Charging Things on a Motorcycle Trip
One of the most important things we’ve figured out is the logistics of charging our electronics on a motorcycle trip. We’ve worked it out that we can charge most of our things from the bikes themselves, which is going to be a huge asset when we’re in the middle of nowhere in Central and South America. We can charge the headsets, our phones, the iPad, the video cameras and the GPS from the bikes. The only thing we haven’t yet figured out is the laptop and the still cameras.
Electronics on our Trip
We’re bringing a fair number of electronics along on our trip. We’ve got plans (which hopefully I can share soon!) that require us to have laptop, etc. on the trip, and we’ve got a lot of other electronics along, too. Between the two of us, we’re bringing:
- Sena SMH-10 Headsets (2)
- Canon PowerShot SX210IS (2)
- iPhones (2)
- Garmin Zumo 660 GPS
- Contour HD Camera
- VIO P.O.V. Camera
- Laptops (2)
And possibly some other stuff by the time we go, depending on some things that may come up between now and then.
Any way you look at it, that’s a lot of stuff. Fortunately, we’ve figured out a solution for most of it, and it all comes down to these little things, which cost us less than $3 each:
These are cigarette to USB adaptors. And you can use them to charge two devices at a time. We’ve both got SAE to Powerlet adaptors, and Powerlet to Powerlet and Cigarette Adaptors, so we’re running a chain: SAE > Powerlet > Cigarette > USB > Charging Cables > Devices. It’s quite a few steps, but it totally works.
For example, the Sena SMH-10 Headsets are charged with a power outlet to USB, and then USB to device. We can totally cut out the power outlet to USB, and charge them straight from USB to device with this adaptor. And even better – with two USB outlets on the adaptor, we can charge two USB devices simultaneously!
And what charges via USB?
The iPad and iPhones charge with Apple’s USB to iPad/iPhone cable. My Contour HD camera charges via USB to Mini-USB. The headsets charge via the USB to headset cables. Two of the other devices – the Zumo 660 GPS and the VIO P.O.V. camera – can be powered directly from the bike.
What does this leave? Just the laptops, and the Canon cameras.
I’m vaguely annoyed that the Canons can’t charge via mini-USB. They connect via mini-USB, but the batteries charge via some stupid proprietary wall outlet. I need to look into whether there’s another option for charging those batteries. (Maybe a cigarette charger?) [EDIT]Oho! I’ve just done a quick search, and found that there is a cigarette to battery charger. So once we get that, we can charge the camera batteries from the bikes, too![/EDIT] If I can find some solution for that, the only thing we won’t be able to charge or power directly from the bikes is the laptops. And with an iPad along that we can charge via USB, with a Bluetooth keyboard, we won’t even need the laptops that often. I’m half tempted to get my own iPad and say screw it and leave the laptops at home.
But I was pleasantly surprised by the number of things we’re able to charge on the bikes. That’s part of why we chose the Sena headsets – because we’d be able to charge them from the road.
Ain’t technology grand?