charging phones, ipad and laptop idiot-proof description

Discussion in 'Top Tips & Tricks' started by Lindan, Aug 15, 2016.

  1. Lindan

    Lindan Funster

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    Hi all you knowledgable guys out there,
    My husb and myself have tried to get our heads round the power conundrum and still can't figure it out yet, so I hope someone can help explain this to us newbies with a bit more clarity than we currently have which is 1%. We cannot understand what we need to do to make sure our communication devices have adequate charge every day. The penny will have to drop some time, surely!?
    We have a 20 year old imported hymer with an electroblok charger. We are going to get solar panels to stay off grid about 50% of the time on the 12 month journey we are about to start, but untill we know how much power we need we won't know what sized panels (wattage / voltage) to buy, and we are setting off in a couple of weeks.
    My questions are
    1. Do we need to calculate how much power the devices need to charge? If so, how? The laptop's got 19 amp written on the plug, and at home it takes about 2 hours to charge fully if I am not using it. Its usage will be blog posting and some photoshop work. Same charging time for my smart phone. Same question for the ipad (about 4 hours to charge then I have power for a few days)
    2. How can we charge these things physically in the MH? Do the 3 pin electrical sockets deliver an appropriate charge when on hook up?
    3. What difference will 3A, 6A or 16A hook up supply make, like in France? And off hook up - will they drain the batteries? Will the devices fry? We have been too scared to try.
    4. How would solar panels affect this, and what size may we need, wintering in Spain and Morocco?
    5. Is there a go-to information point which has all the answers simplified and illustrated??!

    We will need to charge the laptop and 2 phones every alternate day day, and an ipad every 4 days. We only know how to plug them into the wall sockets at home, where the current / charge is domestic. We have no tv, or electrical appliances apart from these, have LED lights so won't be using much power. We have one new leisure battery - LFD90 Varta which should do us for a couple of days without these devices.
    One more thing - I bought a 12v adapter from Maplins to plug into the cigarette lighter but it didn't 'fit' properly and just rattled around. Is this socket connected to the starter battery though, and therefore only be used when actually driving?

    Sorry to take up so much space and ask so many questions - but we hope there will be lots of knowledge and help coming our way!
     
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  2. tonyidle

    tonyidle Funster

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    1) Just the laptop when not on hook-up.
    2) When on hook-up you can use the 13A sockets to charge any of stuff regardless of the site supply. All your devices being charged at once will not concern even a 3A hook-up.
    3) See above. Charging off hook-up obviously has an effect on your batteries but you only need concern yourself about the laptop. Even charging that won't take too much out of your battery / batteries but using it will.
    4) With solar the only limit is the size of your roof and depth of your pocket. More is better. Aim for a minimum of 100W solar.
    5) Not AFAIK but check the Resources section of this site.

    12v chargers are available for all your tech items. Connecting to 12v directly is better than waiting for an EHU or using an inverter.

    The dashboard cigar lighter socket(s) are only powered when the ignition is on.
     
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  3. Lindan

    Lindan Funster

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    Thanks Tony!
    That sounds much better than I thought.
    This might sound obvious to everyone, but when you say connect directly to 12v, do you mean plug into the wall plug socket when the leisure battery is on? ie, when off grid?
    Had thought 80 - 100 watt would do, but going to get a folding one, as there is quite a bit of junk up there, and we can sell it after. Any thoughts on this idea?
    Cheers
     
  4. Lindan

    Lindan Funster

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    1. Do we need to calculate how much power the devices need to charge?

    1) Just the laptop when not on hook-up.

    Does anybody know a way to work out how much power is needed to charge a laptop?
     
  5. Robin McHood

    Robin McHood Funster

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    Ok @Lindan, here we go. @tonyidle has answered most of your questions so here's my tuppence worth.


    1. Do we need to calculate how much power the devices need to charge? If so, how?

    (A) Very roughly you need the number of ampere hours the battery in each thing you are charging is sized at. E.g. an iPad4 has an 11.5AH battery. This figure is arrived at by simply multiplying current in amps by time in hours. ie how much current the battery can supply for how long. So an 11.5AH battery can supply 1A for 11.5 hours 2A for 5.75hours etc... you get the idea.

