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Article/Guide: Emergency Cell/USB Charger Power Test Results
Tags: ChargeAround-reChargeontheGoCellCharger, HP-iPaqrx1950, Apple-iPodTouch2G, Sanyo-EneloopAARechargeables

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Article/Guide: Emergency Cell/USB Charger Power Test Results

 Posted - 2/10/2009 10:02:19 PM  -  Show Profile  Edit Message

Site Administrator
2020 Contributions
Article Title: Power Test Results
Item Resource Page: ChargeAround-reChargeontheGoCellCharger

I put this charger to the test, at this price point it should really be practically impossible for it to do what it does.

On testing it I found this does output at a regulated 5.4V. It doesn't matter if you put in an old battery, or a new one - it would always output at this level. It would stop outputting when the AA battery reached a charge of about ~1.2V.

You can tell if the battery level is too low to charge since the flashlight will not longer work - therefore making it double as a battery tester as well.

I'll do more testing to try to find exactly what point it stops outputing -  This output level is well above the typical Cell Phone charger ~3.6V and it definitely gives enough to exceed the 5V standard to power USB devices and can actively charge them as well.

I don't know exactly how it performs the voltage increase, be it through a micro step up transformer or some other process, but however it does it, it works. The extra resistence caused by whatever mechanism they use does reduce the mAh rating (don't expect a 2000 mAh AA to charge your 900 mAh phone battery fully or instantly) - but it does allow you to top up whenever you need with a very compact charger - and even run whatever other USB devices you want anywhere.

Current test to come...

*Note that this charger doesn't come with a female USB tip, but it will work if connected with one.

Edited by - PJPeter on 2/16/2009 1:00:39 PM

 Posted - 2/12/2009 12:43:38 AM  -  Show Profile  Edit Message

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2020 Contributions

Did some further testing, this time stress testing the charger with an iPod Touch 2nd Generation and my HP rx1950/rx1955. The iPod is not mine - the rx1950 is and I know more about it because of this (using it every day for about 3 years over 2 different units).

Just a bit of background - the rx1950 is an absolute BEAST in terms of power requirements. The thing can last a very long time off it's battery (6 hours under normal use and as much as 26 hours as an MP3 player). Pretty good for tech circa 2005 - it has a 3.7V 1100 mah battery - but the power requirements of it are 5V 2A+. It's so high it will not usually charge off of USB - I had to get a special USB cable for it to do it at all.

With the rx1950 if I leave it hooked up to this charger via my miniSync USB charging cable connected to a Female USB connector and a Tri-Cable I have found that if the screen is set to high or low brightness it will NOT charge. The current is too low and the system will just keep clicking (very faint noise) and the screen will flicker from high to low brightness modes (depending on whether you have plugged in and battery brightness levels at different intensities) as it does whenever too low a current level is used. Only with the screen off will the system run. The rx1950 features a transreflective TFT so this works if there is a lot of light where you are, but it makes charging this device at night or in low light conditions practically impossible - unless you can leave it to charge for awhile and then come back to it. There is a blinking charging indicator light located on the top of the unit to see if it is charging or not (if not at all the light is off, if the current is too low the blinks become erratic) - and I did confirm actual charging is taking place.

So the options for the rx1950 with this charger is either to use it to power the device with no battery in the unit, or to charge the battery - but not both. So it can be used in emergencies certainly, or if you know you will drain the battery you could use this to keep the battery at 100% until you actually need it (since if the PDA is full it will not try to charge the battery, as if there were no battery - but with this backup incase the cord gets somehow dislodged during use.)

The rx1950 is at the very edge of what you can expect to charge over USB, that 2A requirement and the lack of any 'official' USB charging cable means it is just about as stressful a test as you can get. The 1% incremented charging scale w/mah display capability + the fact you can change the power requirements and view the results make it a good platform to test with, but one that can be occasionally annoying to recharge on the road.

There is a possibility if I can find a good direct USB charging tip rather than using my juryrigged 4 peice connector that it may have enough charge to power the rx1950 with the backlight on and the battery not at 100% - I will test that when I get one (if you see one somewhere please let me know, thanks).

The iPod touch may also charge when the screen is off (is it possible to tell?), and Wifi may have been enabled at the time of my testing - I will do further testing on it in future to find out.

Meanwhile I can say as well that from my previous stress tests with my USB Fan, A696, and USB Plasma Ball - this thing does output a fair bit of juice.

Edited by - PJPeter on 2/12/2009 10:06:32 AM

 Posted - 2/16/2009 1:48:24 PM  -  Show Profile  Edit Message

Site Administrator
2020 Contributions

I did a ton of additional testing, I have about 5 pages of calculations and obseverations over 12 separate tests taking about 20 hours to complete.

