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one charger to rule (recharge) tablets, phones and cameras all at once

Camino(s) past & future
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This thread is intended, primarily, for the (electronic) electricians among us. To guide the rest of us in the way forward.

If you have a view that tablets/phones/cameras should not be on a Camino ... I respect your views and pray you will respect those of us who are wired differently.


My research throws up a plethora of devices and, not being an electrician, I find it hard to sort the wheat from the chaff. Based on my imperfect understanding I bought two devices that, as I understood the specifications, would easily recharge my Android tablet and my Android phone at the same time. In fact neither would charge the tablet in the way it was accustomed to. They would do it, but slowly. Not a great help. What they each would do is, out of their casing, was to connect to all the AC wall plugs that I would be anywhere and cope with voltage from 110 to 240/250.

A thread in the last few days asked the community if a specific charger would do a specific thing.

I've researched Tablet/Phone threads back to 2006 (yes all 226 of them) and found some specifics but not a general discussion.

What is available for charging a Tablet and something else at the same time

My findings are a range of devices that usually fall into one of three main camps.
  1. A country/region specific wall plug with two (or more) USB ports;
  2. A smallish cube that has two or more USB ports on one face and a range of AC connectors for most countries that can be selected one at a time on some other faces;
  3. A smallish cube that has two or more USB ports on one face and a range of AC connectors for most countries that can be attached / detached one at a time on another face.
As you might gather I am not keen to / will not carry a charger (specific) for each device. Nor a separate AC adapter for each country. There are not enough AC power points for them all in albergue or hotels. The weight would be crippling.

What am I suggesting

Firstly, that electronic electrician members of our community help devise a generic spec that focuses on the output at each USB port. This might be simply the output volts, amps and watts for each USB port. With Android Tablets and Apple iPads particularly in mind

Secondly, they provide guidance to read the adverts for devices that offer charging tablets plus other toys.
For example, what are the key points to look for when charging tablets plus others.

Thirdly, they provide a range of questions we should ask and how to ask them.

And all in a user friendly language, of course.

As the thread progresses other questions may arise.

Camino(s) past & future
Mar 2010, May/Jun 2016, Sep 2011, 2012, Apr 2014, St Olav's Way 2018
The USB standards are well defined, so I am not sure that there needs to be any new generic spec. You will find a useful Wikopedia article here. Apple devices use a different connector to those in the USB standards, but appear to use the remainder of the standard. See here for a short article on the requirements for the various Apple devices.

My short take is this:
  • most phones and cameras - USB 1 and 2 standard ports and similar chargers work okay (5V nominal, 0.5A)
  • small tablets - USB 3 ports (5V nominal, 0.9A or better) and similar chargers
  • bigger tablets - USB Power Delivery required for reasonable charging rates or a charger offering similar performance (5V nominal, 2.0A or higher)
Larger devices can be charged with lower power chargers, but it will take longer, and in some cases the device may not fully charge. Smaller devices will charge at slightly higher voltages delivered by the higher power chargers.

If you charge two devices concurrently, my view is that you will need something that can deliver a minimum of 2.5A at 5V nominal, and a bit more is better if you are carrying a tablet. That might require it to be around 5.2V actual.


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Camino(s) past & future
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I strap to the back and lid of my pack an 10 watt solar panel 5V-2A. This allows me to be of grid for days at a time. charges my phone,kindle,camera and steripen.

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