 charging, since the TTTP2 is good for recharging only one device. <-- It may be possible to split the lead and power two low-draw gadgets at reduced power if the PAT works as I hope. It might just be possible to power two AA/AAA cell battery chargers at once. We'll see, as it will take some calculation depending on actual output once the PAT arrives. I do think solar makes sense for an auxiliary charging system, and adds no additional drag to forward progress.
- GoPro Hero2 vidcam USB recharger.
- New Panasonic Lumix TZ-30 with direct USB charging. Till then, I'll be hacking the spare charger on my TZ-5.

Onward!

Full report when the PAT arrives and is installed.

Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2012, 11:47:23 PM by Danneaux »

Pavel

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Dan ... it sounds like you are a candidate for your own travel-behind Nuclear power generating station, with all those devices!  Small towns draw less power! :)

Have you considered taking along a trailer?  If a trailer is used one could put a dyno in it and use that to power devices while the front does a bit of that along with the lights or just the lights.  Four trailers like that - and ya would be set to go! ;)

I have the ewerk but regret buying it.  As far as portability is concerned I would not recommend it because of the cabling issues.  My sore point is that it is large and unwieldily and I wish I had sprung for the better integration of the TT Plug2.  I didn't because I could not get any information from them by email.

My needs are more simple.  I have a Garmin 62s gps which I like very much and I would simply like to plug it in and have the dyno power it, rather than carry and replace batteries every 20-30 hours.  The problem is that this device is programed poorly in my opinion and one of the annoyances that makes me see red is the notification that an external power source has been found each and every single time that one increases speed over approximately five miles per hour and its evil twin, the notification that we have lost contact.  Grrrrr!  It requires, of course a press of the button to banish - for the next few seconds.  It is completely unusable as I had envisioned using it of course.  I could of course buy the $105 dollar ewerk battery and find five inches of space somewhere on the frame to really make my Thorn ugly ... but I've just given up instead and burn batteries.  :(

I'd invest in the TT Plug2 if there was a way to get what I want done, but without any overgrown batteries zip tied or glued onto my bike.  How big would a battery have to be to simply ride out the fluctuations in output for up to, say, five minutes? 

Keep us posted on further details and dyno adventures.  It is very interesting to have yours and others here experiences.


Danneaux

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Pavel!

I have the solution for you.
Quote
The problem is that this device is programed poorly in my opinion and one of the annoyances that makes me see red is the notification that an external power source has been found each and every single time that one increases speed over approximately five miles per hour and its evil twin, the notification that we have lost contact.  Grrrrr!  It requires, of course a press of the button to banish - for the next few seconds.
The Garmin can be put into Spanner Mode and that will keep it from thinking it is in data-transfer mode when plugged into a USB connection that is not powered by a computer. A simple switch of the software/firmware options and you're set. The correct procedure is: Go to setup, system; under interface select Garmin Spanner. It will now give you the option of connecting or powering the unit.

But...!

That proved an annoyance to me. When I wished to use it per usual, it was always in the wrong (Spanner) mode after using on "bike power". Didn't want to mess with it when I plugged it into the computer to up/download maps and waypoints.

So...!

The solution is one of these, a USB power cable intended for car-charging:
https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=15429
There are cheap/fake ones available on eBay that are of good quality and wired correctly for 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of OEM Garmin units. What you want is one that will operate as the Garmin car-power unit and will keep the GPS from entering data-transfer mode when plugged-in. Look for that proviso in the eBay seller's description. One of my favorite sellers for these is based in Reno.

The defining characteristic is in the USB cable. Garmin wire theirs differently from USB standards such that the ground is relocated (at least on my Oregon 400T; you may be able to use an ordinary USB cable on your specific model;  I would have to consult my notes, which are not at hand).

Once you have the cable (again, in the case of an Oregon/Dakota series and, perhaps your 62s -- I'd have to look into it), it is a simple matter of grafting on a USB end with the proper polarity/wiring. The Garmins are high-draw units especially when the backlights are also on, and the rewiring is part of the power-threshold circuitry that determines charging vs. data transfer modes, hence the need to switch native modes in software. BTW: When you're running on internal battery power, be sure to check which source you've set in the software revision you're using, and be sure to update the software occasionally. Both will determine the accuracy of your Garmin's power meter when on internal batteries.

