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back to article Nokia DC-14 bike charger

Most of us are happy to be green so long as it doesn’t put us too far out of our way. With this in mind, Nokia has released a gizmo for turning your pedal power into battery power with a bike charger for its phones. Nokia DC-14 Charging bars with a difference: Nokia's DC-14 You might think that Nokia’s take on green power for …

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My favourite part...

Also, this "Nokia-only" charger could be made compatible with other phones in about 2 minutes with some wire cutters and a junction box.

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Happy

The '70s called....

....they'd like their "technology" back, please.

GJC

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WTF?

Re: The '70s called....

It is a bit strange that they include a dynamo, given that many cyclists will have a better one already fitted to their bike that would happily power the Nokia rectifier/regulator unit.

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Boffin

Just use your existing dynamo

I'm sure that the Nokia power conversion module will happily work with the output from your conventional high-efficiency hub dynamo. I'm more concerned about weatherproofing the phone!

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That is...

the eighteen seventies.

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WTF?

Two things

1) Doesn't the little metal wheel constantly rubbing against your tyre cause any damage?

2) Why would Nokia release something like this with a proprietary connector when the EU is telling all the mobile manufacturers to standardise on MicroUSB? I would say for profit reasons, but what cyclist is going to buy a new phone just to use a £25 dynamo? And for a niche product like this, wouldn't it be best to try to target as many phones as possible?

Hopefully this sort of bumbling isn't a sign of things to come from Nokia.

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Badgers

Answers

1) Yes it does. My commute is 25 miles each way (done 2-3x a week), and I destroyed the sidewall on the tyre in a week. Also, it felt like I was riding in mud the entire time, due to the resistance. Of course, dynamo's vary in resistance, so balance this with your own experiences.

2) Because Nokia are muppets, living in the past where they use to dominate the market. Witness recent rants by the CEO, and a sliding (but still good) market share to see how they've been doing recently.

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Happy

Two things in response

1) I wouldn't have thought so, as it wouldn't be rubbing so much as rotating against (like the tyre on the ground when rolling vs skidding). Having said that, wouldn't it have made more sense to put a rubber ring on the charger and spring tension it against the metal rim? Then if the ring wore out you can't charge your phone, but you also don't risk ripping the wall of your tyre...

2) Indeed, the bizarro 2mm connector would stop me from impulse buying, though I'd be happy to cut it off and attach it to a USB connector. Is there any word about voltage regulation tho? Might be worth using it to charge an intermediate battery. There's a box under the handlebars in the photo which isn't mentioned in the article, that might perform this function.

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Rubbing and Rotating

Nah, it don't work like that.

No-one has managed to invent a frictionless dynamo yet and you need the grip to turn it enough to produce power. There is the hub dynamo instead - easy enough to connect a small power regulator for a phone charger.

Metal rims are a bugger for grip in the wet.

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FAIL

re: destroyed the sidewall

If it was dragging and wearing then you didn't set it up correctly. or the dynamo bearings were knackered.

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IT Angle

Just go look at a rainy cycling country

If you'd just look at e.g. Holland, Flanders or the north of Germany, you'd see millions of dynamos used for decades. And swiftly switched to battery-powered LED lights.

Dynamos work, they don't damage tyres at all, etc; but they produce very notable drag and are used to power inefficient old lamps instead of LEDs). At inconvenient times they loosen and sag down the wheel (just when you left your leatherman in the office etc ), and old ones in cold rain may lose grip to the tyre and stop working (just when you needed light most).

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Anonymous Coward

The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits

They were not "light chargers".. they were generators that produced power for the lights.. great as long as you are moving at a reasonable speed, useless on steep uphill sections or when stationary (maybe recovering from pedalling a 3 speed up a long hill)

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Charger?

Exactly - the lights went out when you stopped.

I wrote to a major cycle manufacturer in 1968 with a design for a battery and charger system - but they rejected it on the grounds that the legislation did not require a cycle to show lights when stationary. Short sighted or what?

Wheel dynamos like this damage the sidewalls of tyres, hub dynamos are a much better idea (unless you are a tyre manufacturer!).

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GPS

Makes using GPS on the move a little less impractical.

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Better green solution...

Don't buy a new phone until your old one is unusable. Wasting money on the new, annual release of the next iToy fashion accessory is bad for the environment. And no, you aren't going to watch the latest blockbuster on an iPhone. You are just wasting the environment to show off. Given how much we know about the environmental effects of conspicuous consumption, that sits at the pathetic end of the spectrum of human behaviour.

