Author Topic: Battery-charging: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?  (Read 39681 times)

simonthebum

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Re: Battery-charging: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?
« Reply #45 on: October 19, 2012, 07:55:44 PM »
Hi Danneaux,

Thanks for your very helpful reply. I think I should have put a bit more detail in my question to save you a lot of typing.

I am trying to charge 2 AA batteries using a Plug 2 plus. I have tried 2 different chargers and lots of batteries. Everything is new and has been tested at 40kph. The chargers and batteries work fine from a PC usb. I have no lights.

A possible solution. :)

I spoke to Josh at SJS today and he said that there had been a few Plug 2 plus's returned with problems and he no longer recommended them. He advised to return it and they would replace it with a Plug 2 (Reliable and recommended) and refund the difference.

As a non PAT cable is supplied with the Plus I tried and it worked fine. So it would appear I have a faulty PAT cable.

I'll speak to Josh Monday and see if I can return just the PAT for refund and let you know how I get on.

Cheers Simon

simonthebum

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Re: Battery-charging: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?
« Reply #46 on: October 23, 2012, 08:37:38 PM »
Hi Danneaux,

Spoke to Jamie at SJS about my problem PAT cable and he says Tout Terrain are aware of the issue and are working on a fix.

So I am returning my PAT cable for a refund and going to see if Tout Terrain can come up with some thing more reliable.

Yours still working OK?

Cheers Simon

Danneaux

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Re: Battery-charging: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?
« Reply #47 on: October 23, 2012, 09:49:37 PM »
Hi Simon,

So far so good when my TT PAT was briefly on Sherpa ( installed it near the end of my time with the bike); I have yet to install it on the Nomad. I'll be keeping a weather eye on it, and greatly appreciate your passing the word along to me and others; thanks!  I feel sure Tout Terrain will come up with a solution, and quickly.

Please keep us updated if you hear any of new developments, and I will do the same.

All the best,

Dan.

grivai

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Re: Battery-charging: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?
« Reply #48 on: December 14, 2012, 12:34:08 AM »

I also like the Freeloader Pro Globetrotter ...

http://www.solartechnology.co.uk/shop/globetrotter-pro.htm

I have had it for some years for walking and it works well. Much smaller capacity (1600 mAh) hence the requirement for a larger cache battery. I would still take it on tour to charge camera and digital SLR camera batteries as it has a 9.5 v setting and caddy to do so.

....I just purchased the PowerMonkey extreme - but now have concerns that SLR batteries are the one thing that may not be chargeable on tour...do you know of any options/possibilities aside from using the Globetrotter?...don't really want to have to purchase another charger/battery setup :o

PS. Brilliant thread! I'll be taking ownership of the SON 28 and TTP2+ soon....I hope the faults they have had don't plague me as well....

Thanks guys.

Danneaux

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Re: Battery-charging: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?
« Reply #49 on: December 14, 2012, 04:09:45 AM »
Quote
...now have concerns that SLR batteries are the one thing that may not be chargeable on tour...do you know of any options/possibilities aside from using the Globetrotter?...don't really want to have to purchase another charger/battery setup...
Hi Ivan, and welcome to the Forum!

<nods> Yes, charging DSLR or other camera batteries with a bicycle-based charger is particularly problematic due to the wide range of battery voltages and charging currents involved. I'm not sure how deeply you want to go into finding or building solutions, but I can give a quick summary by saying you definitely don't want to overcharge your batteries, yet -- particularly with Li-ion batteries, there is a certain threshold that has to be exceeded for the battery to accept a charge. At the same time, Li-ion batteries don't really like to be trickle-charged. It can take a lot of research and effort to find a solution in some cases.

In general, when it comes to charging camera batteries, you'll find eBay is your friend, especially when it comes to finding unusual charging solutions from China. I went this route to recharge the Li-ion batteries used in my Panasonic TZ-5 travel zoom camera. What I found looks a bit like a spring-loaded clothes pin that clamps onto the battery. At one end, a pair of spring-loaded pins contact the battery terminals, and the other end terminates in a foldable USB male plug (see attached composite pic). I paid USD$2.99 for mine, postpaid from Hong Kong. It arrived 11 days after ordering.

eBay also sells a number of camera-specific wall/mains chargers that also will work from a 12-volt DC car lighter socket or have a plug-in USB connection. That last option is the one to look for, 'cos it means the charger not only works with your camera's battery, but with USB charging as well. These things are really reasonable...usually around USD$8-12 complete.

