Author Topic: Edge 800 external battery pack  (Read 10640 times)

Edge 800 external battery pack
« on: August 14, 2011, 08:31:41 am »
For a GPS I use an Edge 800. I've used an Etrex Venture (the old green one) for years of walking and mountaineering etc but the screen was starting to play up so I've upgraded it to an edge. I'm very happy with the system so far exept for the battery life. So far it hasn't gone flat on me, all the multi day cycling that I have done has meant access to mains electric at the end of the day. But as I'm thinking of starting cyclecamp and do 300k audaxes next year this got me thinking about the external battery packs. Are these just rebranded and repackaged powermonkey's or are they different and how do they work? Are they as it says on the tin or a method of rechargeing the internal battery of the unit i.e. can the unit still be used whilst its connected to the pack. The reason I'm asking is the powermonkey is around £30ish  and the Garmin variety is £60-65. Seems a big difference in price if they do exactly the same thing
Maybe I should have bought a new GPS that take good old AA's instead
H
"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." - John F. Kennedy

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Edge 800 external battery pack
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2011, 08:39:33 am »
I have a lion battery (rebadged by Gomadic) and that has kept my edge 705 going for a 200 with at least half power left over (and the internal battery). The challenge was finding a way of holding the battery on the bike. I started by running a cable to my rack pack, but now have a tri-bag on my top tube.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: Edge 800 external battery pack
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2011, 09:39:33 am »
http://www.portablepowersupplies.co.uk/usbliionbatterypack.htm

£19.50 for a 3500mAh version (with a coiled cable that is brilliant if you keep the battery pack in a tri-bag on the top tube).

http://www.portablepowersupplies.co.uk/portapowPremium.htm

£26.50 for the 5000mAh version.

There are more expensive sets with extra gubbins such as a mains adapter, extra tips for the power cable, etc.

But the bog standard set comes with the correct mini-USB connector to power an Edge.

I've got one of each, which should easily be enough to keep my Edge 705 going throughout PBP (and be there to top up my iPhone should I forget to put it in Airplane Mode between controls).
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Edge 800 external battery pack
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2011, 11:46:32 am »
Thanks for the answers, I'm interested in the portable power supplies web site, the prices seem good. Managed to borrow a mates powermonkey but that acts like a charger i.e. When its connected I can't use the unit because the Edge goes into charge mode. Do these units mentioned do the same or is there electronic trickery at play and acts like an external battery.
"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." - John F. Kennedy

Re: Edge 800 external battery pack
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2011, 12:43:09 pm »
Thanks for the answers, I'm interested in the portable power supplies web site, the prices seem good. Managed to borrow a mates powermonkey but that acts like a charger i.e. When its connected I can't use the unit because the Edge goes into charge mode. Do these units mentioned do the same or is there electronic trickery at play and acts like an external battery.

It's to do with the cable (and/or the battery pack, but the right cable is enough to sort it out). Full on USB data cables may make it go in to 'computer mode' and stop it being usable as a GPS because the unit detects it is connected to something clever (not just a power source) and asks for more power. (I'll explain why below.)

If you use a 'power only' USB cable (that won't do data) it can't detect whether the thing it is connected to is clever or not and so just uses it to top up the battery and/or power the unit whilst still working as a GPS.

AIUI it's to do with negotiating a higher power supply. The USB standard states that a device can only draw 100mA as standard (over a dumb connection). If it wants more (up to 500mA) it needs to ask the host (computer) for this, to do this it needs to speak to the host via the data pins and the USB protocol.

Some smart USB power packs (like the Powermonkey) are able to speak the basic USB protocol so that devices connected can negotiate a higher power draw.

The problem is that the Edge GPSes will automatically go in to 'computer mode' if they detect they're talking to something clever. There's no way to have them negotiate the higher power draw (500mA) but remain working as a GPS.

To get around this, you have to use a 'power only' USB cable so that it doesn't go into 'computer mode' and charges/powers the device at the base 100mA current.

Put it another way:-

My Edge 705 will go in to 'computer mode' when I plug it in to my computer using a full USB data cable (as supplied with the Edge 705). If I plug it in to computer using the cable that came with the PortaPow battery pack it doesn't go in to 'computer mode'.

I've no idea if the PortaPow unit can do the increased power negotiation stuff, I'll try and remember to test it against my Edge 705 with a full data cable to see.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Edge 800 external battery pack
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2011, 01:11:43 pm »
Thanks for that. So to put it another way it is electonic trickery. I've always thought of electronics as a Dark Art. Give me a hammer,nails and a saw and I'll build a house but this electronic stuff is beyond me. I always thought a USB lead was a USB lead. Just shows how much I know  ::-)
"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." - John F. Kennedy

Re: Edge 800 external battery pack
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2011, 01:31:02 pm »
Thanks for that. So to put it another way it is electonic trickery. I've always thought of electronics as a Dark Art. Give me a hammer,nails and a saw and I'll build a house but this electronic stuff is beyond me. I always thought a USB lead was a USB lead. Just shows how much I know  ::-)

You can fettle a USB lead into the correct kind for Garmin power by opening it up and soldering the green and white (data) cables together, leaving the red and black power ones intact then tape it up again.