The tech industry is one of the worst offenders for built-in obsolesence, landfill and waste. Tech owners and early adopters are some of the most arrogant when it comes to not giving a stuff about the environment that their kids will inherit.

Probably good for the economy that the concept of shame has passed out of currency, given the sheer laziness and ignorance of those who continue to unthinkingly pollute at the drop of a hat, and the complete dependency upon consumer addiction of our flawed and unsustainable economic system

It will end badly, but you needn't worry, eh. It's your kids and grandchildren that will suffer the most, not you.

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Grenade

Power to which people I ask?

This verfy product came up on a large Cycling Forum in early December, linked by a Member.

It was discussed in detail and it seems as if most real mountain and road bikers would never slap one of these devices onto the fork leg of their beloved pedal powered steeds.

This type of product is probably best suited to the fair weather, summer centric cyclist, the type that flock to cycleways in summer and only use their under/over priced bikes for 3 months of the year at the very most. Yes, those who don't care about the extra weight, the hassle of wires and the fact that the dynamo's krurled wheel will inevitably chew through the sidewall of the bike's tire whilst the crude mount will end up making a mess of the fork leg's painted finish.

Yes it's trendy to carry your beloved Nokia on your handlebars, but is it wise I ask? Using it for navigation is great as cycleways are mazes of confusion. Using it on a forest fire road will result in the cradle shaking like a fish out of water. If the weather takes a nasty turn, then back into the pocket the phone will have to go.

It's a nice idea in principle and I assure you most purchases will be based on "ooh, that's a good idea" type impulse buys. It's a nice try Nokia, but no cigar.

To be honest, as an enthusiastic cyclist myself, I just ensure my battery is charged before I set off and occasionally use my ruggedised and waterproof Garmin eTrex GPS.

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Other kinds of cyclist...

Erm - there *are* cyclists except for mountain/road bikers on the one hand, and fair weather cyclists on the other. I use my bike for commuting (along with a train ride), typically 10 miles a day, at least a few days a week, throughout the year. There's plenty more like me, for whom a bike is an essential mode of transport rather than a leisure thing (whether hardcore off-road or long-distance leisure, or fairweather leisure).

But on the OP, would I use this? Probably not, especially because I'm about to stop using a phone with that proprietary Nokia connection. But the idea of 20+ mins of free electricity on the way home from work when my battery's running low - it's not a bad one. I never got with dynamos for lighting, because of hills and the like, but for charging a phone it might just work. Except that, as others have said, there's no protection against rain, and the actual dynamo mechanism is rather stone-age.

Feels like a beta version. Maybe it'll work better with Windows Phone 7.

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Anonymous Coward

Better hope it doesn't rain..

I bet you can DEFY that statement..

see what I did there?

(if not look for the review of the motorola Defy which is supposedly weather proof.)

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FAIL

Awful idea

It uses a bottle dynamo. Instant fail.

OK for short runs, but then what's the point as you won't add much to your phone's charge. Certainly wouldn't want to cycle any distance with a bottle dynamo dragging on my front wheel.

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Anonymous Coward

chewing tyres ?

Then its either not positioned correctly or badly designed - after all, these things were standard for powering lights for decades ( until elfnsafety decided back lights had to be battery powered so they remained on when the bike was stopped ).

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Really?

There are several rear lights that are powered by dynamos.

They have a simple capacitor circuit that keeps the light on for a while - even better in these days of LED's.

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Paris Hilton

Is it April already?

Seriously is this for real? I hope they have a cover for the phone or the rains will kill it before it charges. After all we do live in the land of perpetual rain.

*Paris because she does not want to become a Nokia charger.

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FAIL

Ebay special

It looks like something knocked up in China- £25 Buy It Now, Free! Shipping from Hong Kong.

Reusing crappy old bike dynamo - FAIL!

Reusing crappy old bike dynamo bracket - double FAIL!. They never worked. And look, the "ground screw" that provides the return current path is still there - puncturing a hole in your paint to save 1 wire.

Was I the only person who covered the bracket in an old inner-tube and ran a separate return wire to the lamp?

Modern rim-drive dynamos have a rubber wheel to reduce tyre wear:

http://www.dotbike.com/productsP3025.aspx (http://www.bumm.de/index-e.html?docu/106e.htm)

and have 2-wire outputs. Nokia should have badged one of those - at least it looks "quality" instead of "cheapie"

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Not tried it, but doesnt ruin your wheel...

http://www.firebox.com/product/2111/HY-Mini-Wind-Turbine

Also no biker holder for phone etc, but those are cheap.