There are other options, as well, including modifying an OEM charger, also acquired from eBay at lesser cost and risk so you can preserve your original. In many case, if it is clear the mains voltage is reduced to somewhere around 4.5-5.5VDC, it is possible to splice into the circuit with a USB extension cable, and call it done. In other cases, if the factory adapter's output is close to USB, you can simply buy a spare, along with a USB extension, cut off the unneeded ends, and splice them together (typically only two power wires need connecting; there's a couple little tricks, but it is easy and much of the internal shielding is unneeded for charging applications as the cable won't be carrying data signals). I did something like this to charge my Panasonic electric shaver, mating the OEM adapter end with a standard USB connection. It works wonderfully, and charges at the same rate plugged into the bike as it did when powered by the mains through the supplied adapter. The shaver can now be charged by plugging into a computer or a mains-powered AC-to-USB DC adapter, about an inch square and taking up little space in my panniers. I still have the original, unaltered mains charger as well.

There's another option as well, if your camera offers in-body battery charging, perhaps via an external power jack under a side panel. If the camera can be powered by a Mains adapter, chances are there's a user-selectable option that will allow the battery to be charged in-camera...and often with USB-levels of voltage and current; it's worth checking your owner's manual. It is generally useless to contact the manufacturer with a query, as they always default to recommending their devices *only* be used with OEM chargers, adapters, and even cords.

A good first step toward rigging a camera battery charger is to check the label on the back of your OEM wall charger and in your owner's manual (either paper or online at the manufacturer's website). These will list the charging voltage as well as the charging current (typically greater than the device's operating current), which is really important, as batteries and devices can be as readily damaged by excessive current as by over-voltage. This is something that is causing increasing confusion among users as manufacturers (Apple leading the pack) include computer-based and quick-charging mains options. Standard for computer USB is a nominal 5VDC @.5A. Mains-powered USB "quick-chargers" can output as much as 1.0-1.5A, which is fine so long as the device's charging circuitry allows for it. If your device is compatible, quick-charging can take half the time (at twice the current). If your device is incompatible...it may become a brick as something blows internally.

This is why computer-standard USB chargers are probably the safest bet for most people...they're automatically saved from having their devices fried by overvoltage/excessive current. Tout Terrain went this route for a reason, even though devices that *might* charge faster...won't do so as quickly. Better that than burning-out a critical piece of equipment (and many here would argue their MP3 players are um, "Mission Critical"; we all have our priorities). B&M's e-Werk is really a nice little charger when closely examined, and for what it does -- ably provide a user-selectible range of voltages and currents. It also comes with a disclaimer, stating very clearly that B&M are not responsible if you get the settings wrong (and they do a good job of urging owners to exercise due diligence in research their device-specific needs). The thing is...people get stoopid occasionally while on-tour (as in daily life but moreso). They get tired, wet, hungry, frustrated, scared, and distracted. It is usually on just those occasions they plug their exhausted batteries into the e-Werk and get a further surprise by frying them. I've heard from three people in the last 10 days who damaged their phones or GPS units 'cos they forgot and plugged them in with the setting set for higher demand-draw appliances and gadgets. Oops.

Suddenly, waiting a little longer to get things charged looks really attractive if it also comes with a failsafe. Of course, the same thing can be accomplished by setting the e-Werk to standard 5.0VDC @0.5A and just leaving it there, as do the many people I know who use them. For my needs, I can pretty well count on four hours' actual riding time being more than sufficient to charge anything I will have with me. Much less time is required if I don't wait till the battery is completely depleted. I try to charge when there is about 30%-40% left in the battery.

As an aside...I've tried very hard to either buy or convert every one of my carry-along gadgets to USB power or recharging. This means making a purchase decision if the device has an embedded (non-replaceable) battery, or using an intermediary battery charger if the device uses standard AA/AAA batteries. I also try very hard to choose devices that have replaceable batteries so I can simply swap in a spare if I am not going to be riding or need a device working more quickly than a battery can be charged. Eneloop AA/AAA batteries are terrific for this, and I typically carry one spare set for each type that is in-use and don't mind robbing batteries from my radio to power my LED blinky, for example; it means I can carry fewer spares to get me by if charging is not quick enough.

Keep in mind, too, that a high-capacity rechargeable battery might last longer in use...but it will also take longer (sometimes *much* longer) to charge. In my case, I "costed-out" the difference by device. On some, the high-capacity batteries made sense. For others, not so much...or I removed them for top-off more frequently than necessary to keep them up to snuff and so avoid a deep dischage and lengthy recharge-from-flat.

Remember, if your present PowerMonkey Extreme setup allows recharging through one channel at USB-standard rates and voltages, so all the above comments on USB charging should apply to you as well. The other channel supplies 5VDC@2.1A for charging iPads and other tablets. Just keep that difference in mind and use the ports appropriately for what you wish to charge at the moment; some of y above e-Werk cautions might apply.

Congratulations on the SON28 and TTTP2+; I think you'll have good luck, and if you don't, the warranty will come in handy and save you. It's all good!

