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Discussion Starter #1
We will be taking a Lees ferry down to Pearce this summer, and have been pondering how to charge the cameras, and other such stuff. We are on rafts, so I have space, but we are flying out, so I cannot bring a 10 pound lithium ion battery on the flight.

I have read on the buzz about folks using solar and battery combos, folks using motorcycle batteries, and even portable jumper packs. I am planning on bringing extra batts for most of the stuff, but things like a gopro session will need to be charged.

Any thoughts on the latest gadgets and what would work?
 

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Shapp
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You shouldn't need to recharge anything. Leave the cell phone off. Get a camera that uses regular double AA batteries. They work so much better than rechargeables and my cheap mp3 player and speakers also use AAA and AA batteries.


You can use rechargeable AA and AAA bats when you are doing stuff where you have power to recharge, but for long backcountry stuff, you can use regular bats.


As far as lighting goes, I am a big fan now of the Luci lights after using them for a couple years. 2 of them suspended over a cooking/kitchen area provides a surprising amount of light and not batteries required.
https://www.rei.com/product/100705/mpowerd-luci-original-inflatable-solar-lantern


fyi - as stated on the label, they are "not a flotation device" :)
 

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I did a 25 day trip on the Salmon last year (Boundary to Heller) and I took a portable jumper with a USB port in it. I use my phone for music and I charged my phone 3 times and my bluetooth speaker 4 or 5 times in that 25 days off of one charge. A portable jumper with a small solar backup might do the trick.
 

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I like my gadgets and use them a lot on river trips. So far, I've had some success with a few items and not much with others.

IMHO, The Goal Zero Nomad 7 solar charger is a piece of junk so stay away from that. It just doesn't have the capacity to charge normal devices. Their larger capacity units might work better, but the 7w one is worthless. You can get a Anker 21 watt charger for half the price that does a better job. Look on Amazon, I think the Anker 21 is $50.

I had the Goal Zero on a couple of trips last year and half the time, even in full sun, it couldn't charge my phone reliably. I was given a Goal Zero battery power bank, and it couldn't charge that reliably either despite them being designed to work together. I was much more impressed with a cheap 10,000mah power bank I got at Micro Center. Goal Zero just isn't that great a product but has managed to get itself into most outdoor retail stores so its out there a lot. Overpriced and under performing IMHO. For what its worth, someone on my Grand trip last year had the Anker one I talked about above and seemed to have better success.

The other thing about Solar in general is that most of them aren't waterproof. Some say its ok to use in the rain, but if its raining you aren't getting much sun to charge with. Since they aren't really designed to get wet, you'll be taking it in and out of dry storage every time you hit a rapid.

I think this article is a good one for this subject...

https://www.outsideonline.com/2126281/stop-buying-small-portable-power-generators

Essentially, it details the fact that as of now, buying a couple of high capacity power banks is more economical then any portable power generation source available today. For a 5-7 day trip, a couple of those will do you a ton better even for heavy users like myself. You can get 3-4 charges out of a decent sized (10,000mah or higher) power bank, so grabbing a few of them at around $25-40 a pop is a good way to go. They generally charge about as fast as plugging into the wall at home too, which cannot be said for Solar Chargers.

The economics do start to go away for longer trips. I use my phone for music and taking pictures, a bluetooth battery powered speaker, stuff like GoPro's and waterproof point and shoots, and a tablet for reading and entertainment at camp. I think I'd need a minimum of 6-7 and probably upwards of ten power banks to handle that kind of use. So, I'm not sure what my plan is for this one. I've been thinking about making my own super high capacity power bank out of lithium cells in an Ammo can, but I might go the route of getting a better solar charger too.

I'm rambling on a bit so I'll leave it there. I can go into the DIY battery bank plan a bit more if you guys want, but it involves more lengthy explanation. The way I'm leaning is to get a single battery module(or maybe two) from a Nissan Leaf and adapt it for use as a power bank.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
the luci lights look really cool, both my son and I received ones as gifts from different folks for the holiday. I am using AAA in the headlamps, and back up, but the cameras all need proprietary LiON batteries, so I will need to go a different route for them.
 

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Ramble away! I was hoping for some sort of slick way to use 4.0/ 5.0 batteries from my 18 volt makitas to do something, maybe I could steal something from my dad's volt. I was wondering about some sort of larger ammo box based system.
 

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I'm an ex solar installer/ electrical engineer so I built one - not too complicated. I got a medium ammo can and bought a small PV panel. The first iteration my panel was about the same size as the ammo can (10W?)so just glued the panel to the can and tried to keep it in the sun. Didn't get enough power though so went to a 18"x 24" 50W flexible panel. Inside the can I mounted a sealed 14 A-hr lead acid 12V battery, a small 5A charge controller, and DC meter and a 200W inverter with USB ports and AC receptacle. I used waterproof conduit seals for the solar leads in and a water proof USB outlet so I can plug things in during the day. I have a goal zero speaker and USB light that plug into the USB port. Between the USB and the 100V outlet I can charge most anything. As mentioned by others I have to open the ammo can if I'm going to run the inverter (heat) but everything else works with the can sealed. The solar panel has quick connects so I just plug it in when needed and store it otherwise. All this might be a little big for charging - I also use it to run a bilge pump for my dory. Hope this helps
 

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Ramble away! I was hoping for some sort of slick way to use 4.0/ 5.0 batteries from my 18 volt makitas to do something, maybe I could steal something from my dad's volt. I was wondering about some sort of larger ammo box based system.
That one is easy... https://www.amazon.com/Makita-ADP05-Lithium-Ion-Cordless-Source/dp/B019WI5XXO

I'm surprised it took them so long, but Makita finally came out with those last year. The 4.0 and 5.0 on the batteries stands for Amp Hours, so each of those batteries is about 4000 and 5000 respectively. I know when you use less voltage the amp hours go up up in capacity but I'm not sure by how much. Since the tools are designed for 18v and most USB stuff is 5v, I imagine it might be significant. It also depends on the efficiency of the conversion.

