Total beginner - dynamo and charging help?

I will be touring on a crap bike around Somerset, Devon and Cornwall in a few weeks. My route will be about 1500 miles and will take around 30 days

Anyway, I have a dynamo hub that gives out 0.5Amp. My thoughts on this, is that it would be better for me to have a power pack on charge from the dynamo and then run lights, phone - GPS and music from the power pack. I will always have lights then and will also be able to meet the charging requirements of some devices.

The only issue I have got is the power packs themselves, nearly all quote 1.0amp input for a slow charge

How can I get around this with a 0.5amp dynamo hub? Or is there more powerful hubs?

Cheers
 
 
I will be touring on a crap bike around Somerset, Devon and Cornwall in a few weeks. My route will be about 1500 miles and will take around 30 days

Anyway, I have a dynamo hub that gives out 0.5Amp. My thoughts on this, is that it would be better for me to have a power pack on charge from the dynamo and then run lights, phone - GPS and music from the power pack. I will always have lights then and will also be able to meet the charging requirements of some devices.

The only issue I have got is the power packs themselves, nearly all quote 1.0amp input for a slow charge

How can I get around this with a 0.5amp dynamo hub? Or is there more powerful hubs?

Cheers
Hi Albert, and welcome to you & your crappy bike :smile:

First of all, help us out with some information....
What wattage is the dynamo you are using? My understanding is that anything rated less than 3W is not suitable for charging, only for lighting.
Second, what charging device do you plan on using? This is probably the most important.
Where do you see the 1 amp input for a slow charge?

A couple of observations...
Is it possible to charge your powerbank at your nightly accommodation? - that will negate the need for charging from the hub.
I'd suggest not to use such a large powerbank on a dynohub. I use 2 smaller ones for handiness and for redundancy if one gets wet or damaged. Incidentally, they are both Ravpower and work fine - but much older.
I have a dynamo hub for touring that powers my front lights at night - but I only ride at night when I absolutely must. I charge during the day. So a dynamo powered light or lights are possible.
If you do need a new dynamo, check out Decathlon. I've seen recently they have Shimano dyno hub wheels for cheaper than the price of the dynamo.
Also bear in mind that speed influences your charging ability. I say this only because you say you have a crap bike. If you travel too slowly you won't be able to charge.

All the best
 
I use a hub dynamo too, mainly because I have to have dynamo lighting here. Personally I find it a great help to always have a light: it makes me more visible to drivers and pedestrians, and being a dynamo I don't ever have to think about batteries.

Also, a power bank is more weight: probably not much more weight and you may it may find it essential for other things, but weight adds up in touring luggage...
 

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
You are touring at a time of maximum daylight, so will you really need lights?

'Phone, GPS, and music' will take more electrons than a standard dynamo can supply.

Seems to me you will need a power bank you can charge in the evening at a camp site or bed and breakfast.
 
Location
London
First thing I'd do before calculating your needs albert is switching the music off. Enjoy your rural surroundings.

Thanks for thread though - have been hovering on the edge of this for a while.
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
'Phone, GPS, and music' will take more electrons than a standard dynamo can supply.
Are you sure? I think 2000mAh/day USB would keep me in phone GPS and music, which is 4h riding plus a bit for conversion losses. I've not tried it. Have you?

Seems to me you will need a power bank you can charge in the evening at a camp site or bed and breakfast.
I'd still charge a power bank off the hub rather than try to directly connect a phone that would whinge at every junction and cost a lot if I bricked it.
 

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
Are you sure? I think 2000mAh/day USB would keep me in phone GPS and music, which is 4h riding plus a bit for conversion losses. I've not tried it. Have you?


I'd still charge a power bank off the hub rather than try to directly connect a phone that would whinge at every junction and cost a lot if I bricked it.
I've spoken to a couple of people who were trying to do what the OP wants to do.

Neither had managed to pull it off successfully, although I can't recall the ins and outs.

This article suggests a high power Son dynamo will just about keep a smart phone going, unless the rider can pedal faster than Froomey.

Reliable USB charging also appears difficult, requiring capacitors or some other in line device.

Cost is another factor.

A Son dynamo laced to a decent touring wheel is £300 or more, plus the electronic trickery to help with the charging.

I doubt the OP will want to spend that on his 'crappy' bike.

https://www.cyclingabout.com/best-dynamo-usb-chargers-bicycle-touring-bikepacking/
 
Solar charger for mine as well, but I charge a power bank/torch, I'd rather charge two units than one for the same wattage.
I think you're located in the States? That might have an influence on the effectiveness or otherwise of a solar charger. My own experience with one is that it is not reliable, especially on a bike. And that was in Spain, in summer. However, mine is quite old now so is not as efficient as the newer ones. It does work very well though, stationary in direct sunlight.

I've spoken to a couple of people who were trying to do what the OP wants to do.

Neither had managed to pull it off successfully, although I can't recall the ins and outs.

This article suggests a high power Son dynamo will just about keep a smart phone going, unless the rider can pedal faster than Froomey.

Reliable USB charging also appears difficult, requiring capacitors or some other in line device.

Cost is another factor.

A Son dynamo laced to a decent touring wheel is £300 or more, plus the electronic trickery to help with the charging.

I doubt the OP will want to spend that on his 'crappy' bike.

https://www.cyclingabout.com/best-dynamo-usb-chargers-bicycle-touring-bikepacking/
I have a Son 28* and a Cycle2Charge unit that makes me self-sufficient charging:
Wahoo Elemnt
Android Phone (minimum use)
Android Tablet (Minimum use)
Ipod (barely used)
Kindle (Used daily)
Recharge batteries for lights/headlamp
As well as powering my front lights (not simultaneously).
I travel pretty heavy and do not move fast, but an average daily speed of 13 kph will replace my daily energy use. (26 inch wheels)

*Previously I had a shimano hub dynamo and that worked as well. I have no idea if it was as efficient as the Son, but it worked.

For longer trips I still carry a 3 panel solar charger, but that has been ineffective on the bike. I use it for mornings/evenings or more likely long, lazy lunches. It effectively replaces the generation lost when I'm not riding.

The cheapest Son wheel from SJS is about 220, Shimano even cheaper. Pair that with a charging unit like mine and 300 will see you set up. In fairness, while it may be a crap bike the wheel and charging unit can be transferred to a new bike!

It is a viable option, in my experience. Especially given the fact that there are always opportunities to plug into a wall every now and then - unless you're really going off the grid. But of course, it really depends on your energy usage.

What a setup like mine does is give me the freedom to stop where I want. I can wild camp without worrying about juice. At campsites I don't have to worry about "losing" my powerbank or charger at public sockets.

My last tour from Holland to Ireland & back again was entirely self powered. I left fully charged and the one time I could have topped off from the wall (due to a very windy day) the very windy day resulted in a power-cut! ^_^
 
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