charging ipad and phones - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-07-2015, 05:50 AM   #1
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charging ipad and phones

Hi,

We are planning to camp off grid a lot and use our solar panels to run lights, fan, etc...BUT, I didn't realize our AC plugs would not work on solar. ha ha ha...because I am NEW to this. Anyways, I love my ipad as a kindle reader so I can read at night without using lights, that wake the other person. But the battery wouldn't last a full week without some help. How so you charge phones and ipads while boondocking?
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Old 02-07-2015, 06:30 AM   #2
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Karen,

Any reasonable solar panel should allow you to keep all the typical electronic devices powered. We have 80 watts of Solar and it is adequate for us.

We have multiple ways to charge our phones, e books, pad and computer.

Car Charging. All our devices can be charged while driving plugged into our car's DC outlet. We use the DC outlet in two different fashions. First we have chargers that can plug directly into the 12 volt outlets of the car (2) and charge our devices directly. Generally we have our phones plugged in while driving. Second, we have a 12 volt to 110 VAC convertor that we can plug into the 12 volt outlet. This allows us to plug traditional ac chargers in while traveling.

Trailer Charging. The techniques used in the car can be used in the trailer. In our trailer we have two 12 volt outlets. The same 12 volt chargers available for all these devices can be used in the trailer that one would use in the car.

We also have small 12 Volt DC to 110 VAC convertors for use in the trailer. We generally use these small convertors for running the Television at night but could also be used for charging.

Lastly we have a number of 110 VAC outlets that contain built-in USB charging ports (6). When the trailer's plugged into AC we use them for charging our Cell Phones, e-books and pads.

The Ebooks, Pad and computer all have substantial battery life and can typically go for a day or longer without charging, particularly the ebooks and pad. Phones need to be charged every day and likewise the computer if used heavily. As well as these devices we carry a wi-fi hotspot that runs all the time.

Of course it is possible to run all your AC plugs while boondocking. We also have, a rarely used, 1200 watt DC to AC Convertor that can power all our AC outlets. We would not use this to run high wattage devices like the microwave. Generally we use small 100 watt DC to AC convertors to run devices that only run on AC.

Over the years I've stopped using the ebooks, finding it easier and more convenient to read books on my phone, particularly because I always have my phone and it's easier to hold. Our computer is a Chromebook that weighs little and has great battery life.

To extend the battery life every bulb in our trailer is an LED, probably the case in the OLiver.
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Old 02-07-2015, 07:46 AM   #3
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We do it in the car. One vehicle has to have key in and on ACC position, newest vehicle has one power port live all the time so no key in ignition required. Simple, easy, inexpensive.
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Old 02-07-2015, 08:21 AM   #4
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Two hints- one, a real Kindle such as a backlit Paperwhite will hold charge much longer than an iPad. Worth considering.

Second- the iPad charge will last longer if you turn off location services and turn off connectivity when not trying to connect.
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Old 02-07-2015, 08:31 AM   #5
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I charge my tablet using a generic cigarette lighter to USB charger. My iPad says "not charging". It lies. While it is not charging at the rate an Apple charger would charge, it is charging. It just takes a little longer. Raz
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Old 02-07-2015, 08:51 AM   #6
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There are any number of USB charging ports/adapters out there. Many are dual and have both a high (2.1a) and a low (1.0a) plug. I installed this one in a pop-up:




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Old 02-07-2015, 09:04 AM   #7
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http://tinyurl.com/pm4rvtc

20000mAh will recharge an iPad or phone several times.
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Old 02-07-2015, 04:55 PM   #8
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Since we travel with three IPads and two iPhones I spent some time researching the best 12 volt charger. The winner was a product available on Amazon called the PowerGen White Dual USB 4.2A (20W) Car charger Designed for Apple and Android Devices. The advantage of this device is it is intelligent and will determine if you are plugging in an iPad or iPhone and then adjust the charge rate. The iPad charges at a higher amperage. Another advantage is both ports, the Apple and the Non Apple are fully powered, using one will not diminish the power of the other. With a summer of testing in the fiberglass trailer and in the car we have been very pleased with the results.
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Old 02-07-2015, 07:52 PM   #9
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AC power in the rough

Hi,
I try to find sites with power but National, Forestry and Corps of Engineers Parks are often without. I am presently on a National Parks tour and have found a few tricks that work for us.