As it happens, running the GPS on external power will keep the backlight on all the time. To get around that: Under Setup>Display set Backlight Timeout to 15 Seconds and Battery Save to On. This will cause the screen to blank (turn off) after 15 seconds if it isn't being used. In the case "battery save" simply means the internal battery power is saved, but since it is not selected with external power; it stays on. The foregoing procedure is the override. At least on the "State" series like mine, the always-on default for the backlight is also full-bright. Do a power-interrupt at the switch to bring up the dimmer panel and do a manual override which will be good for the duration of use till power is interrupted. I can check, but the procedure will be essentially similar on yours.

On my Oregon 400T, plugging-in the unit to an external source will not charge the internal batteries. When you stop or your speed is too slow for sufficient power, the unit will switch to the internal batteries. <-- Remember this when you stop, or you will exhaust the internal batteries without realizing it. The solution is to remove the internal batteries and go solely with external power, knowing the unit will stop and tracking data will be lost without power. The foregoing is one reason why I ordered the TT PAT/ExtraPower unit for The Plug2; it has the effect of lowering the speed at which maximum power is produced, helpful for carging or directly powering high-drain/draw gadgets like smartphones and...GPS units.

So.

Put your Garmin 62s in Spanner mode and give it a try with an ordinary cable. If that doesn't power it, turn your interests to rewiring a proper car adapter to USB. Decide if you wish to keep a set of batteries inside the unit to serve as an uninterruptible power supply when stopped or going too slowly to power it directly.

Hope this helps, feel free to recontact me if you wish.

All the best,

Dan. (who is an ardent Garmin vivisectionist in his spare time )
« Last Edit: March 23, 2012, 10:41:08 PM by Danneaux »

Danneaux

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Quote
I have the ewerk but regret buying it.
Pavel, I'm so sorry the e-werk is not meeting your needs; how disappointing! You've touched on the core issue that caused me to start some of the threads in this topic, with the goal of creating a database of practical experience to avoid a disappointing purchase (or one inappropriate to one's own needs).

In the case of the e-werk, some of our Forum members have had stellar luck with them, but may employ them in different ways or use them to successfully power other kinds of gadgets. One of their shining advantages is they are tunable to a variety of voltages and outputs. In contrast, the TTTP2 provides only USB output ~5 volts. This does tend to limit its use to either directly powering or recharging USB devices, or using it to trickle-charge a larger-capacity buffer battery that in turn powers high drain/draw gadgets. I have to admit, since buying my TTTP2, I now cast an eye at every prospective gadget's spec sheet to see if it is USB-rechargeable. I'll be picking up a wall-plug USB charger so I can continue to power my gadgets from the mains during my rare motel stays.

In all truth, there are some downsides to my charging system, though they are minor for me (perhaps more important to others). Among them:
- I do feel the drag of the SON28 when it is generating power. It is not overwhelming or near as much as any other generator I have used, but it is noticeable to me. When the dynohub is not generating power ("off") it is truly unnoticeable to me (but i have not substituted a conventional wheel to do comparative coast-down tests, either).

- The SON28 on my particular fork/wheel produces some vibration, thanks to the magnetic flux-field when power is being generated. It does help to have the skewer tight. If one had really sensitive/sore/arthritic hands, I believe it could be a problem, and has been noted by others online:
http://lovelybike.blogspot.com/2011/08/bad-vibrations.html
http://swhs.home.xs4all.nl/fiets/tests/verlichting/dynamos/Schmidt_son28/index_en.html

- Not everyone takes to the aesthetic of The Plug2 atop the steerer.

- Despite being well-shielded/sealed against water and including a silicone plug, I plan to create a little "shower cap" for the TTTP2 to prevent it getting clogged with corrosive playa dust when desert touring. I fear the socket could be a potential weak point in this regard, though there is no sign if it and I think it extremely unlikely to cause a problem in practice. The cut-off finger of a Nitrile glove works handily as a quick shower cap.

- I probably won't be able to charge my gadgets when it is very wet, 'cos the USB cords used to connect my gadgets are not waterproof at the connections. I do think the e-werk may have an advantage in this regard, with screw-thread-shielded connections.

