Velocharger?

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Blue Hills, 1 Jan 2018.

  1. Blue Hills

    Blue Hills Guru

    Location:
    London
    Anyone got any experience of or views on this:

    https://www.spacycles.co.uk/m2b276s208p3515/ADEPT-ELECTRONICS-VeloCharger-for-Hub-Dynamo

    Am doing some early research on such things before in time getting a dynamo wheel for the expedition tourer.

    I know that the B&M wunderkinds do devices for this sort of thing but from what I can figure both of their devices are unecessarily clever/expensive and have features I don't need, ie: a cache battery in one and an ability to adjust the output in the other.

    I do not intend to charge any running devices from one of these things (my Garmin runs on rechargeable AAs), just charge up an Anker Powerbank.

    Am I right in thinking that it is advisable to have a switch somewhere in the line so that during daylight you can switch off any dynamo light (in time I will doubtless get one of those as well) and have all the power fed to charging the powerbank?

    If so, where should this switch be? In the convertor itself or somehow wired into the line from the dynamo?

    Final question - any desirable features in such things which I should look for but have very possibly not even thought of?

    Thanks in anticipation, happy new year's cycling/touring one and all.
     
    Heltor Chasca likes this.
  2. OP
    OP
    Blue Hills

    Blue Hills Guru

    Location:
    London
    Another question.

    This:

    http://www.keeppedalling.co.uk/dynamo-hubs-usb-chargers/

    in the last para says:

    "If you need a light that also charges there's the B&M Luxos IQ2 that throws out 70 Lux. Remember that any device that runs off your dynamo is primarily a device charger, not a battery charger. Any device that runs off a cycle dynamo will struggle to charge a battery so its best to stick to charging devices such as phones and GPS's. "

    My bold.

    Odd/too cautious?

    I was under the impression that a fair few folk used their hub dynamos to charge a powerbank. In fact I rather had the idea that this was the simpler option since you don't have to worry about the electrical neuroses of some devices which I understood could be liable to switch on and off as your pedalling/powering varied in speed. In fact I thought this was why one of the B&M units had a cache battery to regulate the feed to the device. Which I am pretty sure I don't need,.
     
  3. graham bowers

    graham bowers Über Member

    Location:
    NW Leicestershire
    I used one of these velocharger hub devices last year for charging a 10 Ah usb battery pack exactly as you propose. It was powered by a Shutter Precision PV8. I needed power for a Garmin 810 and iphone 5. I had battery lights. I charged the Garmin and IPhone each evening and then topped the battery up the next day in 4 to 5 hours riding. From memory, I had to be riding at about 11 mph to get any output. On LEJOG I averaged 80 miles a day and had plenty of power. On the Route des Grandes Alpes I go zero output on the ascents as I was trundling up at much less than 11 mph and whilst it charged on the descents, I did end up in power deficit and had to use a wall charger in campsites - this is not a reflection of the velocharger by the way, I expect alternative would have behaved similarly.
     
    Blue Hills likes this.
  4. OP
    OP
    Blue Hills

    Blue Hills Guru

    Location:
    London
    thanks for the reply graham. Yes I had read that you need to be doing a fair pace to get it starting to charge. Could be an issue for me possibly as I will be carrying a ton of stuff on a touring bike. I had the impression that some will maybe charge at a significantly lower speed, perhaps those B&M things with their other unecessary bits/complications.

    Am keeping a close look on these things as I cannot help but think that it might be one of those areas where technical offerings are improving all the time. Slight mystery to me why B&M with their expertise don't introduce a cheaper option for simpler needs like mine, but maybe they have marketing/profit margin reasons.

    This by the by is what I am planning to charge:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Anker-PowerCore-20100-Capacity-Technology-Black/dp/B00VJSGT2A

    Have used on tours before but with recourse to pubs now and again :smile: to boost it. The powerbank is excellent so am looking to pair it with other excellent but simple kit.
     
  5. The Igaro D1 is also popular with ultra distance riders.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Blue Hills

    Blue Hills Guru

    Location:
    London
    But why does it cost so much for something that non technical me has the idea is actually pretty simple? Thanks for the suggestion steve but it also I think features titanium bits, something I pretty much avoid on principle.
     
