Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby RonK » Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:44 pm

Dragon wrote:Also what I have in mind is to charge big, power hungry laptop.

It seems like a lot of effort and expense to charge your big power hungry laptop, so why not just get rid of it? Who needs a big power hungry laptop on tour anyway? My netbook has a 10 hour battery which used judiciously lasts many days between charges, and probably cost less than all your charging equipment.
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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby il padrone » Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:10 pm

RonK wrote: My netbook has a 10 hour battery which used judiciously lasts many days between charges, and probably cost less than all your charging equipment.

+1

The netbook I took to outback SA last year was similar, with a 9hr battery. Great to use and every 2-4 days we found ourselves in some sort of town or caravan park, often enough to charge it up. These days I would even consider just using a tablet computer with broadband access, maybe something like Telstra's Motorola Xoom, much lighter and more compact.
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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby Aushiker » Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:53 pm

il padrone wrote:The netbook I took to outback SA last year was similar, with a 9hr battery.


What did you take?

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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby il padrone » Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:08 pm

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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby Aushiker » Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:25 pm



Thanks. I am curious. Do others have suggestions on netbooks (not a tablet/ipad)? Anything ligther and cheaper? :) I see these Toshiba's are selling for around $250 on eBay. Worth the risk?

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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby KenGS » Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:24 am

Aushiker wrote:


Thanks. I am curious. Do others have suggestions on netbooks (not a tablet/ipad)? Anything ligther and cheaper? :) I see these Toshiba's are selling for around $250 on eBay. Worth the risk?

Andrew

Mine is an Asus eeePc and I'm very happy with it. I don't take it touring but if I did I would consider replacing the hard drive with a solid-state drive
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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby RonK » Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:09 am

Aushiker wrote:Thanks. I am curious. Do others have suggestions on netbooks (not a tablet/ipad)? Anything ligther and cheaper? :) I see these Toshiba's are selling for around $250 on eBay. Worth the risk?

I've been using an Asus eee PC 1005 HA which has a 10 hour battery, although there is a plethora of eee PC models so no doubt it been superseded by now. I've carried it in my front pannier on two tours protected only by a netbook sleeve. Since the processor is not so powerful, I used basic (and cheap) software such as Picasa to edit my photos and Open Office to edit my journals, and ran Skype for calls home. I did find the tiny touchpad inconvenient and took a travel mouse along.

Now I'm upgrading to a new Macbook Air, as I've realised that battery life can be managed and is not really such a big deal, and I can run Word and Aperture on a Mac. The touchpad is very useable so I won't need a mouse any more.
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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby Aushiker » Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:09 pm

RonK wrote:
Aushiker wrote:Thanks. I am curious. Do others have suggestions on netbooks (not a tablet/ipad)? Anything ligther and cheaper? :) I see these Toshiba's are selling for around $250 on eBay. Worth the risk?

I've been using an Asus eee PC 1005 HA which has a 10 hour battery, although there is a plethora of eee PC models so no doubt it been superseded by now.


One on eBay currently selling for $175 so they are around :)

I do have a laptop/tablet which does not get used for anything now days, a Fujitsu T4215 which needs a new battery (~$80). It is not light but, weighing in at 2 kg with about six hours of battery life if I am lucky. Maybe a second hand Asus or similar might be an option. On the dreaming tour I could two + weeks between power supply so I guess even 10 hours might be pushing it if I want to write up my notes every couple of days or so.

I would do something along the lines you do, but would run Ubuntu as my OS with OpenOffice and probably just save/upload the photos for further editing on my Mac once I am home.

Decisions decisions :)

Andrew
Last edited by Aushiker on Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby il padrone » Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:33 pm

Aushiker wrote:On the dreaming tour I could two + weeks between power supply so I guess even 10 hours might be pushing it if I want to write up my notes every couple of days or so.

Don't know whether it will be enough power for a netbook battery but you could carry one of these perhaps ??