So many of these generate-your-own-power devices are unduly expensive because they have a limited market and lack economies of scale. Part of their limited appeal is because they are so expensive and many are largely handmade. They're still stalled at the chicken-and-egg stage of development, manufacture, and marketing. It is often difficult to get hard facts, figures, and specs on them, even from the manufacturers. I have taken to writing bilingual letters of inquiry using Google Translate. Though I am sure they come across as fractured, the recipients seem to appreciate the effort and I get a high response rate. It helps to see it from the other end, as well: Some of the very nice people I met in Europe were reluctant to speak English because (they admitted) a lot of time had passed since high school English and they were afraid they'd mess up and unintentionally offend me. Once we got past that hurdle, we had a grand time and did amazingly well, thanks to a lot of hand-waving, sound effects, and drawn pictures. Apparently, I draw cows and chickens pretty well, as I never had trouble ordering a meal.

Here's a thought: If the e-werk ultimately doesn't prove fit for your needs, how about offering it on the "For Sale" board of the Forum? If you could recover a substantial part of the cost, it might help fund something more appropriate to your needs and give someone their "dream charger" at a bit of a discount.

I still dream of a large maker -- Shimano comes to mind -- who could employ existing production capacity to make a really superb charging system available at a reasonable price. Really, the circuitry involved is pretty basic. The real bugaboo is packaging and (lack of) mass production.

If there's anything I can help with, just ask. Chances are, the same unvoiced questions are on the minds of others.

Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 07:19:02 PM by Danneaux »

allywatt

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Pavel,

Just to prove our mutual friend Dan correct, I am one of I suspect several potential e-werk vultures ready to swoop on any 'for sale' add that you may post in the future. Yours hopefully...

Ali

hdarwen

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Dan

I'd be very interested in your view of the PAT cable. Currently have a TT Plug 2 off a SON28 and while it's good, am finding it can't charge an iPhone with the lights on at all. OK, have only tested this on flat roads around West London but my feeling is you need to be going over 30kmh to get it to start charging at all when lights are on. Am wondering if the PAT will help with this - though it will be a pain to install as i have a star nut at the top (for the Plug) and bottom (for the lights) of the steerer, and I don't really fancy removing one again to be honest. FYI, the top nut is a BMX one that allows cable routing, the bottom nut is smaller and I had to cut and file a wing off to get the cable through. I found the expander bolt just didn't fit in the steerer tube without considerable filing and the star nut just felt better.

During daytime, with no lights, I seem to be getting charging OK at somewhere between 15 and 20 kmh - it's difficult to know exactly, but is definitely below 20. Am also trying a power monkey classic as a cache battery. Not done much with this yet but have a feeling this charges at a slower speed than the iPhone and gives a bit of continuity to the charge obviously. What happens longer term if the iPhone pulls more than the SON charges the battery I am not sure.

Am also considering a Biologic Reecharge case as a combined cache/case as all the cables and adapters you need between the Plug, Battery and iPhone are a bit of a faff and don't add to any weatherproofing for sure.

Anyway, if you have any luck with the PAT, I'd be very interested. Do you know how it is secured in the steerer tube? Or does it just hang and bang about?

Thx.

Howard.

Danneaux

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Hi Howard,

Yes! I'll surely post on how the PAT works out. It should arrive within a week, and then the old wiring has to be replaced with the new and then some instrumented test rides will follow.

Quote
...my feeling is you need to be going over 30kmh to get it to start charging at all when lights are on. Am wondering if the PAT will help with this...
If TT's claims and chart are acurate, it should.

It is supposed to address the very situation you describe -- when a high-draw/high-drain gadget is connected to the Plug2, it sometimes pulls more current than can be supplied during operation at a reasonable speed. Supposedly, the PAT lowers the speed where appropriate power is produced.

Without the PAT (or if it doesn't fulfill its claimed benefits), one can still plug in and charge such thirsty gadgets, but they must be in a turned-off state or the charging can't keep up with demand. It would also help if they didn't have to be recharged from flat. A topoff will bring better results.

With or without the cord, I wouldn't expect to power and charge a high-draw device with the lights on. Whenever the power is split between lighting and charging, the charging will at least take longer. If the PAT makes it possible to get reasonable charging speeds with the lights on, so much the better!