    So your iPad 4 if completely flat would need about 5 to 6 hours to charge as a standard iPad charger gives out about 2.1 Amps down the lead to the iPad 5 x 2.1 = 10.5AH. (If you get a magnifying glass you can just about read that on the side of an iPad charger (The OUTPUT figure). Your car (12V) charger will also output that 2.1A so will take the same amount of time.


    The laptop's got 19 amp written on the plug, and at home it takes about 2 hours to charge fully if I am not using it.
    (A) Are you sure it doesn't say 19A(mps) but 19V(olts). The laptop will require most power. If you tell me the laptop's model number I can then be more precise

    2. How can we charge these things physically in the MH? Do the 3 pin electrical sockets deliver an appropriate charge when on hook up?

    (A) You use your sockets on hookup just like you would at home with the same chargers.


    3. What difference will 3A, 6A or 16A hook up supply make, like in France?
    (A) For your chargers none whatever as long as your MH isn't using the hookup for anything else. If you are using other things like fridge/heating/TV etc you have to look at the total wattage your are trying to use. (LED lighting uses very little) So then you would need to add up all the W(att) figures for each device. Divide that total by 220 (The supply voltage) and that will give you the number of Amps you need. As long as that is less than the hookup supply you'll be fine. Your Laptop/iPad/iPhone chargers will use only about 1 to 1.5A total if all are charging at the same time

    And off hook up - will they drain the batteries?
    (A) Eventually yes if the batteries have no input to them but even then if these are the only things connected it will take a very long time, how long depends on the size of your habitation battery.
    your Varta 90 is a 90AH battery so on its own could potentially recharge your iPad from flat nine times before it too was flat (and before all the pedants get busy, I know this is a simplistic answer but its close enough for them to start to understand the fundamentals)


    Will the devices fry? We have been too scared to try.
    (A) Absolutely not. All chargers have built in protection to stop that sort of thing.

    I bought a 12v adapter from Maplins to plug into the cigarette lighter but it didn't 'fit' properly and just rattled around.
    (A) There are two types of 12V Plug, they look similar.. but.... One is the standard British cigarette lighter plug and the other is the European DIN plug, I suspect you have one of these.
    This is a DIN version upload_2016-8-15_8-54-55.jpeg and this is a cigarette type upload_2016-8-15_8-55-31.jpeg Often the cigarette type can be changed to a DIN type by pulling off the red bit.
    As @tonyidle says, off hookup the general rule is to use 12V chargers to avoid having an inverter to change your battery 12V output into 220V (domestic) which would make your normal mains sockets work. This is because an inverter itself uses battery power to make it work. Better to connect 12V charger adapters to 12v and do away with the inverter power loss.

    Your dash socket may or may not work with the engine off but either way it will be connected to your engine start battery so you need to exercise caution using it in order not to flatten it. Better to have some 12v DIN sockets fitted, connected to your habitation battery though I'd be surprised if your Hymer doesn't already have these.

    Solar power and battery charging is a specialist area as it involves possibly adding bits to your electroblok. It would be best to talk directly to one of the specialists in this field, several of whom are on here like John's Cross, Dave Newell, Vanbitz etc who will be able to give you the best advice based on their long experience of such matters.

    I have 4 enormous diesel engines generating about 20Megawatts of power so its a bit outside my field of expertise:LOL::LOL::LOL:
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
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  6. Theonlysue

    Theonlysue Funster Life Member

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    You would be best to buy the schaudt solar regulator to go with the electro block. A bit more expensive but they work well.
    You also need to ensure your leisure batteries are good. You will need to check if these are wet batteries or gel as there are possibly different settings on the electro block and regulator.
    Do you know which electro block and display panel you have?
     
