Alternative chargers?

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Alternative chargers?

Postby Purplekat » Sun Dec 30, 2007 10:19 pm

I was a little disappointed to see that my XO came without the awesome solar and/or yo-yo/hand crank chargers that I expected. I know that they're going to be ready in 2008, but I don't know if they'll be for sale to us, or what kind of price will be asked. (I got my XO as a gift, or else I never would have been able to afford it!)

In the meantime, I have seen several "universal chargers" offered, both solar and the cranking kind. One of the cables pictured with many of these chargers is a USB cable. Does anyone think there's a possibility that one of these chargers would work with my XO? Is there a risk that they would mess it up somehow?
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Postby USNaviguide LLC » Sun Dec 30, 2007 11:44 pm

From what I've read, the XO is very unpicky about power. If you have an adapter that fits into the charging receptacle, then it should work. The standard charger is 12 volts, so anything between 8 and 30 should be safe. I suggest you check the wiki for details.
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Postby Purplekat » Mon Dec 31, 2007 12:50 am

Hmm. In that case, does anyone recommend any kind of alternate charger? I'd love to go with a solar messenger bag, but those are way outside of my price range. (Although I may put on on my Amazon wishlist!) The smaller solar devices seem to get poor reviews. Perhaps a hand crank device? I want to make sure I'm getting one that's fairly rugged and portable.
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Postby bobber » Tue Jan 01, 2008 3:57 pm

i found a 12v, 5 watt solar panel at Harbor Freight for $40....and I think the XO would run directly off it...panel is about 18 x 24 inches....does anyone know where to find the plug that will fit in the XO? I have the specs from the OLPC website and I've looked several places, including Radio Shack, but cannot find a match. I would think OLPC used a standard plug configuration....any help would be appreciated as I'm anxious to power my XO with solar...
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Postby Purplekat » Tue Jan 01, 2008 4:11 pm

bobber;721 wrote:i found a 12v, 5 watt solar panel at Harbor Freight for $40....and I think the XO would run directly off it...panel is about 18 x 24 inches....does anyone know where to find the plug that will fit in the XO? I have the specs from the OLPC website and I've looked several places, including Radio Shack, but cannot find a match. I would think OLPC used a standard plug configuration....any help would be appreciated as I'm anxious to power my XO with solar...


You might try a USB cable.
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Postby _Shiseiji » Tue Jan 01, 2008 5:27 pm

Purplekat;723 wrote:You might try a USB cable.


I was leery of using the USB as I wasn't certain the battery could be charged that way. On the OLPC Community Support forum (I can't post the link till I post three more times but it is no "www" olpc dot osuosl dot org slash forum where I was asking for help when I thought I had left the adapter at home a member pointed out that inside the battery compartment (I had to use a magnifying glass to read it LOL, eyes are shot) is the polarity and voltage specifications. The inner pin is positive. I bought a universal adapter with several pin sizes and reversible polarity for my car that is working fine. The cheap adapter I got doesn't list any of the actual sizes so I can't tell you more.
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Postby ektoric » Wed Jan 02, 2008 6:58 pm

Do not plug the power supplies into the OLPC USB port.

The OLPC does not take power in from the USB port, it outputs power for devices attached to it. The USB connections from those solar pannels are for charging cell phones and the like that draw power from USB.

Looking for a universal adapter would probably be the best bet. I "think" I found one, but it was in a pack for $95. I wasn't about to buy a universal laptop power adapter for $95 just for a small connector! I'm pretty sure I saw the physical dimensions listed somewhere (olpc wiki? here?), so it wouldn't be too hard to find one. A quick splice of that head to your solar panel's cabling and you're rockin til the sun comes down!
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Re: Alternative chargers?

Postby StefanJ » Tue Feb 12, 2008 3:39 pm

A good source of power plugs: Goodwill and other thrift stores. They often have a shelf of old power supplies selling for a dollar or two. Just bring your XO's AC charger with you so you can compare plugs. If you find a match, buy it and chop off the cord.

(You might even find an equivalent AC power supply to use as a spare.)

I imagine you'll want to have a way to test the polarity of the plugs to be sure the voltage is going in the right way. :-)
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Re: Alternative chargers?

Postby eden » Tue Feb 12, 2008 10:19 pm

I've been charging in the car thanks to a discontinued product that I got on overstock.com for $19.99:

http://www.overstock.com/Electronics/iG ... oduct.html

It's an iGo 40 auto/air charger and one of the tips fits just right into the power port of the XO. I found out about this on another forum--see thread here:

http://olpcnews.com/forum/index.php?top ... 185#msg185

Like the thread says, you can probably find this even cheaper than I did. Rumor has it that this can be used with some other products and not just in cars. See this page:

http://www.freeplayenergy.com/products/ ... echarge12v
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Re: Alternative chargers?

