Saturday, June 22, 2013

Powering up for Jamboree

The 2013 National Scout Jamboree promises to the most technologically connected event in the BSA’s history.  This is not your father’s Jamboree or even your older brother’s as the Summit is encouraging Scouts to stay connected through the use of smart devices. This includes the introduction of an app that participants can purchase for .99 that at first glance seems to be packed with features. These include interactive maps, event schedules, a social wall, and more.

Will 33,000 teens and adults with devices be a distraction? Of the thousands of teens attending, how many will lose hours of fun time due to texting, twittering, face timing or just plain goofing off thanks having a device along? Heck, will there even be good enough coverage for these devices to work? Especially for us non AT&T customers?

Well that is a different blog post to be pondered.

I plan to stay connected and share images of the fun back home for the parents and families to enjoy. The big problem aside from data access is going to be power. Cameras, phones and tablets all require recharging if they are going to work. The AT&T and BSA solution are solar charging stations placed in sub camps. There was hope that these stations would have lock option to do drop and go charging but unfortunately it does not look like that is going to be the case.

Now picture Scouts and Adults having to hang out near the station for two hours as they wait for the device to charge. Yuck.

So what is my plan?

I plan to Go Big and Get Wild with a huge battery. After some research, I purchased the PowerGen Juice Pack 12000 and after a couple of months have added the PowerGen Juice Pack 13000. These have a huge capacity at 13,000 mAh vs the 2600 mAh of my Samsung Galaxy S 4 and both came through Amazon as a reasonable price.

The Powergen 12000 has three out ports. Out A “best for iPad or any Apple Device. Non-Apple devices will charge at full speed if using the included connectors” This port charges out at a 2Amp maximum which is equal to most phone chargers. The second S port is stated to work best for non-Apple devices and is at 2Amp. The final out port is rated for 1Amp. 

The Powergen 13000 is very similar but with even more capacity and a lower price! I actually like the design of this battery a little better with the main difference being that this battery only has two out ports.
Both devices come with two charging cables and a variety of adaptors. Your device provided USB cord will work well also.

PowerGen 13000 charging device and camera

So what about the capacity? The included information states that at a full charge the approximate recharge rate is:  iPhone 5-6 full charges, iPad 2 1.2 full charges and iPAD 3 65% of one charge. 

My personal experience with heavy usage has been in line with these estimates. Generally I have been getting 4 full charges on my Galaxy S4. So in theory if I leave my device on all the time I should be able to go at least a couple of days before having to recharge the PowerGen. The time before requiring a recharge can be extended even further if I:
  • Turn off all syncing features: Syncing to e-mail, Facebook and others are a huge drain to the battery
  • Keep device off except for a few small set times
  • Keep the device in airplane mode if using as a camera only
  • Keep the device in airplane mode if WiFi is available. The radio signal to connect to cellular is a the primary drain to phone batteries when not in use
  • If planning to upload pictures/video, reduce the quality. This will decrease the file size and will shorten the upload times

My plan is to charge the PowerGen during the day every two days and then use the battery to charge my devices overnight while in the tent.

Awesome plan huh? This plan unfortunately was centered on the hope that there were provisions to secure devices while they charge. These high capacity batteries at 2Amp take 5-6 hours to fully recharge. Foiled again! 

Now I am not so sure about my little plan but am going to give it a try nonetheless.

What is your Jamboree Power Plan? 

1 comment:

  1. I picked up a 12,000mAh battery charger and a GoalZero solar charger to keep things powered while there. I plan to charge my battery with the solar charger and then from the battery into my devices.