Battery charging on the move

John King

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Ya, but you are still talking about rating your ciggy outlet so you can pull ~24 amps on the +5V side. Unless you are running a dozen+ battery chargers in your car, no one needs that for simple battery charging.
Patrick, just meant as a cautionary note to those who may not be familiar with these things.

It is not hard to exceed the rated output of modern vehicles 'cigarette lighter' sockets. Many will be flat out charging two Smartphones at once.

And wiring looms are really, really expensive to replace.

At least Subaru put their three sockets on three separate circuits. This is not a commonplace practice among car makers.

I strongly advise people to read their car's owner's manual.
 

b_rubenstein

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It is not hard to exceed the rated output of modern vehicles 'cigarette lighter' sockets.
Those circuits are current limited either by fuses, or the vehicle has a CanBus system that will shut down any circuit that exceeds its specified current limit. Vehicle manufactures, unlike on line forum members, actually know how to prevent wiring fires, because they hire real electrical engineers with engineering degrees to design these things, and not accountants.
 

John King

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Those circuits are current limited either by fuses, or the vehicle has a CanBus system that will shut down any circuit that exceeds its specified current limit. Vehicle manufactures, unlike on line forum members, actually know how to prevent wiring fires, because they hire real electrical engineers with engineering degrees to design these things, and not accountants.
All well and good. However, we have had members on a car forum fry their wiring loom, so it can and does happen, regardless of whether it should, or not.

And, BTW, accountants have a lot to say about wiring looms, as do the marketing department. The weight of a modern car's wiring loom is substantial, as is the cost of the copper. One impacts on fuel economy, the other on cost per unit.
 
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Good point ... so you are saying an inverter with the battery charger plugged in, would use more battery power than a charger plugged directly into the 12v plug with cigarette adapter ?
An inverter definitely would. The more conversion stages you have in between the output (source) and the input (battery), the more you would lose in efficiency. I figure that the 12v auto to 5v USB adapter to USB battery charger would probably be your best bet. I wonder if the 5v output from the lighter/12v outlet is clean enough to plug direct into a USB chargeable camera like the EM5.3 or EM1.3? Use a good quality 12v/USB adapter.
 
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I just used the usb in our rental when visiting your beautiful country. Or get a usb>>12v cig adapter if the motorhome doesn't have the usb one. Note that not all adapters are created equal. Get one that puts out enough amps for a fast charge or supports charging two devices simultaneously. Another thing to have is a battery pack which should hold enough poop for several charges and doesn't make noise nor have to worry about running down the main batteries. Fits in a pocket or rucksack. Charge while driving or whenever you have shore power.

View attachment 874864
Agreed. I like Anker. They seem to make good stuff.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PGT7LSR/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_dlT1_MTAA773KSXEN40C8PQA2

Look, there's even a multiport USB/lighter plug adapter. Not an endorsement, I dunno how good or safe it is.
Car Charger, AI AIKENUO 96W Quick Charge USB Cars Charger Adapter, 12V-24V Multi Ports QC 3.0 USB Auto Splitter Fast Charging for Galaxy S10 S9 Plus, Compatible with iPhone & Android
by Aikenuo Sellers
Learn more: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0779D7DFG/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_J77D77Y4VENH2R5VMXJA
 
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I use car‘s usb output with an usb adapter to Olympus battery. I use the same adapter during trips connected to a 4 output usb charger, thus not carrying anything else and is valid for mobile phone, iPad, camera and lantern/flash simultaneously.

I had not experienced any problem after many days of intensive usage, although now with the EM1X, I also use the camera as a charger connected to the same usb charger.
Agreed on the multiport USB adapter. I bought an Anker AC to 6 port USB charger for travel to keep our phones, tablets, and my cameras charged. I got USB chargers for my BLS-5 and BLH-1 batteries. I used to bring a mini surge suppressor strip, but with this adapter, I don't need it any more.
 

b_rubenstein

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All well and good. However, we have had members on a car forum fry their wiring loom, so it can and does happen, regardless of whether it should, or not.

The weight of a modern car's wiring loom is substantial, as is the cost of the copper.
I'm on a motorcycle forum that has a fair number of Aussies on it, and it seems that getting shit faced drunk is a prerequisite for working on motor vehicles. No surprise that they wind up destroying things.