Postby BillWaggener » Wed Feb 20, 2008 6:45 pm

Several comments
First, I found the perfect cable in my pile of miscellaneous things to power the XO from your car battery. It has a cigarette lighter plug on one end and a plug that will fit the XO jack!!! As near as I can remember I think this cable came with one of those portable DVD players which have a similar form factor to the XO. I haven't used it but I see no reason it won't work. I don't where you can get this cable, but the important point is that it exists.
I would try looking at these portable DVD players and see if they have the type of power plug required. Then maybe the cables are available as accessories.
Second Comment
Like another user I found a solar panel (only $12, on sale) from Harbor Freight which comes with car lighter jack.The one I bought was 1.5 watts (about 130 milliamperes, max) and is promoted as a "trickle" charger. As pointed out in a discussion by one of the OLPC team, the output of the solar panels varies widely. I am not sure how effective this would be in charging the XO batteries, however, I am considering using the solar panel to keep a small 12 v gel cell battery (the one I have came from Cabelos and is used for marine electronics, about $20) charged. I would then use the battery as a constant voltage source to run othe XO or recharge it's batteries. You can buy a lighter plug from Radio Shack and use the cable I described to connect the battery to theXO.
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Re: Alternative chargers?

Postby robby » Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:35 pm

I picked up an iGo AC adapter from Radio Shack a year or two ago when my iBook charger died. Bonus: it had interchangeable connectors and a splitter that could charge my Motorola phone or Palm TX at the same time as the iBook. It saved having three bricks at my office. (I had to buy the splitter and TX and Razr connectors, which you don't need for the XO.) I set aside the plastic bag of other connectors that came with the main charge unit.

Surprise: Two of the original adapters fit the XO, although both are a bit loose. (#3 and #4 if you have the set)

The "output 15-24v - 65W max" model ps0086 device I have may have been discontinued. There are still some docs online here:

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index ... age=search

http://support.radioshack.com/support_t ... 731780.htm
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Re: Alternative chargers?

Postby sverma » Thu Feb 21, 2008 3:47 am

I couldn't find an adapter among a dozen or so chargers I have at home, so I gave up and cut the cord. Literally. I made myself a mix-n-match system. Now I can choose any kind of power source and not have to worry about the connector on the other end :)

Does need some soldering. Do this at your own risk. Details posted at http://sameerverma.org/blog/?postid=171 with pictures.
--
Sameer
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Re: Alternative chargers?

Postby hey2you » Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:12 pm

Purplekat wrote:I was a little disappointed to see that my XO came without the awesome solar and/or yo-yo/hand crank chargers that I expected. I know that they're going to be ready in 2008, but I don't know if they'll be for sale to us, or what kind of price will be asked.


I know what you mean. I got my xo trough the G1G1 program (2008)... on my local news station they were showing the solar/ hand crank. This would be very good indeed if all the xo, no matter the destination got a energy efficient supply source for the pc. Right now in my home I have a crank radio and flashlight. I tried using my pc fully charged (at home :( ) on a road trip, it lasted less then 3 hour of minimal use, basically just being on and scrolling up/down page.

Downloaded the xo educational games for the kids, for a camping outing before I discovered the 3hr limited on the charge.
As one person did, I'm too scare to cut my wire.

This post has opened my eyes and I will look for at lest a car charger part. (I use the pc as a static paperless road map... open where wifi is, get route, go in car, hopefully don't get lost. LOL

Thanks
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Re: Alternative chargers?

Postby hey2you » Sun Jul 27, 2008 7:47 pm

Hi, at my local Staples store they have a pratical converter. One end is the car charger, the other end has two outlets. Therefore any home plug can be charged in the car using this device, no hassle. But it does cost $80.

I belive this is a pratical option.

Thoughts?
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Re: Alternative chargers?

Postby ektoric » Mon Jul 28, 2008 5:00 pm

hey2you wrote:One end is the car charger, the other end has two outlets.

What you are referring to is a DC to AC Power Inverter. While this does provide AC 110v power that you can plug into, I don't think this is the essence of what the other posters had in mind.

The idea was not to be untethered from the house, only to be tethered to a car. The idea was to be untethered completely, and can be at the top of a mountain in the middle of a desert drinking a cold soda and using your XO. (Ok, perhaps the soda would be lukewarm by that time...)

Edit: Oh, nvm! You were replying to your own post about how to use an XO during a long car ride. Well, in that case, Yes! What you are suggesting would be the perfect application for your needs =)
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