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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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Old 11-26-2013
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iPad - the charging conundrum

Hi,

I have a trailor-sailor which currently has no room for a chart table, and no electricty aboard.

To solve the charting problem I'd like to use an iPad with iNavX. However, I realise that leaving an iPad running with the GPS activated will quickly drain the battery.

With this in mind I'm trying to work out what my best option would be to keep it topped up for trips of 2 to 3 days when I might not have access to a 240v supply.

* What sort of battery could I use to power the iPad?
* How much longer would this last?

I'm also wondering if this would be a good moment to installed a basic electrical system into the boat. Would a wind or solar powered charger deliver anywhere near enough power to charge up the main battery when the boat is left moored for a week or so?

Regards,

Tim
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Old 11-26-2013
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Re: iPad - the charging conundrum

Here's a discussion of iPad solar chargers:

https://discussions.apple.com/message/15873502#15873502

I was planning on that option for our boat.
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Re: iPad - the charging conundrum

It looks interesting, but it does mean finding room for that panel. Would a "proper" marine solar panel do the job better?
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Old 11-26-2013
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Re: iPad - the charging conundrum

There are a lot of options out there and yes I'd say a basic electrical system would be a good idea. Especially since if you are leaving it on a mooring I'd want a bilge pump! Get a small agm battery ($70 on ebay shipped), and a small solar panel, no need for a controller if you get a 5 - 10 watt one ($40 or so). Mount them and add a 12v outlet and an iphone specific car charger (ipad takes 2.1 amps versus usb's typical 1 amp). Done.

Not the cheapest solution but more than enough. Otherwise there are countless iphone extenders out there.

All of this really depends on how long you really need the ipad to run. All day or week long trips?
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Re: iPad - the charging conundrum

Hi,

I can't yet say what my actual use would be, but let's assume that I'd like to use the iPad for a total of 40 hours between charges.

I've read elsewhere that iPads charge very slowly from a 12v source, but I can't find much information on this issue. As long as I can charge it while I'm using it with GPS enabled then that's fine. So, what combination of panel/battery/12v output would allow this?
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Re: iPad - the charging conundrum

If you're doing overnight trips wouldn't you need fore, aft, steaming, and anchor lights also?
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Re: iPad - the charging conundrum

Yes, but I'm tackling one issue at a time.
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Old 11-26-2013
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Re: iPad - the charging conundrum

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Originally Posted by tschmidty View Post
Get a small agm battery ($70 on ebay shipped), and a small solar panel, no need for a controller if you get a 5 - 10 watt one ($40 or so).
I would STRONGLY suggest a controller........ I can push a bank of Lifeline 6V AGM batteries of 220Ah's over 15V with a single unregulated 12W solar panel... !!!! Controllers are cheap batteries are not...

A lot of the information you read on-line about solar panels without controllers is complete hogwash and dangerous if the panels get left unattended. I have seen far too many banks needlessly destroyed by the lack of a controller.
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 11-26-2013 at 11:35 AM.
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Re: iPad - the charging conundrum

Having just bought a C22 without much in the way of technology on board, no battery, I have just tackled this issue. The yard at the marina here in Arizona has added two deep cell marine batteries and a management/controller system to maintain them while in the slip via the available shore power. They claim this will keep all the necessary lights available, use of knot meter and depth finder and radio for the entire day, plus some, while out on the lake.

Supposedly the management system has also the capability of adding a solar panel to it that would maintain a pretty full charge on both batteries if I was camping out in one of the remote coves on the lake for a weekend and/or longer. We also installed a accessory charger for phones and I-Pads.

I'm waiting on spending the cash on the panel to see what my usage will be for away from the slip on overnighters since I'm not much of a camper especially on a C22.
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Re: iPad - the charging conundrum

Quote:
Originally Posted by tarmes View Post

I've read elsewhere that iPads charge very slowly from a 12v source, but I can't find much information on this issue.
The iPad or iPhone has no clue whether it is connected to a 12V source or to a 120V source as they charge on DC anyway.

They charge at 5.0 - 5.2V and require 2.1A - 2.4A at 5.0 - 5.2V for optimal charging speed.... Most 12V car adapters, until very recently, did not put out 2.1A - 2.4A. Most put out 1.0A max and were intended for iPhones not iPads.

The current iPads ship with a 5.2V X 2.4A 120V AC to DC wall charger. If you want the same speed as this then you'll need to match those specs on a 12V cigarette style USB char charger.

Here's an example of a 12V 2.4A capable USB car charger for an iPad.

Anker Dual 2.4A USB Charger
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