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Jesus H.....

Looks like a Heath Robinson invention to me.....

.......on a particularly stoned and lazy day.

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FAIL

fail

And for the real saving:

Cost of charging your phone at home:

Assume a 2AH 3V battery (typical).

Assume 10c per KW Hour (I pay this in CA).

Energy in battery = 2 * 3 = 6 Watt hours.

Cost = 6*0.1/1000 = 0.06 cents.

Figure an efficiency of 50% for the charger and battery, so the cost of the actual power used is 0.12 cents.

In other words, a small fraction of a cent.

25 quid *1.62 = 40 dollars and 50 pennies.

40.50 = 4050 cents * 100 = 405000

405000 / 12 = 33750

I'd have to charge the phone 33750 times to get my money back!

Either I'd be dead from natural causes before, or the dynamo would have broken in the inevitable car crash.

Bargin.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: fail

ITYF it's a matter of convenience rather than cost - if you're out on your bike a lot then you'll want the phone with you, and it's handy to keep it topped up, particularly if it's a smart-phone and you're running e.g. a GPS app.

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Not all about the money

I'm not sure why you'd assume this would just be about the money. It seems to be most useful as a way of ensuring your phone can be used as a GPS nav unit for more than a couple of hours whilst out cycling (using ovi maps of course). Given it's use of a rim dynamo, I can't see it appealing to anybody other than leisure cyclists, but that seems to be a legitimate market. More serious outdoors types would probably have a dedicated weatherproof GPS unit anyway. I'd have thought the largest problem for this use would be the rubber straps to hold the phone in place though, since they go right across the screen.

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Not designed for western markets

It's for developing countries where there might not be a reliable electricity charge but they are more likely to have a bike. (It's a lot cheaper in those markets)

They just sold it here as a pander to greenies.

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Would work for me...

I lived for 8 months of last year without regular access to mains power. On a few occasions I had to fire up the landy when I needed to make a call. Neither green nor cheap.

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Nokia R+D spend

And everybody was complaining that Nokia spend 5x as much on R&D as Apple do - but could Apple come up with an invention like this ?

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Anonymous Coward

For lights precharched AA or AAA are better

For batteries, pre-charged AA or AAA are better, pre-charged are the latest and greatest in rechargeable ni-mh batteries (eneloop and hybrid have not let me down).

My lights and GPS have never run out of batteries.

For cellphone, it would be much better if I could add a pulley-like device to my chain to generate electricity instead of the tire.

In the past I used my old s40 for back country cycling and had no issues (granted, it had the flight mode for most of the time as there is no coverage anyway in the middle of nowhere)

Now for in coverage touring, I still prefer a travel charger and plug it in a restaurant at lunch time.

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Gates Halo

If Microsoft designed dynamos

they'd look like this. 20+ years out of date and overpriced already.

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C5, electric and transport device in one post?

So obvious, but suppose someone had to point it out.......

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Stop

Here we go again...

Am I the only one here sick of the way some companies try to squeeze some few bucks more on the whole "be green" wave? It's nothing more that exploiting the good intentions of the users who mean well but just don't know better. I mean, come on - pretty much every electrical appliance we use on the daily basis eats way more energy than the full charge of a cellphone in no time. An average 32" LCD TV eats an energy equivalent to the full 1000 mAh cellphone battery charge in some THREE MINUTES. It's within a statistical error. For the decency's sake I won't even mention a microwave or an electric kettle. The truth is, no cellphone "eco"-charger is going to make any difference AT ALL - it's only to make some cash on the users who like to feel all green and environmentally-responsive for a while. In fact, the impact of these gadgets on the environment is NEGATIVE - you buy just another POS someone put serious amounts of energy to create, transport and sell into while you were perfectly fine with the "ordinary" (highly-efficient, switching mode) charger which probably won't even spin your power meter. Unless you're an Amish - cellphone charger should be the very last point of concern when evaluating your electrical power usage.

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Happy

A hub dynamo works better, but is more expensive

I got myself a Shimano DH-3N30 hub dynamo in a new 700C front wheel for charging my Sony K850 phone for a cycling/camping holiday last year. It charged well enough, but I did find that the frequent stopping caused my phone to crash a few times. The dynamo and home-made regulator combination cost me about £85 in total. A lot of money to keep a phone charged but it did mean that I was independent of mains power.

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