Re: Edge 800 external battery pack
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2011, 10:48:47 am »
The USB leads that come with the PortaPow battery packs don't put the GPS in computer mode even when plugged in to a computer. No need to have to make your own (if you're not happy doing that). The interchangeable tips for the cables only have two poles, so they're only passing power through and not data.

The retractable one is good for use on a bike but the coiled one works so much better when going between tri-bag and GPS mounted on the bars/stem.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Edge 800 external battery pack
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2011, 12:14:53 pm »
Thanks Greenbank, and to everyone else. I think I'll buy the smaller portapow with the coiled lead. I'm not that confident with soldering plus I don't have a soldering iron. The smaller version seems ideal for what I want. How do you weatherproof the connection with the GPS unit if it rains? The powerpack can always be put in a ziplock bag
"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." - John F. Kennedy

thing1

  • aka Joth
    • TandemThings
Re: Edge 800 external battery pack
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2011, 12:23:58 pm »
FWIW I didn't get on with the portapow retractable cables. First the combo of connector + tip made it too large to go into the garmin in it's usual place so I had to move it. Then it was wobbly and intermittent connection. Then the cable itself (which is very thin) got damaged from the plugging and unplugging.
I much prefer to use a "normal" data USB cable and have a power-pack that has the data pins connected together already. Seems most do these days, but not portapow. And now my portapow seems to barely hold any charge anyway (but I think that maybe me own fault trying to make modifications to correct the aforementioned shortcomings .... :-\ )

Re: Edge 800 external battery pack
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2011, 12:33:24 pm »
How do you weatherproof the connection with the GPS unit if it rains? The powerpack can always be put in a ziplock bag

I don't bother. Gravity does most of the work for me since the Edge 705 is mounted flat on the stem and the connector is on the bottom, so the cable is vertical. The vast majority of the water will just run down it and drip off.

It might be more of a problem with an Edge 800 as the USB socket is on the back so the plug would be sitting horizontally or, worse, pointing slightly downwards towards the unit.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Edge 800 external battery pack
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2011, 04:55:39 pm »
It might be more of a problem with an Edge 800 as the USB socket is on the back so the plug would be sitting horizontally or, worse, pointing slightly downwards towards the unit.

At least the opening points away from the direction of travel. Should be OK on a stem with at least a slight rise.

bikey-mikey

  • AUK 6372
  • Yes, I am completely mad ! a.k.a. 333
Re: Edge 800 external battery pack
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2011, 10:41:02 pm »
I have another alternative.

Have a look at the TeckNet Dual-Port iEP380 5000mAh Universal USB Battery Pack For iPad, iPhone, iPod, Nokia, HTC and Others

http://www.tecknetonline.co.uk/products/TeckNet-Dual%252dPort-iEP380-5000mAh-Universal-USB-Battery-Pack-For-iPad,-iPhone,-iPod,-Nokia,-HTC-and-Others.html

I bought it for my Garmin 705 - it gives around 33 hours of use, plus the 705's own battery.

Like mentioned above I keep it in a tribag, but it's not that heavy.

This is a seriously well made bit of kit, and has no rough edges, and a really strong and smart looking casing, and it stayed absolutely fully charged for several weeks, which is the longest I have ever left it unused...

Comes with loads of tips e.g. it also charges my sony phone and ipod.

When you connect it using the supplied lead it is already wired correctly so as to not start the unit off in computer mode - so it just registers as an external power source.

It does not come with a mains charger but you can charge it from a USB port - however on trips I just take my garmin charger and use the Tecknet battery to charge everything else I travel with....

The ad I found above said about £20 quid....
I’ve decided I’m not old. I’m 25 .....plus shipping and handling.

Cycling heatmap
https://www.strava.com/athletes/4628735/heatmaps/6ed5ab12#10/51.12782/-3.16388

Re: Edge 800 external battery pack
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2011, 11:45:10 pm »
Blimey, and I thought Powermonkey had the market cornered. Seems I might have to do more research on this and not rush into it. I've got enough time anyway
H
"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." - John F. Kennedy

bikey-mikey

  • AUK 6372
  • Yes, I am completely mad ! a.k.a. 333
Re: Edge 800 external battery pack
« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2011, 12:05:09 am »
I started off looking at power monkey... but found a few comments on forums that raised my doubts...

then I bought something v cheap that used disposable AAA batteries, which you could buy on the road as it were - thinking that on a long camping type trip (maybe lejog?) you could just keep on popping into garages and buy some more.  However I only got about a third of the 705 charged with each new set, so that was a waste of time....

