Fitting Powerbank for worldbiketour

Hi there, i am planning for a tour around the world by bicycle. I will try to stay as self-sufficient as possible and life in my tend and just use Hostels or Guesthouses only if it is absolutely necessary. For my electric supply i already have a Anker Solar Panel 21W, an Anker PowerCore 26800, an Shutter Precision - PD8 Hub Dynamo and a Busch & Müller E-Werk. One of the last Utilitys i need, is a Powerbank that can charge my laptop (Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15ARE05) and can get charged by the solar panel and the Hub Dynamo. What PowerBank can you recommend? At the moment i think the PowerCore+ 26800 PD 45W would be the best solution, but i would not need the Charger, because i also have the Anker Powerport 5 to charge multiple devices. So is there a better or maybe cheaper solution you coud suggest?

Greetings
Marcus

Sounds like a great adventure!

  • How sure are you that the laptop is actually being charged from the solar and hub+werk? You may get enough voltage to activate recharge circuits but are you seeing the % charged increase in tests?
  • I have done similar to this trip and what usually happens is you don’t particular make that much power off solar / hub to do much more than keep a phone charged (not a laptop) so you have to use the odd access to mains power to do more serious power ingestion.
  • so if you have a lunch / dinner stop there is a wall socket, over the 1-2 hours of the stop you want to ingest power as rapidly as possible. You can do that two main ways.
  • either carry 2 or 3 smaller Power and recharge them in parallel. Advantage: if one breaks you have another, recharge the emptier ones. Disadvantage: messier, looks more obvious. Example would be 2 or 3 Powercore 10000.
  • or carry (your ask) one larger with the shortest possible recharge time. Advantage: simpler. Disadvantage: what if it fails? It probably can not be recharged off solar/hub to use any excess power you may get.
  • the smaller Powercore all will recharge off 5V 2A port on a Powerport 5, but the larger Powercore will not, you need a corresponding higher voltage port like a Slim 63W.
  • do some tests and calculations, this is the only way to be confident. Work out what your daily or weekly average of Wh you’ll consume. e.g. ride a typical intended day, using your devices as you’d typically expect. Measure their drain. Then use the 2/3rds rule of recharge efficiency. Then assume a degree of sunshine and hub power. e.g average 2 hours/day at 10W solar and 5 hours/day 3W hub.
  • predict from others on similar trips how often you get mains power. e.g. get mains power at lunch/dinner stops of 1 hour/day , and use overnight rooms 1 day/week. Do your calculations.
  • what you’ll probably begin to see is the laptop has to be frugally used when not near mains power, say an hour an evening when camping, and your solar/hub is primarily keeping phone going.
  • Consider two Powercore 20000 PD Esssential, these recharge in 8 hours and store a lot of energy. Consider the Powerport 63W Slim, it can recharge the two 20000 PD in parallel.
  • I’d not recommend one charger, as what if it fails, I’d always suggest 2, a primary and a backup, and you survice off the backup til you replace the primary at the next major overnight location. You use them both primary+backup when you find a lunch stop with 2 sockets.

Summary:

  • best to not assume 1 of anything to allow for failure, better to have 2, and consider primary/secondary.
  • do some tests to find your average daily needs, and do calculations. The most common issue I hear is people end up holed up near a border due to a visa issue, your trip is slower than you thought, and due to money constraints you end up with periods of not in room but in tent waiting for permission to move.
  • consider these:

Hello Professor and thanks for you answer.

The Laptop itself does not have to been charged by the Hub or the Solarpanel. Those two are going to be used to charge the Powerbanks, while those will charge the electrical divices in the campspot at night. If the power will be enough, also decides by the country im traveling. While rain and cloudy weather in Norway will not be so helpful for the solarpanel, as sunshine and heat in the deserts of Mauritania.

I did a few test travels already with the setup i mentioned before and i was pretty happy with the Power managment overall. The phone is almost all the time in powersaving mode, because i just need it in emergencys or if i really shoud get lost and need GPS instead of Papermaps. So i just need to charge the phone every 3-4 days. Laptop useage is also very frugally and charging once every Week or even less would be enough. Other power consuming devises wold been an action cam, a APS-C Camera and finally a eReader i have not decided on yet.

My main concern is the possibility to charge the laptop, because the Powerbank i use at the moment (Anker PowerCore 26800) is not able to charge the laptop. And also that the Powerbank does not have issues with lower power from the metioned chargers and is not affected by unstable powersupply.

The plan is to use Hostels, Guesthouses or official campsites every 2 weeks, to 1 month for about 2 days. Inbetween i am also willing to sometimes use couchsurfing or warmshower hosts.

I will consider the use of the second charger, because it sounds pretty fair. But im not sure about the Powercore 20000PD Essential, because in the product description, charging of USB-C Laptops is not mentioned, as opposed to the PowerCore+ 26800 PD. While i think the point about faster charging and having two Powerbanks as backup is right, i am not sure if the Essential can charge the laptop.

