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Thread: Keeping Your Electric Stuff Charged While On The Road

  1. #1
    Adventurist nakwakto00's Avatar
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    Keeping Your Electric Stuff Charged While On The Road

    Last summer I did a 3,600 mile solo road trip across the western US - Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Utah, and Oregon. 21 days and 18 of them camping at state parks or USFS campgrounds. I had with me the following electric "stuff" that required regular charging: cell/smartphone, tablet, headset, GPS, LED lantern, and MP3 player/radio. I succeeded in not having to buy any batteries, nor did I take a bunch with me. Rather I used the 12V adapter on my 2006 R1200RT and a Goal Zero solar panel and battery pack.

    The solar panel fit conveniently in my clear vinyl map case on my tank bag. I would have the solar panel connected to either a device or the battery pack inside my tank bag. I found that while riding the solar panel was almost always in direct sunlight. I also used the on board 12V adapter connected to a device when riding. When I would stop for the day I would set up the solar panel in a sunny spot and again charge one of my devices. I would also connect the battery pack to charge a device. I never needed to connect, even temporarily, to a 120V outlet. I was able to keep my stuff charged throughout the trip. I just rotated my various devices based on their charge level to something that would charge it, e.g., solar panel, battery pack, or 12V bike connector.

    The devices I had were all low voltage and low amps. I don't think the solar panel or battery pack could have charged something like a laptop. Goal Zero makes bigger solar panels and battery charging packs but conveniently having them on a motorcycle is problematic. Perhaps a bigger solar panel could be mounted on top of a pannier or top case. Finally I packed pretty light trying to avoid multiple external bags and straps, although I did have an Ortlieb bag strapped to my BMR flatbed rack. This bag carried the big stuff like the tent, sleeping pad and bag, portable chair, and rain gear.

    Thought I'd share this easy and environmentally friendly way of keeping your electronic devices charged.
    -don
    #161988
    "If you don't treat yourself right, no one else will."
    '06 R1200RT, '13 F800GS, '10 G650GS (wife's), and '04 R1150RT (wife's)

  2. #2
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    I just place them in the tankbag & run the charger cord out the "zipper hole" to the powerlet or SAE plug.
    "If I had my life to live over, I'd dare to make more mistakes next time...I'd relax,I'd limber up... I would take fewer things seriously...take more chances... take more trips...climb more mountains...swim more rivers...eat more ice cream." Jorge Luis Borges at age 85.

  3. #3
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    I'm with kantuckid. We tend to stay in a motel every few days.

    Appreciate your concern for the environment, but Goal Zero is far from achieving their goal.

    http://voiceofsandiego.org/2009/02/1...-solar-panels/
    Kevin Huddy
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

  4. #4
    Adventurist nakwakto00's Avatar
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    Oh wait, like the video posted in the Billings MOA thread, "So You Want to Live in*Montana... -*YouTube Video www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyLMwzDR4qY" A Montana solar panel must be the corrugated roof on an out house by the hay barn motel.
    -don
    #161988
    "If you don't treat yourself right, no one else will."
    '06 R1200RT, '13 F800GS, '10 G650GS (wife's), and '04 R1150RT (wife's)

  5. #5
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nakwakto00 View Post
    Oh wait, like the video posted in the Billings MOA thread, "So You Want to Live in*Montana... -*YouTube Video www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyLMwzDR4qY" A Montana solar panel must be the corrugated roof on an out house by the hay barn motel.
    Ha!

    Not quite. Folks are more into wind power out here. While there are solar set-ups, they are a bit too complex for most of the simple folk out here.

    The guy who made the post "So You Want to Live in Montana" must be one of the simplest of them thar Montanans.
    Kevin Huddy
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

  6. #6
    Registered User jandhumphreyme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kantuckid View Post
    I just place them in the tankbag & run the charger cord out the "zipper hole" to the powerlet or SAE plug.
    I sometimes use this option. I stay in state parks and national parks when traveling but splurge and spend the extra 2 to 5 bucks for a site with electricity.
    So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
    And we never even know we have the key

  7. #7
    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    I think it's great that somebody's using mini solar panels to maintain a charge on their multiple devices, along with the bike's power capabilities. As for the battery pack: These days, I rarely leave home without my own battery pack- there's always a charge or three available whether there are outlets or 120V power around or not. I have a large one so not only does it hold a charge for days, I could conceivably charge up to three devices at a time.

    Also, I remember a few years back when somebody took their iphone along with them and used it solely as GPS, MP3 player, Communication device, while also using location service based apps to find food, gas, campgrounds, etc. rather than carry multiple devices along.

    Technology gets more & more portable- and while, sure- you CAN check into a motel to charge your devices the old fashioned way, these days there are a growing number of other options.

    Kudos to the OP.
    Be The Change You Want To See In The World

  8. #8
    Registered User Tewster2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kantuckid View Post
    I just place them in the tankbag & run the charger cord out the "zipper hole" to the powerlet or SAE plug.
    Yep, a simple solution to an simple problem. Bravo for not making things more complicated than they need to be.
    Tim2

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