Author Topic: Buffer battery that gets charged on the SON Hub28 + The Plug 2.0  (Read 32096 times)

Andre Jute

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Re: Buffer battery that gets charged on the SON Hub28 + The Plug 2.0
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2013, 09:28:09 pm »
Keep in mind that when you put power into a storage battery and later use that battery to charge your device battery, that you will lose some of the power that you put into the system.  I can't say how much your loss would be with Lithium Ion, but with NiMH batteries the best case is that you probably only get half the power out of the storage battery that you put into it.  I suspect but can't confirm that Lithium Ion may be slightly better, but there still would be some losses.

This is right. I haven't looked it up, but li-ion is much, much better than NiMH batteries on just about all aspects, including power loss. I recharge a li-ion battery daily, and when I had a meter on it the losses were less than a fifth, sometimes less than a tenth, anyway small enough for me to feel secure judging the condition of the battery by how long I rode v how long it takes to charge on the charger with known behavior.

However, from charger to buffer battery to storage battery inside device, both the latter lithium, I reckon you'd be lucky to lose only 15% at each step. Probably safer to reckon on 35% minimum loss with new batteries. If it's cold, or warm, or humid, or the batteries are not new, or haven't been fully cycled in the last month, that 50% loss Mick posits starts looking likely. With so little current available, you really don't want to lose any of it that you can avoid losing. It may be smart to sell the unsatisfactory unit on and buy something that does charge your devices directly.


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Re: Buffer battery that gets charged on the SON Hub28 + The Plug 2.0
« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2013, 05:56:16 pm »
I am till experimenting with cache batteries. Latest findings ...

I have recently tried two different batteries with some success. Bearing in mind that the Powermonkey Extreme (PME) battery will not charge directly from The Plug II, a cache battery is required. Before buying I searched 'Googleland' with the following criteria:

A: 500mAh input to meet The Plug II output and to begin charging at a lower speed
B: 0.5mA - 1.5mA output from the battery (1 - 1.5mA output is required for the PME and ipad/iphone type devices etc)
C: 5V input and output
D: Integrated solar panel if possible
E: Minimum 2600mAh capacity, more the better

After much searching, I went for the following two units ...


The first device is 5V/500mA input and 5.5V/800mA output. Capacity 2600mAh. 10.95
The second device is 5V/500mA input and 5.2V/1500mA output. Capacity 5000mAh. 16.95

Both have a 0.7 Watt inbuilt solar panel and lithium-polymer batteries. They are available worldwide.

I tested both when charging from the mains (120v-240V). Both units can be charged from The Plug II at about 11 km/hr (further testing required). They both allow 5V USB charging while charging an attached device (any 500mA input device such as Steripen Freedom, ipod, Petzl headtorch etc).

The second unit, the 6000T Pocket Power, can also charge iPhones etc due to it's 1500mA output. It seems to be a better choice if you require ipad or iphone charging ability. I like the first device but capacity was lower and output insufficient to charge my iPhone.

Looking more closely at the 6000T Pocket Power, charging from solar takes 8-12 hours and from mains/computer via USB port 6-8 hours. The charging indicators are good and it seems to start trickle charging from the solar panel on very dull overcast days. So far so good! At 16.95 it is good value too.

More info here (manufacturer's wholesale site I think) ...

As I mentioned earlier in the post, my PME was nicked from a camp site this summer. I was meaning to replace it immediately but thankfully held off. I have only just discovered that Powertraveller revamped the PME in March 2013. It now comes with a 5V USB output and a 12V output for camera batteries etc. This is good news as it makes the PME compatible with any 12V system.

Original version of the PME on sale at the time of writing ...

New post-March 2013 PME 12V version ...

Here is my thinking ... the 6000T Pocket Power can be charged from The Plug II during the day when moving, or by solar when stationary. As it can charge another device while being charged itself, the PME could be attached to the 6000T Pocket Power as a suitable en route cache battery. This may solve the problem of how to charge a higher capacity storage battery from The Plug II as the PME will not directly charge from The Plug II.

In summary the PME can be charged from mains/solar/6000T Pocket Power (hence from The Plug II). The 6000T Pocket Power can be charged independently from its integrated solar panel. The main solar panel is a Goal Zero 13.5 watt providing a 12V car adapter output and a 5V USB output. As I have standardised on 5V USB chargeable devices and 12V devices (such as camera battery chargers), this looks like a step forward.

I have yet to test the final set up on long tours but will post results here in future.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 06:22:03 pm by StuntPilot »


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Re: Buffer battery that gets charged on the SON Hub28 + The Plug 2.0
« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2013, 06:21:20 pm »
Looks interesting, but are you sure about the solar charging time? 8-12 hours to charge a 5000mAh battery from a 0.7W panel doesn't sound very likely to me.
Also, does it definitely support 'pass through charging', being capable of being charged at the same time as it is being used to charge another device? If so, I might get one.