Best,

Dan. (...who is keeping up with current affairs)
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 09:53:28 AM by Danneaux »

Andybg

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Re: Battery-charging: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?
« Reply #50 on: December 14, 2012, 10:34:07 AM »
Just a suggestion for a good touring camera. I have a Canon Powershot Sx20is and it is a fairly low cost / rugged camera which has the advantages for on tour of taking very good quality pictures / very powerful zoom and most importantly runs on standard or rechargable AA batteries.

Andy

StuntPilot

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Re: Battery-charging: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?
« Reply #51 on: December 14, 2012, 12:39:52 PM »
grival - me too. I have just purchased the Powermonkey Extreme (they had a 20 off promotion not long ago and I could not resist!)

I am very happy with this as a cache battery. It is rugged and waterproof (one of my main requirements) as well as having a great capacity and the solar panel as an additional charging option.

Like Dan, all devices I use are USB chargeable or use AA/AAA rechargeable batteries. As mentioned above, my Canon G9 camera though is charged from the Freeloader Pro digital camera battery via the charging caddy.

I decided against the e-Werk as fiddling with voltages put me off.

For digital SLR cameras there may be a work around. Many of the Digital SLRs can be fitted with an optional battery pack that takes AA batteries. The Nikon D7000 camera for example can take two of the cameras specific Nikon batteries OR 6 x AA. With the Powermonkey Extreme and a USB AA battery charger, that may solve the problem of how to feed a larger digital SLR on a tour! Or, as Andy suggests, choose a compact digital camera that uses AA batteries.

I have an eneloop USB charger (yes Dan - eneloop batteries are excellent, with a new 3rd generation now released for up to 1800 recharge cycles!).
This small light charger and works well for charging AA/AAA batteries from the Powermonkey Extreme. Only two at a time though!

http://www.eneloop.info/eneloop-products/chargers.html#c430

A better option may be the Varta USB Pro charger. It can charge 1 - 4 AA/AAAs at a time via the USB port on the Powermonkey Extreme. It can also use global mains voltage (100 - 240V) and 12V car adapter to charge the batteries (and hence a solar panel too with the correct 12V adapter). I am a bit concerned about the time to charge 4 x AAA from USB being stated as 20 hours in this unit's manual, and a bit confused as elsewhere I have read that it charges faster than this via USB. I will probably have to buy one and test it! Looks a good and suitable charger though.

http://www.en.varta-consumer.com/en/Products/Chargers/Professional-Line/Digital-USB.aspx#Digital-USB

There is another possibly suitable Varta USB model too ...

http://www.en.varta-consumer.com/en/Products/Chargers/Power-Line/LCD.aspx#LCD

Enjoying this thread ... keep it going!

(Afterthought - if every bike commuter had a hub dynamo, Plug II and cache battery, and used the setup to charge their devices, just how much electricity would be saved?!!!)
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 12:55:47 PM by StuntPilot »

grivai

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Re: Battery-charging: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?
« Reply #52 on: December 15, 2012, 04:22:01 AM »


(Afterthought - if every bike commuter had a hub dynamo, Plug II and cache battery, and used the setup to charge their devices, just how much electricity would be saved?!!!)

absolutely...not to mention the number of people that would be encouraged to and better served by, getting out of their cars with this type of setup....I'm all for a more energy efficient life...now the energy embodied in the production of these units en masse etc....anybody want to start another PhD in renewable energies and do the math?! ;D

Thanks for the links and input regarding USB chargers guys...I will pick up one of those varta USB AA battery chargers for sure (I use Powerex and Imedion batteries, not Eneloop per se) and perhaps this:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bower-Battery-Charger-USB-AC-DC-110-220V-FOR-NIKON-EN-EL3E-D300-D700-D200-MH-18a-/330841819889?pt=Batteries_Chargers&hash=item4d07b58af1

^ Looks like that's the one for me (have a D700).

I certainly agree that a longer charge cycle is preferable to having things burn out early or blow up outright. On long days I can't see you would ever be caught out unless really inefficient with your power management.

I think it has been covered before, but can you run through the issues with the TTTP2+ please? Some such as PeterWhiteCycles have said no problems have been reported, SJS cycles told me they have had some negative feedback and that I may be better off just with the original Plug 2....though, as I will have a cache in the Powermonkey, is this a moot point or not?  Down here in NZ not many people have these (my LBS had never heard of one, nor had much experience with dynamo hubs, and this is a very well known store) so I'm flying blind and relying on the knowledge online - which is outstanding, so I'm very appreciative. I'm doing a 2000km fundraising tour (my first) and will need to post updates regularly to my page/blog, so a hassle free and reliable power source/supply will be imperative.

I am using a Trek 520, an old one, which I have purchased a Chris King Nothreadset for based on some unfavourable reviews of the stock headsets - under which circumstances would you recommend the Supernova expander? I may have to revisit the other posts on the topic so as not to get too tangential here. Sorry!