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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby Dragon » Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:40 pm

If any of you are interested in the Brunton 26W Foldable Solar Array, you need to be aware of a few things:

1) This is an excellent Solar Array of excellent quality. It is foldable to compact size and lightweight. Read the reviews here
http://www.amazon.com/Brunton-Watt-Fold ... Descending

2) It is a general purpose Solar Array so the short instruction that came with it is very useless and does not show you how to charge your specific item.

3) In order to use it, you need to have some basic understand of Solar Array usage. The instruction of the Brunton 26W does not tell you that , in order to charge your laptop, you will need a
12V a battery pack, a Solar Controller, and a car - plug adapter that is specificaly designed for your laptop.

In general, a solar pannel by itself is basically useless. It is not a battery storage device like a battery. It is only a source of current. The voltage and current of a Solar Array will vary wildly
all over so you need a battery pack to store the energy. Typically you need a 12V battery pack (I would make my own using 12 rechargeable D cell ). The solar array will be use to charge
the battery with the help of the Solar Conntroller to avoid overcharging it. Then you connect the battery to your laptop using the car-plug adapter.

If you naively you connect the Brunton 26W Solar Array directly to your laptop without the battery pack and the solar controller, it may appear fine but it is not safe to operate in this way.
The voltage of the Solar Array is not constant and can go up as high as 25Voltage. This may not be good for your laptop. It need a constant source of voltage. I would never power up my
laptop while it is connected directly to the Solar Array in this way.

Note: If you plan to power up your laptop for a long time 8 to 12 hours, you may need two Brunton 26W Solar Array. Because 26W may not be enough to power a big laptop. To sum up here is what you need:

1) 1 or 2 Brunton Solar Array ---- Cost: 340 usd a piece
2) 1 12 battery pack ---- Cost 100 usd (if you make yourself) 230usd (if you buy one from Brunton) link here
http://www.amazon.com/Brunton-Impel-145 ... C3G2SFYYI6

3) 1 Solar Controller Cost: 42usd (Note: If you buy the battery pack from Brunton then you do not need this item-- but it is a small saving)
http://www.amazon.com/SunSaver-Charge-C ... 166&sr=8-1
4) 1 Car plug adapter for your laptop Cost: about 30 usd depending on your laptop

Total Cost: about 600 usd if you use 1 Solar Array or 940 usd if you use 2 Solar Array

The good news is with this Solar Array, and good sun light, you do not need to worry about charging your laptop. You can power it up where ever you are.

Note: If your purpose is to charge smart phones, MP3 player, cammera battery, AAA batteries, Kindle reader, do not waste your money on this Solar Array.
A much smaller array will do.

If you need to power up a tablet PC or a smaller notebook PC, you only need one Brunton 26W Solar Array.

If you do not need to power up your big power hungry laptop and you can live with just charging the laptop battery, then remember you only need
about 12W to 24W. In this case you can use the Brunton 26W or get a smaller Solar Array and an External Laptop Battery Charger, depending on how fast you want to do it.
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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby Aushiker » Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:58 pm

il padrone wrote:
Aushiker wrote:On the dreaming tour I could two + weeks between power supply so I guess even 10 hours might be pushing it if I want to write up my notes every couple of days or so.

Don't know whether it will be enough power for a netbook battery but you could carry one of these perhaps ??

20w output so I believe it would power the notebook but for UK140 I will pass; not that desperate for my notebook :)

I do have BTW the Garmin Extender which is a cut-down Powermonkey. Bit slow at charging and of course no good for a notebook. Still trying to decide between taking this for my Edge 800/Phone or getting a Super-i-Cable and connecting it up to the dynamo.

Decisions decisions.

Andrew
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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby Dragon » Sat Oct 01, 2011 2:07 pm

il padrone wrote:
Aushiker wrote:On the dreaming tour I could two + weeks between power supply so I guess even 10 hours might be pushing it if I want to write up my notes every couple of days or so.