Quote
During daytime, with no lights, I seem to be getting charging OK at somewhere between 15 and 20 kmh - it's difficult to know exactly, but is definitely below 20
This sounds about right, Howard. I'm finding the green "Charging OK" light comes on solid at about 8-12kph with no load attached. Watch the TTTP2 green LED carefully; it will blink of the gadget demands more juice than it can supply. It shows up pretty well outdoors, but may require a little hand-shade to see on a bright sunny day.

Howard, there's some basic problems when charging devices by bicycle:
- The dynohub's output increases with speed.
- To prevent damage to the device being charged, the charging adapter (The Plug2, in this case), must rectify the current from the dynohub's AC to DC.
- To prevent damage to the device being charged, the charging adapter (The Plug2, in this case), must regulate the voltage and current produced by the dynohub.
- In the case of The Plug2, the voltage and current are rectified and regulated to USB standards, which are a nominal 5vdc@500ma.

To keep things in perspective, 500milliAmps is the same as .5Amps.
To convert amps to watts, use the formula below:
P=IE (Power = Current * Voltage)
P=(0.5)E
Plug in the value of E and you will get P
Walking through it, we have .5A x 5 volts = 2.5/.5 = 1.25 watts <-- 1.25 watts isn't much. Seeing it reported as watts kinda keeps the output in perspective.

Now, here's the dirty little secret of USB devices: A USB plug or socket may look identical, but how much current is produced or drawn varies dramatically. Most people will notice their iPhones charge a lot faster when plugged into the dedicated charger than when plugged into their computer's USB socket. The iPhone has a specified range of current it will accept, and while it can charge on a computer USB port, it will charge faster on the high-output provided by its dedicated charger. The same is true of many devices, and will become ever more true as gadgets become more power-hungry. Yes, they may be able to trickle-charge on computer-standard USB power, but charge *and* run? Eh, mebbe not.

Here's the deal:

- When attached to a dynohub, The Plug2 puts out a computer standard USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 output, so let's look at that. USB 1.1 and 2.0 are the same, supplying 5v at 500mA. There is a little tolerance allowed, so the actual range in *voltage* may vary from 4.5vdc to 5vdc. The standard for USB 3 is 900mA; USB 3 allows backward compatibility, faster data transfer *and* higher power output, but at this time is fairly new, so we're pretty well stuck with USB 1.1/2.0 *output* standards for now. Now, here's the thing: Not all computers can put out the same amount of power, and laptops are often among the worst in reaching consistently high standard output. The second part of this is not all computer ports on a given machine have the same output, as the power is often split from a main supply. And, sometimes, the manufacturer includes extra USB ports for convenience sake, not because they think a person will use them all at once. I tested a couple netbooks recently, and voltage at the USB ports could drop to as low as 3.3vdc when multiple devices were plugged in. Their power supplies aren't terribly robust because they generally don't need to be. To get enough power to run things like portable external hard drives, most such gadgets include a second USB cord so the supply power can be combined. That pretty well sums up a thumbnail sketch of the supply side.

- Now, here's the consumer side: Gadgets are designed/programmed for a range of power consumption and to tolerate a range in supply power. Many require more power to charge-from-flat-dead than they do to top-off. While many will tolerate a computer-standard USB output for trickle-charging, they are really designed for use with a supplied higher-output, dedicated mains adapter. Given this, one can't really expect the same results when plugging a high-drain/draw gadget into a computer-standard USB socket, whether it be on the computer or The Plug2.

A Danneaux prognostication: The Plug3 will operate on USB 3 standards and produce 5 volts at 900mA. It's commmminnnng.... It almost has to. And yes, it will probably require buying a new Plug, since I don't think the existing circuitry can be boosted to those levels with a wiring adapter like the PAT. Time will tell.

Added to all the above, not all gadget makers adhere to USB wiring standards. Garmin is one such, and it means adapting an OEM cable or making one's own. iPhones can be problematic with some chargers for this very reason, though it seems to be compatible with The Plug2. There is sometimes the opposite case where a device can be damaged by too much power; that's why gadget manufacturers sometimes issue cautions about not using their devices with other chargers.

One has to be really mindful of the wire used in the adapter cords, as well, as that can account for considerable voltage drop due to variations in electrical resistance. Not all USB connecting-cords are equal! I can't emphasize that enough. Even a poor solder connection can make a significant difference, and most USB connector connections are sealed, so you can't readily view them (a digital volt/ohm multimeter will quickly become your friend). Get a "bad" connecting cord/adapter, and it will compromise the charging of any device plugged into the system.

