News | iTechworld

Keeping Your Phone Charged While Travelling

Garry McBride writes
I’m going to be away from a power source while travelling. What can I pack so that I can still use my phone?

iTechworld, replies
You will be lucky to get more than a day’s use out of most smartphones. Their screens and processors eat power, even if you take preventive measures such as switching off the 3G/4G signal.

 

 

A good idea is to pack a pre charged Power Bank. The iTECH400A, for example, has a 1000mAh Lithium Ion battery. This is enough power to enable 3 more extra day’s careful smartphone use. It is compatible with devices that charge via a USB – iPhones, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry handsets will be compatible – the other benefit of this device is that it has 400 Cold Cranking Amps which means it can jump start your car if your car battery is flat. You no longer have to carry jumper leads!

If you are looking for something bigger and more powerful, the new iTECH900A is the one for you, it has a 20000mAh Lithium Ion battery which is almost 5 days worth of extra power. It also has enough power to jump start large diesel engines up to 5L.

An iTechworld Jump Starter Power Bank is definitely going to help you for a few days extra charge on your phone, but what if you are going to be travelling for a longer period of time, with no access to mains power? Living in Australia, Solar Power seems like an obvious choice, however the technology to charge a phone direct from a Solar Panel has not been readily available in a small and portable format. The iTechworld Solar Smart Charger changes the game when it comes to portability, it folds flat (Closed Size:160*225*40mm Weight 350g)  and can be stored in a glove box or bag but also packs enough wattage to charge a smart phone direct. Another added feature is that it has a 12v female cigarette socket, enabling items such as Satellite Navigation systems to be charged directly from the sun. This handy device can also be used to charge the iTECH400A or the iTECH900A. Larger size solar panels need regulators to use them as they can provide a lot of current. The iTechworld Solar Smart Charger can be used directly on a device with no regulator required.

 


 

Article author

Ian

[email protected]

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iTechworld RV Cabling information.

With a the right tools, some knowledge and a lot of common sense, you can get to work on your RV’s 12V system.

With all the advancements in the RV market and the seemingly endless quest for gadgets, can the average Joe still work on their RV electrics? The answer is yes, as long as you take a few key factors into consideration.

240V CABLING AND DEVICES

Mains supply 240V in RVs is still a major energy source and one to be treated with much respect. Generators and high-powered inverters can supply 240V in addition to mains power. All wiring should be done in line with Australian Standards 3000 (general) and 3001 (specific to RVs). There are some special requirements for RVs, including double pole powerpoints, earthing and tagging/testing on power leads. Unless the 240V cables are double insulated (with thermoplastic sheathing), then they should be physically separate from 12V systems. You should not attempt to alter the 240v systems at all in your RV as it is illegal.

12V CABLING AND DEVICES

Unlike the 240V system, it is quite legal to work on 12V cabling and devices. However, it’s important to have an understanding of some of the issues, such as cable sizing, voltage drop, battery charging and connections.

VOLTAGE DROP

Many iTechworld customers think that current rating is all that matters with 12V cabling, but voltage drop (or minimising it) is equally important. Voltage drop over long runs of cable (think 3-4m as a minimum) can be a problem – note that cable length does include both the positive and negative conductors. While many consider a voltage drop of 0.5V to be acceptable, industry experts reckon a 0.15-0.2V drop (at 12V) is a much more acceptable figure. The best way to avoid voltage drop is by using the correctly sized cable and ensuring that all connections are done correctly.

12V CABLE SIZING

Cabling sizing causes considerable confusion and problems, especially in Australia. The International Standards Organisation (ISO) specifies cable sizing/rating by a conductor’s cross-sectional area, usually in mm². That is mostly used by battery and European appliance makers. An alternative way, used considerably in the USA, is AWG or the B&S system. All are good if used correctly, but the ISO sizing is simpler.

Another confusing issue is that some cable is sold with a cable rating. That refers to the maximum current a cable can handle but does not take into account the length of cable run.

It might sound extreme but there are some installations that might require a 10mm² cable or larger to be used in order to achieve the correct charging voltage – note that is not 12V but 14.2-14.4V for adequate battery charging.

BATTERY CHARGING

RV deep cycle batteries can be charged in a number of ways – mains charger, generator and solar panels for a start – but the one that many fall down on is charging from the tow vehicle. As I mentioned, voltage drop is an issue to be considered and it’s for that reason that the conventional round or flat plugs, which work well for items such as running lights and trailer brakes, are not acceptable for battery charging.

Instead, you’ll need something like an Anderson plug, which is a separate plug that can accept cable sizes such as ISO 10 or larger. Generally speaking, it’s best if the batteries are as close to the chargers as possible and, in the case of a caravan/fifth wheeler, as close to the front as possible.

