If you spend long hours on the road, you can harness your vehicle’s 12V cigarette lighter socket as a virtually endless power resource for your laptop and other gadgets by using a car inverter. This diminutive (sub-200g) contraption features a conventional three-pin socket into which you can plug in any gadget. What’s more, some car inverters even come with separate USB ports.
With its 45-degree-swivel capabilities, the inverter’s head often offers easier accommodation for plugs. But don’t forget to look for safety features such as low voltage shutdown, auto overload, overheating and reverse polarity by fuse protection.
An LED indicator display for power and fault conditions and a replaceable fuse are some other nifty features that should be there in inverters. And always keep in mind the voltage requirements—220 volts in India.
Freeloader is a convenient, 185g solar-powered charging station that can be used to power up most hand-held devices. With its twin small and extendable solar panels, this portable impact-resistant energy bank can hold its charge for three months and power an iPod for 18 hours, a PSP for 2.5 hours and a mobile for 44 hours, according to its manufacturers. Apart from attachments for digital cameras, PDAs, two-way radios, GPS devices and others, Freeloader comes with adapters for several popular phone handsets such as Nokia, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and BlackBerry. No sun in sight? Never mind. Freeloader can suck in power via USB, too. Sadly, it doesn’t have a battery-level indicator.
Powermonkey-eXplorer and Powergorilla
Powermonkey-eXplorer is gaining popularity all over the world as a very good solar solution for recharging mobiles, iPods, MP3/MP4, PDAs and portable games consoles (Sony PSP and Nintendo DS and DS-Lite). It boasts of providing 96 hours of standby on your mobile, 40 hours on your iPod, 5 hours on your games console, 48 hours on your PDA and 6 hours on MP3/MP4 players. It can even be recharged directly in the sun.
Scheduled to be launched towards the end of this month, the tiffin-sized Powergorilla claims to be capable of keeping your laptop charged for two-and-a-half times before the gorilla itself needs recharging. You can also check out some other on-the-go power solutions available with the company.
You can use this revolutionary NiMH AA cell like any standard alkaline battery. But to recharge it, you only need to plug it into any available USB port. This means that you don’t need to carry separate charger/cable paraphernalia while travelling and can still recharge on the go. The AA size, 1300mAH USBcell needs about 5 hours to top up, and provides a 500mA current at 5 volts. More inexpensive Chinese adaptations of USBcell are also available. Instead of wasting resources, increasing carbon dioxide levels and contributing to toxic landfills, it’s high time we did a wee bit for the Earth with recyclable energy sources such as this.
The path-breaking HYmini is a hand-held, universal charger/adapter that can harness renewable wind, solar or USB and conventional 100~240V AC mains power to store power and then recharge various digital devices.
The energy hoarded in its internal battery—a 1200mAh built-in lithium ion polymer rechargeable power bank—can be used to recharge cellphones, MP3 players, iPods, PDAs, digital cameras and other 5V devices. You need 4 hours for a full charge.
A 20-minute charge, however, gives approximately 40 minutes of hum to an MP3 player or PDA, breathes 4 minutes of life into a mobile, and 20 clicks for a digital camera. The hand-held 100g micro wind power generator (which can work as you drive) can also extend its energy collection capacity with miniSOLAR panels.
Forget modest appliances, the Philips SCE7640 Power2Go can even juice up 13-inch laptops. Its 8,000 mA Li-polymer battery offers output voltages of 5.6V DC, max 350mA, 16-19V DC, max 2000mA. It is equipped with an LED status indicator to tell you the amount of residual power left in it. To replenish its stock, the Power2Go can be recharged via USB or the regular mains electricity. Power2Go comes with 12 interchangeable connector tips, tips holder, travel bag, retractable cable and built-in overcharge protection.
NoPoPo (Non-Pollution Power) Aqua Batteries
Rechargable and available in AA and AAA sizes, these run off water and other liquids—cola, saliva, juice, even urine. Free of mercury, hexavalent chrome, lead or cadmium, NoPoPo batteries can retain their charge for 10 years and can be recharged five times.
Medis 24-7 Power Pack
A portable and disposable auxiliary power source for several hand-held devices, the 255gm, 1.3 watt Power Pack employs oxygen and sodium borohydride to create electricity. It can deliver five full recharges to digital cameras, cellphones and other small gadgets.
Solio Magnesium Edition
Weighing 527g, Solio Magnesium is a set of tough, scratch-proof unfolding solar panels that functions as a versatile hybrid charger for cellphones, iPods and other portable devices. It comes with several connector tips, a hemp pouch and universal wall adapter.
M2E Power Charger
M2E Power’s superlattice electrolyte fuel cell is powered by human motion. Walking around with it helps replenish power in cellphones as well as other gadgets such as GPS devices. Six hours of cumulative motion is said to tote up 30-60 minutes of talk time. Recharging from it is comparable in speed to a mains outlet according to M2E.
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