  7. Zoppydog

    Zoppydog Funster

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    I use an iPad and phone which I plug into the cigarette lighter socket by using the adaptor which came with our Tom Tom.
    We have a solar panel which keeps us well supplied, just spent 4 days off grid and batteries have hardly dropped. I can plug one of them in while travelling, as well as the SatNav and Dash Cam!
    I also charge them up when we have been parked up too. We don't take a laptop so can't answer for that.
    Chris
     
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  8. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    I must have the only laptop made that Maplins don't do a 12V adapter for, so my solution has been to use a small plug in when needed inverter (300W) this plugs into a 12V socket into which we can plug the lap top mains charger. I try to only use it when travelling, although on a decent sunny day it takes less out than is going into the batteries, but with the engine running while moving there can be no issue presuming your alternator charges the leisure batteries

    I also try to remember to charge camera battery at same time as once plugged in the inverter seems to use the same power to do nothing or provide 300W

    I hope that helps more than confuses (y)


    edit - this is the kind of inverter I mean, you can also buy them a lot cheaper if not pure sine wave, but this seems pretty good spec and value for basic charging jobs

    http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/maplin-12v-pure-sinewave-300w-inverter-a26jg
     
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  9. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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  10. pjay

    pjay Funster

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  11. chaser

    chaser Funster

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  12. WillH

    WillH Funster

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    We find charging everything off 12v is simplest, I've installed a couple of extra USB sockets for this, find they are really faster than the mains.
     
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  13. quickweh

    quickweh Funster

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    Watch out for iPad mini, could only charge my grandson's on a mains connection, wouldn't even charge on a modified sine wave inverter. No problem charging iPad or Android on 12v or inverter.
     
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  14. Lindan

    Lindan Funster

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    Do all of these plug into the cigarette ligter thereby taking their charge from the starter battery? Please forgive my stupidity!
    Is there a way of drawing the power from my leisure battery instead without having cables hanging out all over the place? And would I need to get an expert to rig up the charger, inverter and solar panels to my battery because of my old Electroblok (104.2 as I remember, so there is no switch between gel and wet cel, and our battery is sealed wet cell)
    Thank you for the great answers everybody - I am beginning to get it I think!
     
  15. Lindan

    Lindan Funster

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    Can anybody post pictures of their installed usb sockets to show where / how they connect?
     
  16. Stealaway

    Stealaway Funster

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    We have one these wired in permanently.
    Both from EBay

    I you are worried about power charge them when you are on the move.

    s-l1600.jpg Still not enough so bought on of these too.


    s-l1600 (1).jpg
     
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  17. mitzimad

    mitzimad Funster

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    dont have any pictures but we swoped one of our front cigarette lighters for a double usb socket like this http://www.ebay.com/itm/Car-Cigaret...038299?hash=item2ee980f51b:g:Q4sAAOSwZ1lWcRPa
    and have wired another to the leisure battery situated next to the bed with a small shelf for the phones that way we can have 3 items charging and still plug the sat nav in they are much better than the adaptors that fall out all the time
    its a simple job to fit one as they draw little current
    the amount of power consumed charging phones and ipads is negligible so you dont need to calculate consumption some lap tops are more power hungry
    only problem ive had is the electronics interfere with the portable dab radio if used close
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
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  18. tonyidle

    tonyidle Funster

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    Just don't park up anywhere near me then.:D:D
     
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  19. Robin McHood

    Robin McHood Funster

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    Hey we can do camping on board, plenty of space full EHUs for all plus a ready supply of diesel mechs, and even a signwriter, maybe a future MHF fixit meet?:D:D
     
  20. Robin McHood

    Robin McHood Funster

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    Pure sinwave inverters produce an output which exactly matches what you'd get out of a mains plug at home. (True Sine Wave below)
    Other types don't, their output is a 'chopped' output (Modified Sine Wave below) which approximates a sine wave.
    For simple devices it doesn't matter but a lot of modern electronics and control devices get huffy and either refuse to work or in worst case can be screwed up by such 'dirty'power. It costs more to make a pure sine wave inverter which is why the price difference. The cheaper the inverter the worse the 'sine wave' will be.

    [​IMG]
     
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