FRIDGE

Devices such as 12V fridge compressors, indeed anything with a motor, are particularly vulnerable to excessive voltage drop, as are battery charging circuits. Although there are some circumstances where 12V compressor-type fridges are better, it’s sometimes better to have a three-way absorption fridge because they have the option of LP gas as well.

LIGHTING

Apart from a slight dimming, most lighting systems can accept a small voltage drop. So it’s slightly ironic that the lighting cable size can be smaller and voltage drop is less of an issue, particularly with low current LED fittings.

DO IT YOURSELF?

While the information above may convince you that DIY 12V systems are too difficult to contemplate, they’re really not as long as you have a basic understanding of all the issues.

TOOLS

You only need a basic tool kit – decent insulated electrical pliers, insulated screwdrivers, wire cutters and other handyman essentials such as a battery drill and drill bits. A 12V test lamp is good for a quick test for 12V supply but a multimeter is considerably better. Other handy items such as different coloured rolls of insulating tape and plastic cable ties are essential and a connector crimping tool is very handy for any serious work. The iTechworld Amp Meter is a handy gadget which can be placed in line to see what the wattage, volts and amps are going through your cabling.

JOB LIST

Generally, there is little that needs doing with contemporary RVs, unless it’s repair work or adding lights or 12V/5V charger outlets. However, with older rigs there’s often much that can be done – simple jobs such as upgrading lights to more energy -efficient fittings, or more complex jobs like adding an entire battery and charger or solar panel system. Whatever it is, I’d suggest that a good understanding of the issues involved before starting work is essential.

TOW VEHICLES

Connecting the trailer plug and Anderson plug in a tow vehicle can be quite simple; however, there are a number of issues to be considered. There are some manufacturers/retailers who supply a tow vehicle wiring harness kit, which makes life considerably easier, especially as the wiring harness kit can be supplied for specific vehicles.

However, contemporary tow vehicles are much more sophisticated than their predecessors and while the above might include a 12V ‘live wire’, it might not be of sufficient diameter for battery charging. It may appear to be quite simple to run a 12V cable between the Anderson plug and the tow vehicle battery for this purpose, but it’s important to consider where fuses or circuit breakers should be located and where isolating relays are needed to make sure the caravan fridge doesn’t drain the tow vehicle battery when the engine is not running.

RETRO WIRING

Generally, it’s quite easy to install aftermarket wiring in an RV. Cupboards, under-seat and under-bed areas, as well as lockers, all make good places to run cables. However, it should be well-protected from mechanical damage and preferably strapped into position. Where cabling might be visible, PVC mini trunking is ideal for that purpose. In all cases, cable runs should be as short as possible to minimize voltage drop.

For connecting cables, it’s best to use either screwed terminals and/or crimped connectors – the aim in both cases is to get a very tight connection. Crimp connector quality does vary – they are best purchased from a specialist outlet.

Does all of this sound like a bit of a challenge? In a way it is, but as long as you understand the essentials and use the right tools, the average handyman can do a lot.

 

VOLTAGE METER

 

Read how to avoid a drained battery HERE

Can I mix and match Solar Panels with different Watt values? HERE

How do Solar Panels work? HERE

Generator vs Inverter Generator which is better? HERE

How to level up your Inverter Generator's charging potential HERE

Everyone likes camping, they just don't know it yet HERE

Read about our New D4 Satellite finder that locks onto C1 HERE

Read our easy Solar installation guide HERE

Read how Generator Inverters work HERE

Read iTechworld Generator Reviews HERE

Read how to use a Generator Inverter HERE

Read about light weight Solar Panels HERE

Read 5 great tips to get the most out of your Solar Panels HERE

Read our comprehensive guide on Inverters HERE

Read about the benefits of travelling with Solar Power HERE

Article author

Ian

[email protected]

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The standard bearer for Solar Panels

These days everyone is taking more and more appliances with them when they are going camping. Appliances like fridges, kettles, TVs and even Microwaves are becoming common sights at campsites across the country.

 

A popular way of charging these appliances can be a solar panel. While Generators are the most widely used device for  running these appliances it isn’t the most popular choice with fellow campers and now even some caravan parks have put bans or restrictions on the use of generators. One of the last things you want to hear when you are trying to sleep is a noisy generator. One thing is for sure, you will not lose any sleep by using the correct solar panel suited to your needs. The iTechworld Portable Folding Solar Panel range is the standard bearer for all other Solar Panels on the Australian market today. The packages come complete with all the equipment you need to Plug and Charge.

 

 

These panels are just as effective as a generator but more efficient because it uses the sun for power. No need to carry extra fuel. Let’s face it, there is plenty of sun going around Australia. Why not tap into our natural resource to fuel your trip?

