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    How to Charge an iPod Classic 80GB/160GB
    with Solar Energy when Hiking

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    08/02/08

    Another experienced hiker asked us, about a week ago, if they (two of them) could recharge an iPod Classic video 80GB, while they were in long hiking trip. They said "it would be appealing to bring the iPod 80GB on their hiking trip" (I know it will be at least more than 9 days) "and to be hassle free from disposable batteries".

    So far we've never tried to charge an iPod that big using the EL8 headlamp, solar energy rechargeable, and we decided to give it a try. We just have a little obstacle: we did not owned one!

    We went to a store last night, and thanks to the store's manager kindness, we were able to test the EL8 Headlamp, as a solar energy charger. We took two EL8 fully charged (*), and we were able to charge/ recharge not only the targeted iPod Classic 80GB we were asked for, but to charge/recharge all iPods video, like the Classic 80GB or 160GB, an iPod 30GB, an iTouch (iPod touch), and an iPhone!!!Charging iPod Classic 80GB - EL8 Solar Headlamp

    The following is a raw, non edited video, we took in the store last night, July 31, 2008, when charging an iPod Classic 80GB (or 160GB). In this video we used two EL8 Headlamps and the EA6 USB adapter to charge the iPod 80BG, because the hikes were going to take one headlamp each one, and because I knew that connecting two EL8 Headlamps together, will give me double power/current charging..

    Important notice:

    This configuration, connecting two Headlamps together in parallel, should be used only when both Headlamps are fully charged (*) (battery charge indicators green color). It is not recommended to connect a headlamp with half of the battery charge, to a headlamp fully charged (yellow and green battery indicator colors). It will produce a momentary short circuit and it might damage the batteries if this type of connection is repeated several times.

    As I explain below, you do not need to use two EL8 headlamps to recharge your iPods. We just wanted to do that test and make sure I had enough solar energy accumulated by using two EL8 headlamps.


    (*) You can check the battery charge by using the red Battery Gauge Pushbutton Switch on the bottom of headlamp, next to DC jack, and looking at the color of the small LED indicator, when headlamp is on, on any of the four modes:

    EL8 Solar Energy Headlamp LED Indicator Pushbutton
    •  A green light indicates approximately 70% to fully battery charge 

    •  An amber (yellow) light means about 30% to 70% charge

    •  A red light shows less than 30% of battery charge

    V31 Video on the left shows how to check battery charge of an EL8 Headlamp. Headlamp has to be ON, on any mode. In this case an amber (yellow) color, indicates medium battery charge

    The reason behind this test, it's that I want to respond to ALL hikers solar energy technical needs, I am a solar energy nuts, and I like to try new things! I made sure the two headlamps had the same battery level charge by charging them with a quick AC/DC wall charger. I know, I was cheating! I entitled my self to indulge on wasting a little of electric energy from the electric power outlet, because I needed to test this iPod Classic 80GB asap, and I've already put dozens of hours on testing!!! Thank you very much for your kind understanding.

     With this "dual headlamps" charging configuration, I get double charging power, when I charge any electronic hand held.

    If you want to try it in you next hiking trip, pleas contact me; I will give you some tips, and a gadget to "equalize" (or make equal) both headlamps battery charges, and to connect them together; I called it "T" adapter (see it on my video below. If you know how to make sure the battery charges of the two headlamps are equal, you don't need to contact me. Again, if both headlamps battery charge indicator are green, its good enough.

    Please, watch the movie:

    Charging an iPod Classic 80GB video
    with Solar Energy from two EL8 Headlamps

    V32

    Charging/recharging

    iPod Classic 80GB

    with two

    EL8 Headlamps and

    EA6 USB adapter 


    Specific tips for hikers on how to charge/recharge your
    iPod Classic 80GB while in a hiking trip (using two EL8 Headlamps and one USB adapter)

    1.  Start your hiking/backpacking with your iPod and EL8 Headlamp fully charged, if possible
     

    2.  Charge/recharge your EL8 Headlamp daily to ensure full charge or at least a good charge, by connecting the Solar Panel to it while walking, hiking/backpacking.
     

    3  Strap Solar Panel to backpack making sure not to cover Solar Panel with straps, from sun light . Velcro is a great way to do it, because you can easily move Solar Panel from one side to another side of backpack, or just remove it from backpack and place it on the floor when stopping for a rest. Remember that only when Solar Panel is perpendicular to direct sun light, you will have maximum charging current to EL8 headlamp. However, while walking, any sun light that reaches Solar Panel, will charge/recharge your EL8 headlamp.
    (Pictures and movies showing these instructions will follow soon)
     

    4.  When iPod battery gauge or indicator, drops to 3/4 or 1/2, start iPod charging routine or process.
     

    5.  Start charging iPod early in the morning when you start hiking, by connecting your iPod 20GB/40GB, 30GB, 80GB, 160GB, to your iPods' USB cable (same one you connect to USB computer or USB wall charger to sync and charge/recharge it when at home), and then to the EA6 USB adapter. Connect two EL8 headlamps together (in parallel) using a "T" connector/adapter (like the one seen in the picture below), and plug the USB adapter to that female end "T" adapter (connected to the two EL8 Headlamps).
     