Looking forward to it all arriving and putting things together.

Thanks again all! :)

Danneaux

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Re: Battery-charging: Any experience with Tout Terrain's Plug 2 Extra Power?
« Reply #53 on: December 15, 2012, 04:47:30 AM »
Quote
I think it has been covered before, but can you run through the issues with the TTTP2+ please?
Yes, it has been covered; it is worth doing a search of all all TTP2/+ issues. Among the total posts, there is complete information on the installation, setup, dis/advantages, and ways to use the device. This includes the removal of the original star-fangled nut (SFN) and installation of Tout Terrain's bolt-in, removable replacement. I wrote a little tutorial on how best to search the Forum here:
http://www.thorncycles.co.uk/forums/index.php?topic=4390.0 It really is easy, and "fills in the blanks" on many topics of interest. It is a good first stop for any topic of interest and easily unlocks the collected knowledge of this Forum.

The basic issue of concern with the TTTP2+ involves reliability. The "Plus" differs from the standard TTTP2 *only* by including the PAT cable...a replacement lead that includes electronics of ts own that simply shifts the maximum output of the unit to lower speeds; in other words, you don't have to be going as fast for it to put out a full charge. The problem is, some are faulty, and the result is the unit may stutter and indicate a low-power state where it is unable to put out the necessary ~5v @0.5A. Not all units are affected, and the "cure" is to simply use the non-PAT lead, reverting to the non-adjusted TTTP2 -- or returning a faulty unit under warranty.
Quote
...under which circumstances would you recommend the Supernova expander?
The Supernova Expander is the same as Tout Terrain's...since the charging unit offered by Supernova *is* the TTTP2. As indicated on the Tout Terrain site, the removable expander is indicated whenever the "petals" on your star-fangled nut to not offer a clear path for the electrical lead (some SFN's have offset petals/stars that would block an electrical lead running up the steerer). I would recommend the expander for any TTTP2 installation, as it makes the install process much easier. I have posted complete instructions with photos elsewhere in this topic, board, and Forum. Just search for "Tout Terrain", "TTTP2", "Star-fangled nut", "SFN", or any similar related terms.

Best,

Dan. (...who thinks Tout Terrain deserve a plug, though there are good alternatives)

Danneaux

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Hi All!

'Just about to install the Tout Terrain The Plug 2 with PAT (Power Amplification Technology) cord onto the Nomad (it had resided happily on the Sherpa) and used this opportunity to do an external/temporary installation and swap between the plain wire and the PAT wire and so compare the speed full-power charging started and stopped with a given load.

I have my lighting and charging systems connected to my SON28 (New) hub in parallel using piggyback connectors. I did all charging with my head- and taillights turned off so The Plug's USB socket would receive the hub's full output.

My test load was (2) Sony-branded Sanyo Eneloop AA Ni-MH cells rated at 2500mAh each in a Sanyo AA/AAA Eneloop USB charger. I waited till both batteries were depleted to 50% of charged capacity, then loaded them into the charger and secured both batteries to the charger with a rubber band to prevent any possibility of them bouncing out, which would invalidate the test (i.e. no load or partial load).

The TTTP2 -- with or without PAT -- has a green LED that serves as a power indicator. It has three states:
Off, when the bike is at rest or operating below minimum charging voltage.
On, when the bike is going fast enough to produce an adequate (5VDC @ 0.5A) charge.
Blinking, when the load exceeds what the TTTP2 can produce (in other words, when it can't produce an adequate charge for the load)

The Sanyo AA/AAA Eneloop USB charger also has an indicator light (blue) with three states:
Off, when unplugged or inadequate voltage is available.
Blinking when it is charging.
Solid when the batteries are fully charged.

With the plain TT cord, the minimum speed for consistent charging at this load (TTTP2= solid green, Eneloop USB charger blinking blue) is an indicated 10.3mph/16.58kph. For reference, the LED comes on solid green at 8.9mph/14.3kph with *no* load.

With the PAT cord, the minimum speed for consistent charging at this load (TTTP2= solid green, Eneloop USB charger blinking blue) is an indicated 7.5mph/12kph. This will be a considerable help to me on poor gravel roads, trails, and off-road, as it will mean I can produce an adequate charge even at low speeds.

Yes, full charging is available at a lower speed with the PAT cord than with the plain cord. When the PAT is packaged with The Plug2, the lot is referred to as the "The Plug2 Plus".

Drag while charging was unnoticeable and so slight, I'm not sure I could properly measure it in ambient conditions (wind, road slope).

Hope this helps.

Best,

Dan. (...who is all charged up about refilling his batteries while riding)
« Last Edit: May 11, 2013, 12:40:49 AM by Danneaux »