Old style wiring systems used point to point wiring for every thing that required power. So, lots of individual wires to every thing that required power. This is why over a decade ago many car manufactures switched of to using a Canbus electrical distribution that requires much less wiring point to point wiring and is lighter and more reliable. Let me know when accountants are controlling the vehicle performance requirements.
 

oldracer

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There are devices called power banks. Their sole function is to store power to provide a ready source of power to recharge your batteries ANYWHERE; ANYTIME!!!. These units are charged at home then connected to your battery via USB cable. That's it. You can carry a PB hooked up to your battery in your pocket or daypack. ...
Those are useful if you are charging multiple different things, but not the best choice if you are charging only one type of camera battery. There was a thread here a couple of years ago with quite a few numbers, but the takeway was that for charging camera batteries you are about 2:1 better off for weight and bulk by carrying a handful of charged batteries rather than one big "power bank" type battery. This is due to the aforementioned inefficiency in making the voltage conversion between the "power bank" and what is needed to charge the camera batts. There is also a failure-tolerance aspect because your precious amp-hours are not stored all in one place.
 

mawz

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Those are useful if you are charging multiple different things, but not the best choice if you are charging only one type of camera battery. There was a thread here a couple of years ago with quite a few numbers, but the takeway was that for charging camera batteries you are about 2:1 better off for weight and bulk by carrying a handful of batteries rather than one big "power bank" type battery. This is due to the aforementioned inefficiency in making the voltage conversion between the "power bank" and what is needed to charge the camera batts. There is also a failure-tolerance aspect because your precious amp-hours are not stored all in one place.
The flip side is the powerbanks are FAR more cost effective due to absolutely ridiculous camera battery pricing. 20,000+mAh on a top-quality powerbank like an Anker costs less than 2000mAh of camera battery. Plus you can slow-charge the powerbank off a small solar panel on your pack. It won't replace a full charge, but can extend the powerbank well past the nominal capacity.

And yes, Camera Batteries are wildly overpriced, especially for their performance. I can buy fully monitored and top-quality 11.1V 2200mAh lithium packs for $30 or less all day long, and they will deliver 40+A draw (I do RC as well, we demand far more from our batteries, put them in equally expensive gear, my competition gliders cost several thousand dollars per airframe, and we pay FAR less for top quality batteries than what Camera makers charge, camera batteries are pure profit and wildly overpriced, even those cheap knockoffs are actually heavily marked up. A quality battery on par with 1st party quality should be $20-30, the 3rd party batteries are dollar cell quality). I'd almost like to see the cameras designed to take 18650 or 21700 cells instead of proprietary batteries. They're much cheaper for high-quality cells and can deliver a LOT of capacity.
 

oldracer

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Life is a series of tradeoffs. YMMV. I carry a half-dozen aftermarket batteries for my GX-8s plus two chargers. My main criteria are reliability and weight, neither of which is optimized by a single "power bank" type battery. This is for international travel, esp. photo safaris where we have mains power where we overnight at least 75% of the time. When shooting I use about 1 1/2 battery charges per day, so my charged battery cache lasts several days in extremis. If we ever have a trip where I don't think that will be enough, I'll just buy more of 'em.
 

mfturner

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I take 2 camera batteries with me, and am thinking of a third. However, when I'm traveling, I also have cell phone and iPad to recharge and use for backup file storage, (and if a working vacation my laptop) so I need charging systems for them as well. So having additional camera batteries only gets me so far before the phone or tablet are limiting. That's why I am looking at battery banks in addition to a third camera battery.
 

John King

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@b_rubenstein No motor vehicle on the planet is made without the involvement of cost and financial accountants at every step. Otherwise, a Hyundai I30 would probably cost treble what it does ...

As for your swipe at Australians, our car forum has many active Americans. Some of them are cowboys. That does allow anyone to make the assumption that they are representative of Americans generally.

Do you really believe that every car currently in use uses CANBUS?
 

ac12

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On vacation with my EM1-mk1, I regularly used three batteries for a full day of shooting, the way I shoot. #3 was so close to empty that when I got back from vacation, I bought a 4th battery.
You have to go on a simulated vacation, and do a REAL run time test of your camera and lens, so that you KNOW what your run time is, for the way YOU shoot.​
Then you can realistically plan the number of batteries that you need to carry.​
The lens is important, because some lenses (like the 12-100/4) will drain more power.​
I rarely had the opportunity to plug in to an AC outlet during the day. On the train yes, on the buses no. Plugging in at a restaurant is a good way to forget and lose the charger and battery.
Could I have charged battery #1 from a power pack in the bus? Maybe. But as others said, it would be a trade off, bulk of the pack + charging unit vs. another battery.

