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Old 28-07-2009, 01:24   #1 (permalink)
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DC battery chargers - some questions

Since we are away for a full month and really have no idea if or when we will have access to an electric supply I have been searching around for a alternative method of charging the BP511 Canon batteries.

I realise there are some third party DC chargers available but they are made for 12v (car adaptors usually) and since we are going by bicycle that is also not ideal. We do however have some fancy technology that collects, smooths and regulates the output from both hub and bottle dynamos on the bikes but the output is only at 5v up to 600mA. My question is how likely is it that if I buy a third party dc charger that the much reduced output from our dynamos will still charge the Canon batts? Am I right in assuming it will still work but will just take much longer?

Alternatively, does anyone have any other suggestions?
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Old 28-07-2009, 08:41   #2 (permalink)
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Re: DC battery chargers - some questions

Knowing where you are going, most towns there have Digital Imaging shops (prints, cd's, media etc). On the occasions I have used them they have been most helpful and it may be that they do an overnight charge for you for a small fee, or even while you have lunch somewhere.
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Old 28-07-2009, 13:42   #3 (permalink)
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Re: DC battery chargers - some questions

I doubt if you'll manage to charge the battery with just 5v - the potential difference probably won't be high enough unless you incorporate a transformer, and then you'll reduce the maximum current.

I've seen solar chargers advertised for laptop batteries etc. Never tried one, but they may be worth investigating.
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Old 30-07-2009, 00:16   #4 (permalink)
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Re: DC battery chargers - some questions

As Silky has said 5volts is not enough. The Canon BP 511 is nominally 7.4volts and 1600m/ah so the dc charge voltage needs to be about 8-9volts fed via a series resistor to limit the maximum charge current.So the terminal voltage from the charger could be 10-12 volts with a suitable current limiting resistor of about 10ohm.
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Old 30-07-2009, 07:48   #5 (permalink)
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Re: DC battery chargers - some questions

I've used a solar charger with success when I went trekking in Nepal. I used AA batteries as the 'base unit' and built up the voltage from them directly or indirectly into a Li-ion power pack which output a variety of voltages up to 12v and powered/charged: GPSr (AA), photo bank (Archos MP3 player - Li-ion 5v), camera batteries (CRV3-R - Li-ion 3.7v)

So I had 12v worth of AA NiMH batteries supplemented by 12v AA Lithium batteries (superb backups, albeit non-rechargeable, but will hold a charge for 10 years has multiple charge of alkalines, are much lighter and are good down to -20C - but are quite expensive)

Between mains charging (when available), solar charging and Lithium backups I survived 3 weeks trekking - and continue to use the power pack to power my Sigma SD10 (which'll take external power - unlike the Canons which won't )
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Old 06-08-2009, 02:05   #6 (permalink)
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Re: DC battery chargers - some questions

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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
Since we are away for a full month and really have no idea if or when we will have access to an electric supply I have been searching around for a alternative method of charging the BP511 Canon batteries.

I realise there are some third party DC chargers available but they are made for 12v (car adaptors usually) and since we are going by bicycle that is also not ideal. We do however have some fancy technology that collects, smooths and regulates the output from both hub and bottle dynamos on the bikes but the output is only at 5v up to 600mA. My question is how likely is it that if I buy a third party dc charger that the much reduced output from our dynamos will still charge the Canon batts? Am I right in assuming it will still work but will just take much longer?

Alternatively, does anyone have any other suggestions?
That battery is a 1,100 mAh (Newer ones are 1,300) 7.4v, LI=Ion, which will require a constant charge rate to top up properly, you may find that your bottle dynamo's will just not be up to the job.... they would be working "Full Time", and that extra load may just burn them out.

AS for buying extra technology, I can find spare batteries on google for about 12 to 15 quid a throw.....
How about just taking a batch of batteries?...
They would be lighter to carry, and less messing?...
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