If one wishes to delve more deeply into USB power standards, two really good starting points for beginners are:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Serial_Bus
...and...
http://www.extremetech.com/computing/115251-how-usb-charging-works-or-how-to-avoid-blowing-up-your-smartphone

Quote
it will be a pain to install
Howard, I share your pain! If you can substitute the Tout Terrain expander plug at the top, it will help at that end. It won't help at the bottom, due to the butting at the bottom of the steerer -- it makes for a smaller inside diameter. Removing a star-fangled nut is not as hard as it seems. See my post here for an easier method: http://www.thorncycles.co.uk/forums/index.php?topic=3800.0 Is there another way than a SFN to mount the headlights? Could they instead clamp to the handlebars or a fork leg or perhaps mount to the fork crown?

[EDIT: How 'bout using an expanding, plastic handlebar plug? Either lathe-turn it down in diameter, or carve on it or sand it down. Saw or Dremel a kerf in the side of the expander and plug, and you should have a good substitute for the lower SFN so you can still mount your lights, but with less hassle.]

Having just gotten my wiring buttoned-up to perfection, I'm a bit reluctant to mess with it myself. Thorn (thoughtfully!) mount a plate across the bottom of the steerer and thread it in two places to mount the front fender. That plate leaves little clearance on each side for snaking connectors through (and one has to have that clearance to allow for eventual headset replacement, for example). I may use a Dean's connector (Model 2NB, P/N 1002/1225 http://www.wsdeans.com/products/plugs/micro_plug.html ) with the existing lower wiring. Boom, done. And, it would ease future service.

You asked...
Quote
Do you know how it is secured in the steerer tube? Or does it just hang and bang about?
Good question! I think it just slides into the steerer, held by the extra length of the lead wire stuffed in around it. I'm a bug about having no rattles on the bike, and this worried me about the TTTP2, but so far no noise with the extra lead wire doubled over itself in the steerer. I don't think the PAT has much mass, and will be problem-free. Yes, it will almost have to hang from The Plug's power connector. <-- That's the part that has me worried. TT say you can simply pull it apart with firm pressure, but I am worried. Mess that up and it would be an expensive venture.

This whole idea of generating one's own power when riding is still in its infancy and requires learning a bit before jumping into the deep end of the pool. Standards and requirements are changing by the day, and so much depends on which gadget you decide to charge. It is hard to approach the whole idea purely from a consumer standpoint. While almost any setup will produce a minimal charge, I have concluded one must be either a) somewhat lucky or b) resigned to becoming a Junior Engineer in order to get the best results. Use will also require some discipline and planning. I think I will have to learn to keep an eye on my batteries while on-tour, and top-off as necessary. It looks like I will have to budget about 2.4 hrs per AA battery for charging, which means about 5 hours per pair, and 10 hours for a set of four (day's riding = one complete set of batteries charged from flat). I have found batteries make a huge difference (more on that in another post) and so does adapter lead wire gauge and electrical resistance, but that is a topic for a future post as well.

Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 10:05:42 PM by Danneaux »

Pavel

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Pavel,

Just to prove our mutual friend Dan correct, I am one of I suspect several potential e-werk vultures ready to swoop on any 'for sale' add that you may post in the future. Yours hopefully...

Ali

Ali, I'm square on the fence about selling the E-Werk, right now.  Round one didn't go as planned and while I consider the E-werk to be excellent I don't think I will get on with the idea of hanging all those cables from the bike if I go for the seemingly necessary battery to go with it.  I'vechanged to spanner mode as Dan has suggested - thanks Dan! (but think that I had tried that before with the same results - can't remember for sure - will let everyone know when I try the E-Werk again)

I'm now in the process of thinking about having the E-Werk permanently inside one of the front bags.  That would perhaps work out very well - well, until the first time I remove the bag without disconecting the wires!  If that doesn't work out ... I'll put the E-Werk for sale here first.  :)

allywatt

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Pavel,

Thanks for the update.