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Re: Buffer battery that gets charged on the SON Hub28 + The Plug 2.0
« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2013, 06:30:43 pm »
Have not tested charging it from its own solar panel from empty. Due to the time of year (though sunny here today) sunlight is not plentiful with low quality UV. Not a good time for testing! Roll on summer!

I was surprised too by the marketing blurb and frankly don't believe it can be charged in 8-12 hours. In practice it will be charged via USB with solar only acting as a trickle charge when exposed to the sun.

The marketing says it will charge in 6-8 hours from mains or computer USB. The battery took 8.5 hours on first charge. Hopefully the solar charge times are as accurate but I somehow doubt it!

I see isolated solar charging of the unit on its own as a secondary requirement bearing in mind I can charge it via USB from the bigger Goal Zero 13.5 watt panel when not using The Plug II.

The main requirement is a battery that can charge at low speed from The Plug II and charge the PME at the same time. I haven't bought the new version of the PME yet but when I do I will keep you updated after testing the 'pass through' charging ability 'in situ' on the bike.

So far it seems to charge well from 500mA input mains/computer USB while charging my iPhone.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 06:46:07 pm by StuntPilot »


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Re: Buffer battery that gets charged on the SON Hub28 + The Plug 2.0
« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2013, 07:16:35 pm »
Hi Richard!

I'm following your investigations with keen interest, seeing as how I am about to splash out for a second Joos Orange solar panel with integrated 5400mAh accumulator battery. This will unfortunately lock me even more firmly into the world of USB-level (re)charging capability when I'd really like to have 12vdc to recharge my netbook, which has unfortunately high amperage requirements when it comes to recharging. They are also relatively heavy and require prime solar-charging real estate atop the rear rack load in order to maximize sun exposure while traveling during the day.

This summer's experience with the Joos Orange and my dyno-charging setup taught me something that might or might not apply to your arrangement: I found I could just keep on top of things if in the daytime hours I charged exclusively from the dynohub while moving, and kept the solar panel/accumulator busy gathering sunshine to allow for nighttime-only recharging of gadgets not yet replenished from the dynohub. The few times I got it wrong by solar charging in daytime, it was very difficult to replenish my solar stores and my electrical stores would have spiraled downward without a top-off of the accumulator using mains power.

Joos says -- and my experience confirmed -- I need a full 12 hours of bright sunshine and blue skies to bring the Joos' 5400mAh accumulator battery from full-flat to fully-charged. Yes, it will continue to charge on cloudy days, in the rain, in twilight and even inside the tent during the day...but the rate of charging slows. The idea behind me getting a second one is to allow for continued dim light or short mileage on the dynohub or unexpectedly heavy use. I wouldn't be in such a fix if I could count on occasionally being near mains power long enough to top-off the solar accumulator batteries. Realistically, I might not be near an outlet for a couple weeks, and certainly not long enough to charge from empty. As it is, I pack outlet multipliers and wall chargers for when I do get a hotel room, but the present setup works with discipline and would work with less devotion to duty if I add a second solar charger/accumulator for the times when I don't take the Extrawheel trailer with its own dynohub-based charging system.

Part of this "energy dance" is down to capacity, but the other half of the equation is down to the number and types of gadgets and their demands based on use. If I use the GPS on a spot basis, the battery life is outstanding. If I wish to power it continuously for track-making, then its two AA cells need a full recharge every night after 16-19 hours' continuous tracking. Because I often go off-road, I can't go back and recreate the GPS tracks very easily online using something like GPSMyRide. MapMyRide, or CGOAB, so being able to do my own tracking is really handy for post-ride mapmaking.

My dumbphone is not problematic if I leave it off between uses. Leaving it on frequently means it is using full power even on standby while trying to establish connection with very distant cell towers, and that eats batteries quickly.

The other things that consume battery charge are mostly the cameras. I've got a digicam with GPS tagging and full-HD video, a dedicated Flash-based HD video camera, and the GoPro. Used for video, they swill electricity.

The rest of the stuff is pretty miserly, using AAA cells to power my LED blinky taillight, my LED headlight for camp use, and my AM/FM/Weather band radio; each of these has a working lifespan of about 50-65 hours on fully charged batteries, so I can either top them off quickly each day or wait till they're sufficiently low to warrant further charging.