  7. graham bowers

    graham bowers Über Member

    Location:
    NW Leicestershire
    Hadn't heard of this one so have been doing some reading up on it. Seems like a very good unit and charges from quite a lot slower groundspeed than the Velocharger. Its quite a lot of money, but I suppose there is an element of you get what you pay for.
     
  8. I have just bought one myself but am waiting for my wheels to be made. I will be running it with a SON 29 dynamo on Hunt wheels.

    It is expensive but I have spoken to some of the Transcontinental Race guys and they say the Igaro D1 is a great bit of kit. You just set it up and leave it. It is also 100% waterproof.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Blue Hills

    Blue Hills Guru

    Location:
    London
    Sorry if i was sniffy about your suggestion Steve.

    Please report back on this thread or within the touring section on your experiences with it.

    Suppose i was discouraged by the price and the thought that its clever modular connections are maybe proprietary. And that even something expensive may fail. And then certain bits may be hard to get hold of, if the company is still around. I note that as they sportingly state the usb standard itself is not weatherproof.

    I also think they have removed a lifetime guarantee on some bits as some retailers objected to this. Must admit that I don't entirely understand this if the guarantee would always be backed by the manufacturer.

    I may go with a cheaper option first to try things out then maybe go with this later.

    Look forward to updates from you, when are you hoping to be able to trial it?
     
  10. raleighnut

    raleighnut Guru

    Location:
    On 3 Wheels
    It needs to be quite a sophisticated device to turn an AC current that varies both in frequency and voltage into a fixed DC output.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    Blue Hills

    Blue Hills Guru

    Location:
    London
    I bow to your doubtless higher expertise raleighnut, physics and associated school subjects never being my strong point.

    Have you used such a device?
     
  12. It appears to be marketed under different brands so may find user experiences under the alternative brands. The lack of specifications is enough for me to move on and well you pay for what you get ...

    I have a prototype charger from Kerry at http://klite.com.au and for the price it is very good. Not sure but if he will go into production with it at this stage. I would take a look at a Busch & Muller e-Werk for solid device at a "reasonable" price.
     
  13. raleighnut

    raleighnut Guru

    Location:
    On 3 Wheels
    No, I don't have anything that I need to charge on the bikes whilst out on them (my e-cig maybe) and my Hub-Dyno is on the 3spd (for now)

    My knowledge doesn't come from school though but from working on cars/motorcycles when I left (which have charging systems) What you need though is a form of rectifier/zener diode to deal with the AC aspect but that still leaves the variable voltage DC now motor vehicles deal with this by having a battery so you've got to miniaturise all that lot.
    If I needed to have charging though I think I'd do it by charging a 'powerbank' or similar (cheap) then use that to charge devices (expensive) rather than risk damaging any device.

    BTW my mobile phone (Nokia) gets charged once a week whether it needs it or not. :giggle:
     
    Blue Hills likes this.
  14. RealLeeHimself

    RealLeeHimself Just keep peddling, just keep peddling...

    As an alternative / supplementary (and probably impractical) idea that occurs to me, could you not mount one of those lightweight solar panel charger thingies (technical term :okay:) to the top of your handlebar/pannier bag/backpack? I’m assuming you’re touring in Spring/Summer when there’s more daylight of course. Maybe a combination of solar panel and dynamo would charge as well as maintain (if that’s possible without switching between the two USBs from each charge point). If anyone knows electronics, would this be possible? Then you’d have a charge on ascents as well as descents and wouldn’t have to worry about maintaining 11mph all the time.

    Just an idea with no practical knowledge behind it. ^_^
     
    raleighnut likes this.
  15. OP
    OP
    Blue Hills

    Blue Hills Guru

    Location:
    London
    That's my current system dogtrousers. 2100 anker powerbank with, in the uk, sits in the likes of understanding places like spoons. Have also spent 2 or 3 hours in the corner of campsite bars but would like to avoid that - bars usually pretty dreadful however tarted up and the beer usually not worth drinking. I want to cut free more and can see myself doing this more when touring abroad.
     
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