Feeds

Pair of double-As give you cheap, quick charge

Emergency mobile power when you least expect it

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

It's nighttime in Barcelona, you can't find your hotel and your phone battery is dead. Double-A batteries won't go in a phone so you're screwed, unless you've read the following advice.

If a phone sports a removable battery then you can carry a charged spare, and there are numerous pocket chargers on the market, but they all depend on one being aware that the juice is going to run out before it happens. Alkaline batteries, on the other hand, can be obtained anywhere, so for our own benefit we thought it worth looking at the means by which one might avoid replicating the Barcelona experience.

On that occasion, as it happens, the phone's battery lasted long enough to get Gmail open and discover its cloudy nature required a data connection (£2 to Vodafone). There was even enough power to call the hotel and get half the directions, just enough, but it was not an experience one would want to repeat.

Bodged charger

Getting female USB sockets is hard, but crocodile clips make for universal connectors

USB connections need 5 volts, and between 500mA and an amp-and-a-half, depending on the device being charged (tablets taking more, basic phones less). So a simple voltage regulator can step down the 9v from a battery to the 5v. Maplin will sell you one for 99 pence, but you'll need another £1.19 for the battery clip and a USB cable to cut up for the connections.

Following the nice instructions over at Indestructibles we got a Motorola RAZR charged up to 15 per cent in half an hour, from a standard 9v box-type battery, and without any noticeable heat coming off the regulator though that might be more of a problem if we were to encase it.

For a more commercial offering, the Rolson Emergency Phone Charger only costs £4.17 and takes a single AA. It comes with a selection of connectors and will charge an iPhone too (iPhones need a special circuit to confirm it's a proper connector; it's not complicated but we didn't have one to test).

Rolson charger

More robust, but less aesthetically pleasing, than the home-grown variety

The Rolson feels robust; it comes blister-packed with a battery that slots into the metal tube which crews shut like a Martian flying machine. There's also an LED which flashes when power is being sucked into the phone, though when we tested that LED flashed for a good hour despite the phone reaching peak charge in half that time.

A single AA, plugged into the same RAZR, took the battery up to just over 10 per cent in that half hour – still more than enough to check an address and make the all-important call.

But if that seems a bit pricy for what is basically a battery-holder, then there's always the "Neewer" charger which comes in at a couple of quid, though for some unknown reason we ended up with two of them.

You don't get batteries included, or a selection of cables (the Neewer has a female USB into which one plugs an existing cable), neither does it come with anything in the way of instructions. But it does have an inexplicable torch, and will take a pair of AA batteries to charge up whatever one plugs into it.

Neewer charger

It has an LED torch too, in case you're trying to charge up in the dark

The Neewer feels plastic, 'cos it is, but both the units we received work perfectly and were able to charge our RAZR up by more than 20 per cent over the course of an hour.

That's still not a full charge, and there are rechargeable solutions which will deliver more punch more quickly, but we'll be dropping a Neewer into the bottom of each suitcase in future. Even if it never gets used its worth it, if only to avoid the risk of a night on the Barcelona streets. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin
Report 'fails reality test' , is 'simply wrong' and offers ''convenient' justification for FTTN says Rod Tucker
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
Apple Watch will CONQUER smartwatch world – analysts
After Applelocalypse, other wristputers will get stuck in
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.