As for my other idea...

The thought I had was to get at least one and possibly two or three of these....


Hybrid Auto Center

... and then get a battery management system that has a USB output. You could also rewire it to get 14v output and use car accessory plugs. It would drain relatively quickly, but by doing that you could even get 120v power with an inverter.

Each of those modules has 64 amp hours at 7.2v, which is about 64,000mah hours. That is 3 times the size of the largest common size consumer battery bank. Those batteries have very efficient self discharge so they won't hardly drain while in storage. They also come in a very safe and rugged container themselves, so no less worry of overheating or breaking open.

A Nissan Leaf uses 48 of those modules and puts them in series to get up to 400v at 24Kwh. We don't need anything like that, but since the Leaf has been out for a while these modules are very easy to find on the used market. They salvage them from wrecked cars or ones who have swapped for a new battery.

They won't fit in a typical 50cal. Ammo can, but they will fit in a "Fat50" version. They are about 8.25"x8.25" and about 1.5" thick, so you could fit at least 3 in a box. With the right charger, you can charge that much in about 12-18 hours I think. You'd want one made specifically for Lithium Ion cells though.

The cells are between $80-100, the charger is $30 or so, and the all the wiring and battery management is at least another $50. These batteries are very robust compared to the average consumer battery bank as well, so it should last much longer.

I'm no electrical engineer though, so I may be missing something big on why this isn't a good idea. I will say if someone sees this and tries it, read about safety and Lithium Ion batteries and how to charge them correctly. Also note that the discharge rate on these particular modules is very high, so if wire stuff wrong, bad things can happen very quickly. Electrocution is unlikely with just one or two of these, but if they get overcharged or disharged quickly things can get pretty toasty and melty (and maybe explody....see Samsung Note 7 news sources).
 

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Shapp
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remember the good old river days when cameras didn't need batteries except to run the flash, when light was provided by fire, and music was provided by a guitar, harmonica, fiddle, and mandolin, and phones were stuck to a wall at home?
 

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....aaaaanndddd......its here. I was wondering how long it would take someone to come in and complain about the loss of the good old days.

Hahaa...oh the times they are a changin'.
 

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Yeah... and we wore wool or wetsuits, our gear was stored in ammo cans and black bags, and kayaks were made out of fiberglass. Unfortunately, I DO remember - and realize the main reason I'm still boating is because I can stay dry and warm now and don't have to bail my boat!
 

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I have the Makita battery, I use it at work and on the river. I also have the makita blower I use to inflate/deflate rafts and duckies.




Sent from my iPhone using Mountain Buzz
 

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I have the Makita battery, I use it at work and on the river. I also have the makita blower I use to inflate/deflate rafts and duckies. Sent from my iPhone using Mountain Buzz
I use one of the makita versions of that dewalt adapter shown below. I've done several trips including a 9 day, took three batteries not knowing how much they'd really last and didn't wear one out. running bluetooth speaker and phone for music and camera. Perfect for me.
 

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So, why not convert some of that kinetic river energy to good ol' electical juice. I saw this recently on youtube. It charges a battery that you can plug usb chargers into. Just a thought.
 

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So, why not convert some of that kinetic river energy to good ol' electical juice. I saw this recently on youtube. It charges a battery that you can plug usb chargers into. Just a thought.
They are still in development stage for that. Its supposedly due out in March though. There have been a bunch of failed indiegogo/crowd funded campaigns lately as well, so IMHO wait for it to come out and get reviewed and tested by someone outside the company.

I made a whole thread about that concept here...

http://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f44/portable-submersible-water-generator-design-62174.html

I'd still like to try making something myself, but I'm not sure its worth it after talking to some engineer types.

It comes back to the article I posted in a previous post about the economics not being right. For the same price as they are asking for that Estream thing, you could buy about ~110,000mah worth of battery power bank (their early bird special is $180 plus shipping and a 22,000mah power bank is about $35...sometimes less). That is enough to charge a typical 3,500mah cell phone 31 times. Camera's and other accessories have much smaller batteries and something like a tablet or ipad more, but its still a lot of capacity for the same price. Just not worth it IMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
the plot thickens, flying with batteries

I had a very enlightening conversation with united which started with, sir as long as the length x width x depth of the package is less than 62 inches you can bring it. To which I replied You clearly have no clue what you are talking about.

It turns out, it is all about watt hours, and it seems that there is a clear no-problem range, and then at their discretion. up to 100 watt hours of lion can fly without too much issue. 101-160 is at the airlines discretion.
In real terms, a 20-21000 mah powerbank is not an issue, but a 30000 mah one may get confiscated and left at the gate. More details are found here

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_or...fo/media/airline_passengers_and_batteries.pdf
 

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I had a very enlightening conversation with united which started with, sir as long as the length x width x depth of the package is less than 62 inches you can bring it. To which I replied You clearly have no clue what you are talking about.

It turns out, it is all about watt hours, and it seems that there is a clear no-problem range, and then at their discretion. up to 100 watt hours of lion can fly without too much issue. 101-160 is at the airlines discretion.
In real terms, a 20-21000 mah powerbank is not an issue, but a 30000 mah one may get confiscated and left at the gate. More details are found here

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_or...fo/media/airline_passengers_and_batteries.pdf
Did you talk to them about putting it in checked baggage? Just curious.
 
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