USB charging

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by RobinSevers, May 8, 2013.

  1. RobinSevers

    RobinSevers New to Mu-43

    May 8, 2013
    This summer I'm going on an expedition to India and I'm taking my Olympus E-PL3. I will not have use of mains electricity for much of the time and therefore will not have a way of charging my camera. I have a 20000mAh battery pack which has USB outputs so I was wondering if there is a battery charger which can plug into a USB port as the camera does not charge directly by USB. The battery is a BLS-1. If this is not a possibility can somebody offer an alternative preferably cheap alternative to charge my camera batteries. And if there is no alternative can someone suggest a cheap reliable spare battery as the official olympus ones are out of my budget.
    Thank You,
  2. PaulGiz

    PaulGiz Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 3, 2013
    Rhode Island, USA
    USB is 5V, Olympus batteries are 7.4V,, you can't charge your camera's battery with USB.

    There are cheap batteries, others will chime in with their recommendations.

  3. veereshai

    veereshai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    Arlington, VA
    All you need is this: Plug Adapter for USA Flat to Europe Round Pin: Electronics

    You'll get it for about $0.5 (Rs.20-25) in India. But, do ensure that your battery/charger says that it's compatible with the domestic voltage in India (220V 50Hz). My G1 battery didn't have a problem when I just used a plug adapter.
  4. RobinSevers

    RobinSevers New to Mu-43

    May 8, 2013
    Thanks, I will probably have something like this for when I'm in the cities, however I will be spending a large amount of my time in the mountains so there will not be mains power and my battery only lasts a few days.
  5. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Get several extra batteries.
  6. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Real Name:
    As Paul stated, I don't think USB is an option due to the voltage. I've never run into a problem with any of the knock-off BLS-1 variants I've picked up, although I don't have any particular brand to recommend.

    Maybe you should consider picking up an old manual film camera for your "off-the-grid" adventures.
  7. veereshai

    veereshai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    Arlington, VA
    Ah, my bad. I think your best option is to get some more cheap batteries and carry them along. I thought about suggesting a solar powered charger, but it might end up being an expensive solution.
  8. RobinSevers

    RobinSevers New to Mu-43

    May 8, 2013
    I had considered solar charging however all of the portable solar panels require a USB charger in order to charge anything and it has been established that a USB charger is a no go :)
  9. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

  10. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Many of the aftermarket batteries come with chargers that work from a 12v supply, so you don't need an inverter (which will be quite big and not hugely efficient). The chargers work with std Oly batteries too. For the 12v source, you could get a couple of 12v gel cells - like these:

    Amazon gel cell

    The capacity of this is 5Ah, and given that the typical Li ion battery in a camera is about 1.2 Ah, you should get about three recharges per 12v pack. Larger 12v cells are available with bigger capacities and of course weight. If you're near a car of course, then you can use that (the chargers come with a cigarette-lighter adapter).

    Hope this helps.
  11. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 21, 2013
    N Essex, UK
    Real Name:
    I suspect the 12V charger option will be most practical but if you won't have a car...

    I've just seen a Solar powered charger in the comming soon booklet at the local lidl.
    This model has it's own 2Ah Li ion battery & switchable outlet voltages of 5V, 7.5V & 9.6V which could perhaps be made to work for you. Listed price is ~£12.
  12. quatchi

    quatchi Mu-43 Veteran

    May 17, 2012
    Munich, Germany
    A thought about third-party batteries:

    I had one for my G1 which worked fine. Expect, it would tend to self-discharge rather quickly. I could get about the same amount of pictures from the original and the third-party one when both came right out of the charger. Having them lying around for a couple of days completely changed the picture.

    For my E-M5 I have third-party batteries as well. So far I didn't encounter any unusually high self-discharge.

    When buying third-party ones make sure they are giving you enough capacity even after being a couple of days (weeks) on the shelf / in the backpack.
  13. jziegler

    jziegler Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 15, 2012
    Salem County, New Jersey
    Real Name:
    It is actually relatively straightforward to create a circuit that would boost the USB 5V to the 7.4 needed to charge a camera battery (I'm an electrical engineer, I deal with this kind of stuff regularly), and I'm surprised that no one seems to have done so.

    Lots of solar chargers are available, so that could work. There are also plenty of universal chargers that will accept multiple voltages, often including 12V, so if you can plug into anything at all, you could use that.
  14. FrayAdjacent

    FrayAdjacent Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 5, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Real Name:
    Check out external batteries. Anker has one that does have a 12v output, and stores 10,000mAh. That could charge up camera batteries a few times. You'd need to find a 12v car charger and jimmy with the connectors, but it should be pretty easy.
  15. JodyTate

    JodyTate New to Mu-43

    Oct 23, 2013
    hello even I have tried to use solar charger but there were no fruitful outcomes.. Can you tell some other way of charging