Don't know whether it will be enough power for a netbook battery but you could carry one of these perhaps ??

Image


I am sure this one will Not charge a net book. Please read the review here:
http://www.amazon.com/Solar-Gorilla-Lap ... Descending

You will need at least 15W to 20W to charge a net book. For example I have a Asus Eee PC 900 and it run on 12V 3Amps DC so to charge it I would need one Brunton 26W Solar Array with
a 12 Battery pack and a solar controller.

For what the Solar Gorilla will do, the price is absolutely rediculous!! Please don't waste your money on this one.
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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby KenGS » Sat Oct 01, 2011 2:10 pm

Aushiker wrote:
il padrone wrote:
Aushiker wrote:On the dreaming tour I could two + weeks between power supply so I guess even 10 hours might be pushing it if I want to write up my notes every couple of days or so.

Don't know whether it will be enough power for a netbook battery but you could carry one of these perhaps ??

20w output so I believe it would power the notebook but for UK140 I will pass; not that desperate for my notebook :)

I do have BTW the Garmin Extender which is a cut-down Powermonkey. Bit slow at charging and of course no good for a notebook. Still trying to decide between taking this for my Edge 800/Phone or getting a Super-i-Cable and connecting it up to the dynamo.

Decisions decisions.

Andrew

I got both. Problem solved. :)
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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby Aushiker » Sat Oct 01, 2011 2:36 pm

KenGS wrote:I got both. Problem solved. :)


Thanks :) Both as in?

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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby Dragon » Sat Oct 01, 2011 2:39 pm

RonK wrote:
Dragon wrote:Also what I have in mind is to charge big, power hungry laptop.

It seems like a lot of effort and expense to charge your big power hungry laptop, so why not just get rid of it? Who needs a big power hungry laptop on tour anyway? My netbook has a 10 hour battery which used judiciously lasts many days between charges, and probably cost less than all your charging equipment.


That is true. If you only spend a few days ridding and you don't go very far from civilization and you only need to keep intouch via email or basic internet, then a small net book will do.

However if you (and this is what I had in mind) go on months-long biking trips where you also bring your passport because need to cross international border, and a major fraction of your
time, you find yourself in the middle of no where (like the mountain of mongolia, the rice villages in Asia, or the mountain village people in Vietnam) and you need to update your blog, or some other online social network, email or for some reasons you need all the data (video, pictures.. ) on your laptop. In this situation, the net book is rather limited. I agree that not manny people make this kind of bike trips where they spend up to 8 hours a day on the saddle. But there are a few and in this case, it does work. With just two dynamo and the total cost of the setup about 120usd, you can have power to keep you going untill you reach civilization. This is very cheap consider it can cost up to 1000usd using commercial products like Solar Array or some lame bike charger that claim to charge your net books. Also this is not meant to be a replacement for the Solar Array because it is not efficient ridding with the dynamo constantly engaged (although it can be a total replacement) but when the sun is gone and you need to charge your laptop, or you have to charge it while on the saddle, this can come in handy.
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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby Baalzamon » Sat Oct 01, 2011 2:48 pm

On my last tour Perth - Esperance which was a modified Perth - Sydney ride I had an Asus eee netbook and I used a telstra Next G dongle. Get an antenna for it. I had bad reception. My phone had some reception, my dongle didn't.
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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby Dragon » Sat Oct 01, 2011 2:53 pm

If you only need something to charge only 5V USB devices like smart phones, MP3, Kindle ereader... I recomend this

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004G739C4

Or if you use a backpack, use this

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0042AWB1A

Or if you want a bike dynamo to charge 5V USB devices

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004JWTPLA

All of these will charge 5V USB devices. Only 5V USB devices. Not net Books
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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby Aushiker » Sat Oct 01, 2011 2:56 pm

Dragon wrote:
RonK wrote:However if you (and this is what I had in mind) go on months-long biking trips where you also bring your passport because need to cross international border, and a major fraction of your
time, you find yourself in the middle of no where (like the mountain of mongolia, the rice villages in Asia, or the mountain village people in Vietnam) and you need to update your blog, or some other online social network, email or for some reasons you need all the data (video, pictures.. ) on your laptop.