You’re going to struggle to charge something off solar/hub which can then charge a laptop, they typically are mutually exclusive and you need a Powerbank which ingests at 5V and outputs at 15V-20V. 20V is typical laptop voltage although some will take 15V. Tablets are in the 5V-9V minium as smaller batteries.

Also be aware of stacked inefficiency. A Powerbank which is recharged loses about 20% of the energy in the process then the device the Powerbank recharge loses typically 30%. So using an intervening battery wastes half the energy.

I’d say you need either to

  • ditch the laptop idea, use a tablet which will take 5V input
  • consider the laptop only capable of being recharged at mains wall sockets
  • to avoid stacked inefficiency, charge the phone directly off solar/hub until 85% full then recharge Powerbank. Solar in good conditions are 2A 5V 10W, a hub at speed is 0.7A 5V 3W, if you assume average 2 hours sun/day and 5 hours bike/day you get 35Wh/day. If you used intervening batteries then effectively 17Wh/day. Your laptop is 70Wh so you’re looking around 25% of the laptop power generation/day.
  • ensure you buy from a free return as finding a Powerbank which can both take 5V in and 15V-20V out will involve luck.

What’s the minimum voltage your laptop will take? Searching implies 20V?

I mentioned the 20000 PD as I think it takes 5V and 9V in and out. If you’re lucky a laptop, or for sure a tablet, will take 9V in.

The issue with laptops is they usually use 18V cells and need 20V in, some use 8V cells and need 9V in. Tablets usually have 4V cells and will take 5V in.

Any why I’m not so focused on your specific laptop is you’ll break it (assumption) so I’m more challenging the whole idea of laptops. Your laptop seems to need 20V input, so a Powerbank need 20V output, I dont think any exist which gives 20V out and will take 5V in, i.e. I’m saying laptops are looking exceedingly a bad idea to consider for any kind of portable recharging, so ditch the idea completely or assume laptop will only recharge when at wall sockets.

Correct, the 20000 PD Essential is not likely to charge laptop, as laptop is probably 20V and the Essential is 9V. Correct, 45W Powercore is 20V out and will charge laptop but won’t charge itself off 5V solar/usb. So you’d consider the 45W Powercore to keep laptop going for the long times between wall sockets.

Again a lot of thanks to you for this comprehensive answers :blush:

First for the charging, the Laptop has a minimum Voltage intake, as you mentioned, of 20V.
I was looking at the technical specifications for the 26800 i already have, and the 45PowerCore PD. The first one has a power input of 5V - 4A and the second one 5V - 3A / 9V - 3A. On my test runs i coud charge the 26800 on the Hub/USB E-Werk without any problems. So shouldn’t it possible to charge the PowerCore if i am able to charge the 26800? The output of the E-Werk charger for the dynamo hub is 13,3V and 1,5A, starting at a travel speed of about 15km/h. Or is it a difference, because i charge on just one port (5V-2A)

What i could not test until now is the Solarpanel. I did not had it at the last tour and the weather and winter time, together with my work time does not let me test out the Solar Panel with the Powerbank in good conditions.

So im pretty happy with the laptop i use on my travels. At the moment i did already travel 5000km with him and did not had any issues with stability. Once it will go wrong, and i will need a new one. But till now everything did go well. I had lesser luck with my last eReader i took with me. After 3 days it was broken.

I already charge the phone direct off the hub, but thanks for the advice.

At the moment i do consider to buy the Powercore45W and if can charge it with the Hub, im fine, and if not, i have to stick with only charging it on wall sockets. And also buy another, smaller Powerbank, for have additional Powerbackup for the other devices and easyer charging for the Solar Panel or the Hub. debending on weather and terrain. Do you consider the Essential 20000 as a good advice for this case?

Anker makes many 26800 so we have to be precise. Do you own this model?

https://www.anker.com/products/variant/powercore-26800/A1277011

It ingests at 5V so is compatible with solar and hub 5V. As you know it outputs at 5V so won’t work with your laptop.

The issue is the 20V Powercore all, as best I know, require a PD input so they will refuse to be charged from solar / hub. So there is mutual exclusion between laptop and off-grid solar / hub.

The werk may be able to output at 13.3V but it still is not USB PD. PD is not just a voltage, but a negotiation over the USB PD protocol, the “profile”.

I am not expecting a Powercore 45W to work recharging off hub / solar. I’d be very surprised if it worked. So if you do buy one then ensure free return.

If you own the 26800 model above, you can’t really do any better, it has dual input, recharges fast and will pair with an Anker 21W solar dual USB A output.

You’d recharge your phone off hub / solar til nearly full then switch to recharge the 26800. By my calculation you’d get of the order of 17Wh / day which will keep phone and other small gadgets going indefinatively, but for sure at least a week.

The laptop, you’d ration your usage between wall socket times, make the most use of access to wall sockets, as you cannot recharge off a Powercore which you can recharge away from wall socket.

This is my travel laptop, it recharges from 5V, is a large tablet.