Then someone showed me their Tecknet, and used the magic words 5,000 mAh, (milli-amp-hours) and the rest is history... 

IMHO it is a really classy bit of kit, but of course there still may well be something even better out there !!!!
I’ve decided I’m not old. I’m 25 .....plus shipping and handling.

Cycling heatmap
https://www.strava.com/athletes/4628735/heatmaps/6ed5ab12#10/51.12782/-3.16388

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: Edge 800 external battery pack
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2011, 09:48:32 am »
(Tecknet battery pack) It does not come with a mains charger but you can charge it from a USB port

I expect any mains/USB plug will work just fine with it - for example (7dayshop)
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

thing1

  • aka Joth
    • TandemThings
Re: Edge 800 external battery pack
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2011, 10:42:28 am »
Then someone showed me their Tecknet, and used the magic words 5,000 mAh, (milli-amp-hours) and the rest is history... 

That looks almost identical to the Portapow Premium. I wonder if one is a rip off of the other, or more likely both are from the same manufacturer but sold under different names.
Have you tried using the Tecknet to charge a device while it (the power pack) is being charged itself? My Portapow never supported that, but I've heard others have. (This would be useful when connecting it to a dynohub charger).

Blimey, and I thought Powermonkey had the market cornered. Seems I might have to do more research on this and not rush into it. I've got enough time anyway
H
See also: Duracell now have a "power source" product range http://www.duracellpower.com/portable-power/portable-chargers/powersource-mobile-100.aspx

Re: Edge 800 external battery pack
« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2011, 12:08:35 pm »
I have something called a Pebble which is also 5000 mAh and looks very like Mikey's one. I charge it up from a mains USB plug. It seems to have a lot more power than any of the emergency chargers that take batteries. It can charge an iphone 3 times or more which was the main reason I got it. It actually comes with an iphone tip plus all the usual phone ones and mini USB, which some of the others don't (they tell you to use your iphone lead), which reduces the amount of cabling you need to carry to one which I find handy.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B003F5WEMO/ref=asc_df_B003F5WEMO4051201?smid=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&tag=googlecouk06-21&linkCode=asn&creative=22206&creativeASIN=B003F5WEMO

bikey-mikey

  • AUK 6372
  • Yes, I am completely mad ! a.k.a. 333
Re: Edge 800 external battery pack
« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2011, 11:49:17 pm »
Have you tried using the Tecknet to charge a device while it (the power pack) is being charged itself?

Yes, but it didn't like it - I will have another go tomorrow and report the specifics, just in case it works with some and not others..


That looks almost identical to the Portapow Premium. I wonder if one is a rip off of the other, or more likely both are from the same manufacturer but sold under different names.

Looks very similar, even down to the three blue, one centimetre lights that tell you how much charge is left, and also they flash as it charges, which can be quite weird in your bedroom, if it is otherwise dark.....

I have something called a Pebble which is also 5000 mAh and looks very like Mikey's one.

Hi Feline - not quite the same as the pebble, but I think anything with 5000 mHa, which is built solidly, would do the job...
I’ve decided I’m not old. I’m 25 .....plus shipping and handling.

Cycling heatmap
https://www.strava.com/athletes/4628735/heatmaps/6ed5ab12#10/51.12782/-3.16388

Re: Edge 800 external battery pack
« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2011, 10:33:44 pm »
I started off looking at power monkey... but found a few comments on forums that raised my doubts...

then I bought something v cheap that used disposable AAA batteries, which you could buy on the road as it were - thinking that on a long camping type trip (maybe lejog?) you could just keep on popping into garages and buy some more.  However I only got about a third of the 705 charged with each new set, so that was a waste of time....

Then someone showed me their Tecknet, and used the magic words 5,000 mAh, (milli-amp-hours) and the rest is history... 

IMHO it is a really classy bit of kit, but of course there still may well be something even better out there !!!!

I think my dynamo charger is a better option for long periods on the bike or away from electricity supplies. I kept my Edge 705 charged and constantly on for the entire 90 hours of PBP without any faffing around with batteries. The Dahon Reecharge can fully charge the Garmin during the day when the dynamo light is off and then it's battery pack can store enough power to allow me to run it with the backlight on 5% constantly all night. Even during the nights I went to bed I kept it turned on because I was recording elapsed time and didn't want the unit to pause messing up my overall average speed data. I also have a 5,000 mAh Pebble that I use to charge my mobile phone which it is well suited for. It is inconvenient to be changing which gadget is plugged into what I have found, so the Edge keeps the mini USB cable from the dynamo all to itself.