We have a small 20 watt solar panel that stores easily and is some help. Keep in mind that a 1,000 watt generator is often considered minimal. We have about half our lights switched over to LEDs and use only these when without AC. We have a Black and Decker 500 watt - 100 watt inverter to get AC from a battery. The 100 watt feature is a cigarette plug for the car that provides 100 watts to USB and regular receptacles. I think the inverter was $40 - $50.

I purchased a 230 cranking amp garden tractor battery to supplement my house battery. I got a small plastic tub at a dollar store and keep the little battery in the back of the car we tow with. I have a 20 amp fused supply that I ran for my trailer plug. I have a small fused line with battery clamps that keep the small battery charged while we drive. I can set the small battery on the tongue of the trailer and clamp the 500 watt inverter to it. We have power for the TV, DVD and computer without worrying about running down the house battery.

Heat is another matter for those 40 degree nights. We have a 1500 BTU portable catalytic propane heater. We run it until bedtime. We seem to get through the night fine without it. First thing in the morning we fire it up again. It gets us by but we prefer heating with AC.

Camping and travelling with a 16' Scamp is an exercise in the "less is more" philosophy.
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Old 02-08-2015, 02:34 PM   #10
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I am getting from the OP he is using the solar panel to directly run equipment, not via a charged house battery? Maybe I just didn't get it.
A small Honda generator could charge a house battery pretty well. Use the solar when the sun is good, the genset when cloudy.
I also have a 400W inverter with a USB port, that charges my SIII phone well, and a pocket-sized charger pack, to give about three good rechargings.
Keeping the laptop recharged is a bit more taxing of course.
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Old 02-08-2015, 03:10 PM   #11
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In FGRV's solar panels are always used to charge batteries due to the time/energy continuum (?) This means that it might take 4 hours to charge up a battery to run a microwave for 10 minutes, my figures may not be accurate, but you get the idea. (Continuum... that's a neat word, sorts like Penny's "Peppermint Schnapps".


Packing a generator is yet another task to take care of and isn't all that favored, and with a Honda 1000EU starting at about $850, it's bit expensive.


And the battery that powers your inverter is using more current for the the inverter part at idle than you need to run the USB port. You could save battery power with a connection to 12VDC source with one of the 12VDC to USB devices shown above.



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Old 02-08-2015, 03:49 PM   #12
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I do indeed have the 12V auto charger for all my devices. But when boondocking, it's more convenient, quieter and uses less fuel to recharge from the house battery. I do use the 12V charger cables directly off the battery, via cigarette sockets too. I have a variety of methods, depending on what works best at the moment.
Choice is a good thing...... :-)
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Old 02-08-2015, 05:58 PM   #13
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Well, I have to say....this is all informative...and overwhelming...ha ha ha.. We will not have a generator....don't like them...but not being judmental...just us...and of course, if we drive, I will plug in the devices but we will not be driving everyday..so I know this will sound stupid...but if we use solar...for powering our camper, will our ac plugs in the camper work? as in putting our usb plugs in the sockets? or in another question? does anything work in those? as in can I plug in a crock pot? I just dont' understand how solar works I guess..We put in a 100 watt solar and used it only once...and I know our microwave and AC doesnt work....but do the ac plugs work? Dont hate me for being stupid...ha ha...I think as we go on our FIRST long term trip, we will learn a lot..
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Old 02-08-2015, 06:07 PM   #14
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For Karen Bingel
Basically a solar system is a battery charging system, It charges up 1 or more batteries in your coach to store energy for when you need it, like when turning on the lights, the water pump, TV etc. If you want to power an ac appliance like an ac crock pot, you need another box called an Inverter. they convert the 12 volts DC of the battery to 120 volts AC and usually have their own dedicated outlets to connect into.