When I eventually get round to owning an ewerk, I think I'll probably try the same and stuff the charger and battery either in one of my front panniers or in a separate small baggie of some description.  Thinking about you taking the pannier off the bike and forgetting about the cable, there may be some way to arrange the connections and cables to either prevent you from taking the pannier off before disconnecting or arranging for them to disconnect automatically though the action of lifting the pannier - a bit like a docking manoeuvre.

Good luck with the trials.  I'm going on a 5 day tour next week and I'm going to try and keep my iphone alive with my power monkey and stealing some electricity from the odd campsite.  Although Scotland is remote and unspoilt in many respects, there are very few areas that aren't within reach of civilisation and a wall plug.  I do feel guilty that I'll be taking the dynohub for a free ride though!

Danneaux

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...I do feel guilty that I'll be taking the dynohub for a free ride though!
No, no, no...what you do is forget the flashlight at home, so when you need to read at night, you just spin the front wheel and <presto!> you've got light. Saves weight, ecologically friendly, and you're really using that dynohub; what's not to love?  ;D

Best wishes for a great trip, Ali.

Dan.

Danneaux

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Hi all,

We had a break in the weather and I had some time today, so what better to do than lay-in some baseline voltage numbers for the Tout Terrain The Plug 2?

I dismembered a USB Type "A" cable and grafted on some alligator clips so I could attach them to the multimeter placed in my Ortlieb handlebar bag. I then rode the bike with the lights switched off (no-load) and learned a few things:

1) The Plug 2 indicator light does indeed come on only when it is producing a nominal 5 volts.

2) On my sample, "a nominal 5 volts" is 4.94-4.95vdc, within the USB 2.0 standard and published standard design tolerances. For reference, two multimedia laptops here put out 5.08-5.09 volts from all four USB ports, the gaming laptop puts out 5.03-5.04 from all three unloaded USB ports, and a Quad-core i7 laptop puts out 5.0 to 5.01vdc from all unloaded ports. All laptops were running on regulated AC power through their factory power supplies (most laptops drop their USB output a bit when on battery power, depending on user software-selected power-saver settings).

3) The Plug 2 when attached to my SON28 with the lights off no-load) produces a nominal 5 volts from 4.75mph/7.6kph and up.

4) Total voltage through The Plug 2 is capped at a nominal 5 vdc maximum regardless of speed (or up to 28mph/45kph in my testing).

5) Voltage is well-established and regulated through The Plug 2. What I was not able to test today is current (amperage). The USB 2.0 standard calls for a nominal 5vdc at 500mA (or .5A). Devices are allowed to negotiate with the circuit for higher amperage depending on demand and the design and type of supply and demand circuits. To test amperage, I need to wire my meter in series with a load. Unfortunately, while I can create a dummy load or create a load using, say, rechargeable batteries of a known capacity and whatever current draw for the charging adapter, I will need to borrow another multitimeter for the tests, since mine only reads to 200mA.

I hope to get some baseline current readings before the PAT (Power Amplification Technology) cable arrives. I've been looking at the wiring, and plan to splice into the cables I've already mounted, using some Dean's R/C gold-plated micro-connectors. This way, the PAT can be easily swapped out for the original plain lead, and I can make clear A/B comparisons with and without the PAT. Plus, I don't have to restring the wires on the fork and make the tricky routing between the fender and fork crown, which is perfectly neat at present.  ;) The purpose of the PAT is to keep the same regulated voltage, but reduce the speed at which maximum current is produced. Another way to look at that is to say more current is produced at lower speed, appropriate for high-drain/draw devices like smart phones (and the recharging of high-capacity NiMH) batteries).

I do know when a load is introduced to the circuit, the green "adequate power" light takes longer to come on (comes on at a higher speed). This is true when the dynohub is also powering the lights, which place a load on the charging circuit.

I've got to make a little better camera rig for future testing; I was pretty busy noting readings, braking and shifting, while taking photographs. I went to an abandoned store parking lot so I wouldn't have to worry about running into things or being run over. Those with a sharp eye will note the Planet Bike Protege 9.0 computer's speed is higher than that shown on the Garmin 400T GPS. This is because the computer has a laggy display that holds its readings a fraction longer than the GPS when accelerating or decelerating.

Best,

Dan.


rualexander

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No, no, no...what you do is forget the flashlight at home, so when you need to read at night, you just spin the front wheel and <presto!> you've got light. Saves weight, ecologically friendly, and you're really using that dynohub; what's not to love?  ;D

Best wishes for a great trip, Ali.

