Brunton Inspire Portable Power Device

From time to time, I’ll repost field reports from other hikers. I met Rockdawg ( AKA Porter Morgan) while in the Smokies on my 2007 AT Thru hike.  We’ve kept in touch since then.  He’s savvy on all sorts of backpacking -related skills and supports.

I use a Solio solar charger right now, but the solar function is really fruitless  in the heavily forested east coast trails where I usually hike.  I mostly use the Solio as a storage battery.  It plugs into the wall , charges up, hen stores that charge for use with iPod, etc. when on the trail. I hope Rockdawg can secure a wall charger for the Brunton.  I would probably replace the Solio with the Brunton is that is the case, as it is lighter and more powerful.

Here’s Rockdawg  :

Had a chance to use the Brunton battery to recharge my cell phone.

Took 2 hours to bring the phone to full charge from a 15% battery condition.  Used about 25% of the battery packs storage according to the LEDs on the pack.  I think I could get 2 more recharges but will have to wait and see. My phone is  a 3G slide by HTC.
Specs for the pack are: 5V output voltage; 1000mA output current; 11.8 Wh capacity; standard and mini USB ports; comes with a micro USB adaptor and car charger.  110V to 12V charger is a separate purchase.  Weight is 4.8 oz.
I tried the Brunton website for a wall cable and could not find one there.  I plan to call them this week and see what their tech folks say.  I suspect at least one commonly used charger with a USB connector might do the trick.  The battery pack can be charged by tapping a computer USB port, but it takes about 2 to 2.5 hours to reach full charge.  About the same with the 12V car charger.
As far as charging my phone, I got 1.5 charges out of the first try.  Not what I expected from the reviews I read.   I’m starting the 2nd testing sequence today to see if I can get 2 full charges.  Was thinking it would carry 3 charges from the reviews, but it just may be the phone I have sucks a lot of juice.
If it will not give at least 2 full charges, I don’t think it would work for really long distance hiking.  It might for me since I don’t run Internet connections while I’m hiking (this current phone really eats juice big time when tied to the internet).  Typically, I usually only turn on my phone once a day when hiking to see if there are messages from home.  That allows me several days of phone charge, generally letting me get to the next town to re-supply, etc.
Will let you know the results of testing next weekend and anything I find out from Brunton:

1)  Brunton is sending me a wall charging unit at no cost.  They said just about any small charger from a cell phone would work, or anything that puts out about 5V and has the proper USB 2 connector.  I have a charger from an older Motorola cell phone that will work.

2) Completed the 2nd phone re-charging test last night and it was same as the first.  Starting at a 10% battery on first attempt, I got a full charge with the Inspire pack showing 3 of the 4 LEDS  still lit after the charging.  On the 2nd re-charge, I started at a 15% battery level in the phone and got to a 60% recharge before the Inspire quit charging.  It still showed 1 LED but did not put out any additional juice to the phone.  My conclusion is that you might get an additional 3 to 5 days usage on the phone by using this Brunton unit, with the phone being on continuously during the daytime – but not being used continuously, if that makes any sense.  This will be somewhat dependent on the particular phone you are using, could be more, could be less.  I also weighed the unit and got 6.0 ozs vs. the 4.8 Brunton advertises.

Brunton sent the wall charging unit for the Inspire, which I received yesterday.  It has a standard USB connection at the charger end, therefore a double-ended USB wire will work with the Inspire for re-charge.  Highly compact, 1.5 x 2.0 inches and about 2 or 3 ozs.  Output is 5V DC.  Has a fold-away wall plug.   I think any unit with this DC voltage will be okay for use.  I’ve used my Motorola phone wall charger (5V DC) to re-charge the Inspire twice and that unit works just fine also.
I think I can use the Inspire similar to what I said earlier – adding 3 to 5 days to my trip time without stopping to find a wall outlet somewhere.  IF I don’t operate in any other manner than to check messages once per day and the occasional call home, this should give me about 8 to 10 days travel time before hitting town for re-supply and re-charging.  Possibly more if I am in areas with no signal.

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