Sunday, July 23, 2017

Power On The Go

What's the most common sight you see in an airport or hotel or meeting or bar or coffee-shop these days?
I would suggest that it's the sight of a poor human searching desperately for an unoccupied pair of holes in the wall (or wherever!) that can be used to provide food for his or her trusty electronic companion, which is currently powerless (sorry !) !
I've also been one of those poor humans, but took steps to try to fix my problem. Yesterday, however, the problem visited a friend of my wife's, and I was able to help (in a small way), so I'd like to share. Maybe it'll help you, dear reader, avoid her situation. By the way, this is not an advertisement for Amazon or any of the products described here - it's simply what you might term a PSA - Public Service Announcement!

My wife and some friends went with some others to a small festival about 40 miles from where we now live, and I turned up, as arranged, to meet my wife when they all returned. Goodbyes were said and everyone made for their cars - it was about 85F at the time - and most people left.
My wife and I spent a little time getting things in the car sorted out, and then we looked up to realise that one of the other women, who I'll name "J" to minimise her embarrassment, was still trying to get into her car. I was about to get out to ask if I could help when she got the driver's door open and got in - "panic over", I thought.
However, a few seconds later, J was again out of her car, so I also got out to see what was wrong. It turned out that her car wouldn't start (it turns out that the battery had died, but that would be another story) and her large iPhone was also completely out of juice - hardly even registering a red line!

She said that she didn't live that far away and that her husband could come and get her, if she could only contact him. So, obviously, the first thing I did was hand her my phone and say "use it!" - she did.

She was happy to wait there in the shade for him, but my wife and I weren't happy just leaving her alone with no communications, so I loaned her my battery and cable, and here is the point of the story.

I had already used the battery to top off my wife's iPhone SE from about 50% that day. I don't know how long J's iPhone took to charge, but apparently it charged fully, and I got the battery back the next day with 50% of its capacity still remaining!

The picture on the right is of my battery - search for "intocircuit" on Amazon. Right now this one, holding 11,200 mAh, is being withdrawn and replaced with one holding 15,000 mAh. I have had this one since August 2015, carry it with me everywhere (including in aeroplane carry-on) and it never fails me. The reason, I believe, is that there is a nice meter to tell me how much it is depleted, so I always know when to recharge it well before it runs out of power.

The moral of the story: if you have a phone, carry a battery too, and another in the car! Make them as large as you can afford (this one is about $20; the replacement about $27).

One extra note: cables are a real pain to carry around; try this (on the right) for an idea. It's a retractable spring-loaded cable that offers USB-A to Lightning. Great for charging your iPhone from the intoCircuit beast above.
On the left, however, you see the reason for that strange little loop on the Lightning plug ... it stops you losing it, because the cable actually ends with a micro-USB connector, and the loop attaches an adapter from micro-USB to Lightning. So you can use the same cable to charge that battery and then charge either an iPhone or an Android phone.
These cables cost about $6 each - there's another company on Amazon (Miger) with essentially the same product at $12 for two. I haven't had the ones above for very long, so I can't report on longevity. I did buy some 1:4 retractables some 5 months ago and 1 of 4 just died on me.

Be safe and in touch!

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