Ahh, this is the Touring Australia forum. So unless we have suddenly moved, I am not sure this is relevant :wink:

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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby Aushiker » Sat Oct 01, 2011 2:58 pm

Baalzamon wrote:On my last tour Perth - Esperance which was a modified Perth - Sydney ride I had an Asus eee netbook and I used a telstra Next G dongle. Get an antenna for it. I had bad reception. My phone had some reception, my dongle didn't.


What is the specification/model of your Asus eee netbook?

I assume you didn't bother tethering your phone to the netbook then?

Are there actually antenna available for the Next G dongle? Can't find anything at Telstra.

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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby il padrone » Sat Oct 01, 2011 3:12 pm

Dragon wrote:However if you (and this is what I had in mind) go on months-long biking trips where you also bring your passport because need to cross international border, and a major fraction of your
time, you find yourself in the middle of no where (like the mountain of mongolia, the rice villages in Asia, or the mountain village people in Vietnam) and you need to update your blog, or some other online social network, email or for some reasons you need all the data (video, pictures.. ) on your laptop. In this situation, the net book is rather limited. I agree that not manny people make this kind of bike trips where they spend up to 8 hours a day on the saddle.

Apart from crossing international borders this is exactly what I did last year, for 9 weeks, and a netbook allowed me to keep in touch, post on here, store and post photos and update a CGOAB journal regularly. We used a Telstra broadband modem and had reception for this everywhere we had mobile phone reception.


Dragon wrote:With just two dynamo and the total cost of the setup about 120usd, you can have power to keep you going untill you reach civilization.

Lordy me, you are some sort of superman !!
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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby Aushiker » Sat Oct 01, 2011 3:20 pm

il padrone wrote: We used a Telstra broadband modem and had reception for this everywhere we had mobile phone reception.


Was that an Elite modem?

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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby KenGS » Sat Oct 01, 2011 5:34 pm

Aushiker wrote:
KenGS wrote:I got both. Problem solved. :)


Thanks :) Both as in?

Andrew

Sorry - senior moment :) I've got the Pedalpower+ Universal cable - not the Super-i-cable
And I've got the Garmin Extender.
I normally connect the Garmin Edge to the PP+ and use the Extender to recharge my mini-DVR. After using the Extender I recharge it using the PP+ then swap it back to the Garmin Edge.
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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby KenGS » Sat Oct 01, 2011 5:40 pm

Dragon wrote: you find yourself in the middle of no where (like the mountain of mongolia, the rice villages in Asia, or the mountain village people in Vietnam) and you need to update your blog, or some other online social network,

I must be getting old because when I read "middle of nowhere" and "need to update your blog" my brain doesn't cope :oops:
Or do you use a satellite phone?
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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby il padrone » Sat Oct 01, 2011 5:48 pm

According to some globetrotting cyclists we met and toured with for a while, Australia's 'middle of nowhere' has much slower connection speeds than the 'middle of nowhere' in other parts of the world - the Americas, Asia..... :wink:

Yes, seriously. Using internet cafes and public access points of course.
Last edited by il padrone on Sat Oct 01, 2011 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Need advice on internet/telecom while cycling Australia

Postby RonK » Sat Oct 01, 2011 5:51 pm

Aushiker wrote:
il padrone wrote: We used a Telstra broadband modem and had reception for this everywhere we had mobile phone reception.


Was that an Elite modem?

Image

Andrew

That's the one I have - an Elite, and an external antenna was supplied with it. Fallback is to tether my iPhone, but it's never been necessary.
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