Powering gadgets on long trips

Travel Charging KitOn long bus and plane rides it helps to pass the time by watching movies, getting work done, and reading. Except for the reading part, all of these activities require power. Unfortunately most long haul buses and economy flights don’t have power connections for everyone. Often in economy you are lucky if there is one outlet every three rows. Unless you are in Taiwan, it is unlikely you’ll find a bus with power outlets. In the waiting lounges it is getting harder and harder to find an outlet to recharge computer or cell phone. Airport outlets that used to be available are being removed or locked. Similarly, it would be hard to imagine finding an outlet at a bus stop.

For long trips each device’s battery would be sufficient to last at least a day, or longer. However, laptops and portable DVD players rarely last longer than four hours. Having extra batteries helps, but having an extra custom battery for each device gets expensive quickly. Having a portable battery with an inverter that can be shared by multiple devices would be better. Recent restrictions on the weight of lithium-ion batteries which can be carried on board a plane complicate this goal. Its a workable solution for a long bus ride, but not for a US flight. Many other countries do not yet limit the weight of lithium-ion batteries that can be carried, but considering incidents of burning laptops this is likely to change. The spare common power source could be nickel metal hydride (NiMH), but this would increase the weight making it less ideal for travel.

What solutions have you found to power your gadgets on long trips on public transportation?

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