Cell Phone Charging

Are there places to charge cell phones in the campground?  What do you recommend to charge  phones, GPS, ipods, etc.?

43 Replies

NolanFinn, June 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Last year there were almost always places to charge phones in the campgrounds, but often all the sockets were taken up.  This year I am going to bring a power strip to share.

#19611

ehlent, June 21, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Phone’s can be charged in a number of ways.   I see no reason at all for a GPS or an ipod. 

One easy thought would be to bring along two batteries for your phone and leave the phone turned off unless you want to make a call.   By leaving the phone off you  won’t use the batteries as fast.  and having a second battery should easily get you through the week with out charging unless you spend a lot of time on the phone. 

#19612

ts, June 21, 2011 at 9:11 pm

I second ehlent’s suggestion of turning the phone off.  I can get through the week on one battery this way.  Besides, if you have at&t, the phone works just as well when it’s off as it does when it’s on.

I’m surprised that I never hear anyone suggest a solar charger.  Does anyone have any experience with these?

#19613

statrixbob, June 21, 2011 at 9:23 pm

I’ll actually be trying a solar charger. It’s not too large and in direct sun will charge up 4 AA NiMH batteries pretty quickly – I can then use those to charge my phone. Theoretically I can also keep the phone running off the panels. 

I have actually tried this here (Oahu) and it does work but cloud cover will pretty much kill the whole process (or at least slow it down quite a bit). Anyway it’s all light enough haul with me so I’ll give it a try. In direct sunlight it’ll charge my HTC EVO smart phone.
The unit itself is a GOAL0 Nomad 7m with the Guide 10 battery pack. Here’s a bit more on it I blogged when I got it:
Aloha

#19614

jwsknk, June 22, 2011 at 6:47 am

previous thread,
https://ragbrai.com/forums/topic/charging-devices

#19615

mclousing, June 22, 2011 at 8:44 am

ts said: I second ehlent’s suggestion of turning the phone off.  I can get through the week on one battery this way.  Besides, if you have at&t, the phone works just as well when it’s off as it does when it’s on. I’m surprised that I never hear anyone suggest a solar charger.  Does anyone have any experience with these?

Last year I spent $80 on a solar charger, sitting in direct sunlight it took 3 days for it to charge my phone.  Not quite adequate.

#19616

Sandaltan ., June 22, 2011 at 9:40 am

mclousing said:

ts said: I second ehlent’s suggestion of turning the phone off.  I can get through the week on one battery this way.  Besides, if you have at&t, the phone works just as well when it’s off as it does when it’s on. I’m surprised that I never hear anyone suggest a solar charger.  Does anyone have any experience with these?

Last year I spent $80 on a solar charger, sitting in direct sunlight it took 3 days for it to charge my phone.  Not quite adequate.

Can you tell us what the brand name of the charger is???  Would be good to avoid this one.  Thanks.

RIDE RIGHT

#19617

Tony, June 22, 2011 at 10:15 am

I have to agree with turning the phone off method. Especially the first half of the ride for ATT, i wireless, and T-Mobile customers. There just isn’t any cell service in rural western Iowa for them. Verizon customers should be fine. Verizon places COWS (Cell tower on wheels) on the route. Even then with the density of the riders. You will experience all trunks busy conditions. Texting is about the only sure way to get through. Note when your phone is in a low signal area. It will hunt for a stronger signal. Phones transmit to do this. It can kill a battery very quickly. Taking a spare battery is a good idea. So is buying a Verizon pay as you go phone for the week. You can program you normal number to forward calls to it for the week. I have ATT service. So that is what I will be doing. To charge phones. the last couple of years. Overnight towns have been providing charging stations. Check with the information centers when you roll into town. Some of the local cell phone stores have done the same. Allot of the charters are providing charging stations in camp. I built one last year for our riders. I was kinda shocked at the use it got. I will be building a second one for this year.

#19618

KittySlayer, June 22, 2011 at 12:41 pm

iceman said: …cell phone chargers…. They use two AA’s and I get two or three charges to my phone from one set of batteries…. 

Well from an iPhone standpoint I can tell you which of the AA battery chargers do not work:

Enercell (Radio Shack) = useless
Coleman CPX Power Pack = useless

Everything plugs in fine and then the iPhone says not compatible = useless.

#19620

Pirate Brewer, June 22, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Iceman – I used one of those chargers last year and it worked out great for me.  It worked on my Blackberry and Garmin.  However, when charging a device that may be drained you need fresh batteries to get a full charge.  I also carried this on the Karrus Loop day to give my Garmin (Forerunner 305) a boost during lunch.

As Kitty mentions, test it first before depending upon it.

#19621

ngless, June 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm

I agree with iceman on this one.  My charter has a charging station that has 20-25 cigarette/car outlets on it, but with ~100 people it’s far less than adequate. Sometimes they’re completely full so you’re SOL.

I’ll be bringing 2 of these energizer energi to go chargers some extra lithium batteries and one of these to use with my regular charger.  I have a droid incredible that gobbles up the electrons, so I have to keep it well fed.  The energi to go’s don’t do a great job charging, even with lithium’s, but I look at them more as a range extender. I might go a few hours in the morning (starting at full charge) and then plug in one of these guys which will slowly get it back up to full charge.  My hope is I can do this each day and reach camp with a nearly full charge, rinse and repeat. Occasionally being able to get a full charge with the charters charging station.

I just wish they made lithium D-Cell batteries so my O2 Cool tent fan didn’t weigh 3lbs! 8 D-Cell batteries are quite heavy, lithium’s would be significantly lighter and longer lasting.

#19623

Albert Hsu, June 25, 2011 at 7:10 pm

KittySlayer said:

iceman said: …cell phone chargers…. They use two AA’s and I get two or three charges to my phone from one set of batteries…. 

Well from an iPhone standpoint I can tell you which of the AA battery chargers do not work:

Enercell (Radio Shack) = uselessColeman CPX Power Pack = useless

Everything plugs in fine and then the iPhone says not compatible = useless.
Don’t have any experience with this product, but it claims to be iphone compatible: http://tinyurl.com/5vu33ts

#19625

PaulK66, July 2, 2011 at 2:29 am

I bought a generator headlight with a usb charging port:

<meta http-equiv=”content-type” content=”text/html; charset=utf-8″>http://www.amazon.com/GSI-Super-Quality-Bicycle-Package/dp/B004JWTPLA/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1309589179&sr=8-13
Haven’t tried it yet but the build quality is good.  Thought about doing solar but was worried about it not being enough juice.
How is Sprint coverage in IA?

#19626

giantron, July 2, 2011 at 6:14 am

I was wondering when someone would come out with the old self propelled generator type device like we used to use years ago for headlights! Those old ones where you had a little generator mounted to your frame and pressed against the sidewall of the tire to make just enough electricity to light your headlight. Worked okay until you stopped!

I can see it now, people riding around town with their phones plugged into their rear wheel generator so they can chat. At least it makes it easier to find a signal!

#19627

Gypsy Rose, July 2, 2011 at 6:27 am

Geez, I’m beginning to get a bit worried with all this talk about charging electronic gizmos. Given that it’s been a few decades since I’ve ridden RAGBRAI (and we got along just fine without phones and GPS), I can’t help but ask if the evenings in camp these days are filled with the roar of a thousand generators. (I suppose I’ll pack along some earplugs in anticipation.)

Best,
~ Kevin

#19628

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