The good news..... solar energy is free and it can be charging your battery(s) any time sun is on the panels. The bad news, you are still depending on a battery to store energy and AC appliances use a lot. A single Group 24 battery might be able to run a microwave for 5-6 minutes before the battery is in need of a charge.


Hows that for starters? Keep asking questions and read, read, read.....



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Old 02-08-2015, 09:23 PM   #15
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charging ipad and phones

I use a dual port usb outlet from bluesea that runs on 12 volts. I just hooked it up to a lighting circuit. It uses very small amounts of juice. Click image for larger version

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It works great for iphones ipads etc.
I paid $20. My battery is charged by my tow vehicle or a 100 watt solar panel atop the Scamp and rarely from shore power.

John


Sent from my iPhone using Fiberglass RV
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Old 02-08-2015, 10:41 PM   #16
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Check out our Solar article (written by Jim Dunham). It was written several years ago, but contains good info.
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Old 02-10-2015, 07:00 AM   #17
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Thanks Bob, I think I'm beginning to get it. We are not greedy users of power so the Solar usually has no problems keeping our led lights and fans going if necc. AND...I do have one of those cigerette lighter USB charger in our truck. Now I am looking at getting either a dedicated solar charging system for the ipad, OR...trying to figure out how to make one of those converters work from our AC outlets. At this point, I am leaning towards a dedicated solar system for the IPAD....just to make life easy. ha ha
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Old 02-10-2015, 07:57 AM   #18
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Charging most tablets and smart phones is a relatively small task when you have a 12 volt battery and a TV to provide power. There are any number of 12VDC to USB "Converters" that are just a matter of plugging in to an accessory outlet.


But I am confused with "trying to figure out how to make one of those converters work from our AC outlets." What do you want to do and when do you want to do it?



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Old 02-10-2015, 08:37 AM   #19
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John, I like what you did. Is it a complicated task? I am going to look into that solution. I think it would be just what I am looking for! Just not too handy with electrical wiring is all. Obviously, with my advanced grasp on all things electrical, I might end up electrocuting myself or worse, messing up the whole electrical system on the trailer.

Bob, I am confused, hence the confusion. Well, as I said, I do have one of those TV converters that I do use to charge my IPAD and IPHONE...but at least with our TV, it only works while the motor is on as in driving. SO, my problem is: I don't want to run my truck just to charge my devices when we are boon docking in the middle of nowhere. SO, if you don't use your TV to go anywhere for days on end how do you charge your devices? Do people just run their TV's to charge their devices? Some poster said one of their vehicles doesn't need to be running to charge theirs but ours does.

I do appreciate all the ideas coming my way. I am trying to get a handle on all things DC vs AC120, solar vs generator, batteries, shore power, etc. etc.....sometimes, I think I will figure lots more once I am out there and doing it....and perhaps meeting some face to face campers along the way as well. But it helps to have some preliminary concepts down....

Why this is so hard for me to grasp, is that first, I always found electrical stuff confusing, and secondly, I am not looking at it. I need to be able to see stuff and right now, the escape pod is up here in the COLD FROZEN north, under wraps, so until she gets herself to Texas next week, I won't be able to really sit down and figure things out by looking/touching, etc..which is how my brain works.

So in the meantime, asking questions, reading posts, going to the links provided, etc....
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Old 02-10-2015, 08:46 AM   #20
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Karen, it sounds as though you have solar in your trailer but do not have any 12V cigarette lighter style outlets in the trailer. If that is correct, you could install one, which is quite easy to do with a little bit of electrical knowledge. If you have never done something like that before and don't feel up to it, it may be best to get someone else to install it for you. I would suggest getting at least one cigarette lighter style 12V outlet, and add additional USB outlets after that if you wish (you can always get the USB to cigarette outlet adapter and avoid installing the USB only outlets).
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