    6.  Disconnect EL8 Headlamp from USB adapter after its battery charge is completely drained. It will take between 40 to 60 minutes, approximately. Since I do not own an iPod 80GB, I calculated the time it will take for the iPod 80GB/160GB to "take" ALL the charge from the EL8 headlamp's battery, by comparing the battery capacity of iPods 4GB/8GB and iPods 80GB/160GB and taken the charging times I found on many of my other tests. See Charging iPods Tests
     

    7.  Plug Solar Panel to EL8 Headlamp for the rest of the day, to charge/recharge it.
     

    8.  Enjoy your hiking trip!
     

    9.  Repeat charging procedure as needed on the following days. You might need several charging cycles to fully charge your iPod. A single charging cycle will give you at least 6hrs of music playback, and at least two hrs of video playback.


    Next day we went to the same store again, and we tested the same iPods, iPhone, and iTouch, with the new EL8 headlamp, that has more battery capacity, therefore more charging capacity.

    This time we used only one EL8 headlamp, and the EA6 USB adapter.

    The results were very successful. Watch the movie.

    Charge iPod Classic 80GB with Solar Energy - EL8 Solar Headlamp

    V33 Charging/recharging

    iPod Classic 80GB

    using one

    EL8 Headlamp and an

    EA6 USB adapter

     


    Specific instructions / tips for hikers/backpackers on how to charge/recharge your iPod 80GB/160GB (they have same battery charge capacity), will follow soon. At the moment, the above tips are good enough, just use only EL8 Headlamp to charge iPod, and recharge the second headlamp while hiking.

    Specific tips for hikers on how charge/recharge your iPod Classic 80GB while in a hiking trip

    This instructions are valid for ANY "iThing": iPods, iPhones, iPods videos, iPod Touch, etc.

    1.  Start hiking/backpacking trip with the EL8 Headlamp (one or two headlamps) and iPod 80GB fully charged, if possible.
     

    2.  Try to keep your EL8 headlamp(s) charged by daily plugging the solar panel to it, and exposing the solar panel to sunlight as much as you can. Any sunlight will produce some charge to the headlamp.
     

    3.  Strap Solar Panel to backpack making sure not to cover it  from sun light, with holding straps. Velcro is a great way to do it, because you can easily move Solar Panel from one side to another side of backpack, or just remove it from backpack and place it on the floor when stopping for a rest. Remember that only when Solar Panel is perpendicular to direct sun light, you will have maximum charging current to EL8 headlamp. It is not necessary to have the solar panel perpendicular to the sunlight to charge headlamp.  Any sunlight that reaches Solar Panel, will charge/recharge your EL8 headlamp when you are walking.

                     
    Pictures show a Solar Panel holder made by Janet and experienced hiker who just finished a 25 days solo hiking. On Janet's own words, from an e-mail she sent me last week, August 19th, 2008:

    "I've returned from my wonderful hike: From Bridgeport, on the east side of the Sierra, just below Sonora Pass, to Mineral King. 270 miles, 25 days, 12 passes, all solo and incredibly wonderful.

    My headlamp and the charging system for the iPod worked great. I tended to use the iPod for only a couple hours or so (and not every day), and I didn't bother trying to play and charge at the same time, though you sent me the equipment to do that. It seemed too complicated. Instead, I discharged the lamp into the player (charged iPod) in the morning , then played the iPod and independently I charged the lamp. I tied the panel onto my pack on the left, center, and right, as I was walking south and that was the way to keep the panel perpendicular to the sun. At the end of the day, it was fully charged, and probably finished charging before that, but I didn't bother taking it off.

    I got some pretty envious looks from fellow hikers as they saw first the ear buds, then the iPod clipped to my sternum strap, then the little panel tied onto my pack!"


    Thank you Janet very much for sharing your wonderful hiking experience with us
     

    4.  When iPod battery gauge or indicator, drops to 3/4 or 1/2, start iPod charging routine or process.
     

    5.  Start charging iPod early in the morning when you begin your hiking, by connecting your iPod 20GB/40GB, 30GB, 80GB, 160GB, to your iPods' USB cable (same one you connect to USB computer or USB wall charger to sync and charge/recharge it when at home), and then to the EA6 USB adapter. Connect the EL8 headlamp to the USB adapter. I will call this step, iPod charging cycle. If you have more than one headlamp, charge the second one by connecting the solar panel to it.
     

    6.  Disconnect EL8 Headlamp from USB adapter after 45 to 60 minutes; this is approximately the time it will take to transfer ALL headlamp's battery charge to the iPod. Since I do not own an iPod 80GB, I calculated that time, by comparing the battery capacity of iPods 4GB/8GB and iPods 80GB/160GB and taken the charging times I found on many of my other testings.
     

    7.  Plug Solar Panel to the EL8 Headlamp for the rest of the day, to charge/recharge it.
     

    8.  If you have a second headlamp, you can use it the to keep charging the iPod.
     

    9.  Enjoy your hiking trip!
     

    10.  Repeat charging procedure as needed on the following days. You might need several charging cycles to fully charge your iPod. A single charging cycle will give you at least 6hrs of music playback, and at least two hrs of video playback.
     

    11.  Even though this instructions had been successfully applied in an extended hiking trip, you might find other ways to get the same or better charging results, by experimenting with your equipment. Don't be afraid to experiment. Please, send me an e-mail with your hiking experience, charging your iPod.

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