Yes, this 26800 is the model I was referring to. Pretty happy with it, it works great.

That the PowerCore 45W needs PD to get charged, and it’s not optional, is something, I was totally not aware of. But as I said, I will buy another Powerbank for my small devices, maybe another 26800 like I have already. And the Laptop has to sustain the time between wall sockets with one PowerCore 45W.

I still think your best option is ditch the laptop idea altogether, but that’s your choice.

I am not aware of a Powercore from Anker which gives out 20V and will recharge off non-PD 5V in. They may exist, you may experiment, contact Anker directly support@anker.com , and be prepared to return if does not work.

It is a lot of weight to carry on a bike, the laptop, and even a 26800 45W out will still suffer the 2/3rds rule (a third of the energy is lost during conversion) so expect a 100Wh Powercore to give 70Wh of effective laptop power which for your laptop would double battery life.

Also use a Powercore with laptops proactively, do not use them to recharge a laptop, use them keep a laptop at 100%, and once the Powercore is drained, then let laptop’s battery begin to drain. The reason is there is lost energy in a battery charging a battery. So you’d leave the last wall socket with 26800 45W and laptop fully recharged, every time you booted up and used the laptop, you’d do it with the 26800 connected, until the 26800 is empty, then use the laptop without the 26800. That way the 26800 is only powering the non-battery part of the laptop.

If you do find a 20V PD out portable powerbank which is recharged from non-PD 5V in reply here to help the next person out.

To ditch the laptop is not really an option. I do touring already for many years, i did cross the alps by food already 3 times, i did hike from Munic to Istanbul and did a lot of other hiking tours. Before 1 Year i started my planning on a real big tour, but this time by bike. Instead of 1, 3 or 6 month, this tour will take 10+Years and will start Mai 2022. For the shorter hikes and biketours i never needed a laptop, because i did it purely for myself and could prepare everything already before the journey. This time, with the 10 Years and planning and preparing while on the way, i need more than just a smartphone or tablet. Also this time i not just traveling for myself, i am planning on documenting the trip by video, photo and blogg on social media. I am aware of apps on android or iOS, you can edit and cut video and photos, but you are somewhat limited instead of working with Adope or daVinci Resolve.
Also because of the extented time on the journey, on the already fully packed bike, this additional weight is not even being noticed anymore :smile:

Isn’t it better for the battery of the laptop, to use the laptop until it is empty and then charge the Battery full again? Im by far not an expert, but there was something with battery cycles and lifespan i think i do recall. Even if it is better for the powermanagement on my journey.

I already find a portable Powerbank that fits the specifications, afaik. But it is from a different brand, and thats a little problem for me. You see, i use Anker products now for 6 or 7 years and have about 20 different Devices from Anker, like Powerbanks, Chargers, SoundCore, Strips,… and in all that time and all the tours i made, Anker never failed me. All Devices working fine until now, without any issues. And thats why i really want to stay with Anker Products. If you need to rely on a product, it is the best, if you trust the product from the beginning. So i will contact the support and reply again if there are any news.

What is best for battery depends on your goals.

The way to keep a battery life longest is keep it around 70% charged. What ages a battery is non-use, using it a lot, cold, heat. Cells have a 500 depth recharge capacity, so if you drained a laptop fully then recharged, it would do it 500 times, so if you did that daily, 18 months. If you drained it 50% then full, you’d get 3 years, if you kept it between 60% and 80% you’d get years. Cells don’t like heat and keeping a cell 85%-100% makes it hotter so that ages faster too. Another way to not age is keep at 100% all the time so the depth cycles never get touched and no heat from recharging. Make sense?

For this conceived use case of being off-grid for many days, for at least long periods between access to wall sockets, you’d want to start the period with everything fully charged, then connect the Powercore to laptop, drain the Powercore, then drain the laptop’s battery. The reason is there is energy lost in the chemical process of storing energy in the battery, so if you have battery recharging battery then being used, the energy passes through batteries twice, so double the energy loss from chemistry, vs if you drained the Powercore first then laptop, you have a single loss of energy from chemistry. By all means do a benchmark when you test it all.

I’d be sceptical of any vendor’s claims. Anker’s customer service and reliability is high and a good brand to rely on. But the electronics contained within are all very similar, and a buck-boost converter is most efficient when not exceeding a factor of 2 on voltage. So to get 20V out, the electronics probably won’t have less than 9V cells (e.g. 3 cells in series, and 2 of them in parallel) so probably won’t be recharged on less than 9V. 9V is unsafe to electronics which can only take 5V, hence Power Delivery has a negotiation.

What you ideally want is some luck. Luck would be if your laptop can actually recharge off less than 20V, anything helps, like it did 9V would be very useful. You then need luck to find something which ingests 5V non-PD in and gives that voltage out. Anker does make 5V in 9V out Powercore. Best way to get luck is ask Anker and buy from places with no-quibble free return so you can test. The Powercore 20000 PD Essential does take 5V non-PD in and gives 9V PD out, so if your laptop accepted 9V PD then voila!