If you have your own car, things are different. Then you can plug into 12vdc. And it is YOUR car.

I do not live on my cell phone, like some do. IMHO, if your cell phone or iPad is not lasting a full day, I think the battery needs to be replaced.
And I would be careful and stingy about using power sucking applications, where I cannot easily charge the device.
I recall seeing a situation where a couple gave their phone to someone on the tour to take their pic, and I heard the guy say, "the battery in your phone is dead."​
This was before noon, so either, 1) they were doing stuff all morning that drained the battery, or 2) they did not charge the phone the prior night, or 3) the battery was old and had lost significant charge capacity.​
That is something that I do not like about sealed devices. I cannot simply swap in a new/charged battery, like I could my old cell phones.

I generally prefer to do all my charging at the end of the day, in the hotel room, in a controlled environment.
 

mfturner

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Like the op, I have a motor home/ RV, so my traveling doesn't include hotels if I can help it.

If I'm traveling for more than a weekend (which is most of the time I travel), and if I'm not staying at full service campgrounds with electrical hookups (which is also most of the time), then I need a way to recharge my electronics using either the RV house battery or an auxiliary battery bank. If I'm driving most days, even a little bit, and I'm not using air conditioning (the main reason for such a large inverter in the RV), then I'll just use the RV house battery and not worry about the inefficiency of the large inverter. This past summer in Yellowstone was a great example of that, we had a great time, and could recharge nightly without worry because we were driving daily, where the battery system was being recharged.

But a year ago at Lake Havasu, we stayed a little over a week in one parking space without hookups, and turning on the inverter daily in the evenings to recharge electronics was not ideal. We solved it by driving into town a couple of times during the week to recharge the house battery, but I'd like to have a decent sized independent recharging option the next time we do something like that.
 

mfturner

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No argument there LOL. This RV was built with more East Coast US travel in mind because that's where my family lives, where there are too many trees to make solar very interesting. But SW US is a different story...
 

mawz

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No argument there LOL. This RV was built with more East Coast US travel in mind because that's where my family lives, where there are too many trees to make solar very interesting. But SW US is a different story...
There's some excellent options for portable solar these days. I've been looking at the Jackery stuff recently (mostly because I tripped over a couple videos about their kit on a couple softroading/overlanding channels I follow) and they do some nice compact vehicle-portable 100W panels that are intended to either USB charge or provide charge to their large portable power stations. These could potentially be used to top off the house battery in your RV while parked (or if safely mounted, while on the move)
 

oldracer

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There's some excellent options for portable solar these days. ..
I actually bought a solar array for a trip to Africa a couple of years ago (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071G4CQSR/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1) but after receiving it and thinking through the issues I decided to leave it at home. Gave it to my son, actually. First, it was fairly bulky to haul; nearly impossible with my self-imposed one-small-bag luggage limit. Second, in thinking through its use I realized that I could only use it on days where I could lay it down all day in the sun. IOW days where we'd be in a camp or lodge more than one night. Then, it needed direct sunlight where many camps work hard to provide shade to the tent areas. Finally, the space tradeoff again -- I could buy another ten camera batteries and end up with less weight and bulk.

So, for me, needing to charge only one type of camera battery and often being on the move, the solar array made no sense. For someone in a motor home usually parked for a day or more at a time, and maybe needing to charge more than one type of battery, things might be different.
 

John M Flores

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With regards to charging, my current policy is simple:

Device must support USB-C charging

I do a lot of motorcycle travel (and some bicycle travel too), so simplifying my technology while still having some redundancies is important to me. Starting last year, I standardized on USB-C charging and will only purchase devices that can be charged via USB-C PD. That way, I can use charge banks simply and never put the plug in wrong.

This is where I am right now
GX85: in camera Micro USB charging
G9: in camera Micro USB charging
Insta360 One R: in camera USB-C
Insta360 One X: in camera Micro-USB
Samsung Galaxy S9+: USB-C
Samsung Galaxy S7 Aktiv: Micro-USB
Dell XPS13 laptop: USB-C
Fossil Wear OS watch: proprietary wireless (ugh)

(I can't wait until I'm all USB-C!)

I have multiple batteries for each camera. If I drain one during the day, I'll charge it in-camera in my bag via a charge bank. And at night in the hotel, I've got a nice Anker charger with 1 USB-C port and 4 USB-A ports. These days, I don't bring camera charging bricks except for the Insta360 action cameras, because they eat batteries and I often go through several batteries a day.
 
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