In the end I've found this AA-Powered Emergency Charger to be quite efficient for dispensing power and definitely worth it in terms of charging. Some similar USB chargers advertise themselves as being a perfect way to charge your items without needing to leave chargers plugged into the wall wasting power between and during charges. Many of these don't have nearly as many tips included in various packs (11) and they cost $70+ - and aren't compatible with the many other tips out there, including the much sought after standard female USB tip.

This charger does depend on the quality of the AA and it's rating and condition - it does not however drastically affect future usage time for the AA and in my tests it did not wear it down more than any other type of usuage would have. It's essentially like taking your phone, PDA, USB device or whatever and just using an AA to power it. The step up to 5.4V of course reduces the number of mAh in the battery because that rating is at 1.2V - however the amount of Watt energy provided by battery is not reduced.

Here are my test devices:

- A USB Plasma Ball rated at 300mA/h @ 5V = 1.2W/h
- A LG240 Cell Phone - Stock Charger output rated at 800mA/h @ 5.2V = 4.16W/h - The Cell battery is 900mAh @ 3.7V = 3.33W/h

Note that since I don't have a USB tip at the moment I used a Double TriCable + Female-Female USB adapter to run the Plasma Ball (I may run this test again when a friend of mine lends me his USB tip) - Note that all the cables + the Ammeter do add a fair deal of extra resistence and reduced the test results, but I did not adjust the results to match this - these are my figures from the actual tests themselves.

Batt #1: An Eneloop 2000mAh @ 1.2V battery = 2.4W/h
Batt #2: Another Eneloop 2000mAh @ 1.2V battery = 2.4W/h
Batt #3: Noma 1200mAh @ 1.2V battery = 1.44W/h

Amperage Testing with a DM10XL using 10A mode
Voltage Testing with a 2015 True RMS Meter


Plasma Ball w/Batt #1:
Initially Battery had Potential Difference of ~1.4V
Average current of 430mA over 1 hour 8 minutes - total power given was approximately 2.6W (@ 5.4V) - (~440mAh)
End of test PD: 1.170V

LG240 w/Batt #2:
Intial Battery PD: 1.487V
Average current of 320mA for 52 minutes - total power given was approximately 1.5W (~300mAh)
End of test PD: 1.265V

LG240 W/Batt #3:
Intial Battery PD: 1.420V
Average current of 233mA for 1 hour 2 minutes - total power given was approximately 1.3W (~235mAh)
End of test PD: 1.137V

LG240 W/Batt #1:
Intial Battery PD: 1.466V
Average current of 240mA for 2 hours 15 minutes - total power given was approximately 2.9W (~530mAh)
End of test PD: 1.066V (Exactly .4V below pre-test value)

Therefore, as you can see Battery #1 was significantly more powerful (+ beyond specs) than Battery #2 despite them both being the same brand and same age. Battery #3 was less powerful, as expected.

The Plasma Ball drew 430 mA of current for most of its test and would spike to 500 mA if touched. I confirmed that below 300 mA it began to lose power (300 mA is its marked power requirement) - and at 270 mA it was reduced to only 2 strands of power, then 1 at 200mA, then none at 160 mA.

I would very much like to test how much power it takes to charge my 2000 mAh Eneloop Battery #1 in real life, I have an approximate value from my Phantom Charger at ~3W - but that is based on manufacturer's measures and so may not be accurate.

These tests show that either way, using this charger as a portable USB power source is a viable option - and it may be more efficient than many other options, especially if you have some rechargeable AA batteries lying around that would otherwise be trickle charging in your battery charger. I can see this being especially useful if I go back to watching videos on my A696 PDA/GPS unit, which can go through power quite quickly during long bus trips depending on the brightness and GPS/Wifi usage etc... - I'll definitely keep one of these chargers and a few spare rechargeable AAs in my bag with me from now on - and I can see others with more internal rechargeable battery devices getting even more use from them.

From the test data 2 fully charged AAs could potentially run my LG240 for over 4 hours as well as charging the battery more than 1/2 way (depending on whether I was talking on it at the time or not).

All you need is a device that can run off around 200-400 mA of 5.4V current and a fairly good rechargeable AA and you're set for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours of additional play time with one battery. And being able to instantly 'recharge the charger' (ie. just pop in another charged AA) is excellent - and lets you stock up on 'charges' when you do have access to a power port and use them when you don't. Considering you can get good rechargeable AAs for ~$2 each, and the charger for not much more - and in an emergency you can pick up some alkaline AAs for bonus use.

Definitely, for the price you can get these it's more than worth it.

Edited by - PJPeter on 2/16/2009 4:47:56 PM

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