Electronics charging

Current plan is to only use USB chargeable devices whilst travelling in South America for 5 months by bike.

Power sources: Mains sockets where possible, portable battery pack and solar panel as a backup.

Mains charger: Portapow Crystal Travel
Backup battery: Anker PowerCore 20100mAh
Solar panel: CHOE 19W Portable Solar Charger
USB AA & AAA battery charger: SwissCharger P2

Anker PowerCore 20100mAh
Standard portable battery. Can charge my tablet at 1.6A and my phone at 1.1A. It is fairly slow to charge up itself as the final charging portion is at a very low current so takes a long time.

It charged my tablet up to full and used 4900mAh. It also charged my nexus 5 up to full – and the charge indicator still shows 75% charge in the battery.
Completely discharged the battery whilst charging my tablet (during watching films). A full recharge took sometime between 10 to 12 hours. The battery took 20400mAh

Will report back about how it performs long term

SwissCharger P2 – testing
First test was to charge three AAA batteries using a mains USB adapter. The current going into the charger was showing as only 0.22A which is strange. I have a drok current detector and a portapow v2 detector and they both show the same results. The portapow actually shows the current rapidly fluctuating between 0.03, 0.13 & 0.21A in a repeating pattern which must be something to do with the swisschargers pulse width modulation (PWM) charging method. The batteries are 0.8mAh AAA eneloops. Can’t give charge time as the set of batteries were not not as discharged as I thought so not a good test.

2nd test: Charging 4 Sanyo Eneloop AA high capacity 2450mAh batteries using mains USB adapter. I fully discharged the batteries in a torch first. Power Meter showed a draw of up to 0.53A which is the maximum the SwissCharger is rated for. The charge also pulsed with these batteries but in a different way – The charge current climbs from about 0.1A to 0.5A over 15 seconds, it then stays at 0.5A for 20 seconds and then drops gradually back to 0.1A over 15seconds. This cycle keeps repeating. The charge light on the USB power supply pulses on and off every second the whole time.

Time to charge:
After 5 hours the batteries were still charging – the charger indicated they were 2/3rd charged and the Drok powermeter showed a total draw of 1900mAh.
After 8 hours the batteries were still charging – charger indicated they were 3/3rds full and the drok powermeter showed a total draw of 3000mAh
After approx 14 hours the batteries were indicating fully charged. Total current drawn 5000mAh.

I put the batteries in a BLC700 charger to check them. 2 showed as being full and two started charging (charger set at 200mAh). After 4 hours the two are still charging so it looks like only two batteries were actually charged by the SwissCharger. This would match with the current drawn by the charger only being enough to have fully charged 2 batteries. The 2 batteries indicated full charge after they were topped up with 856mAh and 869mAh respectively. Not a total disaster but not ideal that it is under charging.

CHOE 19W Portable Solar Charger
A nice light bit of kit.

First test on a rainy overcast morning showed it struggled to generate enough current to charge anything.
Second test Sunny slightly hazy October morning in Switzerland and it performs a lot better. Provides just under 1A (went up to 1.1A as haze cleared) to my nexus 5. To my hudl 2 tablet it gave a maximum of 1.2A
Third test: in strong direct sunlight with the panel aligned perfectly – gave 1.6A. With the panel lying flat on the ground it only gave 1A in exactly the same sun conditions

I have not tested charging 2 devices at the same time yet

Devices: Hudl 2 android table – teardown