Recharging Smartphones During Multiday Scouting Events – Part 4: Using Recharging Stations at
Recharge stations have appeared at National and World Jamborees. Most smaller scout encampments may not offer this service. Access to a electricity port in a restroom, cabin or building can serve this role too.
Most youth and adult participants will likely use a smartphone to take pictures and video during the jamboree. Jamboree planners assume this as well and have incorporated recharge stations located at each of the base camps. Recharge stations are set up because these large events may host many tens of thousands of participants.
Recharging however takes several hours and you would like to use the device during the daytime. Recharging a phone overnight in the tent offers the most convenience.
Here’s a way you can have access to your phone in the daytime and recharge it in your tent at night. It incorporates the use of a rechargeable USB recharger.
It’s a rechargeable battery that supplies a built-in USB port with the 5 volts of power needed to allow a smartphone to plug in and recharge. The recharger battery itself requires a 110 V line to recharge later.
The workflow of the use of the battery is shown below. After an overnight recharge cycle in your tent, drop off the USB rechargeable recharger battery to a recharge station located inside each base camp headquarters. Bring it’s 110V adapter to plug it in. Have fun and use your phone to take pictures and video. Pick up the recharged USB charger battery and it’s adapter on your way back to your campsite.
I would recommend a capacity twice that rated for your smartphone.
For example the iPhone 5 has a 3.8V, 5.45 Wh battery that should offer 1440 mAH of capacity. A 2880 mAH or more USB Rechargeable battery rating should have enough capacity to fully recharge a fully depleted phone battery.
Why is a higher capacity recharge battery needed. Recharging using batteries solely is not a one to one transfer of energy. All batteries give off heat during recharging. This means a recharger must be able to supply more than the rated capacity of the battery undergoing a recharge. A rating double your smartphones battery rating acts as recharge insurance to insure a full recharge. It also helps to insure against the gradual capacity reduction that develops over time with rechargeable batteries.
A quick review of retail pricing shows many USB rechargeable chargers exist with 2500 mAH or greater capacities between $28 to $50.
The cheapest solution that keeps your smartphone going while you get to use it during the day.
Efficient use for general travel as well.
Present only at large encampments unless you have special access to a single 110V outlet somewhere.
UPDATE (April 2013)
Monoprice.com has introduced an external battery that is the best value I’ve tested among USB rechargeable rechargers. It has a huge capacity at 9000 mAh for only $29.19. Its called the External Battery Pack and Charger for iPad®, iPhone®, iPod®, and other USB Mobile Devices (9000mAh). In my tests, I was able to achieve the equivalent of 4 complete zero to 100% recharges on one battery charge. It comes with a special cable with a USB type A to round earphone type plug to recharge it’s battery. Connect it to a powered 5V USB port and expect a full night to 12 hours to recharge.
There are probably many more ideas that work just as well if not better than some of the ones presented in this series. I invite you to explore your creativity in making a system that works for you.