 

The iTechworld Portable Folding Solar Panel range has the added advantage of being easy to take 4 wheel driving. A collapsible, folding stand allows the panels to fold into a small storage unit which is then placed into the padded zip bag provided this will then fit nicely into the back of your 4 wheel drive, leaving plenty of space for the rest of your equipment.

 

The iTechworld Portable Folding Solar Panel range is known nationwide for having the best constructed hinges, locks and corners meaning it can sit comfortably in the back of the 4 wheel drive and you won’t have to worry about the condition of it afterwards. The iTechworld Portable Folding Solar Panel range has quality design features that you will not find with cheap eBay replicas. They are all designed to be shock resistant and are fully hail proof meaning it can handle the best of the Australian off road tracks. The iTechworld Portable Folding Solar Panels range has reinforced super tough light weight glass coverings to protect the German Certified, Mono-crystalline, Shade tolerant Solar Cells.

 

How to calculate your solar power requirements HERE

Read our easy Solar installation guide HERE

Read how Generator Inverters work HERE

Read iTechworld Generator Reviews HERE

Read how to use a Generator Inverter HERE

Read how to avoid a drained battery HERE

Read about light weight Solar Panels HERE

Read 5 great tips to get the most out of your Solar Panels HERE

Read our comprehensive guide on Inverters HERE

Read about the benefits of travelling with Solar Power HERE

 

Article author

Ian

[email protected]

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Get the full life span out of your Batteries.

Flexible solar panels by iTechworld

Solar panels are the ideal way to keep your power systems in good condition, whether it’s a boat, camper trailer, motorhome, work ute, 4x4, caravan or other RV.  

 

 

Battery charging


Solar panels can be used in lieu of running the motor, generator or plugging into power. It also saves fuel and provides a quiet alternative to noisy generators.

 

 

 

Battery maintenance


To ensure a long life of your expensive battery bank it is essential to keep your batteries topped up at all times. A solar panel will keep your batteries fully charged and healthy, even when you aren’t using your rig.

 

Battery Running appliances/sytems


If your RV is fitted with electronics that require an ongoing power source such as an automatic water pump, fridge, security system or automatic lights, solar panels can (assist in) providing the power to run these appliances even when you don't have access to 240v power.

 

iTechworld Semi Flexible solar panels for boat, caravan, RV or home


At just 1/8th the weight of a standard domestic panel, iTechworld Semi Flexible Solar Panels are the ultimate in lightweight, flexible, monocrystalline solar. The panels are constructed with highly efficient solar cells supported in a unique polymer that allows for flexibility and significant weight reduction. These panels have no aluminum or steel backing like other semi-flexible panels, which means they are extremely lightweight. At just 1.5mm thick and weighing from 1.5kg, they are the thinnest and lightest panels available in the world.

 

Recent advances in technology means that the 120 watt panel measures only 1050mm x 540mm and weighs 1.5kg. This light weight and small size allows the panels to be sewn into your boat’s canvas roof top or shade structure with a zipper to make use of otherwise vacant space. They are strong, reliable and tough enough to be glued directly to the deck of a boat or to a RV rooftop.


Manufactured to European, Asian and American solar standards, iTechworld panels are CE certified which means the cells are certified to output 90% of power after 10 years and 80% after 20 years. Any RV/boat can benefit from the addition of solar power, whether it's to keep batteries charged for essential equipment, provide a charge to power lights and refrigeration or keep a secondary battery fully charged. These panels are ideal for use on RVs/boats where weight and space need to be carefully monitored.

The Sun Power (SP) cells which are used in the iTechworld 120w Semi Flexible panel are the most efficient commercially available solar cells worldwide. The panel uses standard monocrystalline cells with an efficiency exceeding 22.5% and is available in 120 watt. This panel is used where maximum output is required for a given space ie: the iTechworld 120 Watt Semi Flexible Solar Panel is physically smaller than the iTechworld 120 Watt Hard Frame panel but produces equal power.

Solar charge controllers are available via the iTechworld website and must be used to maximize the output of your panel and to protect your batteries.

This unique technology is now available only at iTechworld Australia!

