May 20 2013

Staying supercharged

So you’re out for 12 hours and you need to stay in touch with the world, and maybe the world needs to stay in touch with you. Keeping all your electronic gadgetry charged is a major headache for most.

My old phone would never lasted the course. My Garmin 410 forerunner GPS watch will barely last 6 hours. And my bluetooth headset will only last 5 hours if I’m constantly listening to disjointed off-road navigation (from OsmAnd phone app), music from my not-so-impressive-and-even-slightly-embarrassing playlist and the endless stream of phone calls from devoted admirer(s?).

So what do you do? I’ve had a go at many options… here are a few for your perusal.

Spare batteries, spare headset and spare watch

The carrier-grade option. Everything you need, carry at least two (or three if my old iPhone is anything to go by). Julia has a watch, so I carried hers fully charged. My Galaxy Note2 has a spare battery so I used the spare battery when mine ran out.  And I have a spare headset too.

If you don’t mind splitting what will probably be your longest ever run into two not-so-impressive distances, then this is the option for you. It’s less fiddly, even the sternest technophobe can manage switching like pieces of equipment and if it’s all the same, You don’t have to remember how the damn thing works.

But the downside, you’ll never have a run in your Garmin Connect saying “62.3 miles” or “100.03km“. And your favourite phone tracking App will never reward you with the view “longest ever run: 100km+ a bloody long way“.

When it’s dead, it’s dead

The just-let-your-gadgets-die approach. When its time is up, let its lights go out gracefully and just wing it. Difficult on so many fronts. You’ve probably spent a good part of your life training for this run and you will want every reminder possible of your ascension into the annals of sporting mega-achievements. So why would your just neglect the tools at your finger-tips to record every step for posterity?

And then there are safety considerations. You really can’t collapse in the last 5km and hope someone will find you (they might, but better safe than sorry). From a H&S standpoint, you need to keep some juice in your phone at all costs.

This is the do-nothing-because-I’m-too-damn-lazy approach. So it’s not for me.

Anker 10000 mAh mobile batteryMobile super-charging

My occasional foray into neat gadgets stumbled across an ingeniously useful, but beautifully elementary device for keeping your devices juiced up if you know they can’t cut the mustard and last the pace of your long excursion.

Most devices are chargeable via a USB port… so why not carry a big goddam battery with you? Well it turned out to be not-so-goddam-big. In fact, it’s smaller than my phone, and lighter. And at a cost of £27, it’s pretty cheap for the mobile convenience of charging your devices en-route.

It has two USB ports, one optimised for charging iPod/Pad/Phone-devices and one for Android devices. In reality, either with charge any device to some extent.

The device holds 10,000mAh, of which you can estimate that you’ll lose at most 40% due to inefficiencies, which means that this should charge my Galaxy Note2 with its 3100mAh battery about twice. And it does… first charge goes from 0% to 100%, and the next charge goes to 88%. It’s pretty  reliable and consistent on that front, although it does take 3h so it’s longer than your PC or main charger.

The headset (Plantronic M55) is pretty easy – 30 minutes and it’s full again, no fuss.

So that just leaves the Garmin… here’s how to do it:

Mobile supercharging!

  • Loosen the watch off 1 notch on the strap
  • Stick the Anker in a spare pocket
  • Clip the charger.

You can leave the watch running although all the bezel becomes disabled. It will still respond to each mile that passes on autolap, and it takes just over and hour to go from 10% back up to 90%. In my anecdotal tests, it takes longer to charge the last 10% so its really not worth it.

I put it in a pocket on my hydration pack carefully measure out right the length of cable and secure the remainder. Iit really is the easiest charging process I’ve found.

If you haven’t got one now for the london2brighton, GET ONE!



1 ping

  1. The race: London 2 Brighton » Wibles' Ultrablog | Wibles' Ultrablog

    […] battery which had previously comfortably lasted 24h was now running low. but it was OK, as I had my mobile super-charger… yes? Absolutely, I had that… but no cable. I found that I must’ve left it in the […]

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