bikey-mikey

  • AUK 6372
  • Yes, I am completely mad ! a.k.a. 333
Re: Edge 800 external battery pack
« Reply #20 on: August 28, 2011, 11:29:30 am »
I think my dynamo charger is a better option for long periods on the bike or away from electricity supplies. I kept my Edge 705 charged and constantly on for the entire 90 hours of PBP without any faffing around with batteries. The Dahon Reecharge can fully charge the Garmin during the day when the dynamo light is off and then it's battery pack can store enough power to allow me to run it with the backlight on 5% constantly all night. Even during the nights I went to bed I kept it turned on because I was recording elapsed time and didn't want the unit to pause messing up my overall average speed data. I also have a 5,000 mAh Pebble that I use to charge my mobile phone which it is well suited for. It is inconvenient to be changing which gadget is plugged into what I have found, so the Edge keeps the mini USB cable from the dynamo all to itself.

Sounds good, but I don't have a dynamo hub, and with my ultra lightweight wheels, hubs, and tubeless tyres, I guess this would be a no no...

I suppose I could go for one of those 'rubber wheel against the tyre' versions, and fit it on the trailer wheel...  after all, the tyre is cheap and cheerful...  If I was able to charge my Tecknet, during hte day, then I have loads of adaptor tips that would allow me to use the Tecknet to charge my phone, lights, Garmin and just about anything else overnight..

Does anyone have experience of these 'tyre sidewall rollers'?  Would I notice the extra drag?
I’ve decided I’m not old. I’m 25 .....plus shipping and handling.

Cycling heatmap
https://www.strava.com/athletes/4628735/heatmaps/6ed5ab12#10/51.12782/-3.16388

Re: Edge 800 external battery pack
« Reply #21 on: September 02, 2011, 08:34:47 am »
Sidewall dynamos (like the B&M S6, which I used to use) are in my opinion a poor second best to a decent hub unit, though the cost reflects that.  Rolling resistance is much poorer, reliability worse (sidewall units tend to slip when wet), and it was my impression that the lifespan was much shorter.

The bearings are necessarily much smaller (may in fact be bushes rather than bearings).  I had one fail quite quickly, though I should point out that the distributors saw my comment on a forum about this, and offered to replace it.  I passed the replacement on when I upgraded to hub dynamos.

Re: Edge 800 external battery pack
« Reply #22 on: September 02, 2011, 01:58:29 pm »
Mikey,
I have pretty much decided that the Tecnet is what I am after. I run a Bryton 50t GPS which, similar to a Garmin 705 runs for about 12-15 hours. Can I just ask how you use the external supply? Do you plug it in from the off and it automatically keeps the GPS topped up or do you wait until the GPS has run down and then plug in. I intend to use it for 600k audaxes and other similar distance/time events. Sorry to ask what is probably a question with an obvious answer.
Cheers
Nick

Re: Edge 800 external battery pack
« Reply #23 on: September 02, 2011, 04:30:19 pm »
I've been using an Edge 800 and have been keeping it topped up with a "Powerchimp" usb power pack which hold 2x AA 2450 mAh rechargables.
I've had endless problems though.
I found on several occasions when I approached approx 400km / 15hrs+ the unit would switch off and refuse to switch back on. It starts booting up and then dies. In each case the Garmin battery meter showed that I had plenty of power left - 50-80%.
In one case the stored data was completely corrupted, but most of the time after a full recharge the unit has functioned ok.
The problem has occured on the previous and current firmware.
I complained to Garmin and they replaced my unit with a new one (good service as always).
Again on PBP 550km / 21hrs I had the same problem. Very frustrating.

I suspect that the usb power pack is not delivering enough power and the Garmin is misrepresenting how much internal battery is available (showing 50% when in reality it's zero).
I also used a "Portapow" battery pack (also with 2xAA), but had the same issues.

Re: Edge 800 external battery pack
« Reply #24 on: September 02, 2011, 04:39:41 pm »
Same here. Edge 705 here and I've only got data for 850km of PBP, and ~200km of that with no position data as it seemed not to have the power to get a satellite lock (although this may have been a firmware problem as I fixed it once with a reboot).

I used two PortaPow packs (one 3500mAh and one 5000mAh). Given that the 3500mAh one had got me through a 600 perfectly fine I thought I'd be fine with those two. It may be related to the general problems I had with the GPS anyway, it progressively lost all of the routes I'd uploaded to it, so it became useless for navigation anyway.

I did leave the unit switched on a few times where I should have turned it off (whilst stopped in the creperie in Sizun, or at the Brest control). By Loudeac on the way back I'd given up on the GPS for navigation and just used the arrows (and routesheet).

I was using the Edge 705 because I wanted to record HR data. If I didn't want that I'd use my old eTrex H that takes AA batteries. Indeed I'll probably go back to using that for navigation as it's a much more reliable solution than the Edge series.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."