I'm really eager to see if the new batteries will enable pass-through charging of the PME, Richard. If so, that would be huge. My guess is it will for awhile, as even the true pass-through batteries lose some charge in the process when powering or topping-off gadgets with greater requirements than they can supply independently. Much will depend on the relative states of charge for the two batteries and your daily progress for dynohub-based replensihment. Please keep us updated as your trials progress; the potential is really exciting.

All encouragement your way!

All the best,

« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 08:04:32 pm by Danneaux »


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Re: Buffer battery that gets charged on the SON Hub28 + The Plug 2.0
« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2013, 09:01:07 pm »
Dan Hi.

The replacement Powermonkey Extreme (PME) (12V version) arrived today and is working well. The newer (post March 2013) 12V version is an improvement and solves the problem of charging camera batteries away from the grid. I was using a 12V car and mains 12V adapter previously. Now I can connect it to the PME which has been charged from the Goal Zero Nomad 13.5 solar panel or mains. I also have a Logic AA and AAA battery charger that operates from mains or 12V so all is good there.

Powertraveller sent me a Gorilla Pad with the new battery.

I dont have an iPad. Would that be of any use for your netbook Dan?

Back to huuub's original dilemma. No, the PME will not charge from The Plug II at cycle touring speeds. It will also not pass-through charge from a suitable cache battery until the PME has 30% or more.

On my tour in the summer, I stopped for a most fantastic cake and coffee in a small cafe in Forres near Inverness. When I came out a guy ran across the road and enthusiastically started chatting about touring. He had a Thorn Nomad at home and last year did a big trip along the Himalayas. He saw that I had The Plug II. 'I have one of these' he said ' ... no good in the Himalayas'. Turns out that either he was grinding up the Everest foothills below 5km/hr or flying down the other side at over 30km/hr where The Plug II would cut out. His solution was a solar panel of similar wattage to mine. He was happy with that for his charging needs (of course in the Himalayas in any weather the UV would be better than in Scotland!).

So huuub, thats the sorry tale of the PME. I too bought my first PME 5V version intending to use it with The Plug II and was equally annoyed that it could not be charged directly. I love the PME battery however so not giving up, I am still testing the two units I have recently bought (see my post above).

I have tonight completely drained both the solar battery units in order to see at what speed the green light stays illuminated on The Plug II. Even a cache battery slowly charges with no light or a flashing light, the constant green says to me that the Plug II is working as it should. Both devices are 500mA input to match output from The Plug II.

I like the Joos but as I think I have mentioned but I already had the Nomad 13.5 watt panel and PME. I like the ruggedness of the Joos and its lofty waterproof status!

I am happy with the PME and Nomad 13.5 solar panel/mains solution for camera and AA/AAA batteries, as well as for other USB devices including iPhone.

Hopefully one of the two solar batteries I am testing will do the trick. The intention would be to cycle and charge the smaller solar cache battery during the day. In the evening it would be connected to PME to top it up. The Nomad would provide further top-up. I could of course use The Original Danneaux Wind Vanes.  ;)

Dan, you mentioned that USB cables were of various or dubious quality? Today I found a company where you can get some high quality USB cables, as well as some interesting other bits and pieces to improve the solar side of things. I am certainly going to get hold of the USB voltage/current meter to help future testing!

Interesting site and a good compliment to Powertraveller products.

« Last Edit: November 12, 2013, 09:07:36 pm by StuntPilot »


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Re: Buffer battery that gets charged on the SON Hub28 + The Plug 2.0
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2014, 08:48:38 pm »
i know it was mentioned earlier that the e-werk can be used to charge a powermonkey extreme whereas a Tout Terrain Plug 2 cannot. What is the v and amp setting on the e-werk that was used to charge the PME?

il padrone

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Re: Buffer battery that gets charged on the SON Hub28 + The Plug 2.0
« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2014, 10:43:38 pm »
I have the Powermonkey Extreme 5V original model. I usually find that I can get hold of a power-point for mains charging most often, but also charge it from the E-werk and from the solar panel. For a day of my usual sort of touring the Powermonkey gets charged to about 1/3 capacity, whether from E-werk or from the Powermonkey solar panel. This is fine as the charging needs that I have are usually not every day, and when I charge the Powermonkey from mains I also charge my devices.

Powermonkey Extreme strapped on for charging

Just recently I have bought a larger solar panel from Kogan - this one. Seemed good value.

I am  hopeful that this will give much faster recharge for the Powermonkey. Solar charging is a better option for summer tours especially where  the riding is steep climbing in the mountains (slow speeds).

Using the E-werk to charge I have had it on settings of 5.6V 0.8A. The Powermonkey Extreme 5V happily charges devices while it is being charged itself from the mains. Not sure about while being charged from E-werk or panel but I'd expect so.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2014, 10:50:21 pm by il padrone »