  • thin & flexible
  • tough & durable
  • efficient
  • cost effective
  • lightweight
  • designed for Australian environment

 

People are using velcro to install Solar Panels learn how HERE

Check out how they test our American Solar Cells HERE

Everyone likes camping, they just don't know it yet HERE

Read about our New D4 Satellite finder that locks onto C1 HERE

Read our easy Solar installation guide HERE

Read how Generator Inverters work HERE

Read iTechworld Generator Reviews HERE

Read how to use a Generator Inverter HERE

Read how to avoid a drained battery HERE

Read about light weight Solar Panels HERE

Read 5 great tips to get the most out of your Solar Panels HERE

Read our comprehensive guide on Inverters HERE

Read about the benefits of travelling with Solar Power HERE

 

Article author

Ian

[email protected]

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Installing a Solar Panel with Velcro!

iTechworld Semi Flexible 120w solar panels are a unique product that fill a great niche for the marine market. They are thin, light and efficient. They are also semi flexible making them quite versatile in mounting options.
In the photo above we see an iTechworld 120 Watt Semi Flexible panel is being laid out to be used on canvas. My canvas maker decided on Velcro for the fastening of the panel to the roof. The entire panel weighs just 1kg direct mounting to most soft canvas tops makes this a very neat and tidy fitment.
As you can see by the photo the iTechworld 120w Semi Flexible panel is very thin. Unlike previous armorphous "flexible" panels the iTechworld Semi Flexible 120w Solar Panels are monocrystalline. This makes them about half the size of a comparable armorphous panels and because of their American Sun Power cells makes them very efficient for the real estate they take up.
The benefits of an iTechworld Semi Flexible 120w Solar Panel is that it can be unique and specific to canvas installations. Are these panels more expensive than traditional panels? Yes certainly, $250 vs. approx $149 for hard frame, but you can often save more money using an iTechworld Semi Flexible 120w Solar Panel than by using a traditional rigid panel.
Things to consider:
#1 Light weight means it can be affixed to most any Sunbrella type canvas or dodger (consider shading on dodgers).
#2 This weight savings usually means the original canvas frame is more than strong enough for the added weight of the iTechworld Semi Flexible 120w solar panel. The last rigid solar panel I installed, in the 120W range, weighed 10kg. This was just the weight of the panel alone and did not include the extra stainless tube, fittings & aluminum framing needed for attaching it to the canvas. When all was said and done this single 120W panel added over 20kg pounds to the top of the canvas. The iTechworld Semi Flexible 120w Solar Panel added perhaps 2kg total. That is a huge weight savings.
#3 When fitting a traditional rigid panel to a canvas roof, a frame needs to be custom built at the expense of the fittings, stainless tubing and the aluminum support frame for the rigid panel. This can run into the hundreds of dollars in just supplies not including custom tube bending/crowning etc. etc..
#4 When fitting a rigid panel to a canvas roof it often needs to be converted to a full strapless type setup. The fittings and stainless tube for this add even more money to the install.
In this photo you can see two 120W iTechworld rigid panels installed onto a custom built frame. The owner had this fully custom frame built to fit over the existing canvas roof in order to support the weight of this 240W array. The cost of this installation far exceeded what the cost would have been to install two iTechworld Semi Flexible 120w Solar Panels. More than twice as much to be exact.


Richard of Rockingham W.A decided that dual Velcro, both top and bottom, with a lapel was the best method to attach the panel to the canvas. Suffice it to say it is a very, very robust attachment.
The owner of this boat, an avid offshore voyager, has been caught in off shore storms before and wanted a solar option that allowed the easy removal of the panel. He also did not want a panel with a bulky, sharp aluminum frame to try and stow below in rough seas or for storm prep.
Here you can see the Velcro lapel affixed to the panel.
This iTechworld Semi Flexible 120w panel will easily stow below a berth cushion and not even be noticeable. He also did not want to re-invent his canvas frame which was simply not strong enough to support the weight of a rigid panel.
This picture shows the panel bottom Velcro and the top Velcro. The lapel is simply folded over the panel to button it up.
Also take note of the slim profile of the panels compared to my fingers. When stowed beneath a berth cushion you are barely able to discern a bump in the foam. This is a very nice feature of the iTechworld Semi Flexible 120w Solar Panels. There are also no sharp edges to scratch a beautifully varnished interior.
Notice the canvas pouch created for the wiring to go.
This keeps everything neat and tidy but also gives easy access for to essential cabling for when moving the panel. An Anderson plug is going to be fitted to enable the panel to be removed at any time.

Check out how they test our American Solar Cells HERE

Everyone likes camping, they just don't know it yet HERE

Read about our New D4 Satellite finder that locks onto C1 HERE

Read our easy Solar installation guide HERE

Read how Generator Inverters work HERE

Read iTechworld Generator Reviews HERE

Read how to use a Generator Inverter HERE

Read how to avoid a drained battery HERE

Read about light weight Solar Panels HERE

Read 5 great tips to get the most out of your Solar Panels HERE

Read our comprehensive guide on Inverters HERE

Read about the benefits of travelling with Solar Power HERE

 

Article author

Ian

[email protected]

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