Dan.
Dan,
Reading this 'bright' idea of yours has just turned a lightbulb on in my own brain, how about this :
Make up some clip on mini wind turbine blades that attach to your spokes, flip the bike upside down when parked up at the campsite at night, align the front wheel to best catch the wind, and feed a cable from the hub into the tent, and bingo!

Danneaux

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Hi Rual!

I gave this idea an airing earlier (nylon fabric fan blades on spokes to generate electricity in desert night breezes while I slept), and actually tried it here recently. The problem is -- unless one is camped in a windy place like The Netherlands or perhaps the Scottish coast -- the Schmidt dynohub requires too much initial torque to get going. Once going, it kinds limps along, then stops. The real problem is the angle of incidence for the fan blades. Stringing the nylon fabric diagonally across the spokes is not enough angle, and the wind just kind of flattens against them. Though the ground speed needed to produce sufficient electricity isn't much, it sure looks fast when it is just the wheel spinning. Spinning the wheel by hand runs out very quickly, unless there is enough mass to create a flywheel effect. I hung weights evenly spaced 'round the wheel, and it kept spinning for quite awhile longer. Of course, the greater mass required greater inertia to get moving, so it kind of evened out.

I haven't given up entirely on the idea...it is just too tantalizing to ignore. The thing is, the bike still has to be quickly configurable for day riding (imagine the possibilities in a crosswind; yikes!  :o ), but ah, just imagine going to sleep with flat batteries and awakening to find the charged! Yes, brilliant.

There was a young man in Africa I read about last year who provided (extremely limited...it amounted to one small light bulb being lit) electricity to his village by mounting a bicycle wheel in a fork and placing it atop a homemade tower. The generator was an old, poor-quality sidewall generator rubbing on the tire. When I read about it, I kept thinking, "Hmm. What would happen if he had a SON28 and some good LED lighting and a Plug2?".

Keep those ideas coming!

Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2012, 06:34:08 PM by Danneaux »

Danneaux

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Hi All,

The Plug 2 arrived in the mail, and the attached photo shows some details.

Basically, it is 3ft/.91m of wire that loops into a small, capped plastic tube filled with blue epoxy, encasing some electrical circuitry. Despite the primitive appearance, this is a proven method for weatherproofing small circuits, and one I successfully employed years ago when I made my own 6v/3w regulators for unregulated sidewall and BB dynamos used with incandescent bulbs. TT thoughtfully stripped the insulation from the ends, so it is ready for soldering or crimping to terminals for attachment to the dynamo. The package includes no directions, but it would be hard to go wrong: One end attaches to The Plug2, while the other attaches to the dynamo.

The length is just about perfect to attach to my SON28 dynohub as-is with my uncut steerer, but I plan to instead cut the existing lead and splice in some Dean's gold-plated micro-connectors, making the lot deparable. That will allow me to swap leads between the PAT and the original if I wish, keeps the existing fork lead installation intact, and allows for quick and easy future headset maintenance. As noted, Thorn welds a plate across the bottom of the steerer for convenient fender (mudguard) mounting. This leaves a small opening at each site that is not large enough to pass the PAT. Best to allow for future service now to make future  bearing or headset replacement that much easier.

Given the length of doubled-over lead that will be in the steerer along with the PAT, I don't think rattles will be a problem. I won't tolerate rattles, so if they prove to be a problem, I will insert a small strip of Evazote foam in the steerer to prevent movement and noise. The reason for leaving the lead long is to allow sufficient slack to attach and remove The Plug2 lead.

I'll try to get some photos of the existing installation as it comes apart, and of the new one as I install it. My only qualm involves detaching the original Plug2 micro-Molex style connector. I think it is a 2mm pitch Micro-Lok, but the pierced wire connections look like they wouldn't take much tugging. TT say it removes with a simple, firm pull of the connector, but I've had the retention tangs on similar connectors fracture in the past, so I feel some trepidation (the mating half is part of The Plug2 and irreplaceable as far as I can see so failure there would be Expensive). I may leave the original lead and connector intact on The Plug 2, and simply go with splicing the lead. I'll see how it looks when I open it up again.

Best,

Dan.